Assessing Azamara

This week, I am on Azamara Quest, sailing from Barcelona to Rome. It will be interesting to see how this two-ship cruise line has evolved since Larry Pimentel took the helm not yet one year ago. I will have a chance to speak with Larry later this week. He’s on board this sailing with his wife.

One already notable difference is that Azamara is now more inclusive. Wine with lunch and dinner as well as gratuities, for example, are now included in the cost of the cruise. In addition, Azamara now offers free specialty coffees, sodas and bottled water; use of self-service laundry machines; and complimentary shuttle service in port towns. No more nickel-and-diming it appears at first glance.

Azamara also now offers longer stays in ports and more overnight stays. Quest is overnighting in both Monte Carlo and Florence (well, technically, Livorno, more than an hour from Florence).

The former CEO of Cunard Line, The Yachts of Seabourn and SeaDream Yacht Club, Larry will likely bring good things to Azamara. For  a look back at Azamara pre-Pimentel, check out Why You Should Cruise Azamara Now.

Meantime, if you have questions about Azamara, Quest, the overnight stays or questions for Larry Pimentel, please let me know. Until next time  . . .

Join the Conversation

Lynda Wilson says:

I returned yesterday (23 Oct) from a cruise on the Azamara Quest. This was my first cruise and I thought they did a fantastic job. The Captain sets a great example which permeates down through all the staff and the whole ship seems relaxed but incredibly efficient. Everyone seems to care very much about what they’re doing and in making the cruise as successful as possible for passengers. I would forgive them much for this attitude alone and I am sure you will come to appreciate this view during your week aboard.

My concern is that I had never heard of Azamara Club Cruises in the UK and I think that they are missing a trick here. Although not a cruise expert, I am familiar with the travel industry and many of the cruise lines, hence being concerned that Azamara’s marketing is all but invisible in the UK press. I understand that passengers from the UK are growing (62 on last week’s cruise) but I think if more people knew about Azamara that number would rise significantly, especially since the Quest gets very positive reviews from those who have cruised with her.

On last week’s cruise we were lucky enough to have a presentation by Bill Wright who I am sure you know. I didn’t get an opportunity to raise this issue with him so thought I would pass it to you in the hope that you can mention it yourself to Larry Pimentel. I wouldn’t normally bother writing like this but I thought everyone on the Quest did a fantastic job and it seems that their success could be increased by tapping into the UK market and raising its profile.

Many thanks

Ralph Grizzle says:

Thank you Lynda. Indeed, Azamara has an awareness problem. Just a few days ago I wrote, “Quoted recently in Seatrade Insider, a trade publication, the company’s President and CEO Larry Pimentel said of the Azamara brand: “My biggest problem is awareness. It’s not performance.” More of that story is at https://www.avidcruiser.com/cruise-reviews/upper-premium/azamara-cruises/

I’ll pass your comments on to Larry and will post my interview with him. Thanks again.

Sherri Gardner Howell says:

Hi Ralph,
Evidently we were on the cruise with you! It was my second cruise and the first for my husband. Being “newbies” we had very little to compare it to, but we were so impressed and so thrilled with our experiences, both the ports and the treatment on the ship. The President’s surprise gift in the castle was INCREDIBLE. Thought you might like to read a fellow journalist’s take on her Azamara experience. Happy sailing! Sherri Gardner Howell

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