The following opinion column was written by guest columnist Fran Camino, who runs the Spanish-language cruise website, Waves & Wind from Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Let’s face it: Choosing the perfect cruise has never been an easy task. Premium, luxury, family oriented. Too many categories that could be fitted like a jigsaw.
In the middle of all this is a kind-of-a-sort-of a dog fight between two men: Frank Del Rio from Oceania Cruises and Larry Pimentel from Azamara Club Cruises. Both offer “upper premium” cruises. Luxury at affordable prices.
Who can resist? With two nearly identical products, the choice of which to cruise could be difficult, but for me, the decision was a piece of cake.
Oceania and Azamara both operate exclusive and personalized ships designed to appeal to discerning travelers who expect to have extras, at little additional cost. Having nearly the same cabin categories, exquisite food, and with both companies competing neck-to-neck with each other, I found something different that helped me make up my mind quickly.
Oceania misses a couple of important points for travelers like me: First, not so many of us are able to travel more than eight days, the average holiday length for most cruisers except those who are retired. On Oceania, it´s hard to find any route less than ten days, while Azamara has a more flexible schedule.
The second thing that swayed my decision was one cruise company’s attention to the growing demand of single travelers.
Single travelers like me are usually punished for traveling alone. Even so, it’s rare to find cruise lines that charge single travelers supplements of 100% more. While the cruise companies are starting to adapt to this new reality, with flexible single supplements, Azamara is taking the lead by introducing special fares for singe travelers, whereas Oceania doesn’t make it easy for us to get on board affordably.
Yes, I have found the right holiday for me. Cruising for a shorter period of time and paying a reasonable single supplement. It´s going to be Azamara in my case.