Why Azamara Club Cruises Needs More Ships
Photo courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises is a fantastic upscale cruise line, and its recently overhauled Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest are fine ships. However, the brand is in desperate need of more, new-builds especially, to sustain its following among strong competitors Oceania Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises.
Well before I first sailed on Oceania and Viking, I experienced Azamara and instantly fell in love with the product. Its emphasis on the destination with longer port stays and more overnight calls, as well as its brilliant AzAmazing Evenings shoreside program, speaks to many loyalists as does the line’s exceptional value, read excellent dining and service for the price point.
Before the ships were remodeled, they only had one problem: they were former Renaissance Cruises ships that looked nearly identical to the now four that Oceania Cruises sails. The software was Azamara, but the hardware was still Renaissance. After dramatically retooling each ship, they are now as close to a new-build as an existing ship can ever hope to be, and it’s a great start.
There has been talk of new ships being added to the Azamara fleet for years, and yet no orders have been placed.
Still, it makes sense that the first two had to be remodeled first. If new ships were brought online without, there would be little incentive to book the older ships.
Now is the time to pull that tigger and fast, however. Oceania can cover much more of the world with its fleet of six ships, even though its and Azamara’s ships collectively suffer from tiny cabin showers, the anecdote of which has been administered by Viking’s first two ships. Already, Viking has a pair of brand new ships similar to Oceania’s latest two, and it has six nearly exact sister ships set to sail by 2020.
By then, Viking will have as many ships as Oceania currently has, all new, besting both competitors unless they start catching up, and Azamara has the farthest to go.
Why Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited has not ordered any new ships for Azamara when it has placed several build orders for its other two brands, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, is a bit of a mystery. Surely, even an order for four new 700-passenger Azamara ships would be only a fraction of the cost of a single Harmony-class vessel, and Royal has two more of those coming.
I personally want Azamara to do well, as I’m sure all of its loyalists desire, but its future is a bit hazy when it should be bright.
More by Jason Leppert
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