Azamara cancels private tours in Italy

Old Sep 26th, 2021, 01:41 PM
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Azamara cancels private tours in Italy

I am very unhappy with and disappointed in Azamara's decision just this week to prevent passengers from going our own way in Italy, more so because Azamara falsely blames the restriction on the Italian government. I have been unable to find Italy’s mandate that all cruise ship passengers must only use the cruise ship’s excursions which cost four times as much for a fifth of the quality. Our cruise leaves Civitavecchia on October 28th.

I am bringing two of my cousins on a trip of a lifetime for them. We plan to stay overnight in Florence with friends I've known for more than 50 years, since I was an overseas study program student. I plan to show them "my" Firenze. Azamara's apparently capricious and/or greedy decision to require us to use only their excursions will eliminate that plan, greatly reducing the emotional value of the 7-day cruise.

Show me the proof that this mandate comes from the Italian government!
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 05:48 PM
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https://www.azamara.com/booked-guest...l-requirements

This was issued as of September 10.
Read all the way down. The mandate of the Italian Government on September 10, 2021, is that cruise ship passengers may participate only on ship excursions with other passengers. They may not use private shuttles or taxis or go anywhere off a ship excursion. Anyone caught breaking this rule may be denied re-boarding.

So, it does not appear that Azamara had anything to do with this. They have also had to try and arrange more authorized excursions for their passengers. I am sure you are not the only one upset. Others likely have private excursions booked.
I am sorry. I hope you can enjoy the cruise anyway or perhaps cancel and rebook for a safer time if you have insurance that would cover it.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 07:38 PM
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The OP registered to post his complaint -- I sure hope he comes back to read your post. Some other cruise lines are requiring the same sort of thing even when a country doesn't mandate it.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
the op registered to post his complaint -- i sure hope he comes back to read your post. Some other cruise lines are requiring the same sort of thing even when a country doesn't mandate it.
yes!
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 03:01 AM
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Some small countries like St Kitts-Nevis have imposed the same mandate. They close off certain popular sites, beaches, etc. to locals for a day or period of time and allow ship excursions only to those places. Unless they have somehow been brought in, there are no big tour buses there. I do not see how they could provide tours for many passengers on even a mid-sized ship. Probably not a great time to cruise if you want to get off the ship and do things, shop, go to the beach, eat, etc.
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 04:09 PM
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Azamara Italy restrictions

Azamara is requiring passengers to be fully vaccinated as well as present a negative covid test for original embarkation. They will be taking our temperatures every time we board after a day of exploring. Part of my disappointment is their blaming the bubble requirement on Italy, which, as far as I can tell, has no such requirement. At least acknowledge that it's their policy without foisting it off on Italy. The other issue is their tripling/quadrupling the price of private tours since we can no longer book them directly and have to use their "private journey department" because all the regular excursions are already sold out. I have 4 weeks before I leave and hope Azamara will come to its senses before then. I'm very, very dismayed by these recent actions which certainly belie their claim to provide the "best customer service" and to be "authentic".

As for this not being a good time to cruise, it was projected to be when I booked it and still would be if people would just get vaccinated and mask up!
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 04:56 PM
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If you read through the entire document that I referenced, it is very clearly Italy that is mandating this, not the cruise line. The Italian government implemented it as of September 10.
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
If you read through the entire document that I referenced, it is very clearly Italy that is mandating this, not the cruise line. The Italian government implemented it as of September 10.
Again, you linked me to Azamara's bubble requirement on their website that they blame on Italy. You did not provide proof directly from the Italian government that there is such a mandate. I'm still waiting. Do you work for Azamara?
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 06:28 PM
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It is not just Azamara. There is a long thread on Cruisecritic about NCL doing the same thing. One poster mentions that MSC passengers who went off on their own were denied reboarding.
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
It is not just Azamara. There is a long thread on Cruisecritic about NCL doing the same thing. One poster mentions that MSC passengers who went off on their own were denied reboarding.
I understand that. I just want Azamara to 'fess up that it's their decision, their chance to make more money, and stop blaming it on Italy.
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 08:39 PM
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You are correct that it is not a government document. I looked briefly, don’t have time or interest to pursue it. Maybe it is not a public mandate. Maybe it is just the deal made with the cruise lines to prevent passengers from possibly spreading COVID or bringing it back to the ship.
What a silly question. Of course I don’t work for Azamara, never even been on one of their ships. If I did, I would say so. I also do not work for NCL, MSC or the lines doing the same thing in the Caribbean Islands.
The rules keep changing, but the country of St Kitts-Nevis have had really strict quarantines, up to 14 days in the beginning, and they remained COVID free for over a year until one person decided they were entitled and did not have follow the rules. They broke quarantine and that lead to St Kitts’ first, and continuing, outbreak of COVID. They have started allowing cruise ships, but with the restrictions in my above post.
I have not seen my daughter who lives there in 20 months. We talk about how to do it safely. If she comes here, she risks a lot of exposure during travel and will be quarantined on her return. If I fly, I will be quarantined, but that is a possibility at some point. I would love to book a cruise and depart the cruise there, visit her and fly home. That is actually cheaper. Right now, that is just not possible.
My other DD and GD are isolating from me because they are exposed to unvaccinated people everyday. I am old and feel sad to be missing out on my family. So, you see, I fully understand your frustration.
The fact is, travel rules are still very fluid all over. Lots of flights are also cancelled daily. An outbreak of COVID on a cruise could bring an early end to the trip. Things happen in the best of times, but right now, we can’t count on anything. I am desperately hoping it is OK by Spring. If you have cancel for any reason travel insurance, cancel and rebook with a different cruise line when things are more predictable.
Good luck. I sincerely hope this does not sour the trip if you decide to go ahead with it.

Last edited by Sassafrass; Sep 27th, 2021 at 09:12 PM. Reason: Need paragraphs
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 10:08 PM
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You have a total of 5 posts on Fodors and think its fine to accuse long time members of ulterior motives. I think you are just angry and want to blame someone. IMO you should just try to get over it and take Azamara's tours . . . or cancel your cruise. First world problem for sure . . .
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 11:30 PM
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Consider yourself fortunate to be able to travel at all.
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
You have a total of 5 posts on Fodors and think its fine to accuse long time members of ulterior motives. I think you are just angry and want to blame someone. IMO you should just try to get over it and take Azamara's tours . . . or cancel your cruise. First world problem for sure . . .
Couldn’t agree more!
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Old Sep 28th, 2021, 07:06 AM
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There are pages and pages about this on Cruise Critic Boards, suggest the OP go there. (Account may be required). Searcht the Boards for "Restrictions in Italy". Part of the blame does appear to lie with poor and delayed communication from Azmara. (I've only skimmed).

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topi...ions-in-italy/


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Old Sep 28th, 2021, 09:04 PM
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I sincerely apologize for offending anyone. My intent was to determine if the people responding to my concern had ulterior motives such as surreptitiously being a cruise line representative. I have learned that there is no Italian government mandate to keep cruise passengers in a bubble. It's the decision of each cruise line. I'm happy that Azamara admitted it but still very unhappy that it was imposed 4 weeks before departure. Yes, this is definitely a first-world problem, but one would think that since all passengers are required to be fully vaccinated and submit a negative COVID test before embarking, and will be temperature-checked daily, the bubble would be unnecessary. Again, my apologies for causing any angst.
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Old Sep 30th, 2021, 03:46 PM
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HoustonTraveler1,
That is a most gracious apology. I was surprised, but not offended by your question, so did answer. You are frustrated and disappointed by the situation. I would be also.

You are new to Fodors and I hope you will find it a helpful group. Over time, posters get to know each other and have become kind of a travel Family. We often disagree and criticize, feathers get ruffled, there is occasional sniping, but there is also kindness, caring, protectiveness (Thank you kindly, janisj) and great and honest advice about personal things as well as travel. Sometimes people meet up and get to know each other in real life, having get-togethers, dinners when they travel. etc.

There is a Lounge for posting and discussing non-travel and personal subjects. You may join it after making several travel posts. This online family is like a real one in that there may be personality clashes and hurt feelings, but overall it is a very supportive place. I recently noticed one Fodorite offer to travel to another’s home, to stay with them during a medical situation. A few years back, I had a life and death emergency in my family and a poster I had met held my hand and gave invaluable advice via phone and emails throughout the entire ordeal, which thankfully turned out OK. I think this is unusual for a group strangers.

So, please do not let this little hiccup keep you from coming here to get and give travel advice, or even personal support.

I made a separate post with a link you might enjoy. Years ago there was prolific writer, travel blogger who was a member of Fodors. He poked fun with biting commentary on everything and everyone. Though he claimed not to like it, he cruised a lot, but his great love was India. He never revealed on the Forum his real identity. I learned after his death that he was a renowned, beloved and highly respected director and producer. One of his productions was Tap Dogs, thus he used the name Dogster on Fodors. The link above is to some of his travel blogs.

Last edited by Sassafrass; Sep 30th, 2021 at 03:52 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old Oct 4th, 2021, 07:15 AM
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Honestly, I'm surprised that more folks on Italy cruises aren't angry that their cruise line is lying to us about the requirement, blaming the Italian government when it's clear it's their own greed that's requiring us to use their excursions. Here's an excerpt from a Rome tour guide's email received yesterday:

Regarding your cruise ship... The reason you cannot find these regulations because there are NO regulations in Italy in existence about cruise passengers. NONE.

This is only something cruise lines are telling their passengers to force them on their own limited and crowded bus tours or super expensive private options and denying their passengers their freedom of choice that they deserve and entitled to in Italy.

Therefore YES, indeed seems that Cruise Ships are indeed banning their passengers from having the freedom of choice how they spend their time on shore excursions in Italy, and are unfortunately forcing them on the cruise ship's own bus tours or super expensive private options.

What the cruise lines are doing have nothing to do with Italy regulations as there are NO Italian regulations against cruisers. Italy is NOT discriminating against cruisers.

ALL travelers coming to Italy (whether by plane or ship) must meet the same Covid requirements: Vaccination cards and / or negative Covid tests.

ALL drivers (bus drivers contracted by the cruise corporations or private company drivers ) must have a Green Pass to work as there are Covid safety regulations in Italy that all drivers and vehicles must meet - regardless if they are private companies or "contracted vendors by the cruise ships".

There is NO SAFER way to tour Italy than with a fully vaccinated private driver in your own private sanitized vehicle (what we and companies like us provide). Touring on crowded bus tours in close proximity with strangers and groups are obviously not a safer option, and our clients know this.

In Italy travelers are FREE to enjoy Italy as they wish. In fact... we are touring our clients every day all over Italy as obviously Italy has no restrictions on HOW travelers enjoy Italy.

It's only cruise lines' imposed restrictions on their passengers so they are forced on the cruise ships' own tours.

It's important that cruisers know that they are indeed FREE to tour as they wish in Italy as long as they meet the Covid requirements, regardless of the stories that cruise lines are telling passengers to force them on their own bus tours or contacted vendors private options.

Will cruise lines prohibit passengers from reboarding if they go "on their own"? That's the big question. Remember - many areas of Italy are within the White Zone, the lowest/safest COVID rating.

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Old Oct 4th, 2021, 07:39 AM
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"Honestly, I'm surprised that more folks on Italy cruises aren't angry that their cruise line is lying to us "

If you want to take the cruise you need to accept their rules. End of story. Steaming/agonizing over it for months really doesn't help you or anyone else. Be angry all you want - or accept it and enjoy the cruise. Your choice. Just be happy you can go at all . . . My 2 ˘
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Old Oct 4th, 2021, 02:19 PM
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As an option, do check out: Tours by Locals - A Canadian company we used in Greece after high recommendations from VERY travel saavy friends. For 10% more, you have no cancellation fees (like we did night before!). VERY GOOD!
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