Azamara cancels private tours in Italy

Old Oct 4th, 2021, 01:22 PM
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HoustonTraveler1, I am glad you came back.

I understand your frustration and anger. You purchased a cruise with the belief that you would be able to see and do the things you wanted in your free time. I am truly sorry that you are missing out on that, especially being with your friends and not seeing Florence the way you wanted.

Please believe me. I am not defending the cruise line. At this point, I have no idea why they made that decision. Unfortunately, things like this are a possibility with any cruises or tours. I do not take river cruises because I am fully aware of the possibility of them turning into bus tours for all kinds of reasons, including water levels. I now try to avoid August cruises in the Caribbean because of the possibility of hurricanes. I won’t try to go to St Kitts right now because they are changing requirements from day to day, with quarantines or just allowing COVID to run wild.

Based on many experiences, I do not take cruises with my heart set on great sightseeing, no matter what the policies of the ship. I honestly do not think a cruise is conducive to that. With things so fluid, I am not booking anything until Spring.
I wish I had been able to give you the advice to wait awhile to book.

One thing is to make sure the ship is one I will enjoy and the people I am with will go with the flow and enjoy being on the ocean, no matter what. Cruises for me are mostly an easy vacation, hanging out with family, without having to cook or clean.

In your case, it is the new rules being implemented by the cruise line, but believe me, it could be anything. We spent three days of a cruise to Bermuda just circling around in the Atlantic, avoiding a hurricane that kept changing course. The truth is, I knew August was one of the most hurricane prone months, but optimistically thought it would not happen to me. Ha! We still have not been to Bermuda - may try again next Summer, depending on COVID, but will do it earlier.

The night before arrival in Israel, our Port was shelled with threats of more. The stop was canceled and we spent extra days in a place I did not care about. On a TA cruise, the things that happened were just crazy. A report of someone overboard delayed us for hours. We had to change course and ports to have someone airlifted. A major storm in France caused more delays and passengers missing at a port caused another major delay. In every one of these situations, from the hurricane to the storm to missing passengers to the shelling of the port, the anger and complaints by passengers was strong and vocal. They thought the Captain should plow through the storm and the risk of shelling was not great enough to cancel the port. I heard the Captain say he was responsible for over 3,000 people and a multi-million dollar ship and he was not risking either, no matter how much passengers complained.
We actually decided to leave the ship early to do sightseeing on our own in Italy in Luca and the CT. Guess what. We had three days of torrential rains, no possibility of hiking anywhere. My point is, travel is unpredictable.

By that time of year, you can have surprisingly cold days, and it will be colder on the water. You may not be able to enjoy the pool on the ship unless it is heated. Many are not. When you said it was the trip of a lifetime for some, I felt bad, thinking it might not be what they are expecting if they were thinking it would be like Summer in the Med.
Keep in mind that there are some really knowledgeable people who can give great advice before a trip, not much they can do after booking.

Azamara has canceled over 20 cruises. They combined staff and crew to have enough to staff this ship. OTOH, the ship looks beautiful in pictures and if supplies are good, food and service should be great.

Honestly though, feeling as you do, and you are quite justified, if you have travel insurance, cancel this cruise and rebook for Spring or plan for a land trip. I think you might be much happier then. Storms are frequent in early Spring, but by May, things settle down and flowers are blooming. If you can’t change your trip, I sincerely hope you can come to some acceptance of this and make the best of the provided tours and enjoy the ship experience of leisure dining, a glass of wine and some music in the evenings with friends.

Whatever your decision, I wish you joy on the trip.
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Old Oct 4th, 2021, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by aliced View Post
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!
The issue is that the cruise line, Azarama, is saying that in Italy, passengers are not allowed to go on their own or to book private tours, and if they do, they may not be allowed to re-board the ship. They are requiring passengers to take only expensive, very structured, ship excursions. The cruise line said it was a mandate by the Italian government. Apparently it is not, but perhaps simply an agreement between the company and the government, or perhaps nothing at all to do with that, just an attempt by the cruise line to contain passengers in the hope of mitigating the risk of COVID coming back onto the ship. Even with vaccinations, we know there are break-through cases, but it is a disappointment to passengers who had other plans already.
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Old Oct 4th, 2021, 05:11 PM
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I hope you will read the new thread I just posted about incidents of COVID on ships, how they think it happened and the results.
Perhaps Azamara became aware of some of these incidents and were frightened enough to take drastic action.

Think about everyone on a ship being quarantined because of a few people in Bermuda.

I do not think you would ever want to have been responsible for everyone on Azamara being quarantined if you came up positive after visiting with friends in Florence.

Last edited by Sassafrass; Oct 4th, 2021 at 05:36 PM. Reason: New comment
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Old Oct 5th, 2021, 04:22 AM
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@HoustonTraveler1 - there is really no point in venting about Azamara on Fodors. While there are posters here who cruise, and even those who cruse on Azamara, they are not a large group. If you are trying to rally some kind of cruiser revolt, you will find much more support on CruiseCritic, where all, or almost all, posters are cruisers.

Will cruise lines prohibit passengers from reboarding if they go "on their own"?
They already have. If you are thinking of trying this, I hope you are prepared for the additional expenses you will incur when left on the dock.

If spending time in Florence is very important to you, why do you not stay on after the cruise? Or go to Florence instead of cruising? Will Azamara refund your fare, since they have changed the nature of the cruise? If not, can you reschedule for next year? I really think that anyone planning to cruise this year is gambling. Some will win, and some will lose. Even their lives, in a few cases.
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Old Oct 5th, 2021, 10:05 AM
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I suggest that the OP reads this thread:

Within the thread she will find the missing link - i.e. a link to the regulation in question:
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