Azamara vs Celebrity Cruises

Compare ships, pricing, destinations, onboard facilities and shore excursions between Azamara Cruises and Celebrity Cruises.

Azamara Cruises   vs   Celebrity Cruises

The Low Down

Azamara Cruises Celebrity Cruises
Where do they cruise?
What type of ships do they have?
Small Cruise Ships
Large, Mega and Expedition Ships
How many passengers are on board?
690 – 702
Classic: 2,107 - 3046 / Expedition: 48 - 100
What type of cruise line are they?
Premium
Premium
What are they known for?
  • Longer stays in port & more overnights
  • Complimentary AzAmazing Evenings
  • Relaxed atmosphere, no scheduled formal nights
  • The first cruise line to have a ½ acre real lawn at sea
  • Dining curated by Michelin-starred Chefs
  • The largest and rarest wine collection at sea
  • The Magic Carpet on Celebrity Edge & Celebrity Apex
What is the average cost per day?
  • Interior: $375
  • Oceanview: $417
  • Balcony: $537
  • Suite: $933
  • Interior: $235
  • Oceanview: $268
  • Balcony: $343
  • Suite: $979
Are fares all inclusive?
No
No
Are gratuities included?
Yes
Yes, for Australian and New Zealand Passengers
Are there any additional gratuities payable on board?
Yes. 18% gratuity added for spa services
Yes. 18% gratuity added for beverage purchases, mini bar items, spa and salon services
Can I get any reciprocal loyalty club benefits?
Azamara’s Le Club Voyage has reciprocal benefits with RCL Crown & Anchor Society and Celebrity Cruises Captain’s Club
Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Azamara offer reciprocal benefits to members enrolled in their loyalty programs
What is the onboard currency?
USD
USD
What language is spoken on board?
English
English
Who cruises with them?
  • Primarily couples & solos
  • Destination focussed, culturally curious travellers
  • Primarily couples & solos
  • Food and wine connoisseurs
  • Travellers who enjoy modern luxury settings
What is the average passenger age?
Primarily 50+
Primarily 40+
Are they good for families?
Children are accepted from 6+ months (or 12+ on select sailings) however, families are openly discouraged from sailing with children under 18 years of age.
Children are accepted from 6+ months (12+ months on select cruises) and there are dedicated programs and facilities available for children.
Are there children’s programs?
No
Camp at Sea is Celebrity’s children’s program. There are activities for four different age groups supervised by experienced youth staff members. The program changes regularly keeping it fresh. Celebrity Equinox also offers STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) & art classes. Celebrity also offers a program for children on the autism spectrum. Services are not available on Expedition ships.
Is there childcare and/or babysitting?
No
Yes. Group babysitting is available on the contemporary ships through the Celebrity Youth Program for ages 3-12 years including afternoon parties on port days and late night slumber parties in the evening. Children must be toilet trained. Private baby sitting at cost is available for suite level guests only. Services are not available on expedition ships.
What are the accommodation options?
Interior, Oceanview, Balcony & Suites
Interior, Oceanview, Balcony & Suites. Studios available for solo travellers.
Are there accessible staterooms?
Yes
Yes
Are shore excursions included?
No. However, on AzAmazing Evening event is included on most voyages and a complimentary shuttle is offered in select ports.
  • Classic Cruises: No, excursions need to be purchased on classic cruises.
  • Expedition Cruises: Shore excursions are included on Galapagos cruises.
What types of onboard activities are available for free?
Enrichment programs such as guest lectures and some onboard classes.
Enrichment programs such as guest lectures and some onboard classes. Art classes and technologies classes are available on select ships.
Are there any onboard activities that I need to pay for?
Yes. Some specialty experiences such as Vodka and Caviar tastings, Cocktail making or culinary workshops incur additional charges.
Yes. Charges apply for a range of activities such as glass blowing and mixology classes.
Is there free evening entertainment?
Yes
Yes
Is there any paid evening entertainment?
Yes. Occasionally special entertainment may incur additional charges.
Yes. Occasionally special entertainment may incur additional charges.
Are there complimentary dining options?
Yes
Yes
Are there specialty restaurants?
Yes. Charges Apply to all Specialty Restaurants.
Yes. Charges Apply to all Specialty Restaurants.
Are there dining packages for purchase?
Yes
No.
Are non-alcoholic beverages included?
Yes. Bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas
Yes. Juice, water, tea, and coffee are available at stations across the ship and select soft drinks at meals
Are alcoholic beverages included?
Yes. Select standard spirits, international beers and wines. Complimentary alcohol is not included in room service.
  • Classic Cruises: No
  • Expedition Cruises: Yes
Can I purchase a beverage package?
Yes
Yes. A range of drinks packages are available to purchase, and a Classic beverage package can be chosen as a perk in the Sail Your Way promotion
Is there room service?
Yes. Complimentary 24/7. Charges apply for alcohol orders. Complimentary alcohol is not included in room service.
Yes. Available 24/7. A late night fee applies.
Is there Wi-Fi on board?
Yes. Charges Apply.
Yes. Charges apply unless it is selected as a perk in the Celebrity Sail Your Way promotion.
Can I purchase Wi-Fi packages?
Yes
Yes
Is there a Spa?
Yes
Yes. Expedition ships offer smaller spa facilities.
Are spa and salon services available?
Yes. Charges Apply.
Yes. Charges Apply.
Is there a gym?
Yes
Yes. Expedition ships will have smaller fitness rooms.
Are there group fitness classes?
Yes. Included complimentary. Some specialised training programs may incur additional charges.
Yes. Included complimentary. Some specialised training programs may incur additional charges.
Is there personal training available?
Yes. Charges Apply.
Yes, on classic cruise ships. Charges apply.
Is there a self-service laundry?
Yes. Complimentary.
No.
Is a laundry service available?
Yes. Charges Apply.
Yes. Charges Apply.
Is there a casino on board?
Yes. Only on Azamara Journey.
Yes. Except on expedition ships.

Please note there may be additional inclusions and privileges for select stateroom and suite guests or select loyalty member tiers. Activities and entertainment vary by ship, itinerary and departure and are a guide only.

The Verdict

Both Azamara and Celebrity Cruises operate under the same parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL). They are both premium lines for the brand, with Azamara sitting in the high end of the premium bracket. Both cruise lines offer a more refined cruising experience than their contemporary counterpart, Royal Caribbean, and while their sister line Silversea takes out the luxury title, both Azamara and Celebrity still have elements of luxury blended into their premium cruise experience.

Which ships will suit me best?

Although Azamara and Celebrity Cruises operate under the same umbrella, they have clear differences that set them apart. Azamara sails an intimate three ship fleet, each accommodating roughly 700 guests and offering a more boutique cruise experience. Celebrity Cruises has predominantly large ships in its classic fleet that see some 2000 – 3000 guests on board, and while their offering extends to expedition cruising in the Galapagos on their two expedition ships, we’ll stick to the more traditional cruises for the purposes of this comparison.

Azamara Ships are More Intimate

Given the difference in ship size, the atmosphere on board will differ from Azamara to Celebrity ships. Azamara tends to be more intimate, with fellow guests and crew getting to know one another well throughout the journey in an exclusive club style environment.

Celebrity ships, while still maintaining close to a 1:2 staff to passenger ratio and high level of personalised service, naturally feels a little less intimate given that even the smallest ship accommodates three times as many guests as an Azamara one.

 

Couples and Solos Love Both, but Celebrity has More Family Amenities

Guests tend to be primarily couples and solos with similar interests across Azamara and Celebrity. As there is a reciprocal loyalty program, you may find a crossover of passengers that cruise with both. It isn’t uncommon to find travellers that start out cruising with Royal Caribbean transition to Celebrity and subsequently Azamara the more they cruise.

The average age of guests tends to be roughly 10 years older on Azamara, which may reflect why families are not as common, particularly those with young children. Azamara doesn’t offer any services specifically for children, and while Celebrity’s primary demographic isn’t families, they do offer children’s programs on board every sailing and cater for groups with interconnecting staterooms and family suites.

This difference in demographic tends to be most noticeable on school holiday sailings and shorter journeys, as Celebrity’s longer voyages will see fewer families with young children and perhaps a more similar crowd to that on Azamara ships.

 

Celebrity has a Wide Range of Dining and Entertainment Options

Larger vessels afford Celebrity the space to provide more options in terms of dining and entertainment on board. There are a handful more dining choices on Celebrity ships than those offered by Azamara, particularly for Aqua and Suite Class guests. Their menus are crafted by a Michelin-starred chef, and they also boast the largest and rarest wine collection at sea, so Celebrity are a great option for food and wine connoisseurs.

When it comes to entertainment, you can expect more venues with live music and larger scale productions on board Celebrity, with nightly activities tending to kick on a little later than on Azamara. However, Azamara’s offering still includes signature shows, song and dance performances, as well as their iconic AzAmazing Evenings and White Night Parties.

 

Azamara Ships are Understated

The décor on Azamara ships whispers understated elegance, while Celebrity strikes a blend of modernity and sophistication. As opposed to Azamara’s refined public spaces that have all the hallmarks of a boutique hotel (think cosy nooks like The Den), on board Celebrity ships you can expect to find more bold innovations.

On Celebrity’s Solstice Ships guests can enjoy half an acre of real lawn to kick back on, and on Edge Class ships you can watch the world glide by from your open access Infinite Veranda or experience the Magic Carpet, a floating platform that transforms as it moves between decks and serves as an open air restaurant, a bar, an extension of the pool area, or something else entirely!

These designs can be found on select ships only, with Solstice Class and Edge Class vessels being the poster children of such innovations to date. The Celebrity Revolution will see further modernisation of the fleet with dry docks currently scheduled through to 2023.

Who provides the best value - Azamara or Celebrity?

Neither Azamara nor Celebrity is all inclusive, and you will have to factor in costs for items like specialty dining and shore excursions on top of your cruise fare with both. Azamara’s fares tend to be higher when comparing staterooms, but it’s important to consider what you get for your cruise fare and the offers available at the time of booking.

For Azamara’s higher price tag, guests can expect standard alcoholic beverages and nice touches like specialty tea and coffee complimentary, as well as a courtesy AzAmazing Evening event on most voyages (a private onshore experience curated to highlight the destination). Guests can enjoy these benefits in every stateroom/suite, regardless of the fare booked.

Celebrity has fewer outright inclusions in their ‘cruise only’ fares, and alcohol and specialty teas and coffees (payable on board) will add to the overall cost. They do however have a promotion that allows guests to upgrade their cruise fare to include a couple of extra perks (like a classic beverage package, WiFi or onboard credit) which offers great value as opposed to paying for these benefits on board (if you intend on using them).

If you’ve been considering Celebrity Cruises for a while, you may have seen this style of offer referred to as ‘123Go’, ‘Go Big, Go Better, Go Best’ or Sail Your Way. Regardless of what it is called, these tiered offers tend to be a staple for Celebrity, so keep an eye out for them when weighing up the fare that is the best value for you.

Who has the right itinerary for me?

With smaller ships, Azamara can access smaller ports around the globe. Depending on where you want to cruise, you may find more off-the-beaten-path ports on their itineraries, or simply that they dock closer to the centre of popular ones. Azamara prides itself on destination immersion and offers country intensive voyages, journeys to exotic destinations such as the African coast, as well as more late nights and overnight stays than most other lines.

Celebrity has started to incorporate late stays and overnights in some of their itineraries as well, but this isn’t as much of a hallmark of their journeys as it is with Azamara. When cruising with Celebrity you can expect more trips to choose from thanks to their larger fleet, including itineraries to destinations such as Alaska, the South Pacific, and round trips through the Caribbean which are not currently offered by Azamara.

Take a look at the full collection with Celebrity and Azamara to determine which journey is right for you. .