On board Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, the two ships of Azamara Club Cruises, passengers expect exceptional, personal service. Azamara fares include gratuities; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffee, and teas, as well as complimentary boutique wines, international beer, select standard spirits and more. That’s all fine and dandy, good to know and our personal experience verifies: Azamara delivers. Still, one of the best parts of an Azamara Club Cruises sailing is where their 694-passenger ships go and what happens when they get there. That makes Azamara itineraries, many unique and not repeated, a major item to consider when trying to match the right cruise traveler with the right cruise line. Knowing where Azamara is coming from speaks volumes in this respect.
“We strive to offer intellectually curious global citizens with authentic and memorable travel experiences and the new 2017 voyages further showcase our continued commitment to destination immersion.” – Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises.
If it’s a swing through the Caribbean you are looking for, Azamara Club Cruises might not be for you. About as close as Azamara comes to Caribbean itineraries popular on other lines is the Panama Canal. Choosing a smaller 30-ton Azamara ship over a larger mainstream cruise ship will not take travelers to the same places, just in a smaller ship with more attention paid them. These sailings of Azamara Club Cruises are unique, offering 65 voyages to 203 ports in 68 countries in 2017. These are also lifetime-quality itineraries booked far ahead by cruise travelers who want plenty of time to prepare and get the most out of the experience.
In 2017, Azamara will introduce new voyages including Australia to Asia, Southern California to South Beach and Pearls Along the Indian Ocean. Azamara will also visit four new ports; Kaikoura, New Zealand; Mahe, Seychelles; Yucatan, Mexico and George Town, Grand Cayman.
Azamara Quest will sail the West Indies, Panama Canal and Central America, making stops at exotic locales, including Cartagena – a historic city in Colombia, the Panama Canal – one of the seven wonders of the modern world and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – a popular resort town surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountains. During the same time, Azamara Journey will sail through the exotic waters of Asia, the Pacific Ocean and through the Australia and New Zealand regions during winter and spring 2017. Voyage highlights include: Voyage highlights include:
West Indies Hideaway Voyage
On this tropical 11-night voyage, guests will embark from Miami for a cruise from island to island in the West Indies, making stops at the U.S. Virgin Islands, Nevis, St. Barts and more, while experiencing adventurous activities such as snorkeling or zip-lining in rainforests.
Baja California, Sea of Cortez & Copper Canyon Voyage
Embarking from San Diego for 12 nights, travelers will follow the Spaniards’ search for treasure through small Sierra Madre foothill towns in Mexico, experience a train ride through the magnificent Copper Canyon, and visit a pearl farm in Guaymas. Guests will also have the opportunity to swim with sea lions, take a horseback ride in the dessert, go whale-watching, and visit a Spanish mission near Loreto.
Discovering Thailand & Vietnam Voyage
On this 13-night journey, guests will cruise from Singapore for a journey through Thailand, Vietnam and China, offering travelers the opportunity to experience Southeast Asia at its finest, by both land and water. Guests will sink their toes into a white tropical beach one day and visit a remarkable World Heritage Site the next. From small-group tours to night markets, countryside bike rides, elegant French Vietnamese dining a quintessential night out in Bangkok, travelers will experience the vibrant cultures of Asia.
Australia and New Zealand Voyage
For travelers looking to dive into the outback, Azamara is featuring a 15-night voyage through Australia and New Zealand. Embarking from Sydney, Australia the ship will make stops in Melbourne and then Tasmania, where travelers will visit Port Arthur and Hobart. Next stop on the cruise is New Zealand – a new port for Azamara – where travelers will visit a number of small villages including Dunedin, Akaroa, Napier, Tauranga, and finally the urban city of Auckland, New Zealand’s most populous city. Guests will experience local culture with many touring choices, from coastal hiking and marine excursions to exploring art deco towns and kiwi farms, a visit to Port Arthur’s infamous penal colony, and the Maori community of Rotorua.
Summer – Fall 2017 Voyages
Throughout summer and fall 2017, Azamara Quest will sail across the idyllic Mediterranean and Black Sea region, combining historic lands of great antiquity, the sunny Greek isles with whitewashed villages cascading down hillsides, the popular Amalfi Coast, and the Riviera, glittering and glamorous. Meanwhile, Azamara Journey will cruise Northern and Western Europe in the summer and fall seasons, while also offering select voyages to the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Cruises will embark to ports in classic and beloved European destinations such as St. Petersburg, London, Paris, Norway, Iceland and Scotland, among others. Voyage highlights include:
Amalfi Coast and Sicily Voyage
For travelers looking to explore Italy’s iconic Amalfi coast, Croatia and Greece, this 10-night cruise from Rome is a great way to experience the spectacular scenery, delectable food and wine, charming towns, monumental cities and beautiful beaches and bays. While in Italy, guests will travel to the coastal sea town of Sorrento and Amalfi then head to Sicily, the largest and most southern point in Italy. Following a trip to the historic island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, travelers will head to Greece, followed by Montenegro, Croatia and finally completing at Italy’s romantic and beautiful city of Venice.
British Open Voyage
For travelers with an affinity for culture and sports, this 13-night cruise offers golf fans the opportunity to attend the British Open Finals at Royal Birkdale, one of many star attractions through the Irish Sea. Highlights of the trip include a visit to Cork, a quaint seaside town in Ireland, and a trip to Glasgow, a vibrant cosmopolitan city in Scotland. Guests will have the opportunity to hike along the spectacular Snowdonia National Park and enjoy England’s Lake District, search for Nessie at Loch Ness, visit the iconic cities of Dublin, Belfast and Edinburgh, and shop for hand loomed wool goods, Waterford crystal, and single malt Scotch whisky.
Tapas and Wine Voyage
For culinary and wine aficionados, Azamara is offering an indulgent week-long cruise along the Iberian Peninsula. During the cruise, travelers will experience local tapas and wines in Menorca, Spain visit Gibraltar, in the United Kingdom, a strait which separates continental Europe from North Africa and complete the cruise in Lisbon, Portugal, one of the oldest cities in the world.
For a full list of 2017 Azamara Voyages, visit www.azamaraclubcruises.com
Looking To The Future
Larry Pimentel (@LarryPimentel) is the president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises (@AzamaraVoyages) and leads an extraordinary online presence for the luxury cruise line, “We are excited to debut our 2017 portfolio of voyages that will take our guests across the globe and provide them with even more opportunities to experience authentic culture and happenings without the hassle of researching and planning themselves. Our programs are tailored to discovery-driven travelers and we think we’ve got some exciting new offerings that will appeal to new cruisers as well as excite our loyal guests,”
Intellectually Curious Global Citizens
Does this phrase sound a bit familiar? It should; we mention frequently here one of the laser-focused talking points of Viking Cruises that targets the ‘culturally curious’ traveler, seamlessly in what they do on rivers around the world. More interesting, Viking takes a cue from their hyper-successful river cruise product and rolls it out to ocean cruising soon with spinoff Viking Oceans and new Viking Star sailing a sold out first season.
Interesting facts about Azamara Club Cruises-
- Some Repeats: Azamara does repeat a few select itineraries that have proved popular over the years. The Monaco Grand Prix is one as is the opportunity to take A Look Back in History, which cruises through Normandy, Holland, and Germany.
- They Linger- The planned itineraries are just one part of what Azamara does too. Coining the phrase “destination immersion” several years ago, Azamara offers longer stays in port overnight and night touring, enabling travelers to experience true destination immersion taking in the sights, sounds and flavors of local cultures in every port through Azamara’s exclusive Land Discoveries program.
- Defining Immersion: Azamara provides exclusive tours and excursions via their Insider Access and Nights and Cool Places programs, which offer curated local experiences for guests, such as a guided walk around illuminated landmarks at night, an after-hours museum visit, or access to live performances, to complement daytime explorations.
- Included: Azamara includes gratuities; complimentary bottled water, sodas, specialty coffee, and teas, as well as complimentary boutique wines, international beers and select standard spirits in the ships’ bars, lounges and restaurants when open; complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle transportation to city centers in ports, where available.
Cruise Global, Eat Local
One to watch in 2015, Azamara will launch its highly-anticipated Cruise Global, Eat Local program, providing guests with the opportunity to dine at local restaurants serving authentic fare in each port.
This recent video gives us a good idea of where Azamara is focusing their efforts:
Azamara Club Cruises is a brand of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE/OSX: RCL), a global cruise vacation company that also owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, and CDF Croisières de France, as well as TUI Cruises through a 50 percent joint venture. Together, the six brands operate a combined total of 41 ships with four under construction. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 460 destinations on all seven continents.