Azamara Cruises

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Azamara Cruises fleet

Review of Azamara Cruises

Azamara Club Cruises (aka "Azamara Cruises") is a company that operates two cruise ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. Azamara is a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises. Founded in 2007 as Azamara Cruises, the company was rebranded in 2009. Both vessels were refurbished during 2012–2013 winter.

Azamara Club Cruises ships were originally part of the R-Class cruise vessels built for Renaissance Cruises between 1998-2001. The 30,277 GT Azamara Journey and Quest were both built in 2000 and originally named R Six and R Seven. 

Larry Pimentel has been president & CEO of Azamara Club Cruises since 2009. He was formerly president & CEO of SeaDream Yacht Club, Seaboard Cruise Line and Cunard Line, as well as president & CEO of Classic Hawaii tour company.

Each of the Azamara cruise vessels carries up to 694 passengers, and company's guest profile includes 45% from North America, 20% from the UK and Ireland, 10% from Australia/New Zealand.

Azamara Club Cruises has won many awards for its value, traveler experience and service. Among its honors, Azamara won three awards in the same category with "Best Entertainment" to Azamara Journey, while Azamara Quest won "Best Fitness and Best Public Rooms" by 2015 UK Cruisers' Choice Awards. Azamara Club Cruises was also named one of Travel+Leisure's World's Best Awards 2014 in the large-ship lines category.

Designed to provide exotic destination-driven itineraries, the line presents an intimate onboard experience while offering access to less traveled ports of call that experienced cruisers want to visit.

Azamara Club Cruises set a course to break the mold in industry where the product falls into the traditional mainstream, premium and luxury categories. The line gives an exciting opportunity to experienced travelers who look for more than what a traditional voyage can deliver. They are more keen on traveling than cruising, but may still prefer the convenience that only a ship can deliver in exotic locales. Azamara Club Cruises provides this underserved group of vacationers what they want - an experience that is a bit different: more than premium, but not quite luxury. Azamara offers deluxe voyages with concierge-style amenities - for these one would have to upgrade to a suite on other lines.

Since its launch Azamara has added more inclusive amenities to guests’ fares, with no charge for bottled water, specialty teas and coffees, standard wines, spirits and international beers throughout line's ships during bar hours; complimentary self-service laundry and shuttle bus service to and from port communities.

The extensive overhauls of the two ships that formerly sailed for Renaissance Cruises (now-defunct) have resulted in brighter interiors with the addition of light and splashes of bold color in the drapes and upholstery. Areas that appeared stuffy now look welcoming, with contemporary artwork enhancing the decor. While the size of Azamara Club Cruises ships makes the ships easy to navigate and affords a high level of intimacy, there is no skimping on features that are abundant on larger ships, such as alternative dining and private balconies. Cruisers may feel like they have checked into an upscale boutique hotel happening to float.

Translated as bright, blue sea, Azamara Cruises are bursting with curiosity and adventure - they visit a wider range of ports than any other line.

Azamara Club Cruises inclusive luxury club experience includes:

  • A selection of complimentary spirits, wines and international beers;
  • All bottled waters, speciality teas and coffees, soft drinks;
  • AzAmazing Evening shore excursion, which includes local cuisine and entertainment ashore;
  • Onboard gratuities included in fare - guests are no longer required to tip Azamara crew members;
  • Onboard concierge services and English butler service in suites.

The AzAmazing evening shore excursions are complitmentary evenings that offer a fabulous way to immerse in local culture. Guests spend an evening enjoying stunning locations, great entertainment and regional cuisine.

Remaining rich, yet elegant, Azamara cruises are wonderfully decorated and manage to hold an inviting presence all the way through your stay. Of Azamara staterooms, 93% provide ocean views with 70% offering private balconies, meaning it's easier to find the perfect room for your vacation. Onboard service is outstanding: from butler service in every stateroom to the 1 staff member to every 2 guests ratio. In every stateroom, passengers receive a high level of service, which is rarely found on larger cruise liners.

Itinerary of Azamara Cruises

Whilst enjoying stunning Caribbean, South American, Asian and European itineraries passengers can indulge in a variety of well-being treatments. Azamara Club Cruises offers a wide choice of in-suite treatments, acupuncture, facials and more, all conducted in beautifully decorated spa suite surroundings.

Azamara cruises take a more immersive attitude to shore trips. Offering special insights into the history, culture, geology and wildlife of each destination, Azamara cruises ease away all cares whilst giving cultural food for thought. Each sailing includes one AzAmazing shore excursion, which is part of the cruise price - this could be ballet in Saint Petersbourg or enjoying dinner while sitting on a 350-ft cliff, overlooking Amalfi coast.

Guests can enjoy a fly & cruise holiday to the Panama Canal, Caribbean, South America, Asia and Hawaii with Azamara Cruises, or try an Alaska cruise with the world's most stunning destinations, filled with gold rush charm. For Formula 1 fans there is even a Monaco F1 Grand Prix cruise.

Azamara Club Cruises announced exciting updates for their award winning cruise ships in January and April 2016. As part of "Reimagine Azamara", both Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey will recieve upgraded staterooms and suites, plus extensive enhancements to all restaurants, public spaces, entertainement and spa areas. 

In 2019, Azamara Club Cruises with its 2 ships will visit a record number of 250 ports in 69 different countries. The company also makes inaugural visits in the Philippines plus other 45 maiden port calls.

Azamara's 2019 itinerary program includes a total of 11 Alaskan cruises (on Azamara Quest). Most of the line's itineraries boast a range of unique sporting events, including in Monaco (Grand Prix), Barcelona (L’Armada Rouen tall ships event / held there once every 5 years) and Portrush (British Open). Promotions are planned on 9 “country-intensive” itineraries to Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Spain, Italy, France, Croatia, Greece, Norway.

Azamara Cruises to Cuba 2017

In December 2016, Azamara Club introduced a cruise itinerary on Azamara Quest visiting Havana (Cuba). The ship will leave from Miami on a 13-night roundtrip departing in March 2017. The itinerary iss themed "Hemingway Hideaways" and include visits to Key WestTampaNew Orleans (two overnights), Cozumel and Havana (overnight stay). In time, Azamara will add additional Cuban ports of call into several of its Caribbean itineraries.

The current list of passenger shipping lines offering cruises to Cuba in 2017-2018 includes:

  • Carnival-fathom (ship MV Adonia, leaving from Miami Florida)
  • Royal Caribbean (ship Empress of the Seas, leaving from Miami Florida)
  • MSC Cruises (ship MSC Opera, leaving from Havana)
  • NCL (ship Norwegian Sky, 4-day itineraries with Havana overnights - starting May 2017.
  • Oceania Cruises (ships Marina and Regatta) starting in 2017, Cuba circumnavigation, stops in Cienfuegos and Havana, also part of some Panama Canal transition itineraries.
  • Thomson Cruises (ship Thomson Dream) 7-day, leaving roundtrip from Jamaica (Montego Bay) to Havana
  • Compagnie du Ponant (yacht ship Le Ponant, leaving from Miami Florida)
  • Pearl Seas Cruises (ship Pearl Mist, leaving from Fort Lauderdale Florida)
  • Lindblad Expeditions (chartered sailing ship MS Panorama II, leaving from Havana)
  • Celestyal Cruises (ship Celestyal Crystal, leaving from Havana and Montego Bay Jamaica)
  • Grand Circle Cruise Line (ship MV Clio / ex Tere Moana) one-way from Miami to Havana, or the reverse from Havana to Miami (embarkation/disembarkation in port Cienfuegos).
  • International Expeditions (leaving from Havana, charter flights out of Miami)
  • Victory Cruise Lines - MS  Victory I (former MS Saint Laurent) - fly-cruises from Miami to Havana (home-port Cienfuegos /departures)
  • Note: According to the current Cuban law, US citizens of Cuban origin (born in Cuba) are not allowed to visit the island country (including on cruise ships). Regardless of their US citizenship status, Cuban-born Americans were denied booking on cruise itineraries visiting ports in Cuba. However, the situation changed in April 2016, after Carnival Corporation negotiated with the Cuban government for allowing ships with Cuban-born passengers, as such US citizens are allowed to visit the country on USA-Cuba charter flights. The Carnival-fathom line started Miami to Cuba cruises in May 2016.
  • Alaska Airlines offers regular nonstop flights to Havana from Los Angeles (California USA). An 80-min ling JetBlue flight from Fort  Lauderdale (Florida) to Havana costs less than USD 100. Previously, air travel from USA to Cuba was thought charter flights only.

Azamara World Cruise 2018

Azamara announced that the line's first-ever "around the world cruise" will be a 102-night voyage on the Azamara Journey. The cruise starts in Sydney Australian (on March 7, 2018) and ends in London UK (on June 17, 2018).

  • The itinerary includes 61 ports of call in 29 countries. Of the visited ports, 18 are late-night stays, while 14 are overnight stays. There are 8 "AzAmazing Evenings" included.
  • Among the ports of call are Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Bangkok (Thailand), Dubai (UAE), Barcelona (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal), Amsterdam (Holland). The itinerary also visits France during Cannes Film Festival) and Monte Carlo (during Monaco Grand Prix).
  • Full world cruise deals are inclusive of free airfare (round-trip), free Internet, US$1000 in shipboard credit, 1 free bag of laundry every 7 day, excess luggage reimbursement (up to US$500 pp), 1-night pre-cruise hotel package in Sydney AU.
  • Highlights of the cruise include Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Dubai, Muscat, LisbonBarcelona and Amsterdam. Plus, cruise passengers will be in Monaco and France during high-profile events - Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix.
  • Full world voyage passengers receive free round-trip airfare, US$1,000 in onboard credit, complimentary Internet, free bag of laundry every 7 day, excess luggage reimbursement up to US$500, as well as a 1-night, pre-cruise hotel stay in Sydney.

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