ONE OF THE NEWEST ENTRANTS in the premium cruise category, Azamara Club Cruises operates just two small luxury liners worldwide, the Azamara Journey and the Azamara Quest. Both boutique vessels hold around 700 passengers, and their size enables them to go where the big resort ships can’t. In fact, it’s Azamara’s destination-intensive itineraries that set it apart, as do its late-evening and overnight stays at ports both familiar and exotic. Passengers can explore exceptional locations in greater depth, and these extended dockings are especially sweet during longer sailings in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf, as well as in the Caribbean, Oceania and Asia.
Azamara refreshed both vessels stem to stern in early 2016, treating passengers to spotless ships with the latest high-tech features, including enhanced internet services. Ship interiors are decorated in the plush style of a classic 1930s ocean liner with plenty of attentive crew on hand to ensure a relaxed, country-club atmosphere. All the staterooms, rather compact, come with basic butler service, and the majority feature private balconies. Following their 2016 upgrade, both ships now provide spa suites with rain showers and outdoor soaking tubs.
While Azamara’s two specialty restaurants require a surcharge (except for guests in suites), passengers pay no tips and can enjoy complimentary coffee and tea, as well as standard spirits, wines and beers, throughout the ship. Dining is of exceptionally high quality at all the open-seating restaurants, even the poolside grill, which now spreads tablecloths and lights candles for alfresco dining. The Steiner Leisure spa offers a salon, fitness facilities and even an Acupuncture at Sea clinic. Also on board are self-service laundries, a casino, a cabaret and a golf net.
To underscore its destination-intensive itineraries, Azamara recently teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund to bring aboard noted speakers on conservation and species preservation. Extended shore tours, known as Overnight Adventures, give guests a chance to go inland and join up with the ship at a later port. Passengers can tour the ancient temples of Bagan while on a Myanmar cruise, for example, or partake of a Bedouin adventure with a desert overnight in Oman.
Azamara has two unusual cruises in the offing. One is a World Journey in 2018, Azamara’s longest cruise ever. Spanning 102 days, Azamara’s Sydney-to-London world voyage will call on 60 ports in 29 countries, with 18 late-night and 13 overnight calls. Special events along the way include a fashion show in Ho Chi Minh City, an evening at a village house in Muscat and a chance to cheer on the competitors tearing up the streets during the renowned Monaco Grand Prix. The other cruise of special note comes when Mexico-based Desire Resorts charters the Azamara Quest for a Sept. 26, 2017, Adriatic cruise. What’s unusual about that? It’s an adults-only, clothing-optional week at sea, with onboard themes to match.
New Orleans has a full roster of activities, events and festivals enticing guests throughout February and March.
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
With Black History Month and Women’s History Month right around the corner, it’s time to highlight and recognize South African women working hard to make the travel industry better.
Since Cheval Blanc, an extraordinary, newly designed and refurbished 72-room hotel owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, launched in September 2021, it has been the talk of the town. Le Tout-Paris remarks about its WOW factor … and the hard-to-get reservations for the 30 seats at Plenitude, the intimate, first-floor gastronomic outlet headed by chef Arnaud Donckele, who earned three Michelin stars at Cheval Blanc Saint Tropez. Reservations are also recommended for Limbar, the ground-floor bakery/café/tea shop/bar where we watched Pastry Chef Maxime Frédéric preparing desserts and an absolute must-have for dinner at Le Tout-Paris, the 7th-floor, all-day brasserie. This brightly colored space, with its raised seating and Fauve-like floor tiles and the adjacent Milanese restaurant, Langosteria, both have access to terraces facing the Seine River, with amazing views encompassing Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower.
Located in the South Pacific, The Islands of Tahiti are just eight hours by air from California. Surrounded by pristine, crystal-clear blue waters, the 118 islands and atolls offer natural beauty, authentic island culture and unique French Polynesian style. The Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned for white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons and varied landscapes ranging from coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. Privacy comes naturally in The Islands of Tahiti and offers visitors the space to relax and reconnect and to be Embraced By Mana. Mana is the life force and spirit that connects all things in The Islands of Tahiti.
Nevada-based The Spa at Green Valley by Well & Being and The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being celebrate the start of 2022 with new health, wellness and spa treatments available through March 31. Both spas offer an array of treatments for guests wanting to relax and unwind before 2022 kicks into full gear.
Now through Jan. 28, JEOPARDY! and Lindblad Expeditions team up for a viewer promotion, the JEOPARDY! Explore Alaska Sweepstakes. The contest will award 10 winners and their guests with an eight-day, small-ship cruise of Alaska’s coastal wilderness.
Go ahead, take a nice, deep breath. Because a Seabourn voyage is all about this moment you’ve come so far in life to embrace. It’s not an escape, it’s an arrival.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Santorini, Greece, with us.