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.
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
San Antonio celebrated 300 years of progress in May 2018. With a clear vision following that anniversary year, the Texan city set its sights firmly on 300 more. While commemorating this milestone, the city underwent a major overhaul to prepare for the next phase in its history.
When you think of a relaxing spa day, mountains, rivers and view of gorgeous landscapes pop in your head; a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of any city’s booming music and honking taxis. SoJo Spa Club and Hotel gives you the relaxing feeling of being away while still staying close to the busy center of Manhattan.
Dance the night away with Grand Hotel’s Ballroom Dance offer, available May 16–18. Dancers of all skill levels will experience a diverse range of ballroom dance styles, alongside daily breakfast and dinner, a welcome reception and complimentary golf green fees.
Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.