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.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Cathay Pacific reaffirms its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with a pledge to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel for 10 percent of its total fuel consumption by 2030. The airline has made pioneering efforts in supporting SAF development for more than 10 years.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.