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 Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Hawaiian Airlines will relaunch its service between the island of Maui (OGG) and Las Vegas (LAS) with flights set to begin in December.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
British Airways launched a new in-flight entertainment channel in honor of its year-long centenary celebration. The new channel, christened Celebrate BA100, highlights the best of British in-flight entertainment.
For those without accessibility issues, going to the beach can be simple. There’s nothing to do but pack up your gear, head to the shore and walk out onto the sand. For those who may be inhibited, however, the beach poses more of a challenge.
European hotel brand Kempinski is expanding into the Americas with a new luxury property in Dominica. Slated for an Oct. 14 opening, the Cabrits Resort & Spa Kempinski will be Dominica’s first 5-star hotel on the island and the brand’s second in the Caribbean.