Azamara Club Cruises
About This Line
Azamara Club Cruises.
In something of a surprise move, parent company Royal Caribbean International announced the formation of an all-new, deluxe cruise line in 2007. Two vessels originally slated for service in the Celebrity Cruises fleet, which were built for now-defunct Renaissance Cruises and acquired with the purchase of the Spanish cruise line Pullmantur, were the basis for the new line, Azamara Cruises. Designed to offer exotic destination-driven itineraries, Azamara Cruises presents a more intimate onboard experience while allowing access to the less traveled ports of call experienced travelers want to visit.
When a cruise line sets a course to break the mold in an industry where the product falls into traditional categories—mainstream, premium, luxury—it's an exciting opportunity for experienced travelers who may want more than what a traditional cruise can deliver. More interested in traveling than cruising, they may still prefer the comfort and convenience that only a cruise ship can deliver in some exotic locales. Azamara Cruises gives this underserved group of travelers what they want—a cruise experience that's a bit different. Not quite luxury but more than premium, Azamara offers a deluxe cruise with concierge-style amenities for which you'd have to upgrade to a suite on other cruise lines.
In addition, since its launch Azamara Club Cruises has added a number of more inclusive amenities to passengers' fares, with no charge for a specific brand of bottled water, specialty coffees and teas; shuttle bus service to/from port communities, where available; house wine served at lunches and dinners; and complimentary self-service laundry.
Extensive overhauls of two ships that formerly sailed for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises have resulted in interiors that are brighter with the addition of light, neutral carpeting throughout, and splashes of bold color in the upholstery and drapes. Areas that once appeared stuffy are now welcoming, with contemporary artwork further enhancing the decor. Each vessel weighs in at 30,277 tons and carries only 694 passengers. While the size affords a high level of intimacy and makes the ships easy to navigate, there is no skimping on features normally abundant on larger ships, such as private balconies and alternative dining. Cruisers may feel that they've checked into an upscale boutique hotel that just happens to float.
One distinguishing feature of Azamara is a wide range of enrichment programs to accompany the destination-rich itineraries. Popular programs include guest speakers and experts on a wide variety of topics, including destinations, technology, cultural explorations, art, music, and design. Lectures might include how to get the best photos from your digital camera or the proper way to pair wine and food, as taught by resident sommeliers. An onboard "excursion expert" can not only help you select shore excursions based on your personal interests but also will serve as a destination guide, offering information about the culture and history of each port of call. Entertainment, on the other hand, leans toward cabaret-size production shows and variety entertainers in the main lounge. Diverse musical offerings throughout the ships range from upbeat dance bands to intimate piano bar entertainers. 1050 Caribbean Way, Miami, FL, 33132. 877/999-9553. www.azamaraclubcruises.com. Cruise Style: Premium.
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