Words: Joanna Hall
The launch of a new cruise line is always met with anticipation, but when a new style of cruising goes hand-in-hand with it, the event becomes an industry milestone.
This is what happened when Royal Caribbean International debuted the mid-sized ships Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest just over a decade ago, introducing a new concept of deluxe cruising as Azamara Club Cruises. The intention was to attract more adventurous, sophisticated cruisers—people who enjoy a friendly onboard vibe with a ‘resort casual’ dress code, and prefer destination-focused itineraries allowing more time in port.
In 2018, the arrival of Azamara Pursuit expanded the fleet to three ships. Without designated homeports, they travel the globe, favouring destinations off the beaten path. In 2019, these include a line-up of maiden calls in Asia, such as the tropical paradises of Boracay and Palawan in the Philippines; Japan’s Akita—home of the Shirakami-Sanchi Mountains, Kanazawa and the 70 temples of Tera-machi; Kaohsiung in Taiwan; and the South Korean port city of Yeosu.
When it comes to cultural experiences, Azamara’s guests are spoiled for choice. In Singapore, you can dive into the culinary scene with a local food critic; in Bangkok, celebrate a Thai festival at a palace. Overnight stays in marquee destinations allow for longer excursions, such as photographing the Taj Mahal at sunset and sunrise from Mumbai, and exploring the ancient temples of Bagan from Yangon (Rangoon).