As the seasons change, with days getting longer and the sun getting warmer, we see the annual migration of old and new cruise ships from distant shores to more familiar and favourite destinations in the Mediterranean.
One such ship, although not new to the cruise industry, makes her spring debut under a new name and ﬂag; that of ‘Azamara Club Cruises’, as the beautiful Azamara Pursuit.
‘Azamara Club Cruises’ are owned by the much larger and more familiar companies of ‘Royal Caribbean’ and ‘Celebrity Cruise’. With only three small ships in their ﬂeet, ‘Azamara Cruises’ market themselves as a luxury 5 star company with longer more intense itineraries using the tag line of ‘destination immersion’ cruising.
Azamara Pursuit weighs in at a modest 30,277 tonnes and is 592ft in length. She began her life in 2001 for ‘Renaissance Cruises’ as R Eight, but has since changed hands several times, known as Minerva 2, Royal Princess and then more recently as one of P&O’s smaller vessels, The Adonia.
Looking to expand the company and offer more extensive itineraries and variety, ‘Azamara Cruises’ purchased the ship in 2018 and sent her to the famous Belfast shipyard of Harland & Wolff for a top to bottom, inside out, reﬁt and revitalization. I can conﬁdentally say they have done an exceptional job and the ship looks and feels brand new in almost every way.
The Azamara Pursuit competes beautifully for those looking for luxury boutique hotel style cruising with a mixed clientele of (mostly) Europeans and Americans who enjoy the ﬁner things in life and are not afraid to pay for it.
Using soft, muted colours and luxurious fabrics in every public space, bar and restaurant, the standards on board are high with a 2-to-1 ratio of staff to guests. The aim of the company and the ship is to spend longer in port (sometimes overnighting) and due to her size, reach smaller unexplored destinations often out of reach to larger vessels.
Your cruise fare includes your tips and alcohol (except premium labels) as well as a complimentary evening ashore entitled an ‘Azamazing Evening’. This event takes place once a cruise and is tailor-made to the destination. My cruise was overnighting in Livorno, Italy and therefore involved a spectacular evening’s entertainment at an historic Italian Opera house with a midnight buffet on our return to the ship. It was a simply stunning evening ashore!
If you like glitzy casinos, sports bars, pool games and Vegas style production shows, then perhaps this ship or company is not for you, but with never more than 770 guests on board, ‘Azamara Club Cruises’ offer stylish and mature cruising in sumptuous surroundings with beautiful food and complimentary wine. What’s not to enjoy?!