Azamara Cruises have recently announced that when the Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey return to Europe in April 2013, they will be offering all-inclusive style cruising. Currently wine is included with dinner and from next year selected wines, spirits, beers and speciality coffees will be included to. But that's not what has got us excited.
Azamara also announced that their cruises will included one complimentary evening shore excursion each cruise, the AzAmazing evenings. I will go into more details shortly, but these trips include dinner on the Amalfi coast, a polo match and reception in St. Tropez and an evening of ballet in St. Petersburg. If you ask me, this is where Azamara boast the WOW factor.
The whole summer is filled with fantastic destinations, evenings filled with local cuisine, culture and stunning vistas. Here are a few of my hand-picked favourites from our sneak peak of what Azamara are set to offer in 2013:
Cocktails & Concert
Imagine sitting on top of a cliff, 350m above the gorgeous Amalfi coast, while being treated to local delicacies and superb cocktails. Well, that's exactly what you could be doing onboard Azamara Quest when she sails to the Amalfi coast in September '13. The evening consists of cocktails and a concert in the charming village of Ravello, over-looking the Gulf of Salerno. A nighttime jazz concert will be followed by some Italian fizz — I love prosecco — and a variety of delicious pastries and sweets, while you take in the views.
Tuscan Treats & Tenors
Tuscany is Italy's most renowned region, and being the home of Chianti — another favourite tipple of mine — and Italian legends Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, Boccaccio, Botticelli, Dante and Puccini, you can see why. The flavours of Tuscany tour will treat you to evening entertainment from the Three Tenors and the best Tuscan hospitality, wine and food — sounds culture-filled and heavenly if you ask me. From Livorno you will travel a scenic route through the countryside to either the Castello di Verrazzano or the Castello Vicchiomaggio, depending which sailing you are on.
A Spot of Polo In St. Tropez
There's something luxuriously iconic about the St. Tropez Polo Club. Azamara Quest's visit to Monaco, with its relaxed luxury, is the perfect host for an afternoon of polo at the famous club, with the prerequisite drinks reception of course. Delicious canapés prepared by the Club’s Michelin-rated restaurant, paired with French wines, makes for the ideal accompaniment to the on-field action.
AzIbiza Beach Party
Okay, so the above title is my own shameless use of Azamara's AzAmazing phrase, but I think it works. Azamara Journey in June '13 will be treating passengers to an afternoon beach party on the hedonistic island. Heading to the Nassau Beach Club, the evening is set to relive the "make love - not war" generation for one night. The Nassau Club is one of Ibiza's places to be seen, and the Flower Power Party will be a chic, casual and relaxed evening of cocktails in the sun.
These evening excursions are a fantastic idea, as it gives you the chance to enjoy the local culture in a more immersive fashion, from the food and drinks to the setting and entertainment. There are street parties in Greece, visits to ancient sites — where debaucherous parties once took place — and culturally rich evenings of music. Cruise ships often miss the real atmosphere of some destinations be leaving before the sun sets, but Azamara will be making the most of charming, entertaining and wonderful destinations on offer in 2013.