Small ship line Azamara Club Cruises is ramping up its shore excursion offerings with a campaign inviting passengers to ‘stay longer, experience more’.
From spending the night in a bedouin tent in the desert to playing on top golf courses, guests will be urged to ‘cruise global, connect local’.
The company’s two 700-passenger ships – Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest – will take travellers to events such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Monaco Grand Prix, the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia, the Festa del Redentore in Venice and New Year’s Eve in Sydney.
Golfers will be able to play on top courses and even have their own clubs waiting for them at the clubhouse. Cyclists will be able to use one of the branded bicycles on board to visit local landmarks.
Unveiling the ‘new chapter’ for Azamara in London, Richard Twynam – its managing director for UK and Ireland – said the main trends in luxury travel were for personalisation, authenticity, localisation and exclusivity.
‘We know that Azamara Club Cruises guests love longer stays and more overnights. They also love getting more time in port for local events and exclusive experiences. Our goal as we evolve our positioning is to move from enabling experiential travel to now truly delivering experiential travel.’
Azamara’s ‘stay longer, experience more’ promotional video
Mr Twynam said Azamara guests this year would enjoy 197 late-night stays around the world. The company’s ’boutique hotels at sea’ are small enough to sail into many lesser-known ports and get prime moorings in places such as Hong Kong.
In 2018, Azamara is introducing 12 ‘country intensive’ voyages in places such as New Zealand, Costa Rica, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Greece and Norway where most – if not all -the ports are within one nation.
‘That is a stunning level of depth in those destinations,’ said Mr Twynam. ‘It’s a big step change. I think when a lot of other cruise lines see this they will start to follow it and the early testing we have done with guests shows it is very popular.’
The ‘headline act’ of both Azamara ships, which were updated last year, is the quality of service on board, said Mr Twynam. The choice of films and books – as well as the buffet – is themed for each cruise. ‘Where we can in the world we will go hyper-local with some of the produce we serve,’ he promised.
For example, for the round-Britain cruise this year Azamara will serve English sparkling wine and Silent Pool gin. ‘The focus on destination runs through our DNA,’ insisted Mr Twynam.
Under the slogan ‘cruise global, connect local’ the shore excursions Azamara offers have been expanded from under 500 to 1,200. The signature ‘AzAmazing’ evenings, such as private concerts, will remain but be joined by new categories such as ‘taste local’, ‘walk local’ and ‘eco local’ (see picture above).
Mr Twynam said Azamara would invite a selection of travel agents, who still provide 90 per cent of its bookings, to ‘AzaLocal’ events this year including an Indian dinner at Kew Gardens, a Riverdance performance in Dublin, an overnight stay in a boutique hotel in Dorset, horse-racing at Royal Ascot and a Christmas market in Winchester.