I don’t usually cover news on the blog, as this site is more about sharing first-hand tips and advice. However after attending a breakfast in London run by Azamara Club Cruises, I thought there was some news worth sharing for people interested in finding a different way to explore destinations – and especially for those who get frustrated about the limitations and similarity of usual cruise line excursions.
I have written often about the choices facing cruisers when it comes to getting the most out of a port of call. There are three main options: cruise line excursions, independent tour providers and self exploring (where Hop-on Hop-off busses are a big plus for getting the lay of the land).
Azamara make much of the fact that “when other cruise ships leave, we stay”. They claim to have more later stays in port and more overnights than other cruise lines. The small size of their ships also takes them into more out of the way ports. Across the year half the ports they go to cannot be accessed by the larger ships used by their sister line ships (Royal Caribbean and Celebrity).
To help travellers get more from ports they have reorganised their excursions to create twelve categories of tours that are:
- Cruise Global, Bike Local – Join a bike tour and cycle past iconic landmarks and local must-visit establishments on their Azamara’s branded bicycles.
- Cruise Global, Taste Local – try local cuisine and culture with food and beverage experiences featuring markets, restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries. You can go with an Azamara chef to shop for ingredients to a delicious meal, and the sommelier for the best local wine or brew to accompany the meal for an unforgettable dinner when back onboard.
- Cruise Global, Celebrate Local – Attend various world events like Formula One cars in Monte Carlo, the Cannes Film Festival, British Open, 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, and New Year’s in Sydney.
- Cruise Global, Eco Local – An immersion into local rainforests, jungles and woodlands ripe with vegetation and fauna.
- Cruise Global, Golf Local – Golfers can bring their clubs and play at courses in Northern Europe, the Arabian Gulf, the Mediterranean, and Australia.
- Cruise Global, Meet Local – people-to-people connections in the homes of locals.
- Cruise Global, Walk Local – guided walking tours with locale experts, often with exclusive access to somewhere unusual.
- Cruise Global,View Local – art, history and cultural sightseeing.
- Cruise Global, Adventure Local – for the more active and adrenaline seeking traveller.
- Cruise Global, Shop Local – guided tours of markets and important shopping venues.
- Cruise Global, Stay Local – when the ship is staying in port overnight chances to experience something local like sleeping in a Bedouin tent.
- Cruise Global, Customise Local – personalised and tailored trips.
While some of these will be repackaging of existing tours, the new direction looks like offering more choice and more interesting options for spending time in port. I like the diversity and also for embracing a wider choice of things to do and ways to see it. You can find out more on the Azamara website.
What do you think of the initiative? Will it make you more likely to take a look at Azamara for a future cruise?
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