While their ships didn’t set sail under the Azamara flag until 2007, both Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest were first launched by Renaissance Cruises during an over-ambitious building boom in 2000. Just five years ago, Azamara Club Cruises spent tens-of-millions refreshing the ships and it showed. My initial impression was that the rejuvenation made them look like they should have when they first sailed. Where they once appeared stuffy, they became welcoming. Forward and high atop the ship, the observation lounges appeared more open and airy; the casino was expanded without diminishing the appeal of the adjacent lounge with its faux fireplace; the addition of Mosaic Café was a natural fit for the upper lobby; and the Sunset Bar aft of the buffet restaurant filled a previously underutilized space with a congenial gathering spot.
That was five years ago and this is now, so Azamara Club Cruises has announced plans for an upcoming extensive renovation of its two European boutique hotel-style ships. Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest are scheduled to enter drydocks in 2012 and 2013, respectively, where each will receive a shipwide facelift and a new profile with a new dark-blue hull. Guests will then enjoy beautifully refreshed ships, along with Azamara’s signature personal service from every staff and crew member, fascinating destinations around the world where larger ships cannot reach, and more late night and overnight stays in port to be immersed in the nightlife of the destinations.
“Azamara Club Cruises is offering up-market travelers more of what they love about our brand,” said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “Our distinctive destination-immersion proposition and the warm and authentic personal service from every staff and crew member have really resonated with up-market travelers. Guest satisfaction has consistently pushed 100 percent, and we are going to continue to deliver travel in a way that will surmount all guest expectations – on land and on board.”
Shipwide renovations will include new carpets, upholstery, and a new color palette in public spaces reflecting the cruise line’s inviting atmosphere; new mattresses and upgraded veranda furniture for suites and staterooms; and a resurfaced pool, and new sun loungers and pool towels on the outer decks. The Casino Bar also will be expanded and enhanced with new furniture, while the Spa and fitness center will be refreshed with a new steam room, showers, and state-of-the-art Life Fitness cardio equipment. Furthermore, a range of enhancements will be made behind the scenes in the staff and crew area to add to the comfort of the cruise line’s most valuable asset.
On the culinary front, guests onboard will soon enjoy a new caviar and champagne bar within Aqualina, one of the ships’ two specialty dining venues, as well as a new Chef’s Table concept featuring three wine degustation menus—Italian, French, and Californian. At Mosaic Café, the ships’ central gathering spot, guests will be able to purchase a freshly brewed cup of bespoke coffee.
Azamara Quest will spend eight nights in drydock at Navantia Shipyard in Cadiz, Spain, starting Nov 7, 2012. With renovations complete, Azamara Quest will then sail a 13-night Madeira and Canary Islands voyage, beginning Nov 15, followed by a 4-night Spanish and Northern Africa voyage on Nov 28. The ship then departs on Dec 2, to embark on a 16-night, trans-Atlantic voyage to Rio De Janeiro for its South America season.
Following, Azamara Journey will enter Singapore’s Sembawang Shipyard (a subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine Ltd.) on Jan 6, 2013, for a 7-night renovation drydock. Azamara Journey will then continue its Asia season with a 13-night Indonesia voyage round-trip from Singapore on Jan 13.
For more information, visit AzamaraClubCruises.com.