When is a cruise ship line actually a tour company? That’s the question after newly rebranded Azamara, famous for its immersive shore excursions and journeys, has revealed the largest selection of pre and post voyage land programs in a major change of emphasis for the three-ship line.
There are over 1,700 programs which, the company claims, complement their cruises.
Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara said: “This is just the beginning, we expect our land programming to grow even more as we continue to augment our services.
“That said, it was a natural next step to take these custom-designed destination itineraries one step further on land and adjust our overall name and expand our strategy.”Azamara has collaborated with some of the world’s most renowned luxury travel companies like Cox & Kings. Other bands include Micato, PerryGolf™, Aloschi Bros®, COLTUR Peru, Furlong Incoming and more.
“Azamara’s new land program builds on our focus to connect people to people, people with cultures and people with themselves to reveal a locals perspective of the world’s most captivating destinations”, comments Susan Bonner, Managing Director, Azamara Australia and New Zealand.
“Our newest collection of over 180 specially-curated programs is designed to ignite a range of curiosities by showcasing the culture, nature, food and wine of a region, far beyond the shoreline. From unearthing Hindu stories carved on the walls of Elephanta Island’s cave temples to getting up close and personal with giant pandas, our new program provides guests with first-class insider access beyond the reach of average tourist experiences”, Ms Bonner concluded.
The various Land Program options include:
Carefully curated programs, consist of small, intimate group led by expert guides (average group size of 12-18 guests). Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences that indulges all of your senses. These experiences last three to six days, with the exception of long train journeys. Guests will fully dive into local culture through up-close explanations and interactive experiences with local independent specialists including historians, professors and connoisseurs. These journeys feature AzAmazing moments, which are off-the-beaten-path experiences, and accommodations in the world’s most breathtaking corners, from five-star hotels and castles to boutique inns, luxury lodges, and glamping experiences.
These programs allow guests to see cities from different vantage points, and offers a specialised travel experience that reveals both the hidden gems and iconic landmarks of a variety of captivating destinations. Land Journeys last anywhere from three to six-nights. Offer a wider group size filled with like-minded travel enthusiasts. Includes accomodations from four to five-star hotels to boutique inns, luxury lodges and more.
This programming permits cruisers, who have less time to explore but still want to experience a single destination, the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local life of a particular city with a two or three night stay in the city. These experiences offer an intensive crash-course in the city of embarkation or disembarkation, either pre- or post-cruise. Taking guests far beyond typical city highlights and immersing them in local life.
New cities include: Amsterdam, Netherlands; Auckland, New Zealand; Bordeaux, France; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cape Town, South Africa; Copenhagen, Denmark; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Dublin, Ireland; Edinburgh, Scotland; Hong Kong, China; Lima, (Callao) Peru; Lisbon, Portugal; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Melbourne, Australia; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Mumbai, India; Nice, France; Oslo, Norway; Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia; Perth (Fremantle), Australia; Rio de Janerio, Brazil; San Antonio (Santiago), Chile; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Southampton (London), England; Stockholm, Sweden; Sydney, Australia.
AzAmazing Journey Highlights Include:
AzAmazing in Australia: Rail & Sail Australia – Indian Pacific
Experience Australia’s stunning interior, on a train ride with Indian Pacific, through the country’s rugged Blue Mountains. Travelling with the privileges of Platinum Service status—oversized cabins, nearly twice the size of others with ambrosial food and wine pairings exclusive to this service—guests will journey through the footsteps of legendary adventures, goldrush prospectors and bush pioneers. After this luxurious train journey, guests will spend a night in the Margaret River wine country, which produces over 20 percent of Australia’s premium wine market.
AzAmazing in Asia:
Environmentally and consciously led, set out on a 2.5-hour speedboat journey deep into the jungle where eco-friendly accommodations will be provided. Guests will have the opportunity to see orangutans as they venture into the Borneo Rainforest, which is one of the few places in the world where people are able to see these magnificent creatures. The excursions will be led by local independent naturalists who will introduce travellers to the MariMari people —the area’s indigenous people who rarely share encounters with tourists.
AzAmazing in Africa:
The ultimate safari where guests will experience twice-daily game drives, led by an independent ranger and potentially experience up-close viewing of the Big Five—lions, leopards, African Buffalo, Rhinoceros, African Elephant—at Kruger National Park. Not only will participants have the chance to see the beautiful preserve, they will also visit the South African winelands, river cruise on the Zambezi River, expect hippos and Nile crocodiles; and railway journey to iconic Victoria Falls for an optional helicopter flight for a bird’s eye view. Luxury is certain, with stays that range from the Four Seasons to the Kapama River Lodge.
AzAmazing in South America
A scarce landscape often compared to “outer space destinations,” the Bolivian Salt Flats and Atacama Desert of Chile, are perhaps the most arid locations on earth. Guests will experience “glamping” for two-nights in a deluxe airstream camper set amongst the salt flats, accompanied by the culinary talents of an independent local chef. In Chile, guests will indulge in a luxurious stay at the Atacama Desert Resort, which offers village visits and desert hiking.
AzAmazing in Europe
Discover Russia’s capital of Moscow, where guests will explore the city’s highlights like the Armory at the Kremlin – one of the oldest museums in Moscow that is home to Western European and Eastern applied arts spanning from the 5th and 20th centuries – and locales such as Arbat Street – one of the oldest surviving streets in Moscow – before venturing out to Sergiev Posad to see the Holy Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius and Krasnogorskaya Square. Journey to Yekaterinburg – located Asian side of the boundary between Asia and Europe – by train, offering views of dense forests and wooden villages. A highlight of the program is “The Last Footsteps of the Tsars,” which features a unique look at the Romanov family and Russia’s tumultuous journey from monarchy to communism and the democracy.
Land Journey Highlights Include:
Land Journey in New Zealand: South Island- Alpine Rail & Mount Cook
Guests can explore the incomparable, majestic landscape of New Zealand and discover its true beauty by railway and helicopter. Travellers will experience panoramic views of the Southern Alps, shores of the Waimakariri River, and native beech forests while on a 139-mile journey aboard the South Island train, which connects Christchurch and Greymouth. Once “sky high” in the helicopter, travellers will fly above Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s longest glacier, before the helicopter touches down gently on the snow in the heart of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, home to the highest mountains in the region.
Land Journey in Europe: Norway En Route
Starting in Oslo, guests will journey by train to Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, across one of Europe’s highest mountain plateus. Making a detour in Myrdal, guests will board the Flåm Railway and experience stunning views of the seven fjords and mountains. Once in Bergen, there will be a ferry that will take individuals to Stavanger, where guests can choose to hike Preikestolen, known as the “pulupit rock,” or spend time at the Maritime Museum and the Norwegian Fish Canning Museum.
Land Journey in South America: In Search of Jaguar: Pantanal
Taking place over the course of two and a half days in Brazil’s verdant Pantanal region, guests on the Pantanal Safari will have the chance to spot the area’s native jaguars and other exotic creatures such as howler monkeys and black vultures. On the water , nature enthusiasts guided by an expert will delve into the area’s diverse wetland biosystem, with boat trips in search of stingray and giant otters.