It may be the future of cruising – smaller ships, fewer passengers and crew, and entry into lesser known ports.

It could answer passengers’ concerns when they start travelling again.

Evergreen Cruises, which are fondly known for their four-star deluxe river cruises, are expanding their horizons into the small yacht experience.

Launching in 2021, catching the tail end of the Mediterranean summer, the new Emerald Azzurra is designed to cater for just 100 guests.

Evergreen’s Director of Sales, Marketing & Product, Angus Crichton articulated the interest in small ships, saying he believes some big ship cruisers might make the switch to yachting.

“When we made the announcement that we would be building the Azzurra, it was a concept that was completely new. It was a yachting experience for just 100 people, exploring lesser known itineraries.

“And considering the coronavirus crisis, the thing about this yacht is that you’re sharing the space with far fewer people. And it will be large. If you’re looking at space, the restaurant, at full capacity, has enough room for one person for every three metres. And on the terrace, this applies the same for 45 people.

“This is a prime time for big ship cruisers, who have thought about yachting, to consider this style of cruising, given the current circumstances.”

The ship has been designed to cruise the Adriatic Coast, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, and because of her size, she will have access to smaller ports.

“The Azzurra’s first season will be spent in the Mediterranean. And during the Mediterranean winter, she’ll be cruising the Red Sea. While it is not the most popular itinerary, we have had a surprising amount of interest in this sailing. And for 12-days, the sailings start from $7,545,” he said.

“We’ve developed voyages which can reach smaller and quieter ports. You’ll be away from the big tourist areas. And we’ll be taking you to places where only other private yachts can berth, so you will be away from the crowds.”

The modern 100-guest yacht will have spacious suites, with the majority of them featuring a balcony.

Fine á la carte dinners and breakfast and lunch buffets will be provided in the spacious Reflections Restaurant. The chefs will use fresh and locally sourced ingredients.

Guests will have access to a special marina platform for a variety of activities, including paddle boards and snorkelling equipment. The ship features three tenders and two zodiacs for shore landings in true super yacht style.

Emerald Azzurra Pool
Emerald Azzurra Pool

On shore, guests will enjoy included EmeraldPLUS cultural experiences, a range of included EmeraldACTIVE excursions, and have the opportunity to book DiscoverMORE optional excursions to tailor-make their cruise.

“A typical day on the Azzurra might look like this – you’ll start your day with breakfast on the terrace, before having a swim in the pool, or jumping off the ship’s marina for a sea swim,” said Mr Crichton.

“Then, you might step off the ship and do some self-exploring where you can have lunch in some of the villages and towns or come back and have lunch on the ship. Maybe after another swim and a snooze, it’s time for cocktail hour and then dinner.”

And while Mr Crichton said that while the experience is exceptional, it is not at a high-end luxury level.

“SeaDream, which is a high-end boutique brand and Katarina, a hyperlocal Croatian brand, would perhaps be our two main competitors. But we differ from these two in our experiences, price point and itineraries,” he said.

“Our most popular voyage by far, when we opened bookings, is the itinerary down the Croatian coast. For $10,285 per person, a 15-day voyage on the yacht includes beer, wine, all meals, and city guided tours in the main ports. While in the smaller ports, you’ll be given options to explore yourself.”