Upmarket boutique cruise line Azamara which pioneered the AzAmazing destination immersion experiences, will return to sail in Australian waters in December next year offering a 14-night itinerary to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Sydney.

The 682-passenger Azamara Quest will offer six sailings in Australia and New Zealand in December 2022.

Highlight of the Australian season will be a 14-night itinerary departing Fremantle to Melbourne on 21 December 2022 with an overnight stay in Sydney where guests will be able to celebrate New Year’s Eve, sipping champagne on the ship’s deck to watch the fireworks while berthed in White Bay Cruise Terminal.

waiter is serving wine

The cruise will call at Kangaroo Island and Adelaide before arriving in Sydney.

At the end of the season, there is a 16-night itinerary from Fremantle to Hong Kong calling at Bali and Singapore.

Azamara restarted cruising in the Mediterranean on Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey eight weeks ago after more than a year of COVID-led “hibernation”. A third ship, Azamara Pursuit will kick off at the end of the year heading to the popular Africa destination on 12-night itineraries.

The line’s newest ship, Azamara Onward will launch in May 2022 out of Monte Carlo, offering itineraries in the Med.

“We paused operations for a year because of the pandemic and restarted cruising one ship at a time about eight weeks ago in Europe,” Belle Osmic, Gold Coast-based director of sales told Cruise Passenger.

Azamara has a loyal following Down Under, with Australians booking more than 40 per cent of sailings in 2022 and 2023, she revealed.

“They are mainly repeat guests but we are also seeing more new-to-cruise booking up to 65 per cent of our itineraries with many downsizing from mega-ships such as Royal Caribbean to sail with Azamara. They want to experience a small ship, luxury cruise,” she added.

“We see Azamara as a five-star, luxury line without the “la-de-da” of formal nights and formal dress code. Azamara is about smart casual with a strong community spirit. Our guests love to spend more time onshore so that they can explore destinations in depth and at their own pace. They are looking for more immersive experiences onshore as our ships tend to remain longer in port and often spend overnight in some popular destinations.”

In 2023, the line will launch 95 itineraries, visiting 40 countries and 200 ports in Europe. There will be seven maiden ports of call including Alta in Norway, Brest in France, Cesme in Turkey, Fredericia in Denmark, Gothenburg in Sweden, Heimaey in Iceland and Mariehamn in Finland.

Sailing with Azamara means longer time spent in ports giving guests the chance to follow in the footsteps of locals and immerse in the culture, history and authentic flavours of the destination.

Ms Osmic also revealed that the line will build at least two more ships to add to its four-ship fleet. The fifth ship will probably debut in 2025.

Azamara is an independent cruise line owned by private equity firm, Sycamore Partners from New York who spent US$210 million to buy three ships, two years ago.

Together with two business development managers, Ms Osmic will lead the three-person team to Miami to experience a six-night cruise Caribbean cruise onboard Azamara Quest in December. This is to help them better understand and explain to interested cruise passengers all the necessary COVID-led health protocols when sailing in American waters.

For more information, visit www.azamara.com

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