Azamara - I first heard this word when I was talking with my travel agent about doing a cruise in the Mediterranean and she suggested that I look into Azamara Club Cruises. The name ‘Azamara’, as I was told, is a term derived from the Romance languages, a wonderful combination with links to blue (az) and the sea (mar). It was also inspired by a star, Acamar. In classical times, the star Acamar was the most southerly bright star that could be seen from the latitude of Greece.
I had the great pleasure of experiencing Azamara Journey last week when she arrived in Brisbane for the first time as a part of her 18-night voyage to Singapore. From what I saw, Azamara represents luxury on the ocean, a boutique floating hotel, shining bright like a star on the azure sea.
Once we boarded the ship, we were lead to one of Azamara Journey’s specialty restaurants - the beautifully decorated Aqualina Restaurant, which plates up Italian-inspired cuisine. Lunch was a four-course affair with local wines that everyone enjoyed. The menu offers a great selection of familiar Italian dishes. My light and refreshing tomato and buffalo Mozzarella salad was followed by a rich and creamy lobster bisque. The bisque was absolutely divine; smooth as silk with an intense taste. Everyone at the table who ordered the bisque had mopped every last bit of creamy goodness clean with bread; that’s how good the dish was. For the main course, I had sautéed beef tenderloin, shrimp & pancetta. Cooked medium, the meat was extremely tender and juicy, just the way I like it. By the time I was devouring the fourth course, chef’s tiramisu, berries & Bacardi, I began to feel just a tiny bit envious of the passengers onboard this ship, for the food was so damn good, I’d be eating to my heart’s content every day (and then some).
Afterwards, as I walked around the ship to admire its elegant and sophisticated interior post a multi-million dollar redesign, I started to really appreciate the brand. From the staterooms (especially the new Club Spa Suites, where showers have glass walls offering spectacular views while the outdoor soaking tub overlooks the ocean), to the Patio, an al fresco poolside dining area, to The Living Room, where a vodka and caviar appreciation bar had been set up, everything was thoughtfully done for discerning guests who enjoy the finer things in life. You see, Azamara cruise line operates two ships, being Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with a strong following of loyal customers, and it wasn’t hard to see why. The company focuses on destinations by providing guests with the opportunity to stay longer at each port and experience more. The brand’s unique and tailored Land Discoveries in each port help guests uncover new destinations in special ways. On the evening of my visit, Azamara Journey was treating its guests with to an AzAmazing evening which involved an exclusively concert by James Morrison at the Brisbane Exhibition & Convention Centre (all free of charged, yep!). The ships’ smaller size allows them to visit ports larger ships are simplely unable to venture to, which is such a bonus.
Just when I thought that I didn’t have anything else to add to my travel list, I had Azamara Journey penned down in my notebook.
Disclaimer: with thanks to Azamara Club Cruises for welcoming DolceBunnie onboard Azamara Journey as an invited guest, please note that my opinion is as always, my own.