The Difference Down Under
Any journey that requires traveling halfway around the world demands some sort of enticement. A cruise aboard Azamara Club Cruises is as enticing as it gets. Add a compelling itinerary in Australia combined with a milieu of superb amenities, and it’s clear why the word luxury resonates so clearly throughout this voyage.
THE AZAMARA WAY She is dressed from bow to stern in snazzy contemporary styling. Inside décor is nostalgically dignified, void of illusions or gimmicks. What you see is what you get and what you get is 592 feet of distinct perfection. Reimagined and completely refurbished with fresh, contemporary décor in 2016,
Azamara Journey integrates cruise tradition with innovative design to achieve an aura of class. Sailing on a ship like this embodies the strictest definition of elegance.
Staterooms and suites are infused with state-of-the art-technology, astounding comfort, and an in-vogue vibe of refined taste. Public areas create a sentiment of meditative comfort due in part to the easy-on-the-eye palette of colors.
It’s easy to expound on the ship’s intimate 690-guest capacity and boast about its classic design, but the de facto heart and soul of Azamara’s cruise philosophy is its Destination Immersion mantra.
Often while visiting once-in-a-lifetime destinations, an early sailing time becomes your nemesis. But with Azamara, port times are some of the longest in the industry, a welcome departure from the 9 to 5 — or even shorter — norm. Port calls are often scheduled late into the evening and some include overnights, giving plenty of time to truly immerse in the culture.
To further complement the commitment to extensive destination engagement, the cruise line has implemented a Cruise Global, Connect Local concept for its innovative shore excursion program. The well-thought-out collection transcends superficial sightseeing with more emphasis on the people, their lifestyles, and the synergies of the destinations.
On board, the explicit Destination Immersion initiative is further revealed in dinner menus. As one would expect, the gastronomic senses are stoked with outstanding culinary presentations throughout the various venues, but Azamara ups the ante by integrating regionally themed cuisine into dining choices. Each evening, a specific menu entrée is prepared to reflect global traditions and flavors.
The graceful Discoveries Restaurant is the main dining room, underscored by extensive menu selections for all meals. The casual Windows Café serves internationally themed buffet dinners inspired by the region the ship is sailing, as well as lunch and breakfast options that change daily. The poolside Patio displays a full lunch menu and in the evenings offers al fresco dining under the stars. Other onboard options include a dazzling jazz brunch, a German poolside BBQ, an Indonesian feast, or a simple burger and fries.
In testimony to the ubiquitous specialty dining trend, The Prime C Steakhouse caters to carnivorous cravings and Aqualina provides a fix for Italian food lovers. The exclusive Chef’s Table places emphasis on top-drawer wine pairing coupled with a multicourse culinary showcase, guaranteed to satisfy any connoisseur’s palate.
To complement its commitment to destination engagement, Azamara implemented a Cruise Global, Connect Local concept for its shore excursion program.
EXPERIENCES OF A LIFETIME
Azamara Journey rarely succumbs to repetitive itineraries, offering instead to delve into global diversification. While the ship rolls out a warm welcome in ports around the world, our journey would sail from vibrant Sydney, Australia. The iconic Sydney Opera House stands sentry alongside the imposing Sydney Harbour Bridge, bidding a fond farewell as the ship departs for a coastal collection of Australian and Indonesian ports. Each stop along the way renders rare opportunities to connect and engage with the Down Under experience.
For starters, what could be more authentically Australian than interacting with kangaroos or cuddling a koala at a sanctuary outside of Brisbane? Established in 1927, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary goes well above and beyond a traditional zoo atmosphere. Guests can actually stroll among dozens of free-range ’roos and even hand feed them.
More than 130 koalas are a testament to the far-reaching efforts in providing these cuties with protection from environmental encroachments. They provide nonstop entertainment as they cling to the fresh eucalyptus branches provided daily to meet their dietary needs. Visitors can also spot traditional Australian wildlife such as Tasmanian devils, wombats, duck-billed platypus, and feathered friends including the kookaburra.
In Cairns, we made our way to the village of Kuranda, an authentic Aboriginal community. The historic Kuranda Scenic Railway travels through the dense rainforest, scaling the mountainside over 37 bridges and 15 tunnels. The return to the port by way of the Skyride gondola transports guests on a 4.5-mile thrill ride high above the rainforest canopy.
You may be challenged to pronounce the Sunshine Coast’s resort port of Mooloolaba, but no effort is required to laze away the day on its golden-sand beaches with the Australian motto of “no worries” bouncing around as an understatement. Stroll the beachfront boardwalk and take your pick of outdoor cafés, juice bars, and boutiques. Attractions include the SEA LIFE aquarium, which boasts amazing encounters with a variety of marine life.
Experiencing the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is on many travel bucket lists, and a variety of options can make it a reality. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and there are ways for everyone to explore this wonder of the world. Snorkelers and divers can explore the reef up close, while inquisitive landlubbers can also share in the experience from anchored platforms directly over the coral paradise. These floating pontoons serve as manmade adventure islands that promise educational presentations and superb underwater viewing opportunities.
The spice of Bali is complemented by excursions that probe the cultural roots of Indonesia, whether interests lead you to temples or beaches, elephant safaris or artisan craft galleries. Excursions to art centers expose the intricate craftsmanship of the Balinese, as conversations with artists reveal stories and history passed on from generation to generation.
For something truly exotic, visit the Elephant Safari Park, where you’ll engage with these mild-mannered creatures as they immerse themselves in the lake and other areas of this rescue sanctuary. Featured demonstrations are indicative of their favorite inclinations of painting and posing for photos.
As if lavish life on board and stimulating ports aren’t enough, the line’s AzAmazing Evenings program takes involvement to another level. During cruises of seven or more days, guests are treated to an exclusive, complimentary onshore event, exemplifying the commitment to cultural engagement with the destination.
For example, our itinerary included transfers to the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre for a private performance featuring world-famous jazz trumpeter James Morrison and his band. Factor in canapés and drinks served by white-gloved waiters before the concert and indulge in this hallmark concept.
Singapore is the final port for goodbyes and appropriately serves as one of the most convenient gateways for a return flight back to reality. Being jettisoned off to a destination 12,000 miles away insinuates something extra special, and Azamara Club Cruises certainly makes good on that promise.
Sailing past the Sydney Opera House and engaging with aboriginal communities are quintessential Down Under experiences.
Staterooms and suites are infused with state-of-the art-technology and stylish surroundings; the stunning atrium is a relaxed, luxurious gathering space.