Azamara Cruises Becomes “Azamara Club Cruises”

Courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises.

Azamara Club CruisesAzamara Cruises – the two-ship brand launched in 2007 with the 694-guest Azamara Journey and sister ship Azamara Quest – recently became “Azamara Club Cruises,” with a newly refined focus, and a series of new attributes designed for upmarket, experienced travelers.

“This isn’t a strategy of going ‘from good to great’,” said Azamara Club Cruises President & CEO Larry Pimentel. “This is about taking an already great product and making it exceptional.”

Azamara Journey AtriumTapped to take the helm of Azamara Cruises in July of this year, Pimentel spent several weeks talking with travel agents, past guests and press to determine how to make his great-to-exceptional goal a reality. He also tapped a small new team focused 100 percent on Azamara, including VP of Sales & Marketing Edie Bornstein, AVP of Hotel Operations Bert Van Middendorp, Director of Marketing Signe Bjorndal, Director of National Accounts Michelle Nevin, and an eight-member field sales team dedicated solely to Azamara.

Together, Pimentel and team shaped the new Azamara Club Cruises, whose most distinguishing new attributes will be in effect by April 2010.

“Today’s cruisers have incredible new vacation options – like Celebrity’s stunning Solstice Class, and Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas,” said Pimentel. “Azamara Club Cruises will distinguish itself by delivering the destination like no other line.”

Azamara Club CruisesAzamara Club Cruises will visit 140 ports in 50 countries in 2010, with itineraries featuring more overnight stays to allow guests to immerse themselves in communities and cultures. Among the overnight locations are Istanbul, Turkey; Sorrento, Italy, which offers a host of tour options along the Amalfi Coast and Capri; a full three days and two nights in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Azamara’s Scandinavia and Russia itineraries; and multiple overnight stays in Azamara’s Southeast Asia region, including Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong.

“We’re going to slow down the tempo, and allow our guests to not just see the destination, but to live it,” said Pimentel. “Consider destinations like St. Tropez or St. Petersburg, Russia. If you’ve experienced them only by day, you haven’t really experienced them. With Azamara, through more overnight stays and late-night stays, you can.”

The destination focus of Azamara Club Cruises inspired the brand’s new tagline – “You’ll love where we take you” – and will extend to its shore excursions, too, an essential ingredient to allow guests to truly experience a community and its culture. Azamara has created distinctive two-day packages tailored to the overnight destinations, to make it easy for guests to immerse themselves in each location, whether it’s Dubrovnik, Croatia; Odessa, Ukraine; Livorno (Florence), Italy, Warnemunde (Berlin), Germany, or London, in addition to Sorrento and St. Petersburg.

Azamara Journey CasinoAzamara also will offer experiences such as a two-night package from Bangkok to Laos; an overnight tour from Hiroshima to Osaka via bullet train; a three-night experience from Mumbai including a visit to the Taj Mahal; overnight tours in Israel between Ashdod and Cairo, and a Grand Egypt tour featuring the best of both Luxor and Cairo.

Among Azamara’s specialty tours include a Ferrari driving tour in Civitavecchia, Italy; a walk down memory lane in Liverpool with the “In the steps of The Beatles” tour; a private demonstration of chocolate flavors in Dubrovnik; a “Theatre A La Carte” evening in London; Croatian liqueur tasting in Zadar; an Imperial Russian Court evening at Tsarskoye Selo in St. Petersburg; an evening gondola serenade in Venice; and high tea at the Burj al Arab Hotel in Dubai.

Azamara Club CruisesPraised for its dining experience since its founding, Azamara will continue to place a heavy emphasis on fine cuisine, and will expand its focus on wine to include vintages from boutique wineries around the world. Guests will have the opportunity to taste high quality wines that may be unavailable at home, because the selected vineyards produce a strictly limited quantity each year, distributed primarily locally. The featured wines will be offered complimentary at lunches and dinners on every sailing.

Wellness and vigor will be a core component of the Azamara Club Cruises experience, too, with onboard and land-based experiences designed to help guests feel and look healthier and more youthful. Azamara’s aim in wellness and vigor is to help guests balance their physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual needs through massages, facials and other spa treatments, as well as acupuncture, yoga, Pilates, and enrichment programs.

The newly refined brand also is intensely focused on offering an intangible attribute essential to a successful upmarket product: exceptional service.

“Extraordinary service is paramount with Azamara Club Cruises,” said Pimentel. “We know every travel and hospitality organization proclaims it’s committed to great service, so what will make Azamara stand out? First, our butlers will be trained to be true English butlers, to offer that fine balance of anticipatory, pampering, yet non-intrusive service to guests in every suite.” Guests in staterooms will be served by the line’s host of experienced stateroom attendants.

Azamara DeckAzamara Club Cruises also will offer many inclusive amenities, with the following included in the cruise fare beginning with the first voyages in April 2010 on Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest: a specific brand of bottled water offered at no charge throughout the voyage, whether in public venues or in staterooms; specialty coffees and teas; housekeeping and dining gratuities; shuttlebus service to/from port communities, where available; destination-influenced entertainment and enrichment programs; most meals and room service; house wine at lunches and dinners; and self-service laundry. Specialty dining in Azamara’s intimate Prime C steakhouse and the Mediterranean-influenced Aqualina will be complimentary for suite guests for the duration of their cruise. Cruisers who can’t get enough of Azamara will be invited to join the line’s new loyalty program, “Le Club Voyage,” with specific features and benefits yet to be announced.

14 comments

1 Jackie MacDougall { 12.16.09 at 3:12 pm }

We were on the Azamara Journey last Sept/Oct to the Mediterranean and we had nothing but raves about our cruise but the added bonuses mentioned above will spur us to take in more cruises with Azamara.

Thank you

2 Nancy Blackwell { 12.18.09 at 11:13 am }

Now, if you could just convince guests that “country club casual” is not jeans and souvenir T-shirts!

3 jan dyment { 02.02.10 at 12:45 pm }

We always try to cruise with Celebrity we treid Azamara at Xmas and New Year and thoroughly enjoyed the intimacy of the ship and the wonderful service. The new bonuses will definately make us book another cruise with Azamara.

4 Yvonne Roeger { 02.02.10 at 2:48 pm }

We have traveled Azamara Journey twice and cannot believe that their fantastic service could be improved. Both trips have been outstanding! Wish your travel pathways coincided with ours this year. We recommend you to all our friends and family and fellow travelers. Good luck and smooth seas where ever you go.

5 Yvonne Roeger { 02.02.10 at 2:50 pm }

We are looking forward to many future cruises with Azamara Club Cruises

6 Mike Smith { 02.03.10 at 5:41 am }

After reading Nancy Blackwells comments re; jeans and t-shirt not being country club casual, one cannot help but believe snobbery is alive and well. Keep it up Nancy and don’t drop the monacle.

7 wendy { 02.09.10 at 7:25 am }

Just returned from Asia and would never travel with Azamara again, food lacking imagination, no vegetarian choices at lunch and only 1 item at dinner, entertainment awful apart from Mary the Harpist. Nothing deluxe about this cruise we prefer Celebrity and cunard.

8 David Graham { 06.23.10 at 12:18 pm }

We are taking a trip on the Journey in October, our first on Azamara – the very thought of T-Shirts and Jeans in a dining environment isn’r snobbery – it’s a matter of upbringing and possibly taste. Bad taste is only exceeded by no taste. Subjecting other passengers to a scene usually associated with Revere Beach or, of late, the Jersey Shore is selfish, particularly considering the expense and ambiance of such a trip. I hope we are not disapoiinted. Thanks to Nancy Blackwell for her well chosen comments.

9 Jen { 07.05.10 at 5:19 pm }

Thank you to everyone who has commented about Azamara Club Cruises. “Country Club Casual” is the recommended dress onboard – unfortunately, some guests may not be aware of the dress code (despite e-documents) or simply don’t care. There are always the select few guests on every ship that ignore the dress code. I just came back from an Alaska cruise and I didn’t think that “Formal” had such a wide definition!

10 Pat & Laurie Pettman { 02.16.11 at 2:00 pm }

Our cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean last fall was ‘as good as it gets.’ Great entertainment , shore excursions, service and meals. Thank you Azamara…Pat & Laurie Pattman

11 Sherry - The Cruise Web, Inc. { 02.17.11 at 9:46 am }

Dear Pat & Laurie,
I am glad that my recommendation to you of Azamara made your first cruise experience a most memorable one..in a good way. I look forward to helping you create many more good memories.

12 dr thomas cerullo { 07.30.11 at 9:00 pm }

I cruised on azamara from Rome to Venice and I am very experienced on cruise ships. The entire experience is first class. Nothing is perfect on any ship and if you expect everything to be like home stay home. An experienced cruise ship Captain said that to his ship one time.

13 dr thomas cerullo { 01.25.13 at 3:23 am }

Azamara cruises are the way to go. The expemse is worth the liftime memory of treasured moments.

14 The Cruise Web Team { 01.25.13 at 9:13 am }

Dr. Cerullo,
We are glad that you’ve had such a great experience with Azamara. Do you have any plans for future cruises?

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