Here at Azamara, we love to live in the present and experience each moment as it comes. But lately, we can’t help but be excited to look ahead toward the future. Recently, we announced 39 incredible new itineraries for late 2023 and early 2024. These journeys will take us all across the globe — returning to old favorites and exploring new treasures for the first time. We’re also introducing new shore excursions and land programs, which will allow you to delve deeper into the cultures, countries, and communities that make the world so unique. Perhaps best of all, we’re also developing an all-new collection of AzAmazing Evenings. These carefully crafted immersive experiences bring you closer to local life — allowing you to embrace the spirit of each destination like never before.
From the Americas to Scandinavia, Africa to Asia, and everywhere in between, we’re looking forward to calling on two dozen new ports in late 2023 and early 2024. And with new ports come new opportunities, new adventures, and new lenses through which to view the world. If you’re more interested in seeing the world as a traveler and not just a tourist, we think you’re going to love these maiden ports. Here are a few highlights.
Niigata is a study in contrasts. Turn one corner, and you’ll be greeted with modern museums and towering skyscrapers. But then, around the next corner, it’s ancient shrines and snow-capped mountains towering in the distance. Old meets new while mingling with nature here — and that makes Niigata, the largest city in the Niigata prefecture, a special place. While here, be sure to explore Hakusan-kōen, Niigata’s first citizen park. Home to meticulously manicured gardens, two koi ponds, and the Hukasan Shrine, this park radiates the timeless beauty Japan is known for. For a more bird’s-eye view of the city — as well as distant mountains and the Sea of Japan — take the elevator up to the Befco Bakauke Observatory, the highest 360-degree observation room in Niigata. And if you’re hungry, you’ve come to the right place. Niigata has earned its reputation as a culinary hotspot. Visit Pia Bandai for a sprawling selection of fresh seafood, sushi, rice, and sake. Be sure to pack your appetite!
There’s an unmistakable charm in Rovinj, Croatia’s star seaside attraction. Winding cobblestone streets give way to bustling squares — all in the shadow of the Church of St. Euphemia towering high above Old Town. The church is a must-visit during your time here. It’s home to beautiful ceiling frescos, as well as the body of Saint Euphemia, who is said to rest behind the right-hand altar in a Roman sarcophagus.
Several local legends tell the story of how Euphemia’s sarcophagus arrived in Rovinj. And while these accounts all differ slightly (with a story this old, there are bound to be variations), they all share a few similar beats. Most notably, the sarcophagus appeared off the coast of Rovinj, and many people tried to haul it ashore. Finally, a small boy with two calves arrived and managed to move the sarcophagus from the water to the top of the hill where the church now stands. Townspeople considered this act to be a miracle and proclaimed Euphemia the patron saint of their town.
Make your way to the church by strolling along Grisia, a popular street lined with galleries and a fascinating assortment of architectural styles. And, if all this walking is working up your appetite, you’re in luck — Rovinj is home to some of Croatia’s most beloved restaurants. Prefer to eat on the move rather than dining in? Try burek — a local favorite consisting of pastry stuffed with meat and cheese — from a vendor near the famous Green Market.
Upon first glance at Luderitz, you may wonder if you took a wrong turn. After all, the town has more in common with a Bavarian village, both in name and aesthetic, than what might first come to mind when you think of Namibia. The German Art Nouveau architecture on display throughout is a remnant of the African diamond rush of the early 1900s when the town was German-controlled. As you make your way through the streets, the Deutsch Afrika Bank and the Old Post Office are sure to catch your eye as highlights of this bygone era. Join us on a walking tour of the town to learn all about its rich past.
But move beyond the architecture to the wilds of Namibia and you’re in for a treat. Nearby in the Forbidden Zone you can explore the ghost town of Kolmanskop in the former diamond mining territory, or catch a glimpse of Namibia’s wonderful wild horses. This is also the home of Sperrgebiet National Park, where the natural landscape will leave you breathless.
You can browse even more of our upcoming maiden ports here.
Shore Excursions and Land Programs
Beyond visiting smaller ports that bigger ships can’t, what sets Azamara apart is our unparalleled journeys into the heart of culture. We want you to feel connected with the ports we visit, which is why our shore excursions and land programs are so special. We’ve already touched on a few of our upcoming shore excursions, but let’s take a closer look at some we’re looking forward to in 2023 and 2024.
Santarem, Brazil, is located in the center of the Amazon region. This is the City Where Waters Meet, where the Tapajós and Amazon Rivers come together. Santarem has its origin in the great Indigenous Tapajós Nation, and is the second-largest town in the state of Para. It is named after Santa Irene, a figure who factors prominently in the mythology of the Tapajós civilization. Often referred to as the “Pearl of the Tapajós”, Santarem is a perfect spot for boat cruising, which is exactly what you’ll do when you join us on shore excursion here. We’ll cruise through Maica Lake, a natural tributary outlet of the Amazon that more closely resembles a stream in a floodplain. Here, with the beautiful landscape of the area on full display, you’ll see the local inhabitants going about their days, many species of birds, and possibly even a freshwater pink dolphin known as the Boto Cor de Rosa. Before we return to Santarem, you’ll have a chance to fish the famous “piranhas” and perhaps taste a local piranha soup.
A Party in Parintins
Parintins, Brazil, located on the Amazon River’s southern bank, has earned its reputation as one of the most hospitable and culturally rich cities in the Amazon region. The city is known for being the home of the legendary “Amazon Warriors” — strong, beautiful, and brave Indigenous women who attacked the first Orellana expedition with poisonous arrows in 1542. Still today, Parintins is known to have the most beautiful and courageous women of the entire Amazon.
No need to worry about the inspirations for Wonder Woman attacking during your visit, however. This shore excursion is full of festivities. In fact, it will take you to the most important folk festival in Brazil — Boi Bumba — which is held every year. The festival is a true feast for the senses, cultivating a world full of magic, bright colors, music, dance, folklore, luxurious costumes, and floats — not unlike the ones seen in Rio’s Carnival. Unlike Carnival, however, Samba is not king at Boi Bumba. Instead, it is replaced by milder melodies, paired with props and allegories crafted with local raw materials such as tree bark, seeds, and peacock feathers. After the festival, you’ll experience a behind-the-scenes costume viewing and a guided meet & greet with the performers — all while enjoying delicious caipirinhas.
Diving in Fernando de Noronha
A land of unspoiled natural beauty, Fernando de Noronha is home to Brazil’s most beautiful beaches. This archipelago is made up of 21 islands and islets was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001, and it’s easy to see why. The combination of crystal clear waters, golden sands, and marine life here fascinates people from all over the world. Fernando de Noronha is home to the largest concentration of tropical seabirds in the Western Atlantic. At the same time, in nearby Baía dos Golfinhos, you’ll find more dolphins than anywhere else in the world.
With so much underwater wonder here, it should come as no surprise you’ll have plenty of opportunities for diving. Fernando de Noronha’s clear and warm waters provide excellent visibility, with plenty of opportunities to observe corals, dolphins, turtles, sharks, and more. With the help of local experts, you can enjoy scuba diving classes and guided dives, as well as assisted observation and cataloging of endangered turtle species with biologists. More of a land lover? Head out on ecological trails, visit Parque Nacional Marinho, tour the Shark Museum, or learn more about the Tamar Project, which is dedicated to preserving endangered sea turtles.
Calling on Hong Kong
In 2023 and 2024, we’re offering two new land programs in Hong Kong, China. First up is China’s Treasures. This land program puts a fascinating focus on some of China’s most revered sites, including visits to the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, and Hutongs. Suggested to add the well-known Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the exclusive lecture with Terra-cotta professor, and also the Tang Dynasty Show, which will represent the top dancing performance of Tang Dynasty. Along the way, you’ll also partake in some exclusive experiences such as walking and cycling on Xi’an City Wall, learning to make Chinese dumplings, and enjoying a dinner with a local family in their home.
Interested in exploring more of Hong Kong like a local? Try our Stay Local land program. You’ll enjoy a mixture of history and culture by visiting Man Mo Temple, one of Hong Kong’s oldest temples, and Tai Kwun, the Centre for Heritage and Arts, for some inspiration. Then take in awe-inspiring views from the Sky 100 Observation Deck, Hong Kong’s tallest building.
AzAmazing Evenings offer private, authentic travel moments that bring you closer to your destination. They completely immerse you in local culture and offer the chance to see its people in a new light. AzAmazing Evenings are included with our compliments on all cruises over seven nights long (except transatlantic crossings). We think you’re going to love what we have on offer in 2023 and 2024. Here are a few highlights.
North Symmetry. The Glorification of Nature in the Amazon
The living past of the Amazon is presented in the four different parts of this folklore show, which takes place in Manaus, Brazil. It explores pre-Columbian indigenous civilizations all the way through to modern times. This begins with the rise of the great Indigenous nations in the Amazon Forest and traces its path to the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors searching for new lands and mythical treasures. Through traditional dances, rituals, songs, and music, the show explores how different cultures and traditions mingled, forming a new identity independent from the rest of Brazil. And how, today, the Manaus Free Zone — with its high technology in the middle of the planet’s largest nature reserve — once again attracts the world’s attention to the Amazon.
During this event in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, we will explore the mystery and significance of the Senhor do Bonfim ribbons. Originally from Bahia, the Senhor do Bonfim ribbons were used to string medallions of holy images around the wearer’s neck. It was said that those who wore the ribbons would enjoy luck and prosperity. Today, they remain a symbol of Salvador and the faith of Bahians in Senhor do Bonfim. The faithful believe they carry the power to fulfill three wishes when they break on their own.
True to the festival that pays homage to Senhor do Bonfim every January, our AzAmazing Evening is a mix of faith and party — a common characteristic in Bahia traditional celebrations. Learn about the primary cultural expressions that happen during the festival and representations of African heritage traditionally and contemporaneously. View performances by Baianas who play an essential role in the culture of Bahia, preserving the origins of the Candomblé African religion and as significant figures in the Festa do Bonfim every January. During the evening, pay particular attention to their beautiful outfits, which feature a wealth of diverse cultural influences. For example, the turban and “balangandans” (ornaments) indicate elements of Islamic culture prevalent in North Africa (Sudan), the necklaces and bracelets come from African culture, and the round skirt is inspired by the style of the Portuguese ladies.
Arias and Azamara
In Ravenna, Italy, you’ll have an opportunity to listen to the Società Filarmonia perform some of the most beloved arias present in the Maria Callas portfolio. In 1988, Società Filarmonia was established to promote musical culture and perform concerts and activities with a high artistic profile. It brings together diverse musical experiences and skills, with a strong focus on emerging talents.
We’re Dreaming of the Future
There’s so much excitement on the horizon here at Azamara, and we can’t wait to experience it with you. Start planning your upcoming cruise with us today.
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