It’s amazing the difference that a year can make — day by day, time ticks steadily onward, until one day you find yourself looking back to see how much has changed. For us, 2021 has been a year of rebirth. From striking out on our own as a newly independent brand in early spring, to our triumphant return to sailing in August, and exciting new plans on the horizon, this year has reaffirmed our belief that in every challenge is an opportunity.
We don’t need to tell you that this has been no ordinary year. But while 2021 may have started off with the world of travel on pause, for our part, we’ve been hard at work planning our safe and healthy return to sailing, with more of the immersive experiences you’ve come to expect from an Azamara cruise, including exciting new shore excursions and land programs with pre- and post-voyage itineraries that transport you into the beating heart of your destination.
Join us as we take a look back at everything that happened throughout 2021 — it was certainly one to remember.
CHARTING OUR OWN COURSE
At Azamara, we’ve always done things a little differently. So it may come as no surprise that, in a year full of change, we chose to strike out on our own as an independent brand.
We’ve never been afraid to chart our own course. And it’s this spirit of fearlessness and curiosity that informs our carefully curated, bespoke itineraries: hidden gems, smaller ports, roads less traveled. We’re not afraid to venture off the beaten path, and this exciting milestone recognizes the unique experience you’ve come to expect from us. And with it comes new leadership and an expanded fleet, including our newest vessel, the Azamara Onward.
ONWARD TO NEW HORIZONS
This spring, we announced the addition of the Azamara Onward to our growing fleet. Named to evoke the promise of new beginnings and far-off horizons, the Azamara Onward embodies our fearless, #ForeverForward spirit. The fourth ship in our fleet, the Azamara Onward joins the Azamara Pursuit, Azamara Journey, and Azamara Quest to offer the unique benefits of a small-ship cruising experience, without sacrificing on creature comforts.
Set to be christened this upcoming spring, our newest vessel opens up a world of exciting new destinations for our guests. And we've got big plans in store for this vessel, including a sweeping World Voyage that sets sail January 2024 (more on that later). The Azamara Onward sets out for her inaugural season around Europe in the new year, with a dreamy maiden voyage steeped in art, history, and local cuisine, departing from unforgettable Monte Carlo and sailing the length of the Italian coastline before concluding in Venice.
A RETURN TO SAILING
While the world of travel hit “pause” in the early months of 2021, we were keeping busy behind the scenes — reminiscing about our favorite memories at sea and dreaming of the day we could share more extraordinary moments and unforgettable cultural experiences with you. But perhaps most important of all, we were working hard to develop a slate of industry-leading health and safety protocols to ensure your well being and peace of mind when you returned to exploring the world with us.
In the summer, we were finally able to enjoy the fruits of our labor, as we marked our triumphant return to sailing as an independent brand with a seven-day Greece Country-Intensive voyage aboard the Azamara Quest. Guests were treated to the unparalleled sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the Aegean coast: from the wines and cognacs of Limassol, to the bustling market stalls of Crete, to the iconic azure domes of Oia. With restaurants and attractions in port operating at a reduced capacity, our meticulously planned and carefully curated shore excursions afforded guests the opportunity to savor the vibrant local culture in a safe and more intimate setting.
EXPLORATION IS CALLING
Following a jubilant return to the sea, our unforgettable voyages and shore excursions brought us to memorable ports of call in Italy, Spain, France, and Portugal. From the dynamic sights and sounds of bustling Barcelona to the turquoise waters and white-sand beaches of Sardinia, guests sipped, noshed, and nibbled their way along the Mediterranean coast, and onward to farther-flung ports in the Canary Islands and the Caribbean. And while health and safety protocols mean that voyages have looked a little different this year, one thing that hasn’t changed is our unwavering commitment to delivering the elevated experience you’ve come to expect from Azamara.
If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that adaptability is the key to navigating these extraordinary times. With that in mind, we’ve enhanced our Cruise With Confidence program to offer unparalleled booking flexibility, so you can feel confident about planning your next voyage with us. And with more destinations and ports of call reopening every day, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is deciding where to go next.
NEW YEAR, NEW PLANS
When it comes to travel, the anticipation is half the fun. We’re not afraid to admit that we’re dreamers — one of the things we’ve missed the most this year is the sweetness of looking forward. Since our return to sailing this August, our imaginations have been running wild with all that the future has in store. And with more than 150 new sailings now slated for 2022-2024 and two dozen new ports just waiting to be explored, everyone can find an adventure worth daydreaming about.
Journey from the street-food capital of the world to the birthplace of philosophy and democracy on our 23-Night Spice Route Voyage. Take in the wonders of both the ancient and modern worlds, from the red-stone Jordanian city of Petra to the modern engineering marvel that is the Suez Canal. Lose yourself in the market stalls and charming streets of Galle Fort, an 18th-century Dutch walled town on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, or relax and recharge amidst white sand beaches, where the natural splendor of the Indian Ocean meets the Arabian Sea.
Looking for destinations that take you off the beaten path? Join us as we journey to the edge of the earth on our 17-Night Antarctica Pursuit Voyage. Beginning in the cosmopolitan splendor of vibrant Buenos Aires, we journey along the Patagonian coast to the southern extreme of Tierra del Fuego. From there, venture across the Antarctic Sound to the ice-covered mountains of Elephant Island, refuge of Ernest Shackleton and his crew during the famed Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. A stopover in windswept Port Stanley offers a rare glimpse of the rugged natural beauty of the remote Falkland Islands.
For those looking to savor adventure at a more relaxed pace, our 14-Night Wine and Culture Voyage offers something to delight and amuse every one of your senses. Departing from beautiful Barcelona, this two-week voyage invites you to sip, sail, and savor the wine and culture of Spain, Portugal, and France. Drink in the stunning architecture (and, of course, the namesake fortified wine) of unforgettable Porto, spend three days exploring the world’s largest urban UNESCO World Heritage Site at Bordeaux, and finish in the moody splendor of unforgettable Dublin.
Whatever port of call is calling to you, you can find a journey worth daydreaming about today.
WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD
If you've traveled with Azamara before, you know that we’re not ones to settle for ordinary. Our country-intensive journeys and immersive experiences bring you into the beating heart of culture, history, and cuisine, giving you the chance to experience life like a local. Our voyages are designed for a different sort of traveler — one who hungers to experience the great, wide world as a global citizen, not simply a tourist.
This is precisely who we had in mind this past November, when we unveiled our upcoming World Voyage. With an expansive scope that evokes the Grand Tours of old, this awe-inspiring global odyssey spans 155 nights, six continents, and more than 40 countries — a moveable feast of art, culture, history, and cuisine.
Setting sail in January of 2024 aboard our newest ship, the Azamara Onward, the World Voyage will transport our guests to far-flung ports-of-call, from the unspoiled splendor of the Cook Islands to the pulsing modern metropolis that is Hong Kong. Trace ancient paths, experience bucket-list destinations, and gaze upon sights that echo back to antiquity.
HERE’S TO LOOKING FORWARD
From its quiet, humble beginnings to a celebratory last chapter, 2021 has given us so much to look back on and be proud of. And with a new year just around the corner, there’s lots more to look forward to on the horizon. We can’t wait to savor all the sweetness that the future has in store for us in 2022 with you — maiden ports, exciting new destinations, and a world of unforgettable new experiences just waiting to be explored.