Cruise Lines and Ships

As we all eagerly await the launch of Norwegian Escape in October 2015, they have recently announced ‘a la carte speciality dining’… not only on their new ship but FLEETWIDE

So for those of you that have experienced the very popular ‘freestyle dining’…. It’s about to be ‘tweaked’

Expect changes on all their ships by January 2016

THE FACTS:

The a la carte dining will be applicable to Norwegian’s signature speciality restaurants, giving customers the freedom to experience gourmet dishes and the flexibility to choose how many courses to indulge in. These will be priced per item. Customers can then decide on light meals or maybe soup, or opt for a multi course dinner. You get to create your own dining experiences as you would in your favourite restaurant at home!

Venues that apply: La Cucina, Le Bistro, Cagney’s Steakhouse and the new *Bayamo (exclusive to Norwegian Escape)

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The following restaurants will retain their cover charges:

Moderno Churrascaria

Teppanyaki

Charges for these from $19.95 to $29.95 per person

Entertainment dining will also remain the same

The following remain complimentary:

The main dining rooms, buffet, O’Sheehan’s and Asian venues (except those listed above)

 

You can purchase a speciality dining package at the time of booking, when doing your online check in or once on board.

Norwegian’s current promotion gives you the opportunity to receive a free ultimate dining package. Valid on 5-16 night sailings from 1st October 2015 – Ocean view or above (subject to terms and conditions)

*Please note Bayamo still carries a $15 fee

With another 3 ships on order and due by 2019, these are exciting times to ‘Cruise like a Norwegian’. Visit my blogs on a regular basis for updates on new launches, destination guides and much much more…

As we left Southampton and cruised around the English Channel we decided to start to explore the Anthem of the Seas . I was absolutely blown away by the beautiful décor. Around the ship there were snug areas where you can sit and relax with a book and watch the world go by.

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As we explored the ship we discovered many futuristic and exciting facilities that we had never seen with any other cruise line before. The Bionic bar was one of my favourites it has ipads around the bar that you can order a cocktail from and you watch as the robotic arms make your chosen cocktail.

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Another futuristic wow was a huge light filled with bulbs and their was a stand where you place your hands and the bulbs flash to coincide with your heartbeat. The more I saw the more I loved the ship. I decided to go and explore the solarium and relax for an hour or so and relax I certainly did!!! As I walked into the solarium a friendly staff member greeted me with a smile and an alcoholic shot of something warm and tropical tasting. I lay on a huge comfy bed that faced the huge windows so I had an amazing view of the sea and felt so calm and relaxed that I fell asleep whilst watching the waves.

As I dressed for dinner I eagerly anticipated my dining experience. I was not disappointed as I went into the main dining room we were greeted and seated by a very friendly waiter. He gave us a menu which was a sample of all the different restaurants onboard and I must say the food was outstanding and the waiter was more than attentive to our every needs.

After dinner we made our way to see the ‘We will rock you’ show I must say I have been on a few ships in my time but this was the best I had ever experienced!!! The Cast, Lighting & sound was amazing and I felt like I was at a Broadway show in London.

Overall I had a fantastic trip on the Anthem of the Seas I would certainly recommend this ship to anyone who likes luxury but certainly families, couples and passenger of all ages would enjoy this wonderful ship and the abundance of facilities and activities it has to offer.

 

 

 

 

Discover Asia with a Cruise Club Exclusive aboard Costa Fortuna departing 28th March 2016

     We begin our adventure with our direct flight from the UK to Dubai, home of souks, horseracing, glitz and glam and the worlds tallest building – Burj Khalifa. Its here you will stay for 2 nights including a delicious breakfast each morning…

      After exploring all Dubai has to offer, we embark Costa Fortuna for our twenty night voyage around the best Asia has to offer. A leisurely two days at sea, gives us the chance to sample all this amazing ship has to offer, from the sauna that gives you a glimpse of the sea through the window whilst relaxing, to the varied choice of dining options – 4 to be exact, or maybe relax in one of the 11 bars, or sip a Cognac in the Cognac and Cigar bar. The well equipped wellness centre spans 1,300 metre squared, with a gym, treatment rooms, 5 Jacuzzis and a choice of 4 pools – one with a retractable cover. Costa Fortuna offers a wealth of entertainment options to excite, offering a theatre spanning three levels, a casino, a library, and the chance to dance the night away in the on board disco. Its a shoppers paradise, with an on board shopping centre!

 

 

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    An early morning arrival into Bombay*(Mumbai), India – Highlights include, Victoria Terminus Station which is modelled on the St Pancras Station in London and is undoubtedly the Raj’s piece de resistance. Complete with carved stone friezes, stained glass windows and flying buttresses, it is gothic architecture at its best and an awesome site which most citizen’s view with deep pride, whilst atop the central dome stand the triumphant figure of Progress. Tours and excursion start from £63.00 Per Person for Bombay

 

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Bombay (Mumbai), India

      A relaxing day at sea the following day, gives us the chance to be ready for our arrival into Cochin*, India – Highlights include, Ernakulam Kerala state’s commercial capital, before carry on onwards to Thripunithura. As you travel through Kochi’s older parts, you’ll be able to see ornate temples, dedicated to Vishnu, as well as elegant Chinese fishing nets, many of which were launched by dealers from the Court of Kublai Khan! (Genghis’ Grandson!) Tours and excursions start from £108.00 Per Person for Cochin

 

Day 15, is our early morning arrival into Singapore, famous for the Singapore Sling! (Not to be missed!) Highlights include;

  • Clarke Quay – One of the city’s trendiest nightspots with a variety of restaurants, wine bars, entertainment spots and retail outlets.

  • Botanic Gardens – A must visit for nature lovers, the Botanic Gardens is a living museum of a wide variety of flora and fauna. The National Orchid garden (admissions separate) which resides within the Botanic Gardens houses over 3,000 species and hybrids of Orchids.

  • Orchard Road – The most famous shopping street in Singapore.

  • Little India & Little India Walking Tour – One of the ethnic enclaves that provide some of the best insights into the Indian community in Singapore.

  • Wholesale Market – Known as the Thieves Market years ago, you can find second- hand merchandises and interesting knicks and knacks at this unique flea market.

  • Boat Quay – Situated along the Singapore River and distinguished by conserved shop houses, Boat Quay is the place to visit for entertainment & dining. A perfect place to sit & relax after a day of sightseeing.

  • Chinatown & Chinatown Walking Tour – Immerse in Singapore’s Chinese culture and history at Chinatown and witness how early Chinese Immigrants lived & worked during its golden years. Tours and excursions start from £22.00 Per Person for Singapore

 

 

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   A day at sea, gives us the chance to relax ready for day 17, when we arrive at Ho Chi Minh City*, Vietnam, a foodies paradise, with the varied street food shacks this city has to offer. Other highlights include, Minh Dam Secret Zone located in the Long Hai Hills. During the Vietnam War, the Long Hải’s were a Viet Cong base area where battalion’s kept their supplies.  Lang Ca Ong Whale Temple. According to legend, the remains of a whale washed up on the Vung Tau beach over 100 years ago. The carcass was so huge that fishermen had to wait for the flesh to decompose before being able to pull it to shore and display the bones which came to symbolize the protector of the coast. Now, every time a whale washes ashore, the bones are ceremonially hauled to the mausoleum. Tours and excursions start from £76.00 Per Person for Ho Chi Minh City

 

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Ho Chi Minh – Vietnam

 

     Day 18, sees our arrival into Nha Trang*, Vietnam, highlights include,Dam Market – Once you arrived you will find a huge market complex which has room for 6,000 shoppers! You will have plenty of time to meet with locals and stall holders and browse their colourful wares. There are many souvenir and traditional craft stands where you can pick up a bargain or two. Next you will move on to a Silk Embroidery Workshop. Here you will gain a fascinating insight into this traditional craft, learn about the history and even have a go!

     Day 19, is spent relaxing on board Costa Fortuna, ready for our arrival into Hong Kong, China on day 20 for a fun filled, and exciting overnight in port – highlights include,

  • Bonham Strand, Discover the surprising varieties of exotic dried seafood available on the street.

  • Cat Street, where antique shops, and art galleries provide fantastic window-shopping (free time

    given to explore at leisure).

  • Man Mo Temple, an incense-filled world into its own.

  • Hollywood Road, is a strange mixture of shops selling funeral items, furniture, antiques, and artwork. *Closed on Public Holidays*

  • Mid-level Escalator, 800 metres, the world’s longest covered escalator.

  • Wet markets, one of Hong Kong’s oldest and the most diverse fresh market. If you’ve never tried mangosteens, durians and rambutans, this is your chance! Tours and excursions start from £46.00 Per Person for Hong Kong

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Hong Kong, China

      Day 23 – Naha, Japan – Famed for its ancient Ryukyu Kingdom – the City’s centrepiece. The City has thrived since being reduced to rubble in World War 2, and is now a popular and thriving city, thus comes the famous Japanese traffic jams! The city itself plays an essential part of todays Japanese holiday maker, wishing to enjoy the 2km stretch of restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels, combined with the colourful souvenir shops

      Day 25 sees our voyage almost coming to an end, after a relaxing day at sea on day 24, here we arrive into Shanghai*, China – Some of the many fabulous sights you’ll see during your time in Shanghai, include the Jade Buddha Temple, Yu Garden, The Bund, as well as a most interesting visit to the Shanghai Museum! Tours and excursions start from £125.00 Per Person for Shanghai

 

 

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Shanghai, China

 

 

      We disembark Costa Fortuna in Shanghai and head to our 2 night hotel stay including breakfast each morning, before day 27 sees us heading back to the airport for our flight back to the UK, overnight.

Prices for this amazing cultural cruise holiday lead in at just £1799.00 Per Person – Based

on an Inside cabin category or £2099.00 Per Person for Ocean View, including all flights,

transfers and hotel stays! Also includes for a limited time only –

*Free full day sightseeing in Shanghai to include the visits of Shanghai Museum, Yuyuan Garden, Jade Buddha Temple and the Bund with lunch in a local Chinese restaurant!

*Free evening Acrobatic Show with round trip transfers in Shanghai

*Indicates that a Visa is required for entry to these destinations.

Tours and excursions are offered by Cruising Excursions – www.cruisingexcursions.com, a link can be found on www.cruiseclubuk.com

Availability is going fast for this once in a life time Asian Discovery Cruise, so don’t hesitate, contact me on 0161 7982536

 

tea

Over the last few years I’ve loved experiencing ‘afternoon tea ’ in various locations, each time comparing it to the last. My favourite being a champagne experience at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester, it was a lovely sunny day (I know very rare in Manchester) sat out on the terrace, chatting and watching the world go by. To me it’s like a fine art, from the table setting to the delicate way the cakestand is presented.

The history of afternoon tea originates from the early 19th century. In those days it was common for people to eat two main meals a day, breakfast and dinner at around 8pm. During late afternoon Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford complained about feeling hungry, she used to have tea and cake in her room each day. Friends would often join her and from there invites were sent out. Word got round to other socialites, making it respectable enough to move to the drawing room. This is now a worldwide know ‘British Tradition’

So what do cruise ships offer?

Celebrity Cruises

Champagne High Tea

$25 Cover charge per person

Served once during a 7 night sailing and minimum twice on longer sailings

Live string quartet

Wedgewood china used for this fine spread, including tea, coffee, lattes, sandwiches, desserts, pastries, scones and truffles! Well worth the cover charge I’d say

Cunard Lines

Traditional afternoon tea

Included in the price of your cruise

Served daily in the Queens room

White gloved waiters

Harpist

Sandwiches, salad, scones, followed by pastries, cake, fruit tarts and eclairs

*Be prepared to queue as very popular

P&O Cruises

 Traditional afternoon tea

Britannia – £15 cover charge per person, only available on sea days. Created by award-winning patissier Eric Lanlard

All other ships this is included in the price of your cruise

Served daily at 4pm

Very English crumpets

Holland America Lines

Offers 3 afternoon teas, once during a 7-10 night sailing

Royal Dutch Tea – traditional

Indonesian Tea – Staff wear traditional outfits with a musical accompaniment from the region. Fritters, cake and coconut rice balls offer something a little bit different

Cupcake Tea – Choice of cupcakes on offer

Included in the cost

Fred Olsen

Cover charge of £6.95 per person

Again very traditional and popular, worth pre booking once on board

Princess Cruises

 British style afternoon tea served daily

Finger sandwiches, cookies, biscuits and cakes

 

What’s your favourite on board afternoon tea?

 I’ve heard really good feedback regarding Cunard, after all they are the epitome of elegance!

 Look forward to hearing your views

 

 

 

 

Norwegian Cruise Line are expanding their fleet with an all new class of ship; Breakaway Plus

Having two new ships in 2013/2014, The Norwegian Breakaway and The Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Cruise line are adding ANOTHER two ships to their fleet. The first of the new class will be the Norwegian Escape, making her inaugural sailing in October 2015, from Southampton to Miami where she will be based.

She will replace the Norwegian Getaway, offering passengers seven-day Eastern Caribbean sailings from Miami, visiting Tortola, St. Thomas and Nassau. The getaway will offer passengers the Western Caribbean route.

Norwegian Escape will be the largest ship owned by the cruise line, weighing in at a whopping 164,600 gross tonnage with guest capacity of 4,248. This will make the current largest, ‘the Norwegian epic’ the second largest with guest capacity of 4,100 and weighing 155,873 gross tonnage.

With plenty on-board for all the family, the Norwegian Escape is really set to WOW passengers! Kids can play in many of the children’s areas on-board including the AquaRacer water slide or the Ropescourse, the first assault course at sea. Of course, adults and bigger kids can join in too!

If you want to relax, they are offering ultra modern spa staterooms or you can visit the adult only “Spice H20” – a stunning waterfall grotto where guests can relax in the secluded surroundings throughout the day and by night it becomes the ‘hot-spot’ on-board. With music, drinks and dancing under the stars until late, the Ibiza inspired spice H20 is the place to be!!

As well as the adult only Spice H20, guests 18 and over can also visit “Vibe Beach Club” – a great place to unwind, offering ocean-views, an over-sized hot tub, calming water feature and chaise loungers. A full-service bar, chilled towels, water spritzers and skewers of fruit to take you further away from your life at home.

The cruise line are taking reservations for Sailings on board the Norwegian Escape, don’t miss out and get your brand new stateroom reserved!!!!

I am taking my first cruise with NCL in September 2015 on-board the Norwegian Getaway, check back for my blog on this!

Norwegian Bliss is scheduled to join the fleet in Spring 2017… Keep checking my blog for updates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to my latest post as we uncover some exciting news about Entertainment aboard the Queen Mary 2

Cunard have just announced that the award-winning vocalist Natalie Cole will headline the first-ever Blue Note jazz themed cruise which will debut on Queen Mary 2, on 29 October 2015. She will join a roster of venerable jazz musicians on this Transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton, including award-winning jazz pianist and record producer Robert Glasper, acclaimed trumpet player Keyon Harrold, tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer Kendrick Scott.

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Natalie is a massive name in the world of jazz, which she was introduced to as a child in the 1950s through her famous father, vocal legend and trailblazer Nat King Cole. Throughout her celebrated career, she has paid tribute to the Latin American, R&B and Jazz genres, as well as to her father through posthumous pairings and renditions of his most popular songs.

This type of cruise is becoming more and more popular and tend to sell very well. I went on Arcadia a few years ago when Russell Watson was the guest star on board and the ship sold out in less than an hour. He put on a fantastic show and came across very well as he interacted with passengers right throughout the 3 day cruise. I would imagine that this cruise will be similarly popular, especially being that passengers from both sides of the pond will be looking to get booked on to this sailing.

And as if that isn’t enough to tempt the discerning jazz fan, Cunard are also offering some free upgrades and on board spending money on this sailing giving an extra incentive to book onto the cruise.

If you would like any further information about this or would like to book on to the cruise then you can contact me on 0161 798 2520 or email jon@cruiseclubuk.com

 

 

November 2015 see’s the launch of the ‘ Norwegian Escape

Having been on board Norwegian Epic, Getaway and Breakaway I am really excited to see how they can better my Norwegian experience….. I’ve been glued to updates from Norwegian and wanted to share information on what to expect:

Norwegian Escape (4,200 passengers) will be based from Miami year round, offering a 7 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise

Dedicated nursery (2 years and under)

Expanded kids aquapark

New dining and Bars on board:

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A hip urban craft beer hall, complete with a keg room and photo booth

 

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Burgers/cocktails and live music

 

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Seafood restaurant with a Latin twist

 

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Sharable small plates based on Mediterranean flavours

 

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Vast array of wines – Including a wine tasting table
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Upscale fusion foods from around the world

 

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Live music into the night

  New Entertainment:

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Direct from Broadway this smash hit musical was created by an event in 1956. Four young musicians gathered together in Memphis for the ‘greatest jam session ever’……. Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins! A Rock and Roll evening at its best

 

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Another smash hit musical with big band songs

 

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If you’re a fan of 80’s movies this postmodern cabaret show is for you

 

Also on board:

Head to the sports complex for rooftop mini golf, courtesy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… COWABUNGA

The Mandara Spa will feature a snow room and the largest thermal suite at sea

ADULTS ONLY

Vibe Beach Club – Requires purchasing an access pass once on board. Escape and enjoy the luxurious surroundings, including a large hot hub, chaise loungers and a full service bar

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Spice H2O – Located at the back of the ship on deck 17. Complete with a grotto and waterfalls, huge video screen and hot tubs. At night it turns into a open air dance club!

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Norwegian is on sale now for prices please call me

 *All the above listed are new experiences/venues on board Norwegian Cruise Lines

 

 

We recently had the news that Carnival are set to take the Adonia from the P&O fleet and start a company called Fathom, a company which will offer a combination of a volunteering holiday and a cruise for a new wave of voluntourists .

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According to research there has been a growth in demand for holidays where you go and work in the places you visit communities and have a positive impact on peoples’ lives and this is pretty much what the Adonia has to look forward too. She will be sailing out of Miami and taking “ voluntourists ” to the Caribbean where guest will be given the chance to work on activities such as planting crops, providing clean water, teaching English to the islands school children and working with women’s co-operatives to make artisan chocolates. There will also be a change to the on board experience, where shows are to be replaced with briefings on the next day’s work, Spanish lessons and community building exercises.

education

Now if this is what people want to do when they go on their holidays then I have no problem with that at all. In fact, I have even looked into doing a volunteering holiday myself in the past as I think it would be a good experience. What I cannot understand though, is why Carnival would take the Adonia? She is one of P&O’s most popular and most profitable ships. A lot of people prefer the smaller, more traditional and more intimate cruises and P&O will lose this when their only ‘boutique’ cruise ship leaves the fleet. Why not use one of the older Carnival, Costa or AIDA ships instead? After all Carnival own all of these brands and could quite easily have chosen a different ship.

I think a lot of P&O customers will be very disappointed with this decision that Carnival has taken as the Adonia has quite a loyal customer base.

What are your thoughts on the move? Will you miss her?

After years of operating in the shadow of Royal Caribbean’s new builds Carnival Cruises is finally throwing its hat back in the ring for the biggest* cruise ship in the world.

Arriving 2019 -2022 are 4 brand new Carnival ships to take on Royal Caribbean’s behemoth Oasis class ships.

The new carnival ships will each carry 6600 guests (that’s 304 more than Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class.

BUT – and this is a BIG but – the new carnival ships are actually smaller than royal’s oasis class.

New Carnival design is 180’000 tonnes (27 tonnes of space per person)

Oasis class is 225’000 tonnes (41 tonnes of space per person)

 

What can we take from the figures? Not much….

I can only guess the vast difference in space is because the Carnival offering is not as wide / will not have the spectacular open spaces (park & boardwalk) that the Oasis class has.

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The Carnival ships will be split up and given to different brands in the Carnival corp.

Provisional rumours place them into the “European” brands – that’s Aida & Costa cruises.

  • As I cant see P&O having a ship that size.

As soon as more news and info comes out I’ll be sure to update this blog.

Tarar for now – Capn.

Azamara have recently announced extensive refurbishments for both Quest and Journey. These will take place in 2016 with the Journey being first in line in January followed by Quest in April.

A quote from Azamara CEO Larry Pimental has said ‘From bow to stern, and stern to bow, there is no area of the line’s ships that will be untouched’. The new changes have been the product of years of surveys and comments from past passengers.

The changes sound very exciting and i’m sure both existing and new guests with Azamara will be extremely pleased with the outcome. Both ships are 15 years old and were owned by Renaissance Cruises before being acquired by Azamara in 2007, the new changes will definitely bring the ships right up to date.

Below is an overview of what will be changing;

Suite enhancements – Club Continent suites will be having a top to toe refurbishment with brand new carpets, curtains, upholstery and upgrades to the electrical facilities such as built in flat screens TV’s. The beds will feature a ceiling height headboard and the bathrooms will be re decorated in neutral colours and have a nice airy feel to them.

Club Continent Suite
Club Continent Suite

 Staterooms – All other staterooms will benefit from new duvets and pillows, new fabrics, black out curtains, and even new furniture and TV’s. The bathrooms will also be brought up to date with new showers/sinks etc. It sounds to me like these will look like brand new cabins once the refurbishment is complete!

Veranda Stateroom
Veranda Stateroom

Dining – The addition of a new Asian speciality restaurant called Kibo Is the biggest change for dining. This will be located aft on deck 9 ( in the open area currently occupied by the Window Café ) and will only be open for dinner in the evening.  The indoor are of the Windows Café will still be available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Kibo Restaurant
Kibo Restaurant

The Pool Grill will have an outdoor seating area and feature new lighting, canvases and a drinks station that will be open in the evenings.

The main Discoveries Restaurant will receive new artwork and fabrics/textiles to reflect the rest of the ship.

Lounges – The current Looking Glass Lounge will feature the computer centre and a new card room has been added. There will also be a brand new wine/tapas bar which will feature complimentary tapas and a large variety of international wines served by the glass, in addition to the complimentary wines served with Azamara. The idea behind the new bar is that it will have a large elegant living room feel to it. Ideal for wine lovers!

Spa – The new design for the Spa is called The Sanctum. There will be 2 new spa suites added ( where the computer area is currently ) which will be spa staterooms and designed with a very Zen like feel in mind.  I imagine these will sell quickly with only being 2 of them! Currently in the plans for the spa are the addition of a nail bar, pedicure area, acupuncture clinic and Medi-spa.

The Sanctum
The Sanctum

 Wifi – Part of bringing the ships up to date also extends to technology on board. Wifi will be available on board with an App available for guests to book shore excursions and other reservations.

I hope you enjoyed reading my update for Azamara and if you would like any prices for a forthcoming cruise on board Quest or Journey please do not hesitate to give me a call on 0161 7982506.