SA Cruise News

Azamara refocuses on South Africa-intensive itineraries following fleet expansion

Azamara has said the expansion of its fleet with addition of a fourth ship, Azamara Onward, in May will give the cruise line greater flexibility to resume destination-intensive cruises, such as those in South Africa.

Although initially resuming cruises post-COVID in the European market, with all four cruise ships based in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, the cruise line is looking ahead to the 2022/23 South African cruise season.

Azamara has already locked in its South African itineraries for the coming cruise season, and 2023/24, Michael Pawlus, director of strategic itinerary and destination planning, told Cruise Industry News.

Azamara will initially resume operations in the Mediterranean before venturing further afield to SA

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Pawlus pioneered Azamara’s destination-intensive itineraries, such as those in South Africa, which see the cruise line sailing roundtrip from a major cruise destination and visiting nearby ports on the country’s coast.

“We sail 12 days roundtrip from Cape Town,” Pawlus said, “with ports up and down the coast. And we offer pre- and post-cruise packages and safaris within the itinerary.”

Azamara typically homeports in Cape Town and visits Walvis Bay in Namibia, and East London, Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Richard’s Bay in South Africa, as well as Maputo in Mozambique.

Launching the Azamara Onward in May, Azamara will have its four ships in Europe this summer on a variety of itineraries in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, but will be sailing further afield later in the year.

In addition to South Africa, Azamara also typically sails destination-intensive itineraries in Italy, Spain, Croatia, Greece and Israel in the Mediterranean; Norway, Scotland, Iceland and Ireland in Northern Europe; France in Western Europe; and Japan.

With relatively small ships, Pawlus said the cruise line tries to offer unique itineraries that add something special, such as an 11-night French intensive itinerary aboard the Pursuit from Amsterdam to Bordeaux, calling at Zeebrugge, Rouen, where the ship stays overnight; Honfleur, Cherbourg, St. Malo and Nantes, also overnight, before sailing up the Garonne River and docking in downtown Bordeaux.

Azamara operates a fleet of four identical sister ships

For the coming winter season between November and March, Azamara Journey is going to South Africa and Azamara Pursuit to South America, while Azamara Onward will sail in the Caribbean, and Azamara Quest will cruise Australia and New Zealand.

For the summer of 2023, Azamara Quest will sail in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, and AzamaraOnward in the Mediterranean. Azamara Journey and Pursuit will sail in Northern Europe.

For the following winter cruise season in South Africa, Azamara will switch out Azamara Journey with Azamara Pursuit.

“For the 2023/24 winter season, we are going to switch around a bit, so the Pursuit is going to South Africa, the Quest to South America, the Journey to Australia and Japan, while the Onward sails a 155-day world cruise from Port Everglades, starting on January 5th and concluding in Barcelona,” says Pawlus.

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