Azamara has yet to confirm a return to the Middle East for a full cruise season post-pandemic, but the cruise line will be offering one roundtrip Dubai voyage aboard Azamara Journey during the 2023/24 season.
Azamara Journey will depart Dubai on November 13th, 2023 for a 7-night Arabian Gulf roundtrip cruise, visiting Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island and Doha. The ship will then return to Dubai and depart November 20th on a 15-night cruise to Singapore.
Prices for the 7-night roundtrip start at $1,899 per person sharing an inside cabin, while the longer Singapore voyage goes for $2,099, also per person sharing an inside cabin.
With both cruises aboard Azamara Journey departing from Dubai, Azamara invites guests to “discover the world’s first underwater hotel, the world’s tallest building, and for an experience you’ll have to see to believe, skiing in the desert.”
The cruise line is referring of course to the Burj Al Arab hotel, the Burj Khalifa next to Dubai Mall, and Mall of the Emirates, home to the Ski Dubai indoor ski slope with real snow.
On the 7-night roundtrip itinerary, Abu Dhabi is the first port of call. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a highlight here. The architectural wonder features 82 domes, 24-carat gold-gilded chandeliers, and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet.
Guests can also explore the Louvre Abu Dhabi, with its spectacular sun-dappled dome that weighs more than the Eiffel Tower, and collection of millennia-old artefacts. Azamara Journey stays overnight in Abu Dhabi so guests have time to see all the city has to offer.
The private island retreat of Sir Bani Yas is the next port of call, offering a relaxing beach day in the sun, as well as stand up paddleboarding, kayaking and a game safari Jeep drive or mountain bike excursion.
In Doha, Azamara Journey stays overnight again, so that guests have time to explore priceless Islamic art spanning 1,400 years and three continents at the Museum of Islamic Art, or discover inventive cuisine at Alain Ducasse’s IDAM restaurant, before making their way to Souq Waqif, the Arabic market quarter.
The maze-like corridors of this quarter were recently renovated, but the timeless aroma of spices, and the sights of colorful textiles and gold jewelry remain.
The last night of the cruise is also an overnight, but this time back in Dubai, so that guests can squeeze in any experiences they didn’t have time for pre-cruise, such as riding an elevator to the 148th floor of the Burk Khalifa, or haggling for a bargain at the historic Dubai Gold Souk.
Azamara Journey ends the cruise on November 20th, 2023, and boards passengers the same day for her 15-night Dubai to Singapore voyage via India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The first three days of the cruise are spent at sea rounding the Musandam Peninsula and transiting the Strait of Hormuz for the Gulf of Oman, before arriving in Mumbai, India. During this time, Azamara invites guests to “relax with a few days of fun and luxury, [or] discover Broadway cabaret, fine dining and even finer wines, or a cozy nook to savor your coffee.”
Mumbai is the first of six port calls on this itinerary, offering guests everything from flashy Bollywood and the bustling Chor bazaar, to Elephanta Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to a maze of cave temples and impressive carvings dating back to at least the 2nd century BCE.
For true cultural and historical immersion, guests can explore Dharavi, a city within the city, home to a traditional 100-year-old potters’ village, leather tanning, and other goods, or visit the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum (formerly the Victoria and Albert Museum), offering over 3,500 objects telling Mumbai’s story.
Azamara Journey then spends a day at sea cruising for Cochin, where passengers can watch fishermen casting massive 14th century Chinese fishing nets, and sample the day’s catch at nearby stalls. Then it’s an overnight dash for Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka.
The ship stays overnight here, providing time for passengers to visit the famous elephant orphanage and ancient Kandy, where Buddha’s tooth is said to be housed in a sacred temple. Down the Sri Lankan coast Azamara Journey ten calls in Hambantota, where sprawling national parks are home to leopards, elephants, wild buffalo, and more.
Galle Fort, an 18th-century UNESCO World Heritage-listed Dutch walled town with chic shops, grand colonial houses, and beautiful beaches, can also be found here.
Azamara Journey then reaches Sabang, Indonesia after another two days at sea. This port city offers views of the bay across the peninsula to Kasih Beach from Kota Ata, while cake and coffee can be had at a traditional Acehnese coffee shop on the water.
After another day at sea, Azamara Journey calls in Port Klang (gateway to Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur), famous for its eclectic mix of architecture, such as the neo-Moorish Sultan Abdul Samad Building, the Tudor-style Cricket Club, the early English gothic-style St. Mary’s Cathedral, and the modern Petronas Towers. The city is alsoknown for its kedai kopi shops, clusters of stalls featuring a variety of delicious dishes.
Singapore is where the cruise ends, with passengers disembarking from 7am to provide ample time to explore the city. Azamara suggests guests try the unofficial dish of the city, chili crab, and explore the Marina Bay Sands, the world’s second most expensive building.
It’s also home to seven celebrity chef restaurants, a casino, two floating Crystal Pavilions, and an ice-skating rink.Visitors to Singapore looking for a nature respite can also stroll through the world’s largest orchid garden at the tranquil Singapore Botanic Gardens.