The gorgeous Azamara Quest at Olden, Norway

One of just a pair of more or less identical sisters operated by the boutique, Azamara Club Cruises, the Azamara Quest was a very welcome sight on a fine, sunny day in Olden recently. Bathed in late summer sunshine as she sat tethered to her quay, the Azamara Quest looked sublime. She is a ship that has raised the bar on small ship, luxury sailing to a new level of immersion and indulgence.

Why so? Azamara offers more overnight stays in ports around the globe than perhaps any other cruise line in the business. Instead of limbering out of, say,  Barcelona, Copenhagen or Saigon in the early evening, the ships often stay in port for at least one night, and possibly two. This allows their guests to see some of the most incredible cities in the world in an entirely new light, and enjoy the exotic, markedly different nightlife on offer.

On top of that, the ships are famously well fed and served. It is nothing short of amazing that these intimate, 30,000 ton siblings offer no less than six open seating, high quality dining and snacking venues each, offering a smorgasbord of tasty snacks and gourmet cuisine that is almost literally a world journey in itself. And, best of all for many, the dress code is smart casual, which means that you can leave the tuxedos and tiaras at home, should you so desire.

What you will not find on board is a surfeit of over the top entertainments, dalliances and distractions. If what you are looking for is rock climbing walls, dodgem cars and multi storey discos, then these are not the ships for you.

Instead, you can anticipate cool jazz and soft, piano accented sailaways from the kind of idyllic, intimate, yacht studded havens that the larger ships have to leave in their wakes. Expect a total absence of crowds on board, too. With just 686 guests looked after by a crew of 408, the Azamara Quest and her sibling, Azamara Journey, are two of the most spacious and stress free ships wandering the globe today.

Tasteful exterior spaces makes outdoor living an art form on these ships. A secluded, forward facing spa features an expansive, open air terrace, complete with hot tub, that offers sensational views over the bow. And the centrally located sun deck features a pool with twin Jacuzzis, plus ample sunning spaces all around, to make for some wickedly indulgent ‘me’ time when the mood takes you as well.

The sister ships boast every kind of accommodation, from practical, perfectly primped inside staterooms, to sublime balcony suites that offer memorable vistas for viewing dazzling clusters of stars in mid ocean, or even a delicate South Pacific sunrise.

Beautifully thought through, with exquisite cuisine and a series of world spanning, imaginatively executed itineraries each season, the Azamara brand is most definitely an option worth exploring. And after all, no one said adventure has to be hard work.


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