Encounter Asia the Azamara Way
With its proximity to Australia, blend of East and West, and promise of mysterious and exotic cultures, Asia continues to rise as a popular cruising destination. Aptly described as the “new destination du jour for luxury-minded travellers” by Fodor’s Travel, Asia delivers much for the discerning explorer - and Azamara Club Cruises provide the perfect boutique cruise experience with truly immersive itineraries that take you right to the heart of each incredible location.
WHY CRUISE ASIA?
An Azamara cruise will have you amidst buzzing motorbikes, French colonial architecture, floating markets, lost-in-time villages and neon-lit nightlife, which all blend seamlessly to give you a that true and unique essence that is Asia. Here’s a taste of some of the unique experiences you won’t want to miss.
From Beach To Buddha
Cruising in this part of the world has you wiggling your toes in the white sand of the breath-taking tropical beaches of Koh Samui one day, and then gazing on a giant gold Buddha the next. Azamara has itineraries that visit four principal cities of Thailand and Vietnam and encourages guests to explore the culture on small-group shore excursions to experience things like the bustling night markets that are full of unrecognisable ingredients and unfamiliar but tantalizing smells – fragrant spices that anchor you to the fact that you really are in the Far East.
Part of your Azamara itinerary will have you heading to rural Thailand where you’ll board a traditional long tail boat, navigate bustling canals, and visit Damnoen Saduak, a floating market. A scenic drive takes you west of Bangkok for a fascinating ride along the “klongs” that border the Chao Phraya River. Arriving at the floating market, you can start exploring the colourful and lively stalls that can be seen from the banks of the canals. Watch as flat-bottomed boats jostle along the canal bank, and be sure to take the opportunity to shop for woodcarvings and traditional Thai handicrafts.
World Heritage Sites
Azamara also provides options for four remarkable World Heritage Sites: the World famous Angkor Wat’s temples, Halong Bay’s dreamlike karsts and fishing villages, ancient Hue on the Perfume River, and the old trading centre of Hoi An. These experiences are guaranteed to create lifetime memories to cherish.
Unleash Your Inner Foodie
Unleash your inner foodie and embark on a delicious quest to discover the culinary traditions of Vietnam. The fun begins at the colorful Ben Thanh Market, the most famous local market in Ho Chi Minh City. You then follow your guide through the bustling crowds to learn all the background information on the fresh ingredients that are to be used in your culinary workshop at the unique Gain Cooking Studio. This facility is specifically designed for teaching and your class starts with a demonstration of master techniques. Then, it’s your turn. Learn how to make a selection of favorite Vietnamese dishes with a local Chef offering expert instruction, guidance, and even a helping hand when needed. Once you’ve finished your culinary masterpieces, sit down to a delicious lunch and savour the day’s creations with local beer and soft drinks. Be sure when back home, to invite fellow foodies over to impress them with the authentic Vietnamese recipes you now know how to prepare.
Walk Through Some History
You will also journey through rural landscapes of lush of rice paddies as you journey to Hanoi, a city where east meets west. Your journey starts in Ba Dinh Square, where stands the imposing marble and granite tomb of Ho Chi Minh. Then you make your way to Ho Chi Minh cottage, where you’ll explore the tranquil five-walled courtyards and the pavilions of the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university. After lunch, meander in and around old Hanoi at your own pace, foraging the boutiques and shops of the 36 Streets District for some treasured mementoes.
WHY CRUISE WITH AZAMARA?
Besides the amazing Asian itineraries on offer, there is of course the cruise itself, with accommodation, meals and entertainment all included. Azamara’s Asia cruise voyages departing in 2017/18 are offered on Azamara Journey, one of Azamara’s two boutique-style ships. They set themselves apart with more than half of all ports of call featuring late night and overnight stays. Azamara offers longer stays in port, more night touring, and shore excursions delivered by locals for a truly immersive experience.
Azamara Journey: The Ship Itself
Like her sister ship, the Azamara Journey is a mid-sized boutique style cruise where you’ll never feel crowded onboard as there is plenty of space in the bars, restaurants, lounges, and pool area where the attentive staff is always only to happy to help. Staterooms feature modern amenities, furnishings, and European linens. And one of the greatest features of this ship is the large number of staterooms with verandas. There’s nothing better than opening your door to the fresh sea air and views.
Each cruise offers guests a complimentary AzAmazing Evening - a bespoke travel experience designed to give you an authentic look into the destination, its people and their culture. For example, in Bangkok you can tour a traditional village and take part in an authentic ritual at the Loi Krathong ceremony. Immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture at Binh Quoi Village, a lush garden setting of coconut palms, gentle creeks and colourful lanterns. No matter what the voyage, you are sure to have an evening to remember.
Images courtesy of Getty and Azamara.