Every so often, there’s a news article that completely slips by me. Perhaps this one is due to the fact that I was bobbing around Norway’s Arctic Circle when it came out, but I’m kicking myself for missing it because it announces a pretty cool concept that everyone should be excited about.

Azamara Club Cruises have introduced what they call AzAamazing Evenings – exclusive evening tour options on each Azamara itinerary that can range from a waterfront party in Crete to an immersive night at the ballet, all – as the name might suggest – taking place at night.

Azamara Journey off the coast of Taormina, Sicily in 2011. She now sports a sexy new blue hull. Photo ©  Aaron Saunders

Azamara Journey off the coast of Taormina, Sicily in 2011. She now sports an attractive blue hull. Photo © Aaron Saunders

These new AzAmazing Evenings just kicked off this week, with the start of the Europe season aboard the line’s sleek (and recently repainted) Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. Because the line focuses heavily on longer port stays and overnight calls, it seems to have made perfect sense to provide some custom-tailored night touring packages to guests.

“AzAmazing Evenings are authentic, exclusive and bespoke experiences that showcase the best of local life and often times, surprising and delightful colors and flavors of intriguing destinations around the world,” said Edie Bornstein, senior vice president of Marketing and Sales, Azamara Club Cruises. “Azamara’s unique value proposition of longer stays, more overnights and night touring on every voyage is what makes an AzAmazing Evenings event possible. The Azamara difference is that we are still in port long after other cruise ships have left.”

Here’s why you should be excited about these: for cruisers visiting Europe, the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the culture and spirit of the region you’re calling in – even only if for a night – presents some stellar possibilities. In fact, some Azamara ships are in port for up to three days in a row, allowing you a chance to do your own thing and still participate in these new AzAmazing Evenings.

Here’s a sample of what Azamara Club Cruises has on-tap:

For Wine Lovers: Guests on Azamara Quest’s April 10, Monte-Carlo to Andalucia voyage will enjoy a complimentary AzAmazing Evenings event at the Cordoniu Cellars. The Cordoniu family has been producing Spain’s famous sparkling Cava wine since the 16th Century. On this visit guests will learn how Cava is made, sample the varieties paired with regional specialties, and be treated to a stunning flamenco performance across six stages, with a chance to meet and chat with the performers afterwards.

For Sports Lovers:  Azamara Quest’s April 3, Springtime Along the Cote D’Azur voyage will take them to the charming port of Sete, France, where they will watch the ancient and colorful sport of water jousting, found only in this region of the world.  During this AzAmazing Evenings event guests will share ringside seats on the Royal Canal, and enjoy the unique spectacle, along with a fine array of local food and libations, including French wines, shellfish, tapenade and savory canapés.

For Gourmands: During Azamara Quest’s June 3, Basque Country to the Channel Islands voyage, gourmands will experience an evening of Basque cuisine at Azurmendi, a three-star Michelin restaurant. Guests will be treated to traditional foods with a modern twist by Chef Eneko Atxa with time to tour the gardens and wine cellar beforehand and watch appetizers being prepared at food stalls in the grand dining room as they listen to ancient txalaparta music.

For Festive Culture-Seekers: Guests on Azamara Journey’s October 26, Greek Isles & Cyprus, Suez Canal to Oman & Dubai voyage will enjoy an immersive evening at Limassol, Cyprus. There guests will be transported to Omodus Village to explore this traditional mountain village of narrow cobblestone lanes. They will enjoy a private section of the square where dancers representing Cyprus’ different regions will perform as they sample local wines and mezes.

For Theatre Lovers: An evening at the ballet awaits guests on Azamara Quest’s June 22, Baltic Rendezvous & Kiel Fireworks voyage. This AzAmazing Evenings experience is held at the famous Mikkhailovsky Theater, where guests will be treated to a red carpet entrance, complete with champagne before sitting down to gala performance exclusively for Azamara guests. Before this exquisite evening of ballet in the beautifully renovated theater, guests will enjoy a regal greeting by the Russian Horn Capella orchestra.

The Mediterranean is a fantastic cruise destination. Here, a tender from Azamara Journey is dwarfed by the cliffs of Sorrento, Italy. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

The Mediterranean is a fantastic cruise destination. Here, a tender from Azamara Journey is dwarfed by the cliffs of Sorrento, Italy. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

For History Lovers: Azamara Journey’s August 4, Vatican to the Acropolis voyage will feature a complimentary AzAmazing Evenings experience at a typical Piedigrotta, in Sorrento, Italy. The Neapolitan festival from medieval times will be transported back to ancient Naples. Guests will wander through an authentic ‘village’ set in a lovely garden along with singers, dancers and musicians dressed in 19th Century costumes as they enjoy medieval music and sample delicacies at realistic market stalls along the way.

For Music Lovers: Overlooking the Amalfi and Bay of Salerno, guests on Azamara Quest’s September 7, Footsteps of Napolean & Amalfi Coast will enjoy an eveningat the village of Ravello, Italy. Perched on a cliff, the village is home to Villa Rufolo and the beautiful gardens that inspired Richard Wagner’s second movement of Parsifal. During the evening they will be treated to stunning views of the sea as well as a classical concert followed by Prosseco and Italian sweets.

For Jetsetters: A beachside party awaits guests on Azamara Journey’s July 11, Azamara Summer Favorites voyage, at lively Ibiza, Spain. Guests will dance the night way to a 60s-inspired retro party at the famous Nassau Beach Club, host to international jetsetters and Hollywood celebrities.

These exclusive events are to be held once per voyage and can be booked on-line prior to your cruise. I’d highly recommend booking these as soon as possible to avoid disappointment; don’t wait to get onboard the ship, as these will likely go fast.

And so we get back to why I’m kicking myself for missing a press release that came across the lines back in February!

Azamara Journey in Sorrento, Italy. Photo ©  Aaron Saunders

Azamara Journey in Sorrento, Italy. Photo © Aaron Saunders

Check out the entire lineup of Azamara Club Cruises voyages available with our friends at Cruise Experts Travel!


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