Azamara Club Cruises’ luxury ship Azamara Quest is currently sailing her first ex-Dublin itinerary to Hamburg via Belfast, Glasgow, Invergordon and Edinburgh. ITTN’s News & Features Editor Neil Steedman reports from onboard. Follow his daily reports on Irish Travel Trade News’ Facebook page.
Having gone to sleep in my Club Veranda stateroom in Dublin Bay on Sunday evening, I woke up yesterday morning in Belfast Harbour, with the new but already iconic Titanic Belfast building in full, splendid view across the water. In the evening this was to be the venue for this sailing’s equally splendid AzAmazing Evening – every Azamara Quest itinerary, and those of her sister ship Azamara Journey, includes one complimentary AzAmazing Evening, all bespoke events that are exclusive to Azamara.
My special visit to the bridge (not normally available to guests) was hosted by Second Officer Nangelis from Greece, who initially joined the Azamara Journey in 2007 but, after a one-year ‘break’ for military service, came onboard the Quest in 2010. “My father was a radio officer and I always wanted to do this since I was a little boy,” he told me. “I work four months on, two months off, and the Quest team are my family! In another seven years or so, and after much study, I hope to become a captain.”
The ship can accommodate 694 guests in 347 staterooms and there are around 550 on the current sailing – so what are they paying for this 10-night luxury voyage? It’s hard to know because, while the brochure rates range from $5,798 for a Club Interior stateroom up to $10,398 for a suite (of which there are 10, all occupied), the Up to 50% Off rates range from $2,899 to $5,199.
By the way, there are currently eight Europe Summer Savers on offer (four on each ship) that range from €875 for a seven-night Vatican to the Acropolis cruise on Azamara Journey departing Rome on 4th August up to €3,995 for a 14-night Norwegian Fjords and North Cape on Azamara Quest departing Hamburg on 24th July – so book now!
Last night almost all the guests, well over 500, availed of the visit to Titanic Belfast, including dinner and entertainment.
The venue is a must see for anyone visiting Belfast because, as Chief Executive Tim Husbands said: “This is a unique project on an iconic story that has attracted more than 800,000 from 128 countries in its first year, 65% of whom came from outside of Northern Ireland. They generated £27 million and there were 300 events, including corporate launches and weddings complete with Leo and Kate lookalikes.”
Some 60 cruise ships are visiting Belfast this year, so the prospects for not just Titanic Belfast but also other Northern Ireland visitor attractions ‘within range’ are looking good!