(4:45 p.m. AEST) — Australia has welcomed Azamara Club Cruises to its shores for the first time, starting in the outback and heading for Sydney.
After sailing from Bali and celebrating Christmas Day at Komodo Island, in Indonesia, Azamara Quest arrived in Darwin on the Boxing Day public holiday (pictured above). Fortunately for the 580 passengers, most of the city’s shops, bars, restaurants and tourist attractions were open, the hop-on hop-off bus was operating, and the line’s complimentary “Azamazing Evening” was enjoyed at Crocosaurus Cove, where Captain Carl Smith was dropped into the ‘Cage of Death’ with a couple of crocodiles. (He survived.)
Recent wild weather and flooding in the Top End saw some shore excursions cancelled, such as a trip to Litchfield National Park, but passengers were refunded and spent the day exploring the Waterfront Precinct and swimming in the lagoon.
Azamara Quest is currently spending two days at sea. Its next port of call is Thursday Island, where the ship will anchor until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve to top off a special “white night” party. The rest of the week will see evening stays in Cooktown and Port Douglas and an overnight call in Cairns.
Azamara Quest’s next departure, from Cairns on 5 January, includes maiden visits to Townsville (7 January), Hardy Reef and Hamilton Island (8 January), Mooloolaba (10 January), Brisbane (11 January), Newcastle (13 January) and Sydney (13 January, overnight) before sailing to Melbourne (18 January), Port Arthur (20 January), Hobart (21 January) and New Zealand — also for the first time.
Azamara Quest is one of two 686-passenger ships in the fleet of Royal Caribbean’s boutique brand. The inaugural local sailing attracted a mix of nationalities including 173 Australians, 146 British, 100 Americans, 27 from Mexico, 31 from Germany, 30 from Finland, from New Zealand, and smaller numbers from other European countries, Brazil and South Africa. (Cruise Critic is also onboard the cruise, so stay tuned for a review of this history-making journey.)
Despite being new to the region, Azamara recently announced its first world voyage will depart from Sydney in 2018 on a 102-day cruise ending in London.
Azamara Quest Cruises