If you've been lusting over a lavish break, if an opulent ocean voyage has been a temptation simply hovering on the horizon, now might be the time to get planning. This week has seen major announcements from two of the industry's leading cruise lines - Cunard and Azamara Club Cruises, both revealing plans to debut one new ship each.
Azamara's latest addition Azamara Pursuit will be the third to join their fleet, with delivery expected in March 2018, while Cunard announced their plans to add an unnamed fourth ship to their fleet, aiming for a 2022 unveiling. This will be the first time since 1998 that Cunard has had four ships in simultaneous service, and the line's first new ship in 12 years.
The British Cruise Line boasts the fleet of Queens; Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria and this week's announcement was no coincidence. It also marked the 50th anniversary celebration of the launch of their legendary QE2 (Queen Elizabeth 2). Simon Palethorpe, Cunard's Senior Vice President, referenced this saying “we recently marked the 50th anniversary of one of Cunard's much loved ocean liners, the legendary QE2. What better way to celebrate her important role in Cunard's past than by announcing our commitment to Cunard's future with the commissioning of a new ship."
The high-end brand has been going from strength to strength lately - a clear observation that was endorsed by their loyal clientele with over one million people gathering to celebrate the company's 175th anniversary. Cunard has subsequently been investing significantly into refurbishments and working to develop the guest experience to meet the needs of modern day luxury consumers. The latest ship will reflect this with sophisticated aesthetics, world-class amenities and stately suites along with new dining experiences, signature bar offerings, new itineraries, special event voyages and brand partnerships all contributing to the brand's evolution.
Fellow luxe line Azamara Club Cruises is also experiencing success, reflected in the acquisition of their third ship which will increase the company's portfolio significantly. Azamara Pursuit will join the fleet as a sister ship to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises was enthusiastic about the news, saying "we are pleased to expand our portfolio by 50%, allowing us to visit even more regions of the world through the acquisition of this sister ship. “Our loyal guests and travel partners have asked for this expansion for a long time; we are very pleased to deliver this to them.”
Azamara too has been updating their fleet; Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey have both received refurbishments that aim to provide guests with an inimitable experience: a boutique hotel at sea. The new addition to the fleet will be similar in size and decor to the existing ships, therefore will receive aesthetic updates to ensure it is in line with the brand and its upmarket position. Azamara Pursuit will accommodate up to 690 guests, offering an intimate luxury cruise experience, and the benefits that come with a smaller sized ship.
The smaller size offers Azamara the opportunity to dock into ports that are off limits to larger liners, providing guests with a unique cruise experience - combining both larger cities like Singapore with smaller, charming villages in one captivating voyage. This will support the brand's commitment to a range of immersive, destination focused itineraries, longer port stays and more port options.
If you are looking to discover the heart of a destination, unwind after days full of discovery and enjoy the finer things in life a luxury cruise might be just the break for you.
Images courtesy of Cunard & Azamara