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Promoting worry free vacations, all-inclusives have become increasingly popular in recent years. To the dismay of cruisers, most of the major cruise lines have gone in the opposite direction using more of an a la carte pricing model, with plenty of extra fees.

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Alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, some dining venues, and activities are now added costs on top of cruise fares, leaving some with an expected bill at the end of the cruise.

For those looking for peace of mind, there are some cruise lines that do provide an all inclusive experience.

Here are the top 8 most all inclusive cruise lines

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

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Regent is a luxury focused cruise line with sailings to 450 worldwide destinations. Owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, they have smaller ships with a maximum capacity of 750 passengers, providing more personalized service.

They are considered among the best for a true all inclusive cruise experience. Their comprehensive benefits entail free drinks that span wines, cocktails, and specialty coffees. Specialty dining, wi-fi, laundry valet service, unlimited shore excursions, gratuities, taxes, and transfers are also covered, along with a pre-cruise night at a hotel.

One of the best perks within their robust offerings is the inclusion of airfares:

  • “FREE Roundtrip Air* on Domestic Flights from 29 gateway cities across the U.S. and Canada, 
  • Enjoy a true luxury experience across Europe, Asia, Australia, and beyond, with FREE Roundtrip Air on Intercontinental Flights, as well as complimentary ground transfers between airport and ship”

Silversea Cruises

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Silversea, a luxury cruise line owned by Royal Caribbean, features ships with under 300 suites serving over 900 destinations worldwide, one of the most extensive offerings in the industry. With their smaller ships, they gain entrance into more unique ports in locations such as the Arctic, Greenland, Antarctica, and the Galapagos.   

One of their biggest inclusions is their door-to-door all inclusive service with a chauffeur picking guests up at their home (starting in spring 2022). Airfare (including international travel), as well as pre and post hotels and transfers, provide guests with the ultimate service.

They also include gourmet dining, room service, drinks (even a stocked mini-bar), butler service, gratuities, shore excursions (at least one per port) providing guests.

Viking Cruises

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Known for its river cruises, Viking also offers ocean and expedition cruises. It targets seasoned travelers with destination focused itineraries. Headquartered in Switzerland it has worldwide itineraries with its 70 vessels.

They have a philosophy of “no nickel and diming”, with no pressure sales tactics, no photo sales or art auctions, for a more relaxed environment.

Fares with Viking include specialty dining, 24-hour rooms service, free wine, beer, soft drinks, and specialty coffees. They provide one free shore excursion in each port. wi-fi, port fees, and taxes are also covered.  

Seabourn Cruise Line

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Seabourn pampers guests in their all-suite ships with no more than 600 guests. A subsidiary of Carnival, they target guests wanting the ultimate luxury experience. Their ocean facing suites provide guests with the ultimate views in exotic locations such as the Amazon, the Arctic, or a world cruise.  

Guests have their own personal suite host and attendant. Fares include unlimited beverages with premium spirits and wines, and a personalized in-suite stocked bar.  Passengers enjoy access to all dining venues, with gratuities included. They offer a basic surf wi-fi package for 1 device per guest, complimentary watersports, and beach BBQs onshore.

Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

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Ritz-Carlton Yacht

A relatively new entrant in cruising is the famous hotel company the Ritz Carlton, part of the Marriott group.  Their yacht collection offers a comprehensive, luxury cruise experience serving popular cruise destinations such as the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the northeast United States and Canada. Each yacht has 149 suites, that accommodate 300 guests in a relaxed, casually elegant atmosphere including a personal concierge.

Fares include specialty dining as well as in-suite dining 24 hours a day,  beverages, wi-fi, non-motorized watersports, and gratuities.

Azamara

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Azamara onward

Azamara Cruises line based out of Miami, Florida, offers boutique-style ships, an intimate with a capacity of 704 passengers and 408 crew. With its smaller size, it can access more “hidden gems” the company notes. One of the best crew to passenger ratios provides personalized service. They focus on destination immersion with worldwide sailings, including a newly announced world cruise.

Guests enjoy complimentary gratuities, beverages, standard spirits, international beers and wines as well as specialty coffees and teas. Fares also include their custom AzAmazing Evenings® events, their tailor-made events to focus local culture for a truly immersive experience.

Crystal Cruises

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Crystal Symphony

Offering ocean, river, and expedition cruises worldwide, Crystal is owned by Genting Hong Kong, a cruise and resort business that owns brands such as Star Cruises and Dream Cruises.

Sailing with a maximum of 900 guests, their cruises offer a comprehensive beverage package including fine wines, champagne, and premium spirits.  Pre-paid gratuities, unlimited Wi-Fi, and 24-hour room service are also provided.

Oceania Cruises

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Oceania

Another subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Oceania targets a more specific segment, promoting their brand as "the world’s leading culinary and destination-focused cruise line.” They have seven smaller ships that have no more than 1,250 guests with sailings worldwide that feature the finest cuisine at sea and destination-rich itineraries that span the globe.

Guests enjoy several free inclusions such as beverages, specialty restaurants, wi-fi, room service, and laundry.

Honorable mentions

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The top all inclusive cruise lines are dominated by the smaller ships which focus on more personalized service. However, among the larger, more popular ships, there are two that get honorable mentions for what they include.

Princess Cruises, a global cruise company that serves 380 destinations with 14 ships, provides some added value to passengers. Their Princess Plus package (currently offered on all fares) includes a premier Beverage Package with cocktails, beer, and wine to specialty coffees, smoothies, and bottled water. Also provided is unlimited wi-fi and gratuities.

Celebrity Cruises, known for its cuisine and design, sails worldwide with its growing fleet. Offered on all sailings for all rooms types are free drinks including cocktails, spirits wine, and beers as well and specialty coffees and soft drinks. They also provide free wi-fi and gratuities as part of their fares. 

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Do you have to be vaccinated to go on a cruise? The short answer is no.

The long answer is that vaccine requirements vary by cruise line, cruise ship, and departure port/destination. Currently, due to the rise of the Delta variant and new restrictions by ports of call, the majority of U.S.-based cruise ships are allowing unvaccinated travelers onboard only if they are too young to be vaccinated or have medical or religious exemptions.

While many U.S.-based cruise lines planned their return to cruise with mainly vaccinated guests, several lines followed CDC protocols via its Conditional Sail Order to run simulated voyages and get approval to sail with unvaccinated guests. Royal Caribbean completed the most test cruises to ensure that families with young children could continue to sail. However, lines that planned to welcome unvaccinated adults have had to get stricter about vaccine requirements to adhere to new government policies.

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Here’s the current list of cruise lines that do not require Covid vaccines to sail, for travelers who cannot or choose not to get the shot.

UPDATED: November 30, 2021

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line

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Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Classica resumed its two-night cruises to the Bahamas on July 10 with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated passengers.

However, the Bahamas has since issued a vaccine requirement for all visitors to its shores. Now all Grand Classica guests ages 12 and older who are sailing between September 26 and October 30, 2021, must be vaccinated. Cruisers ages 2 through 11 must provide negative Covid test results from a PCR test taken within 72 hours of sailing and take an antigen test at the cruise terminal on embarkation day at their family's expense.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line's original policy was that unvaccinated travelers should get tested at least three days before their trip, as well as after. The cruise line recommends all unvaccinated travelers self quarantine for a week after travel. 

In addition, the Bahamas requires Cruise & Stay and one-way travelers to Freeport to present a Bahamas Health Travel Visa.

Carnival

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Carnival is currently sticking with the CDC guidance of sailing with 95 percent of passengers vaccinated. However, the line will provide vaccine exemptions to children under 12 and adults who are not able to receive the vaccine to fill 5 percent of available berths. On cruises out of Long Beach and select fall sailings, Carnival will extend vaccine exemptions to travelers with religious beliefs that prevent them from getting vaccinated.

Unvaccinated passengers who wish to sail will need to be pre-approved during the booking process. The exemptions are not guaranteed and are capacity controlled. These guests will be required to follow specific health protocols and testing requirements, including providing a negative PCR test result at the port, taking an additional antigen test at embarkation and again 24 hours before the cruise ends, and only going ashore in controlled-environment "bubble" tours.

Cruisers departing from Florida and Texas who are not vaccinated must purchase travel insurance for their sailing. Unvaccinated guests sailing from those states, as well as Maryland and Louisiana, who cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons must provide a doctor's note confirming the medical exemption.

These policies will be in place through the end of 2021.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises | Cruise.Blog

Most Celebrity cruises will sail with at least 95 percent of passengers vaccinated; the remaining 5 percent can be unvaccinated and will mainly be children. U.S. travelers ages 12 and older must be vaccinated to sail; this is an update to Celebrity's original policy. Celebrity will not accept certificates of recovery from unvaccinated travelers who have recovered from a Covid-19 infection.

Beginning February 1, 2022, Celebrity will require all guests 5 and up to be vaccinated.

Travelers who are not vaccinated will need to follow a separate set of rules than their vaccinated shipmates. These include:

  • Additional Covid testing before and during your cruise, at your own expense
  • Masks required onboard in public areas, except when dining or drinking 
  • Shore excursions must be purchased through cruise line, not a third-party provider; unvaccinated travelers cannot go ashore independently

Disney Cruise Line

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Disney Cruise Line requires that all passengers ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated in order to cruise. Because the line successfully completed test cruises under the auspices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it does allow unvaccinated children onboard.

However, all travelers on Disney Wonder's November 5 Panama Canal cruise, regardless of age, must be vaccinated. No exemptions will be given for this sailing.

In addition, beginning on sailings January 13, 2022 and beyond, Disney will require all passengers 5 and up to be fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated children  4nad under must take a NAAT or PCR test prior to embarkation, as well as a rapid test at the pier. All results must be negative in order to be allowed onboard.

All Disney passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks indoors, but can remove them when outdoors.

MSC Cruises

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When MSC Cruises ships returned to U.S.-based cruising in August, it did not require guests be vaccinated. However, new restrictions from the Bahamas mandate that all cruisers, ages 12 and up, be fully vaccinated. U.S. travelers on MSC's Europe cruises also must follow the same vaccine policy.

For Bahamas and Caribbean sailing, the vaccination requirement is in place until November 1, unless the Bahamian government extends its policy.

If the Bahamas does not extend its vaccine mandate, unvaccinated cruisers on MSC after November 1 will be subject to different health and safety restrictions and protocols than their vaccinated counterparts. These include:

  • Cruisers must purchase a travel insurance plan with Covid coverage, either through MSC or an independent provider, and present proof of insurance at check-in.
  • Unvaccinated guests will need to show negative results from an RT-PCR or NAAT test taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to departure. Additional testing may be required during the cruise.
  • Masks are required in indoor public areas and outside when social distancing is not possible.
  • Certain activities and locations will be deemed "vaccinated only," and unvaccinated guests will not be allowed to participate or enter.
  • Unvaccinated cruisers cannot go ashore in port unless they have purchased a ship-sponsored excursion. (Ocean Cay is an exception to this rule.)

Royal Caribbean

 Freedom of the Seas set sail from its new home of Miami

For sailings departing from U.S. homeports, all passengers ages 12 and older must have received the Covid shot. Florida cruisers should note that this is a requirement from Bahamas and St. Thomas in place until November 1. At that time, the guidelines might change if the policy is not extended.

For cruises from European ports, all adults 18+ must be vaccinated.

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On all of these cruises, unvaccinated children are allowed onboard, but might be subject to capacity limits.

Unvaccinated guests of any age will be subjected to additional testing and health and safety protocols. The current requirements for U.S.-based cruises include:

  • Unvaccinated children (ages 2+) must show a negative result for a PCR or antigen test taken up to three days before boarding, and take a complimentary antigen test at the terminal and before the cruise ends.
  • Select public areas will offer exclusive access to vaccinated guests (though kids shouldn't miss the casino or spa too much), including separate areas in the dining room for parties with unvaccinated travelers
  • Families traveling with unvaccinated kids must purchase Royal Caribbean tours in order to go ashore in port (Perfect Day at CocoCay is an exception)

Will cruise lines drop their vaccine requirement?

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Vaccine card

While most cruise lines require adults to be vaccinated right now, unvaccinated readers want to know when the vaccine mandate may go away.

There is no definitive answer as to when a vaccine requirement to go on a cruise ship may go away, but at the very least it stands to reason not until the public health emergency ends. As long as Covid-19 remains a pandemic, it seems unlikely cruise lines will change protocols.

As the threat of Covid-19 begins to diminish, there is a possibility cruise lines may relax health protocols, including allowing unvaccinated people to go on a cruise ship.

For now, none of the cruise lines that have a vaccine requirement have announced any plans to rescind that rule in the future.

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Most cruise lines departing from the United States require guests to be vaccinated, however, some are allowing unvaccinated guests, mostly children, to travel at this time. In addition to cruise line policies, excursion protocols are also governed by local requirements that can create additional demands for travelers.

In general, unvaccinated guests may only go onshore with cruise specific excursions for sailings in the Caribbean. Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America, Virgin Voyages and Princess Cruise Line cruises are only sailing with 100% vaccinated guests at this time.

Who is considered unvaccinated also varies slightly amongst the cruise lines, with most indicating that kids under 12  do not require vaccines, and no cruise lines have made boosters or third doses a requirement as of yet.   

The following are the key policies as they relate to unvaccinated cruisers going onshore.

Carnival Cruise Line

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Unvaccinated guests on Carnival can go onshore, however, they must be on a cruise line excursion. The exception to this is their private islands Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays, both located in the Bahamas. On those stops, unvaccinated guests can go ashore without restrictions or requirements to purchase a specific excursion.

Carnival terms their excursions “bubble tours”. They are deemed to be a controlled environment excursion with guests being guided throughout their tour with no unscheduled stops for eating and shopping.

Unlike most cruise lines, Carnival does allow some unvaccinated adults on their cruises based on capacity limits. They explain that vaccine exemptions for cruises to the Caribbean will be limited to a very small number of children under 12 and does allow for 5% unvaccinated passengers. This means that a few unvaccinated adults will be able to be cruising. Regardless of age, the same excursion policy applies to all unvaccinated guests.   

Disney Cruise Line

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Unvaccinated children, along with their vaccinated families must purchase a “Disney Cruise Line Port Adventure” to go onshore.  This does not apply to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.  Families with unvaccinated children do not need to purchase a shore excursion to go onshore there.

Disney Cruise Line requires all vaccine-eligible guests (based on US eligibility requirements) to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at the time of sailing.

The cruise line has recently updated their vaccinations requirements noting that all guests ages 5 and up for sailings beginning on or after January 13, 2022, will require full vaccinations. Prior to then Guests ages 5 through 11 may complete their covid testing requirement in lieu of being fully vaccinated for sailings that depart before January 13, 2022.

Royal Caribbean

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For those with children under 12 (who are unvaccinated), passengers must purchase an excursion through Royal Caribbean with the exception of CocoCay, their private island in the Bahamas, and also for stops in Port Canaveral Florida.

Even if fully vaccinated, parents are considered unvaccinated for the purposes of excursions. However, adults can travel ashore on their own if they leave the kids at one of the youth facilities onboard (to be reserved ahead of time).

Royal Caribbean has also included a special advisory as it relates to who is considered fully vaccinated for departures from Barbados: “

“… we will accept a mixed mRNA vaccination series consisting of one dose of Pfizer and one dose of Moderna, as long as the doses were administered at least 28 days apart. Mixed vaccine regimens of brands other than Pfizer and Moderna are not permitted for this itinerary.

Due to the requirements of destinations on your Barbados itinerary, we can only accept vaccines that are authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO). Barbados entry requirements may permit other vaccines not on the WHO list, but you will need a WHO vaccine to board the ship.”

MSC Cruises

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Unvaccinated guests (children 11 and younger) must buy an MSC excursion to go onshore. This includes family or members of the same traveling party even if they are fully vaccinated. This does not apply to the Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, located in the Bahamas. MSC highly recommends that all guests go onshore with an MSC excursion to ensure the same standard of health and safety that is provided onboard.

Children 11 years old and younger can sail as long as the adults traveling with them are fully vaccinated, however, all guests 12 and older must be vaccinated.

MSC services a number of regions throughout the world, with varying rules per departure port and the passenger’s country of residence. As such, guests should verify specific protocols for their specific sailings.

Celebrity Cruise Line

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Family on Celebrity Cruises shore excursion

Families with unvaccinated children may only go ashore on a shore excursion provided by Celebrity Cruises. They are not currently sailing to any private island unlike most of the other cruise lines.

Celebrity lists an important note listed for sailings to St. Maarten:

The St. Maarten government requires all unvaccinated guests age 10 and older, be tested 2 days prior to disembarking and visiting St. Maarten. Tests will be provided onboard.”

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Celebrity Constellation

All guests that are eligible to be vaccinated must be fully vaccinated with all initial doses administered at least 14 days prior to sailing. Additionally, they specify that Booster Vaccine shots are not required to sail on Celebrity Cruises.

Current CDC guidelines to be considered vaccinated:

Based on the guidance from the CDC and the World Health Organization, approved vaccines include Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Novavax, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines fully vaccinated as 14 days after receiving:

  • A single dose of an accepted 1-dose vaccine
  • The second dose of an accepted 2-dose vaccine
  • The full series of an active (not placebo) COVID-19 vaccine in the US-based AstraZeneca or Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials
  • The second dose of any “mix and match” combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines (administered at least  28 days apart)
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech) is FDA-authorized for use in children aged 5–11 years for primary vaccination.
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Work has begun on the fourth cruise ship in Celebrity Cruise's Edge Class.

The ceremonial first cut of steel of Celebrity Ascent was held today, which will make its debut in early 2023. 

Steel cutting is important because it marks the official start of construction of a new cruise ship.

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Ascent steel cutting
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Ascent steel cutting
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Ascent steel cutting

Ascent is under construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France.

"The name of this new ship is very apropos as the industry rebounds, but also as Celebrity continues to lead the industry as an unmatched new-luxury brand and cruise line," said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of the Royal Caribbean Group, the parent company of Celebrity Cruises. "Celebrity Ascent will take the industry to new heights as it pushes the boundaries of what people can experience on a ship and how they experience it."

"What another wonderful moment for our brand, our company and our industry to be in this incredible shipyard making the traditional first cut of steel on this magnificent ship and signaling the bright future that lies ahead," said Lutoff-Perlo. "While I wish I could share what we have in store for this ship, I can tell you our ‘Ascent’ will be Celebrity Beyond’s sister ship in every way, and then some." 

 

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Azamara Cruises, a small, luxury cruise line based out of Miami, Florida, announced today a world cruise that is being touted as “All 7 Wonders of the World and more”.  Focusing on an immersive experience aboard its ship the Azamara Onward, the global voyage with its wide-ranging itinerary and cultural highlights will provide guests with an unparalleled journey.

The sailing will span a total of 155 nights, including 22 overnight stays, 27 late stays, 40 + countries, and 75 unique destinations. The cruise line is marketing this extensive sailing as a “One Immersive Voyage”, given the scope of the trip and the ability “to travel to more unique locations”.

The Azamara Onward is a boutique-style ship, which is much more intimate with a capacity of 704 passengers and 408 crew. With its smaller size, it can access more “hidden” gems, as the company notes, along with providing personalized service.

The cruise line was sold by Royal Caribbean to Sycamore Partners in the first half of 2021, and they now have 4 cruise ships with international itineraries, garnering good passenger reviews.

The Voyage

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Azamara world cruise map

The six month cruise is divided into 10 segments starting in Fort Lauderdale on January 5, 2024, ending in Spain on June 9, 2024. Guests will travel through central and south America, parts of the south pacific, New Zealand, and Australia before moving on to Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.  There is an optional post-cruise extension in Europe, with the addition of 11 nights touring Spain and Portugal, finishing off in Southampton, England.

The cruise line provides a broad selection of excursions, including multiday and overnight stays to provide the guests with ultimate experiences, including all seven of the Wonders of the World and other bucket-list destinations.

Highlights include crossing the Panama Canal, a visit to Machu Picchu, Easter Island, the Galapagos, the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramids of Egypt, Petra, the Suez Canal, and the Colosseum.   Longer stays, and more overnights provide for a more interactive and personal experience. This includes AzAmazing Evenings that are hosted in historic venues to offer tailor made, one of a kind of experiences.

The 10 Segments include:

  1. Central America Tapestry – Central and South America
  2. Pacific Mysteries -French Polynesia
  3. South Pacific Explored – South Pacific and New Zealand
  4. Kiwis and Koala – New Zealand and Australia
  5. Astounding Australia and Asia – Papua New Guinea, Palau, and the Philippines  
  6.  Vietnam and Thailand Pathways – Singapore as well
  7.  Ancient Trade  AsiaTrade - Asia and the Middle East
  8.  Ancient Reflections - the Middle East and Turkey
  9.  European Gems and Icons
  10.  Adriatic and Med Gateways

Cruise Benefits

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Azamara pool deck

Guests of the world cruise will enjoy a number of benefits in addition to the standard cruise benefits from Azamara.

Pre-voyage benefits:   

  • Business class travel (round trip) to departure city
  • One night in hotel pre-departure  
  • All transfers, including airport, hotel, and ship
  • $500 in luggage shipping reimbursement  
  • Pre-sailing gala

 Onboard

  • $4000 World Voyage Bonus Onboard Credit
  • Additional $3000 onboard credit
  • World Voyage special – two destination enriching experiences
  • Unlimited wifi for one device
  • Premium Beverage Package for two

Azamara Inclusions:

  • Gratuities
  • Food and Beverage
  • 10 AzAmazings cultural experiences
  • Concierge service 
  • Weekly Laundry

Pricing

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Pricing ranges from inside cabins just under $35 thousand, all the way up to $128 thousand for a suite in addition to plus taxes and fees (subject to change).

Currently, the booking is restricted to some travel agents until Dec. 7.  Pricing, not including taxes and fees:

Club World Owner Suite              $128,199

Club Ocean Suite:                         $115, 899

Club Spa Suite                               $103,200

Club Continental Suite                 $68,500

Club Veranda Plus                        $53,399

Club Veranda                                $50,199

Club Oceanview                            $41,099

Clun Interior                                 $34,699

The Ship

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Azamara onward

Guests will be onboard the Azamara Onward. Originally built in 1999, it has a capacity of 1100 with the crew, tonnage of approximately 30,000, 8 guest decks, and 592 feet in length. Much smaller than many of the new ships today, which they view as an advantage to docking in smaller ports, heightening the cultural experience.

The ship includes a number of lounges, food venues, a pool, spa, fitness center, running track, and beauty salon, in addition to a variety of cabin types.

The Azamara Onward features:

  • Cuisine that reflects the destination
  • Five-star butler service
  • 24 hour in room dining
  • Live onboard entertainment including signature shows
  • Comedy Nights
  • Culinary demonstrations with wine tastings
  • Enrichment programs and classes
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