By Azamara Club Cruises on Thursday, March 19, 2015
Beaches are great, but there’s more to summer than sunbathing. Imagine strolling down the cobblestoned streets of a village that appears to be straight from the pages of a fairytale, or cruising through mystical Fjords highlighted by picturesque waterfalls. The natural beauty of Northern Europe is best experienced in the summer, and it will take your breath away.
Belfast is no longer a destination that travelers should avoid. The city has undergone quite the transformation and visitor numbers are on the rise. Find Donegall Square in the heart of the city to see the Edwardian City Hall, and the Titanic Memorial. Afterwards, grab a pint at the Crown Liquor Saloon, a Victorian pub dating back to the 1880s.
Copenhagen is known for its skyline of spires, its colorful waterfront and its beautiful parks. Explore Tivoli Gardens, or cruise the canals with our Land Discoveries tour.
Douglas, Isle of Man
Douglas on the Isle of Man is small, but definitely worth visiting. Charming cafes and restaurants line the sea front, gardens brighten up quaint streets, and the island’s village of Cregneash is home to the fascinating Manx community.
A cruise through the Norwegian Fjords might remind some of Disney’s hit film Frozen. It’s a place so magical, you’ll think you must have entered a fairytale. A small luxury cruise ship is the ultimate way to explore the fjords and see the spectacular Seven Sisters Waterfalls.
When our ships dock in Edinburgh (Leith), Scotland, we often spend several nights. You’ll be thrilled to have so much time to explore this incredible city. Begin your day at Edinburgh Castle, perched high above the city.
The quiet seaside town of Cobh in County Cork is your gateway to this stunning part of Ireland. Explore Cobh’s hitosry of seafaring and relationship with the Titanic, see the fortress and monestrey on Spike Island, or take the train to the charming village of Cork.
Traditional architecture meets modern design in Helsinki. Visit Kauppatori Market Square to find fresh, local food and unique handicrafts. Join our Land Discoveries tour, and you’ll visit one of the largest ice bars in the world. How cool is that?
Fans of the British TV series Broadchurch have all fallen in love with the show’s locale, England’s stunning Jurassic Coast. Dover’s steep white cliffs and sparkling ocean made for a stunning panorama, so pack your camera.
Honningsvag, Norway, is the last village before North Cape and home to only 4,000 people. From Honningsvag, you can the majestic cliff of North Cape where the Atlantic meets the Arctic.
St. Petersburg, Russia
Enjoy several days exploring art and history in St. Petersburg, Russia. The stunning Catherine Palace (pictured here), the Hermitage, Peter and Paul Fortress and the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood are only a few of the city’s must-see spots. Land Discoveries tours can help you make the most of your time in port.
Isle of Skye, Scotland
Portree, Scotland is your gateway to the magical Isle of Skye. Soak in the ambiance of rolling green hills, thick misty air and rugged coastline. The spectacular Quirang hike will leave you breathless. This is what Scotland is all about.
Guernsey, Channel Islands
If you’re in a book club, there’s a good chance you’ve read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The work of fiction brings Guernsey during wartime to life for readers. The small island of Guernsey was occupied by Germans during WWII, a fact that makes it such an interesting place to visit today.
Love sports? Music? History? There’s something for everyone in Liverpool. The city is home to excellent rugby, football (or, soccer, to Americans) and golf, and is the birthplace of The Beatles.
Tromso, Norway is situated far North of the Arctic Circle, and boasts a dramatic landscape of snowcapped mountains, stunning fjords and scattered islands. The town’s Arctic Cathedral is an architecural masterpiece, with eleven arching triangles representative of icebergs.
The fairytale-like town of Tallinn, Estonia will charm you immediately. There’s no need to rush here. Find a seat at an outdoor cafe along the Palace Square and enjoy your surroundings.
Ahh, Athens. The cradle of European civilization and the birthplace of democracy. That’s quite a reputation! Athens offers incredible sightseeing opportunities for tourists, thanks to the immense history of the city. But there’s another side to Athens, too. Resident Athenians and visiting night owls have been showcashing the incredible beauty of the city after dark using the hashtag #AthensByNight on Instagram. We searched through thousands of photos and selected ten of our favorites to share.
Athens glows at night. It’s the perfect city to take a few days to explore, before or after your cruise. Azamara Club Cruises has sixteen upcoming voyages that embark or disembark in nearby Piraeus.
The Acropolis is a wondrous place to visit during the day, but it’s even more beautiful when it’s lit up at night. In the evening, find a rooftop bar that faces the historic site and enjoy a glass of Ouzo and your breathtaking surroundings. Though hotel bars aren’t often frequented by locals, “A” for Athens in Monastiraki is an exception. The Terrace Bar at Central Hotel is another favorite. Wherever you go, arrive early to ensure you get a good view.
Culture lovers will enjoy Athens in the summer, when you can easily find outdoor concerts, folk dance and theater performances. The Lykavittós theatre is a magical venue, carved into rock and perched high above the city, close to the summit of Mount Lykavittós.
Athens is a foodie paradise. If you’re eating at a restaurant, check out what locals are ordering and follow suit. But don’t leave Athens without ordering a traditional Greek salad at least once. Horiatiki is a rustic salad made with tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, Kalamata olives and delicious feta cheese. No matter how great a Greek salad you think you’ve had before, it won’t compare to the real thing in Greece.
You also may want to try tyropita (cheese pies), souvlaki (kebabs), tyropita (cheese pies), and a tasty dessert of Greek coffee and baklava. Don’t forget to indulge in some street food! Greece is famous for its gyros. Gyro actually means “turn”, and the sandwich gets its name from the meat roasted on a vertical spit. The pita is filled with meat, onions, tomatos, french fries and tzatziki sauce.
Make your way to the Plaka neighborhood in Athens one evening. Plaka sits beneath the Acropolis, is the oldest section of Athens and is a favorite part of the city for many. You’ll be instantly charmed by the cobblestone streets lined with tavernas, cafes and shops. Sit back, sip on a frappé (a popular iced coffee drink) and enjoy the sounds of nearby street musicians.
While you’re in Plaka, visit Brettos. This old-fashioned distillery dates back to 1909, and draws guests in with its colorful, unique decor. The distillery boasts over 30 flavors of liquors, based on delicious Mediterranean fruits, herbs and spices. You can also sample Greek wines by the glass.
At Syntagma Square, you’ll find the Greek Parliament building. Visit during the day to witness the Changing of the Guards (this occurs every hour), but return at night for another photo opportunity – the illuminated building is beautiful.
World traveler Lee Abbamonte wrote a blog about visiting Athens and said: “…Ask the locals what’s good when you’re there, if you want a little off the beaten path. Athenians love to help tourists and share their city.”
Croatia is a beautiful country, home to many ports we love to call on. But Dubrovnik, with its stunning coastline, sparkling turquoise waters, medieval city walls and red tiled roofs, has a special place in our hearts. These things also make Dubrovnik one of the most photogenic cities in the world, the kind of place you daydream about while sitting at your desk on a dreary Monday.
Dubrovnik’s ancient city walls are the finest in the world, and the main attraction for most visitors. They provide stunning views over Old Town, and the sparkling Adriatic Sea. Take your time as you walk the walls, stopping for breaks and photo opportunities. Don’t forget to bring a couple bottles of complimentary water from your stateroom for your day of exploring! Though as this next photo shows, Dubrovnik is stunning even in stormy weather.
Dubrovnik is just as beautiful – maybe even more so – at night. Try local wines and fresh seafood at restaurants in Old Town, and mingle with friendly locals at quaint pubs. Live music, especially at the jazz-focused Troubador Cafe. Absorbing the nightlife is one of the best ways to really get to know a city, and one of the reasons Azamara ships stay later in port. In fact, we have two upcoming cruises that include overnight stays in Dubrovnik:
In addition to incredible history, cuisine and shopping, Croatia is known for its beautiful beaches. Dubrovnik’s Banje Beach may be pebbly, but is still a favorite spot for swimming, sunbathing and people-watching. This August 2015 cruise includes a stop in Dubrovnik.
By Azamara Club Cruises on Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Love is all around. Especially in these romantic spots! It’s easy to be happy when you’re with the one you love, but visiting these swoon-worthy destinations during a luxury cruise will add to the enchantment.
1. Santorini, Greece
Santorini is the epitome of a Greek island daydream. The whitewashed villages, blue roofs, cliffside views and sparkling waters make it an idyllic paradise. Since we stay late in port, you can relax and watch the sunset with that special someone.
2. The Norwegian Fjords
Who said summer has to be hot? There’s something wonderful about snuggling up together with cups of hot cocoa and taking in some of the most breathtaking views nature has to offer. Cruising the Norwegian fjords on a small luxury ship is an experience you’ll never forget. Just like love, memories last forever!
Ooh la la! When we think of romance, we think of France. This transatlantic cruise was made for lovers. From Honfleur, you can enjoy an exursion to Paris, “The City of Love”. Cross the Atlantic and call on Montreal and Quebec City, two of Canada’s most beautiful (and most romantic) cities.
5. Venice, Italy
If France has a competitor for the most romantic country in the world, it’s Italy. If you want a dreamy, amorous atmosphere, look no further than Venice. Take in a sunset gondola ride, then listen to the orchestras perform at St. Mark’s Square at night. It will be a date night you’ll never forget. This June 2015 cruise embarks from Venice, so you can spend a few days there before setting off for other charming ports along the Adriatic.
Give the gift of world travel to the one you love! Our Valentine’s Day Special is on until February 16, 2015. Click here to view the offer.
By Azamara Club Cruises on Tuesday, February 10, 2015
When we think of summer, we think of Greece. The warm sunshine, sparkling blue seas and quaint, whitewashed villages make it the perfect destination for relaxing and slowing down. Athens, Mykonos and Santorini are tried and true cruise destinations. But there’s much more to this beautiful country! Greece includes more than 6,000 islands scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, and many stunning coastal towns. A small, luxury cruise ship is the perfect way to explore them. These Instagram photos of a few of our favorite lesser-known ports will have you daydreaming in no time.
Lesvos is the third biggest island in Greece, after Crete and Evia. It’s famous for producing Ouzo and olive oil, so make sure you sample both when you visit. Soak in authentic Greek culture by relaxing in one of the cafes surrounding the village square. June is a perfect time to visit, and this cruise will take you there.
Gythion is a charming Grecian town perched on the Mani peninsula, and a memorable stop on the way from Istanbul to Croatia during this 12 Night cruise. Quaint pastel houses and fishing boats dot the harbor, making it a picturesque stop for cruisers. The cuisine is fresh and local – think figs, olive oil, oranges and seafood. Swim, surf and relax at Mavrovouni Beach, or go on an excursion to historic Sparta.
Visiting Hydra is like traveling back in time. This island is home to one town, no real roads and no cars. Instead, you’ll travel by donkey or taxi boats to visit the beaches, tavernas, monasteries and churches that this unique destination has to offer. If you’re feeling adventurous, hike two hours to the top of Mount Eros and be rewarded with incredible views.
Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit for a cruise to Skiathos. This tiny island boasts more than 60 beautiful sandy beaches. While here, you can visit the fascinating Evanelistra Monastery, the medieval town of Kastro and the thermal springs of Kyllini.
A visit the stunning monasteries of Meteora is a must while in Volos, Greece. You’ll be awed by both the history and beauty of this incredible destination. Last year, world traveler Lee Abbamonte visited with Azamara Club Cruises and wrote about the unforgettable experience.
Kos, Greece was made for small cruise ships like Azamara’s. We dock right next to the town’s impressive fortress, providing guests the perfect jumping off point for exploring the colorful town. History buffs will love this port. The large ancient excavation site of Ancient Agora features fascinating ruins of temples, shrines and a gymnasium. See artefacts dating back to the Bronze Age at the Archaelogical Museum. Guests of this July 2015 cruise will have plenty of time to see and do it all – we won’t depart Kos until 11:00 pm.
Corfu, Greece is the setting of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and is said to cast a spell on all who land upon its shores. It will certainly charm guests with its beauty – many consider this to be the most beautiful of all Mediterranean islands. It’s a statement that’s hard to argue against once you’ve strolled along Old Town’s narrow alleys, taken in the fragrances of olive and lemon trees and watched the sunset reflecting on the sparkling sea. Visit Corfu during this August cruise with Azamara.
Patmos is best known for the imposing Monastery of St. John. You can’t miss the huge fortress atop a hill, standing out among the traditional white and blue houses surrounding it. You’ll love exploring the many courtyards, arcades, galleries and rooftop terraces of the monastery. The Azamara Journey won’t depart until 10:00 pm during this cruise, so there will be no need to feel rushed.
Thanks to yachts, stylish shops, idyllic beaches and quaint cafes, the island of Cephalonia is known as” the Saint-Tropez of Greece”. Don’t miss out on swimming in the bright turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea while you’re here. Focki Beach is a favorite for sunbathers and picnickers, while snorkelers will want to pay a visit to Emblisi Beach. August is the perfect time to visit – after all, there’s nothing like summer in Greece.