The stunning new yacht Emerald Azzurra will soon be sailing in the Middle East. Bernadette Chua finds out what’s so special about the latest vessel from Emerald Cruises.
The Emerald Azzurra is the new star of Australian-owned Emerald Cruises. It’s the first of two yachts from the line, which aim to offer a new type of experience for cruisers –a more intimate and a more immersive holiday.
The sleek, sexy Azzurra is more akin to the yacht of the late Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen, than a cruise vessel. The 100-passenger yacht looks and feels like a private water playground and comes equipped with all the toys and amenities you’d expect of a luxury ship.
There are 50 suites on board, paired with several public spaces, restaurants and dining areas, as well as a beautiful infinity-style spa, which also doubles up as a pool and a wellness centre.
The stylish ship is modelled after a boutique hotel with clean lines, open spaces and plush interiors. Each suite and stateroom is adorned with colourful Missoni towels and offer a relaxing space which is a welcome home away from home after a day of exploration.
Part of Emerald Azzurra’s allure is the included guided tours and excursions guests are offered in every port.
On the new eight-day Gems of the Arabian Peninsula itinerary, you can start your journey in Doha, the capital of Qatar, before sailing to Sir Banyas Island, Abu Dhabi and Fujairah in the UAE, Khasab and Zighy Bay in Oman, and finishing the voyage in Dubai. The itinerary can also be taken in reverse order, from Dubai to Doha.
You’ll enjoy a beach break on Sir Baniyas Island, a protected reserve off the coast of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates which holds strong historic significance as well as being a wildlife sanctuary.
In Abu Dhabi, take guided tours of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The breathtaking mosque combines various Islamic architectural styles and celebrates cultural diversity. The next stop on your included tour is the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum, an iconic gallery aiming to depict the evolution of mankind through art.
Built by the Portuguese, Khasab is nicknamed the Norway of Arabia for its dramatic bare mountains, cliffs that rise above the crystal blue waters and fjords.
The only Emirati capital city on the UAE’s east coast, Fujairah, has a turbulent modern history. On the included tour, you will see Fujairah Fort, one of the oldest castles in the country which has previously served as both a defensive building and home of the ruling family. In addition, you’ll visit a famous and colourful market, as well as the oldest mosque in the Emirates.
Once a small fishing village in the Arabian Gulf, today Dubai is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with ultramodern architecture and a lively nightlife. On today’s tour, discover Dubai’s vibrant culture, heartfelt hospitality, rich culinary legacy and proud traditions.
Back on board, the Emerald Azzurra has several public spaces designed for quests to mingle after a day onshore or just to luxuriate in alone and admire the sights.
The Amici Bar & Lounge is full of comfy lounges and swivel chairs. Think understated luxury, with velvets and satins, cushions and low marble coffee tables. But the highlight is the bar, which has a specialty Bombay Sapphire wall.
The Sky Deck at the top of the Azzurra has the Sky Bar which is the perfect spot for sundowners with a sunset backdrop.
The main dining room is La Cucina restaurant – a large and comfortable space, which also has a lovely terrace for dining al fresco throughout the day, from breakfast to dinner. Light meals are also served in the Aqua Pool & Café – flatbreads made to order, salads, gelati and sweet treats are also available.
The menus are designed on regional produce and harness the best of the ingredients from the ports that the cruise visits. For instance, sailings in the Middle East feature mezze plates and dips at lunch. And every evening, guests are offered a four-course a la carte dinner with share plates on offer.
The line will be offering a range of sailings on the Emerald Azzurra in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, the Red and Black seas, as well as the Adriatic Coast throughout 2022 and 2023.
Price: For departures in January 2023 on the 8-day Gems of Arabian Peninsula cruise, prices start from $5495 per person.
Explore more: emeraldcruises.com.au