All Aboard: Our Pick of the Best Luxury Cruises

For those who shiver at the thought of giant cruise liners, there is hope. Specialising in bespoke voyages on smaller cruise liners, Azamara are here to change the way we take to the seas

In partnership with: Azamara

The best luxury cruises to book for 2019/2020

Since its foundation in 2007, Azamara has developed a reputation as a boutique-luxury cruise line specialising in intimate voyages to less-travelled ports. Giving you more time in ports and overnight stays than other cruise lines, Azamara holidaymakers spend more time immersed in the culture of their destinations. Best of all, the bijou size of the ships means you can travel to ports where larger ships won't fit such as the heart of Venice, Amalfi, and Crete, or even to the doorstep of Bangkok (other large cruise liners have to dock a few hours away). 

Though each of their ships are essentially floating hotels on water, the fun really starts once you have docked. Destination Immersion® experiences have been especially created by Azamara to get you involved with experiences you may never have considered. Choose how much or how little you want to do – after all, it would be a waste not to use that balcony overlooking the seas...

Life Onboard an Azamara Ship

En route, you’ll be treated to a lap of luxury – Azamara’s three intimate ships (Quest, Journey and Pursuit) are designed to mirror boutique hotels and have the services and amenities to match. With a deck plan that is not too crowded nor sparse, choose from a host of onboard activities such as the Sanctum Spa, gym, multiple bars and restaurants, library, shops, casino and of course the outdoor deck. Many of the onboard amenities are included in the price of the ticket, such as complimentary AzAmazing Evenings events, 24-hour concierge services and a selection of fine wines and spirits. Choose from a variety of rooms on board and indulge in butler service and complimentary speciality dining. While onboard, guests are also encouraged to attend talks by specially curated lecturers who are experts in the destination of travel. 

Azamara Quest
Club Spa Suite 

Hawaii & Tahiti Voyage, January 2020 

Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Honolulu

Best for: a glimpse of paradise on earth, the northernmost island in the Polynesian Triangle astounds with its lush natural beauty. For those who want to explore the Polynesian islands without being confined to one place, this cruise is the perfect antidote. Watch The Descendants and you'll get the gist of what life in Hawaii is like. 

Destinations: USA, Hawaii, Tahiti; French Polynesia.

Outstanding moments: Catch rays on Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles; enjoy the onboard casino with a martini in hand as you spend four days at sea on the way to Hawaii; explore ancient terrain where hot lava flows into the bright ocean in Hilo, Hawaii; marvel at the jaw-dropping natural wonders like Waimea Canyon, the Na Pali coast, and the Waialeale crater on Kauai; enjoy dinner by the sea in Honolulu; discover Polynesian culture in Bora Bora and Moorea with a 2.5-hour guided walk through the lush tropical landscape.

Mount Otemanu, Bora Bora

Prices starting from £2,873; 5th - 23rd January 2020; click here to find out more 

Carnival in Rio, February 2020 

Punta Del Este
Montevideo, Uruguay

Best for: You'll be hard-pressed to find a more exhilarating and memorable festival on Earth than the Rio Carnaval. Two days of intense partying preceded by an Argentinian and Uruguayan adventure should be satisfactorily stimulating to take a moment and pause on your boutique hotel at sea. Stopping off in South America's most visit-worthy cities of Rio, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Montevideo, this South American adventure is likely to make you feel festive for months to come. 

Destinations: Argentine, Uruguay, Brazi

Outstanding moments: marvel at Buenos Aires' European colonial architecture and stroll down the grand boulevards; discover one of the largest and most diverse metropolitan areas on earth in Sao Paulo; immerse yourself completely in the riotous fun of the Carnaval; Take in the Art Nouveau pedestrian mall, Art Deco Centenary Stadium and American Embassy designed by I.M. Pei in Montevideo; enjoy the beaches and spectacular natural beauty of Punta Del Este and Ilhabela.

Prices from £1,570; 19th Feb - 2nd March 2020; click here to find out more

Australia & Bali Voyage, March 2020 

Mooloolaba

Best for: East meets West. Larger than all of Western Europe's countries put together, Australia's scale baffles and inspires at the same time. From drinking a proper flat white (yeap, the Aussies lay claim to inventing it) to watching the sun set over the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Australia's laid back and outdoor-focused lifestyle is a refreshing escape from the winter blues. Continuing on to the mystical island of Bali, explore the black sand beaches, private hideaways and Instagram spots. 

Airlie Beach 
Streets Beach, Brisbane

Destinations: Australia, Indonesia, Singapore 

Outstanding moments: eat and shop your heart out in Singapore; explore the world's oldest tropical rainforest in Cairns; go scuba-diving in the Great Barrier Reef; catch some waves at Bondi Beach; indulge yourself with a full-body massage at Sanctum Spa onboard 

Prices from £2,536; 24th March - 11th April 2020; click here to find out more 

Israel Intensive Voyage, April 2020 

Herkalion
The Western Wall, Jerusalem

Best for: History buffs and cultural connoiseurs will enjoy this epic journey through some of the most ancient cities in the world. Starting in Athens, the birthplace of Plato, Socrates and Aristotle, discover biblical and archaeological sites of wonder, including Nazareth, Galilee, the Jordan River, and Elijah’s Cave. 

Destinations: Greece, Cyprus, Israel 

Limassol 
Haifa 

Outstanding moments: In Athens, head to the Central Market for a feast of fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, olives, and Grecian cheese; explore Limassol Castle, allegedly where Richard the Lionheart married his queen during the Third Crusade; in Jerusalem, walk the streets from the Western Wall, to the Dome of the Rock, to the last remnants of the Temple of the Jews; follow a local guide along the rustic streets of Acre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s only preserved Crusader City.

Prices from £1,954; 14th - 23rd April 2020; click here to find out more

Mediterranean Jewels Voyage, April 2020 

The view from the W Hotel Barcelona 

Best for: Lovers of: la dolce vita, la buena vida, la belle vie. There's a reason Northern Europeans flee south to enjoy the good life by the Med. Bask in the sun on a journey through the unmissable sights of Spain, France and Italy. Live it up in Barcelona, St Tropez, Rome and Monte Carlo, and get some down-time in between, in Santa Margherita and Portofino. An all-encompassing journey highlighting the joys that lie closer to home. 

Bay of Paraggi 
Alfresco dining in The Eternal City

Destinations: Spain, France, Italy 

Outstanding moments: Go on a guided tour of Gaudi in Barcelona; cap off your day with a glass of pastis along the waterfront in Marseille; lunch in the old fishing quarter La Ponche in St Tropez; enjoy two days in Livorno from where you can explore Florence, Pisa and Tuscany by car; take an open cable car to the peak of Mount Capanne in Elba, where Napoleon was exiled for 10 years. 

Prices from £1,935; 26th April - 4th May 2020; click here to find out more