TORONTO — Space has become a hot commodity these days. From restaurants having to position tables six feet apart, to museums enforcing timed entrances to avoid overcrowding, the need to spread apart and be apart has redefined how we travel in a post-pandemic world. But for a luxury yacht where there’s only so much space to go around, is physical distancing even possible?
Emerald Cruises, the newly merged brand comprising Emerald Waterways and Emerald Yacht Cruises, is banking on the Emerald Azzurra – its first custom-built, ocean-going, five-star luxury super yacht – to meet this new trend head on. Having just celebrated its float out in December 2020 in Vietnam, and scheduled to debut in the Mediterranean, Adriatic and Red Seas in January 2022, the glittering 110-metre-long vessel will carry only 100 passengers and boast a large outdoor area with al fresco dining, expansive outdoor decks where guests can take in a movie and other onboard entertainment, and a 315-square-metre main dining space that’s 50% larger than most yachts in the Mediterranean. Plus, 88% of its deluxe suites and staterooms come with balconies, allowing guests to privately – and safely – enjoy the magnificent views.
All this extra space is what guests will notice first when stepping foot onboard, says Juna Ueda, General Manger, Sales of Emerald Cruises Canada.
“Guests are looking for safety with smaller numbers of people and the opportunities that are more available with small-ship cruising, whether on the ocean or rivers,” he says. “With a passenger-to-space ratio of 53 (most ocean ships are between 30 and 40), our yacht invites the guest to make themselves at home and create their dream vacation experience.
“We believe the luxury market will continue to expand and grow with ships offering more space per guest and more uniqueness of the guest experience.”
The Emerald Azzurra will be all about uniqueness, from bow to stern, an absolute necessity considering it’s marking Emerald’s entry into the luxury yacht market. A typical day onboard will no doubt include sipping cocktails at Horizon Bar & Lounge, sleek and contemporary with sumptuous bucket seating and plush carpeting, all done in a muted palette of violets and grays. Ample time will also be spent at the beautiful wellness centre, which houses a spa, sauna and well-equipped gym, as well as The Terrace, an outdoor minimalist oasis where decadent, languid meals can be stretched and enjoyed in the fresh open air. There’ll also be a marina platform on the yacht’s aft to allow for easy access to snorkelling and paddle boarding, three tenders and a Zodiac for shore landings, and best of all? A gorgeous infinity-style pool, the likes of which you would typically find at a five-star luxury resort.
On shore, just like onboard, guests will be treated to an abundance of options to stay entertained and inspired. As part of the EmeraldDISCOVERY collection of tours and excursions, guests can sign up for an EmeraldPLUS included experience that showcases local culture and traditions, such as an exclusive concert in a Kotor church in Montenegro or a mussel cooking demonstration and tasting in Sarandë, Albania, as well as optional EmeraldACTIVE excursions that get the heart pumping, like a guided bike tour in Kusadasi, Turkey or a guided hike to Forte Filippo in Porte Ecole, Italy.
Want more? DiscoverMORE excursions are also available at an additional cost for guests and include everything from rafting on the Zrmanja River in Croatia and an authentic Bedouin experience in Hurghada, Egypt, to a jeep tour in Greece’s Corfiot countryside and a market-style cooking workshop in Jerusalem’s famed Machne Yehuda Market.
All this is designed to create a seamless, end-to-end travel experience for guests, from onboard to onshore, from day one to date of departure. And even more, with 2022 pricing set at a special inaugural level, Emerald is expecting to see demand for its new yacht to regain the momentum it saw prior to the pandemic.
“In those first few weeks when the Emerald Azzurra went on sale in early February 2020, booking demand was very strong, especially on some of the higher-demand itineraries,” says Ueda, who attributes early sales to the support of travel advisors and partners. “Long term, we expect that with only 100 guests on the intimate Emerald Azzurra, bookings will be sold well in advance as brand awareness grows. With all indicators pointing towards a large pent-up demand for travel in general and a growing demand for exceptional and unique cruise experiences, Emerald Azzurra is set up for success.”
To read the full article check out the Spring 2021 edition of Travel Professional here.