(9 a.m. EST) -- Australia-based Emerald Waterways river cruise line will enter the ocean cruise market in July 2021 with its first oceangoing vessel, Emerald Azzurra. The 100-passenger super yacht will be the first ship launched under the new Emerald Yacht Cruises brand. Both Emerald Waterways and Emerald Yacht Cruises will be a part of the newly formed Emerald Cruises.
"Emerald Waterways has been operating award-winning river cruises in Europe since 2014," said Glen Moroney, owner and chairman of the Scenic Group, which owns Emerald Cruises. "The launch of Emerald Yacht Cruises and the stunning new Emerald Azzurra are a logical extension of the Emerald Cruises portfolio, adding intimate yacht cruising in the Mediterranean to the existing Emerald Waterways river cruise offerings."
Eighty-eight percent of cabins on Emerald Azzurra will feature balconies, and suites will start at more than 300 square feet. Other onboard highlights will be a wellness center, complete with gym and spa, as well as a marina platform from which passengers can take part in a variety of water-based activities like paddle boarding and snorkeling.
Azzurra will also carry three tenders and two Zodiacs for shore landings.
Fares for Emerald Yacht Cruises sailings will include waiter-served dining at dinner; breakfast and lunch buffets stocked with locally sourced ingredients; complimentary sommelier-paired wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner; all onboard gratuities; transfers to and from the airport; port charges; and all taxes.
Ashore, cruisers can enjoy a range of included tours and optional extra-fee excursions.
The 360-foot-long Emerald Azzurra is custom-designed to cruise the waters of the Adriatic Coast, Red Sea and Mediterranean. Itineraries will visit ports in Greece, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, France, Turkey, Cyprus, Malta, Spain, Israel, Jordan and Egypt.
Itineraries already on sale include an eight-day Cyprus, Turkey and Greece Delights sailing (also the ship's inaugural sailing), an eight-day French & Italian Rivieras with Corsica cruise and a 12-day Ancient World Wonders voyage.
Emerald Azzurra is currently under construction at the Ha Long Shipbuilding Company in Ha Long City, Vietnam; the steel cutting ceremony was held at the shipyard on December 7, 2019.