(2:35 p.m. EST) -- Azamara Club Cruises has announced details of the refit and first cruises of the newest addition to its fleet, Azamara Pursuit. The ship will go into wet dock (similar to a dry dock, except that the ship is in water) in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in spring 2018; it will set sail on August 1 and be christened in late August.
The ship -- a sister to current Azamara vessels, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest -- is currently sailing as Adonia for P&O Cruises. In spring 2018, it will head to the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, where it will get a complete makeover by outfitting specialist MJM Group. When the work is completed by the end of July, the ship will be nearly identical to its new sisters.
Azamara Pursuit's maiden voyage will depart on August 1 from Southampton, on a Norway-intensive voyage featuring overnights in Oslo and Bergen. Its second cruise will also depart from Southampton but focus on Iceland. The ship will be officially named on a short christening sailing from August 28 to 30, followed by a 13-night wine and romance cruise to Spain and Portugal, departing Southampton.
The schedule is great news for British fans of Azamara, who will get a season of sailings from convenient homeports. "We're delighted to announce that the Azamara Pursuit's first several voyages will depart from one of our largest growth markets," said Azamara Club Cruises CEO Larry Pimentel.
Azamara Pursuit will carry 690 passengers and offer fare inclusions, such as gratuities, all soft drinks and select alcoholic beverages, and one AzAmazing Evening shoreside event per cruise.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor