Emerald Azzurra, from Emerald Yacht Cruises, due in 2021

Emerald Azzurra … What a Gem!

The Monthly Mantra

Worth the Wait! … Worth the Wait! … Worth the Wait!

There are lots and lots of big things coming our way this year — Virgin’s Scarlet Lady, Celebrity Apex, Carnival Mardi Gras, P&O’s Iona, Princess’ Enchanted Princess, Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas and more. But I, personally, am waiting for next year when a little thing comes our way: Emerald Azzurra.

After years of operating award-winning European river cruises, Emerald Waterways is dipping its toe — or should I say its bow — into the ocean with a brand new megayacht: Emerald Azzurra which launches in July 2021 under the newly-announced brand Emerald Yacht Cruises.

And here’s why that news really floats my boat:

  1. 100 Passengers
The Infinity Pool on Emerald Azzurra

The Infinity Pool on Emerald Azzurra | Photo: Emerald Waterways

When it comes to ships, I’m a “good-things-come-in-small-packages” kind of girl and Emerald Azzurra will carry only 100 passengers. I’ve been in subway cars with way more people than that — like, yesterday, in fact — so I’m anticipating glorious space and no fist fights for a deck chair.

  1. Little Yacht; Little Ports

Emerald Azzurra will sail the Mediterranean and, thanks to her size, will be able to tie up at off-the-beaten track ports giving guests a more authentic, local experience. Hey, I’ve got nothing against major ports aside from the nine megaships we have to share them with, but there’s something magical about visiting some little spot in Croatia (once you figure out how to pronounce the name of the place) and having it all to yourself.

RELATED: When Kings Were Gods; Cruising the Ancient Nile

  1. Free stuff

No dining surcharges; complimentary wine, beer, and soft drinks with meals, all on board gratuities, transfers to and from the yacht, and a few complimentary shore excursions at each port: LOVE free stuff so I’m thrilled that Emerald Azzurra will follow the largely inclusive price structure offered aboard the riverboats of Emerald Waterways … there’ll even be free wi-fi!

  1. Balconies

Emerald Azzurra will feature private balconies in most of her cabins (88 percent of ‘em in fact). Sure, balconies haven’t been a real big deal since about 1992 but on a small yacht like this, balconies are revolutionary! And the cabins themselves are pretty spectacular for such a small yacht: from 182 square feet to a staggering 1,192-square-foot owner’s suite — artist renderings suggest sleek, cool, and modern — with color schemes of restful beiges, blues, and whites.

  1. Watersports
Emerald Azzurra's Skydeck

The Skydeck on Emerald Azzurra | Photo: Emerald Waterways

Nothing is cooler than a yacht with a marina. Boom! They lower the platform and you can dive right into the sea or take part in a variety of activities like paddleboarding and snorkeling. This is also where Zodiacs are stored for shore landings — leave the fancy shoes at home for those, because Zodiacs usually mean wet landings which mean swinging your legs over the craft and wading into the surf toward dry land. (My fabulous Mephisto sandals are still recovering from my last wet landing.)


  1. The Ship Itself

 Somehow, Emerald Azzurra will fit an infinity pool, spa, two restaurants (fine dining at dinner with breakfast and lunch buffets, all stocked with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients), and two bars into its diminutive footprint. I, personally, will be headed for the Sky Bar, an alfresco spot that has a futuristic vibe to it and a welcome shaded covering — hope they have a good stock of New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

Timeline for Emerald Azzurra

Right now, Emerald Azzurra is being built at the Ha Long Shipbuilding Company (HLS) in Ha Long City, Vietnam. And while July 2021 might seem an awful long way away, I have no doubt she’ll be worth waiting for.

— Judi Cuervo

Photos: Emerald Waterways

Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.