Azamara is creating a bigger splash with its first AzAmazing evenings

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joust.jpgIf you found the University Boat Race a bit boring last weekend – it only really gets exciting when a protester swims into the river or one of the crews sinks – then I have discovered an exciting alternative.
Water jousting. It sounds crazy, but it’s highly entertaining, and should be introduced to the River Thames without delay. Frantic oarsmen work up a sweat driving their boats at each other, as combatants stand on a platform at the rear of each vessel trying to push their opponents into the drink.
It’s like something out of TV’s Gladiators or Total Wipeout, except even more violent and entertaining.
The historic event dates back to the 12th Century and I watched a contest this week at Sète, in the Languedoc region of southern France, during a brief cruise on board Azamara Quest.
Passengers were taken to a waterside grandstand in the centre of town, along with company president Larry Pimentel and his wife Sandi, and before battle commenced we were welcomed by the local mayor.
carl.jpgThe ebullient Captain Carl Smith (above, left) had been persuaded to take part in the jousting, although it became something of an uneven contest when his opponent (below, right) was revealed – a giant of a man with seven championships under his substantial belt. He would have put Obelix to shame if they met on the pages of an Asterix comic book.
obelix2.jpgTheir bout was first up, and the bold captain took a predictably early bath.
Subsequent contests among the two local teams were more evenly matched, and did not all end with one of the participants taking the plunge – some were able to stand firm, while in a couple of cases, victory was declared when only a lance had fallen in the water.
The event was one of the cruise line’s hallmark Azamazing Evenings which make the most of the fact that their ships often stay in port for the evening or overnight rather than charging off to the next destination.
The seven-night voyage from Barcelona to Monaco this week also included an overnight stop in Nice, so passengers could spend the evening at one of the resort’s top restaurants or night clubs. Last weekend a private concert was arranged with the band of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment performing inside St Michael’s Cave.
Other Azamazing events on the schedule later this year include polo in St Tropez during a cruise which visits Monte Carlo for the F1 Grand Prix, and a private viewing of the Titanic Belfast museum during a voyage which is also in Scotland for The Open golf championship.

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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