2020 British Isles Golf Cruise
Including Sunday Attendance to The 149th Open
14 Nights | 6 Rounds | Dublin - Southampton | Attend The Open at Royal St. George’s | July 6 – July 20
Embark Azamara Pursuit beginning at 1:00PM. All aboard by 4:30PM.
Welcome Cocktails & Briefing this evening. Meet your fellow participants.
Overnight: In Port – Dublin, Ireland
SANDY LYLE: Today play the Palmer Ryder Cup Course of The K Club. This beautiful parkland course was designed by Arnold Palmer and hosted the 2006 Ryder Cup with all its attendant drama. Risk-reward opportunities are ever present as the course covers an area of mature woodland to the west of Dublin City to which fourteen lakes have been added. Note: Golf cart venue
GREG NORMAN: Today play Portmarnock Golf Club ranked No. 49 in Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the World. This windswept links features devilish pot bunkers and low dunes that have challenged legendary golfers of every era. Arnold Palmer partnered with Sam Snead to win the 1960 Canada Cup on the Old course and The King described the 15th as the best par-3 in golf. Phil Mickelson and David Duval led the United States to victory in the 1991 Walker Cup while Ian Woosnam, Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer have claimed Irish Open titles on this venerable layout.
SIGHTSEEING: There is a lot to see in Dublin. A good place to begin is The National Museum of Ireland on Kildare Street for a well-designed archaeological collection featuring Bronze Age gold jewelry and Viking swords. The stars of the show are the 'bog people' - preserved corpses of men who were killed (presumably sacrificed) and tossed into peat bogs during the Iron Age. The preservative qualities are remarkable. Dublin is home to St Patrick's Cathedral of course but much of Ireland's history can be read in Christ Church Cathedral, which dates back to circa 1030. The medieval crypt is full of treasures plus the belfry tour (11:30 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.) provides a beautiful view and an up-close look at the flying buttresses, as well as the chance to try bell-ringing. Dublin's booming culinary scene is found along Exchequer Street where The Green Hen has won many admirers with its combination of French atmosphere and Franco-Irish cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. Try the pan-fried duck breast. Finally, while craft beer is certainly the popular new thing, a pint of 'the black stuff' is still required drinking on any trip to Dublin. The Guinness Storehouse museum at the St. James's Gate brewery explains how the stout is made and how to pull a proper pint at the correct 45-degree angle and waiting 119.5 seconds before topping it off. Take it up to the Gravity Bar, where the 360-degree view of Dublin is worth lingering over.
Enjoy Dublin on your own or via Azamara Shore Excursions®.
Overnight: At Sea
The tiny Isle of Man is filled with entertaining sights and scenery. Douglas' lovely seafront is lined with picturesque hotels and restaurants and can be traversed by horse-drawn trams as it has been since 1876. There's a medieval fortress in Castletown; a ruined castle on the Isle of St. Patrick where tales of Vikings, monks, and a ghost dog abound; and the village of Cregneash, where people live in thatched cottages, speak the native Manx language, and practice traditional trades and crafts. Front gardens on residential streets are a standout, awash in colour and scent.
Enjoy The Isle of Man on your own or via Azamara Shore Excursions®.
Overnight: At Sea
SANDY LYLE: Today play Royal County Down. Located in the town of Newcastle to the south of Belfast. No. 4 in Golf Magazine’s 2017 world rankings, this is a vintage test of links golf set against the magnificent backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne. Host to the 2007 Walker Cup Match featuring a young local by the name of Rory McIlroy, and an all-star USA line up that included Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson and Rickie Fowler.
GREG NORMAN: Today play Royal Portrush. It holds the distinction of being the only course outside of Scotland and England to have ever hosted The Open which it did in 1951. The Dunluce Course is as fine a links as you will find anywhere, with the 5th being a particularly memorable hole to a green hanging on the edge of a cliff. Consistently ranked among the top 20 courses in the world.
SIGHTSEEING: Belfast in the early 20th century had the largest and most productive shipyard in the world, gaining global renown with the launch of the RMS Titanic. Located on the slipways where she was built is a stunning new museum, opened in time for the 100th anniversary of Titanic's only voyage and tragic demise. Today the city and riverfront are undergoing a 21st century transformation, but many exuberant Victorian and Edwardian buildings still sport the carved heads of kings and queens. As you explore the city, keep an eye out for 'the murals'. These somewhat troubling freelance works appearing on building walls provide insight into the period known simply as 'The Troubles'.
Enjoy Belfast on your own or via Azamara Shore Excursions®.
Overnight: At Sea
SANDY LYLE: Today play the Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry. Lying on a spectacular curve of rockbound coast, the coastal scenery is magnificent especially from the 4th through the 11th. No one can forget the 1977 'Duel in the Sun' between Jack Nicklaus & Tom Watson when Watson’s weekend of 65-65 edged Nicklaus by one. In 2009, the Ailsa Course hosted The Open for the 4th time when Tom Watson almost clinched the championship as a 59 year old, losing out to Stewart Cink in a playoff for the famed Claret Jug. A major renovation was completed in 2016 which produced an impressive improvement in the club’s already impressive world rankings.
GREG NORMAN: Today play Prestwick Golf Club one of the world's oldest clubs and whose very testing and traditional links hosted the very first Open in 1860. The winner was Willie Park from Musselburgh with a score of 174 for thirty-six holes, two shots clear of the legendary Old Tom Morris. Prestwick was home to the first eleven Opens and then held it jointly along with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers (Muirfield). Prestwick's twenty fourth and last Open was in 1925 when Jim Barnes from the USA won. Only the Old Course of St Andrews hosted The Open more than Prestwick.
SIGHTSEEING: Glasgow, a reinvented industrial center in western Scotland, has solidified its reputation as a cultural hub. Charles Rennie Mackintosh is one of the first names to know; he was a prodigious architect, interior designer and artist, and the city has a wealth of his work. Stop by his Willow Tea Rooms for a cup of tea and a scone. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum whose blue and gold inlaid ceiling, Art Deco hanging lamps and marble floors are sufficient reason to visit, let alone the impressive art collection that includes Salvador Dal's controversial 'Christ of St John of the Cross'. Glasgow has an abundance of excellent seafood dining. The Crabshakk is perfect for daily catches including ruby red langoustines. The oyster bar at Rogano in Exchange Square is where power brokers celebrate deals with a glass of Champagne and a dozen oysters in a space designed to look like a 1930s Art Deco cruise liner. At the Pot Still, an institution that dates from 1857, choose from over 450 malt whiskies like Lagavulin or Arran.
Enjoy Glasgow on your own or via Azamara Shore Excursions®.
Overnight: At Sea
Today it’s time to relax and reset. Make your reservations early for The Sanctum Spa, a world-class wellness facility offering a full range of health, beauty and restorative treatments. Complimentary fitness and nutrition classes are available along with a fully equipped gym on Deck 9 offering magnificent sea views. There’s room for everyone on the Pool Deck both in and out of the sun. Service to your lounge chair is available from The Pool Bar where the attentive staff is always ready to offer an inclusive cocktail, beer, bottled water, soft drink or fresh towel. The Patio restaurant serves casual fare during the day then completely transforms itself into a sit-down al fresco dining experience at night with table linens and candles. Elegant specialty dining is available for beef at Prime C and Italian at Aqualina. Windows Café serves casual buffet dining with every imaginable choice indoors and out at the sensational Sunset Bar.
What a way to spend a day!
Overnight: At Sea
The 70 islands of Orkney are low lying, a pleasing, gently rolling panorama of fertile fields, heather cloaked moors, and lakes. The red sandstone walls of the imposing St. Magnus Cathedral dominate Kirkwall, the main town, capital, and hub for roads linking east and west. In summer whales and dolphins sport in coastal waters, and tens of thousands of breeding seabirds congregate on sharp seaside cliffs. The early arrival of mankind on this scene can be investigated at Skara Brae, an amazingly well-preserved Neolithic village that was inhabited and already abandoned more than 5,000 years ago.
Enjoy Kirkwall on your own or via Azamara Shore Excursions®.
Overnight: At Sea
SANDY LYLE: Today play Castle Stuart Golf Links. The one of newest addition to the links courses of Scotland. Castle Stuart runs along the shores of the Moray Firth to the east of Inverness with wonderful views over to the Black Isle. Six holes hug the shoreline while the remaining holes are played over a terraced slope so views out to sea are ever present. Already included in the World's Top 100.
GREG NORMAN: Today play the Struie Course at Royal Dornoch, which originated as a 12-hole layout in the late 19th century but was modified by Donald Steel in the 1990s, offers a true links experience combined with a comfortable stroll. Winding through the gorse and forest, the course is rather flat and doesn’t have the blind approaches typical to links golf. Excellent views of Dornoch town and stunning cathedral are presented through the walk. The most northerly of the Championship courses of the British Isles. Dornoch is perhaps more than most, a thinking golfers' course where it is not enough simply to keep the ball on the fairway. The greens are generally open in the front, but they are also set on plateaus several feet above the fairway, a feature that legendary architect Donald Ross took from his home course and used on many of his classic designs.
SIGHTSEEING: Invergordon is the deep-water port for Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands and your gateway to an area of the Highlands known as the “Great Glen.” Travel 20 miles north to the picturesque town of Dornoch to see its sandstone buildings, beautiful domestic gardens and tiny 13th Century cathedral. Ten miles further you’ll find the fairy-tale ancestral home of the Clan Sutherland – Dunrobin Castle – one of the oldest inhabited houses in Scotland, dating back to the 13th century. The stunning formal gardens which run down to the sea are based on those at Versailles and were laid out in the 1850s. Daily displays of the ancient sport of falconry take place in the gardens. Less than an hour south is magnificent Cawdor Castle, the setting for setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The 14th century home of the Thanes of Cawdor is considered one of the most romantic stately homes in the Highlands with its fine collection of rare tapestries, portraits and furniture plus lovely gardens and grounds.
Enjoy Invergordon on your own or via Azamara Shore Excursions®.
Overnight: At Sea
SANDY LYLE: Today play Kingsbarns Golf Links. Its sandy, linksland soils are the basis for this heritage, and produce the fine-bladed fescues which are the cornerstone of fast-and-firm playing surfaces that characterize links golf. Designed by Kyle Phillips and opened anew in 2000, its rebirth has been shared with golfers from near and far with outstanding reviews. The links features spacious rolling fairways, large greens, and exceptional sea views on every hole. A challenging yet enjoyable champion-standard traditional Scottish links course.
GREG NORMAN: Today play Carnoustie, home of The 2018 Open. While the links is relatively flat it is exposed to the elements. A combination of length and accuracy are required as golfers face narrow corridors from the tee. Approach shots demand precision to the greens heavily guarded by steep bunkers and burns. Arguably the toughest finishing holes in championship golf, errant shots are severely penalized. Ben Hogan won The Open at Carnoustie in his lone appearance, in 1953. Tom Watson and Gary Player also hoisted the Claret Jug here.
SIGHTSEEING: Once most famous for its industrial character, Dundee has evolved into a vibrant art, design, music and theatre scene. It’s the UK’s first designated UNESCO City of Design and now has the first design museum outside of London. The new V&A Museum of Design is housed in a world-class building at the heart of the newly transformed waterfront. Visit and learn the story of Scotland's outstanding design heritage. McManus is Dundee’s major museum, but don’t miss the Dundee Contemporary Arts. A focal point for the arts and design crowd, the building serves as a design shop, hip café, gallery and arts cinema. Just as must-see is the Dundee Science Centre (formerly known as Sensation), a museum devoted to the senses: slide through a cut-away head on a pink tongue, before exiting through a nostril. Sensational, indeed. Down by the waterfront you can explore the Royal Research Ship Discovery, launched in 1901 to explore the South Pole. In the evening the west side of Perth offers great bars and a wonderful view over Britain’s most powerful river, the Tay. Find a bench with a pint of Deuchars IPA and watch the river go by.
Enjoy Dundee on your own or via Azamara Shore Excursions®.
Overnight: At Sea
Edinburgh - the inspiring capital of Scotland - is a historic, cosmopolitan and cultured city. The setting is striking; a city perched on a series of extinct volcanoes and rocky crags which rise from the generally flat landscape of the Lothians with the sheltered shoreline of the Firth of Forth to the north. Edinburgh Castle dominates the city-center and from its ramparts you can look down on medieval lanes that hold over a thousand years of history, mystery and tradition. You will also see a modern, dynamic capital where international festivals attract the world's leading performers, galleries display cutting-edge art, and bars, restaurants and clubs create a lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere with a distinctly Scottish twist. No visit to Edinburgh would be complete without a walk up the Royal Mile, which stretches from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Scotland, to Edinburgh Castle. The route is lined with tourist shops and pubs but be sure to explore the narrow alleys called closes that lead off the Royal Mile.
Enjoy Edinburgh on your own or via Azamara Shore Excursions®.
Overnight: In Port – Edinburgh (Leith), Scotland
SANDY LYLE: Today play the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles Hotel. This highly acclaimed modern classic of Jack Nicklaus design was host venue to the 2014 Ryder Cup. The course is set in a most spectacular location in the rolling Perthshire hills and affords wonderful views of the Grampian Mountains and the surrounding countryside. Note: Golf cart venue.
GREG NORMAN: Today play the Kings Course at Gleneagles Hotel which opened in 1919 and is a shot maker’s paradise. Renowned architect and five-time Open champion James Braid intended to test every facet of a golfer’s skill set. With springy moorland turf underfoot in an idyllic setting featuring rock faced mountains to the north, lush green hills to the south and the peaks of the Trossachs and Ben Vorlich on the western horizon, the scenery is incomparable. The 5th hole, Het Girdle (Hot Pan) is a fantastic par-3 loaded with trouble until your shot safely reaches the green.
Overnight: At Sea
Enjoy another relaxing day at sea on Azamara Pursuit.
Overnight: At Sea
Today an option is available, at supplementary cost, to attend the third round of The 149th Open at Royal St George’s, a stalwart in The Open rota, which has seen great champions such as Harry Vardon and Greg Norman emerge as Champion Golfer of the Year. Follow the action on this fascinating links and watch the next legend earn his place on golf’s most iconic trophy, The Claret Jug. A convenient transportation schedule will operate between the ship and the championship venue.
SIGHTSEEING: Known best for its stunning White Cliffs, located only a short drive from town, Dover is located in Kent County in southeastern England. Tour the Dover Castle - the largest in England - and its medieval underground works created in the 11th century. St. Augustine’s Abbey is a Benedictine monastery founded in the sixth century and in use until dissolution under English Reformation in 1598. South Foreland Lighthouse, out of service since 1988, began using an electric light in 1859, making it the first lighthouse to do so. Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the serene waterfront and a tasty meal featuring local flavor at The Allotment, overlooking the water.
Overnight: In Port – Dover, England
Today attend (as a golf package inclusion) the final round of The 149th Open at Royal St George’s a stalwart in The Open rota, which has seen great champions such as Harry Vardon and Greg Norman emerge as Champion Golfer of the Year. Follow the action on this fascinating links and watch the next legend earn his place on golf’s most iconic trophy, The Claret Jug. A convenient transportation schedule will operate between the ship and the championship venue.
Enjoy Dover on your own or via Azamara Shore Excursions®.
Overnight: At Sea
Disembark Azamara Pursuit at 9:00AM.