New destinations, technology and opportunities lie ahead for Azamara, the recently acquired line’s president has told TTG.
Carol Cabezas said the brand, which was purchased by private equity firm Sycamore Partners last month and soon after announced a fourth ship would enter its fleet in 2022, had “a lot of work ahead of us”, adding: “We’re up for the challenge.”
Talks between Sycamore and Royal Caribbean Group took place “over a number of months”, she revealed, with the deal the private equity firm’s first foray into the travel sector.
Hinting at further expansion, Cabezas said Azamara’s new owners had “made it clear [the addition of a fourth ship] isn’t the end of their plans with us”.
The Renaissance-class Pacific Princess purchase from Carnival Corporation was announced on 25 January.
The as-yet-unnamed vessel will have “as much consistency as possible” in look and feel to its sister ships Journey, Quest and Pursuit, although new elements of the brand’s technology will also be seen as it parts ways with Royal, including a new reservations system.
The line will also offer “a lot more destinations” with its new ship, which will sail its maiden season in Europe next year.
“There is so much variety in Europe and our ships are on the smaller side, so we can access certain rivers,” said Cabezas. “Europe has always been one of our most popular destinations – it just made sense for us.”
She added winter 2021/22 was seeing “the strongest-booked position this brand has ever had” with UK demand “holding up stronger than other markets”.
“All this pent-up demand is brewing and going to translate into a strong summer next year.”
Meanwhile Cabezas, who has been at the helm since former president Larry Pimentel stepped down in April, said her predecessor was “over the moon” about the Sycamore Partners deal.
“This is his dream come true – the brand coming into its own. He couldn’t be more pleased to watch us grow and flourish.”