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Travel industry news

29 Aug 2018

BY Tom Parry


Azamara boss: Refitting over building new is 'superior math'

The boss of Azamara Club Cruises has said he would currently prefer to purchase and refit the line’s next ship instead of building a new vessel.


Speaking to TTG onboard the newly christened Azamara Pursuit, Larry Pimentel, president and chief executive, said that although he believed the line getting a new-build was “highly possible”, the strategy of acquiring and revamping an older ship was “superior math”.


Pursuit, the line’s third ship, previously sailed as P&O Cruises’ Adonia and is the eighth in a series of R-class ships launched by Renaissance Cruises between the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Azamara Journey is the sixth R-class, while its sister ship, Azamara Quest, is the seventh.


Pimentel has long been quizzed as to whether Azamara would look to acquire further ships in the class.


“If you said to me today, you can have a new-build a fourth R-class ship, I’d take the fourth R-class first,” Pimentel told TTG.


“The math of it is superior – you have a lower cost, a lower debt structure and it’s the fourth of the same fleet so there is an economy of scale.


He explained how in some cases, new-builds could take up to three years from conception to completion.


He later went on to say how he favoured the refit approach which was "months from purchase to operation".


Pimentel also said he did not believe Azamara would introduce ships larger than 1,000 passengers, adding: “I don’t think that is our cup of tea. There might be reasons that technology takes us there but our sister companies [in Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd] have the best large ships in the world so there’s no need for us to play in that space, we are in the 700-900-passenger range and it’s a real sweet spot.”


Asked how many ships of that size he thought the line could have, Pimentel placed the figure between six and eight, which he said could be operated “quite easily”.


“But it would be possible to have even smaller ships and operator in specialised zones, say a ship for the pacific going around Tahiti,” he added. “Our brand is all about Destination Immersion, so you could put ships in geographical areas and sail them annual and year-round. Six to eight would be very reasonable.”



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