Pursuit, which was christened in Southampton on Tuesday (August 28), was acquired by Azamara from P&O Cruises in March this year, under which it had previously sailed as Adonia.
It was later refit by MJM Group at Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, the first time Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) had chosen a UK shipyard for such a project.
Speaking to TTG onboard the ship, Pimentel, Azamara’s president and chief executive, said Pursuit had given the line a “format for rolling things out”.
“Pursuit is a little different to her sisters but I think what we have done with her will become the prototype for her sisters. We’ll take the learnings and the things we saw were successful and add them in,” he said.
Pimentel pinpointed parts of the refitting process – such as the removal of Pursuit’s casino - as “a better approach for our brand”, explained how the change had allowed Azamara to add extra stateroom capacity.
Asked how Azamara’s approach to revamping older ships – it currently has two others alongside Pursuit in Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest – compared to other line’s opting for new-builds, Pimentel said: “Almost the entire focus by the industry is on the next new ship – in this particular brand, ours has not been.
"I can’t tell you how delighted I was to get this ship and I can’t tell how pleased I thought the previous owner was to get rid of it but it is all perspective.
“You look at an older house but you can contemporise it and that’s what we have done. There are buildings with amazing history, and you mean to say you wouldn’t buy it because it is not brand new? To me that is a silly notion. We have refit [Pursuit] really well.
“We have taken older ships and refit them beautifully and put a lot of effort into them. We have proven that they can extend the ship’s life and we are in a world now that is about sustainability we’re doing that with ships and we are doing that well. I think the ship looks new, we have more than 40 suites which are brand new – there’s a new ship smell.”
Questioned as to whether he believed more lines should look to refit older vessels in a similar strategy to Azamara, he said: “I’m hoping they don’t. I’m hoping they stick with their bits and it gives us the opportunity to source out some additional options.”
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