Azamara Cruises

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Azamara Cruises Coronavirus update

Azamara canceled all cruises with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 13, 2020, through June 30, 2021. Operations are currently planned to resume on July 10 (Azamara Pursuit), July 11 (Azamara Quest) and July 16 (Azamara Journey).

All affected bookings received full refunds (100%), including on prepurchased through Azamara cruise packages and services. With rebooking are offered 125% refunds in FCC (future cruise credit) to be used on itineraries that depart up to Sept 30, 2022. The FCC must be redeemed by April 30, 2022. Changing the FCC to a monetary refund (100%) must be done by May 20, 2021. Azamara's Cancellation Policy was extended to allow penalty-free cancellations up to 48 hours prior departure (all officially canceled itineraries) and receive an FCC.

Azamara Cruises fleet

Review of Azamara Cruises

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Azamara canceled all cruises with pre-scheduled departures in the period March 13, 2020, through June 30, 2021. Operations are currently planned to resume on July 10 (Azamara Pursuit), July 11 (Azamara Quest) and July 16 (Azamara Journey).

All affected bookings received full refunds (100%), including on prepurchased through Azamara cruise packages and services. With rebooking are offered 125% refunds in FCC (future cruise credit) to be used on itineraries that depart up to Sept 30, 2022. The FCC must be redeemed by April 30, 2022. Changing the FCC to a monetary refund (100%) must be done by May 20, 2021. Azamara's Cancellation Policy was extended to allow penalty-free cancellations up to 48 hours prior departure (all officially canceled itineraries) and receive an FCC.

Azamara Cruises (fka "Azamara Club Cruises", website) is a premium travel brand and company that currently operates three ships - Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest and Azamara Pursuit. Azamara is a subsidiary of RCCL-Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Founded in 2007 as "Azamara Cruises", the company was rebranded in 2009 to "Azamara Club Cruises".

Azamara ships were originally part of the R-Class cruise vessels built for Renaissance Cruises between 1998-2001. On June 18, 2019, the company was officially rebranded from "Azamara Club Cruises" to just "Azamara". Company's logo was also changed.

Azamara Cruises logo - CruiseMapper

On January 19, 2021, Azamara's parent company RCG (Royal Caribbean Group) announced an agreement to sell the Azamara brand for USD 201 million (~EUR 165,8 M / ~GBP 147,6 M / carve-out transaction) to Sycamore Partners. Sycamore Partners acquired the entire brand and its 3 ships, plus all the associated intellectual property rights and goodwill. The all-cash transaction was closed in 2021-Q1. The deal was assisted by Perella Weinberg Partners (financial advisor for RCG), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (legal counsel for RCG) and Kirkland & Ellis (legal advice to Sycamore). Azamara's CEO and President is Carol Cabezas, while Orlando Ashford is the company's Executive Chairman.

The brand's new owner Sycamore Partners (2011-founded, NYC-headquartered) is a major private equity firm with USD 15+ billion in capital and assets under management. Sycamore specializes in retail-, consumer- and debt investments, leveraged and distressed buyouts, complex corporate carveouts. The largest Sycamore Partners investments include Belk Inc (1888-founded American department store chain/2015-acquired), Talbots (1947-founded American retailer of women's clothing-shoes-fashion accessories/2012-acquired), Nine West Holdings (1970-founded as Jones Apparel Group, American designer and wholesaler of branded clothing-shoes-accessories/2013-acquired) and Staples Inc (1986-founded, American office retailer/2017-acquired).

January 25, 2021, Sycamore purchased for Azamara the R-Class ship Pacific Princess, which is sistership (by design) to the Azamara ships Journey, Quest and Pursuit.

Larry Pimentel was Azamara's President and CEO between 2009-2021. He formerly served as President and CEO of the cruise companies SeaDream Yacht Club, Seabourn and Cunard Line. Each Azamara vessel carries up to 694 passengers. Most of the company's customers (45%) are from North America, ~20% from UK-Ireland, ~10% from Australia-New Zealand.

Azamara has won many awards for its value, travel experience and service. Among its honors, Azamara won three awards in the same category with "Best Entertainment" to Azamara Journey, while Azamara Quest won "Best Fitness and Best Public Rooms" by 2015 UK Cruisers' Choice Awards. Azamara Club Cruises was listed amongst Travel+Leisure's "World's Best Awards 2014" in the large-ship companies category. Designed to provide exotic destination-driven itineraries, the line presents an intimate onboard experience while offering access to less-travelled ports of call that experienced cruisers want to visit.

Azamara gives an exciting opportunity to experienced travellers who look for more than what a traditional voyage can deliver. They are keener on travelling than cruising, but may still prefer the convenience that only a ship can deliver in exotic locales. Azamara provides this underserved group of vacationers what they want - an experience that is a bit different: more than premium, but not quite luxury. Azamara offers deluxe voyages with concierge-style amenities - for this one would have to upgrade to a suite on other lines.

Since its launch, Azamara has added more inclusive amenities to guests’ fares, with no charge for bottled water, specialty teas, and coffees, standard wines, spirits, and international beers throughout line's ships during bar hours; complimentary self-service laundry and shuttle bus service to and from port communities.

The extensive overhauls of the two former fleetmates of Renaissance Cruises (1989-2001/defunct) resulted in brighter interiors with the addition of light and splashes of bold colour in the drapes and upholstery. Areas that appeared stuffy now look welcoming, with contemporary artwork enhancing the decor. While the size of Azamara liners makes supports easy navigation and high level of intimacy, there is no skimping on features that are abundant on larger liners, such as alternative dining and private cabin balconies. Cruisers may feel like they have checked into an upscale boutique hotel that happens to float.

Azamara's all-inclusive "luxury club" like experience includes complimentary beverages (spirits, wines, international beers, bottled waters, specialty teas-coffees, soft drinks), AzAmazing Evening (shore excursions themed on local cuisine and traditional entertainment), onboard gratuities, onboard concierge and butler services (in suites). The AzAmazing tours are complimentary evenings ashore offering a fabulous way to immerse in region's/destination's culture.

Remaining rich, yet elegant, Azamara voyages are wonderfully decorated and manage to hold an inviting presence all the way through your stay. Of Azamara staterooms, 93% provide ocean views with 70% offering private balconies, meaning it's easier to find the perfect room for your vacation. Onboard service is outstanding: from butler service in every stateroom to the 1 staff member to every 2 guests ratio. In every stateroom, passengers receive a high level of service, which is rarely found on larger cruise liners.

New ship

On September 26, 2017, Azamara announced an agreement with P&O UK (Carnival Corporation subsidiary company) to purchase the ship Adonia (Azamara Pursuit). Adonia's last P&O cruise was a 15-day Barbados roundtrip itinerary (booking code D804) February 23 through March 9, 2018.

The vessel will join Azamara's fleet of 2 sisterships (Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest). The planned delivery is for March 2018. The ship will be renamed "Azamara Pursuit". During the scheduled drydock refurbishment, the cruise ship's decor was changed, as well as the names of bars and lounges, cabin categories and amenities.

In late-January 2021, Azamara's new owner Sycamore Partners purchased the R-Class boat Pacific Princess, which is sistership (by design) to all Azamara ships.

Itinerary of Azamara Cruises

With regularly scheduled cruise itineraries in the Caribbean, South America, Australia New Zealand, Asia and Europe, Azamara offers a wide choice of premium travel excursions marked by a 5-star hotel (all-inclusive) shipboard experiences, like in-cabin spa treatments, gourmet dining, white-glove service. Azamara's shore excursions offer special insights into the visited regions' history, culture, traditions, geology, wildlife. Each voyage includes one AzAmazing excursion included in the cruise fares.

Azamara customers can also book fly-cruise deals to sailings in the Caribbean (including Panama Canal transition), South America, Asia, Hawaii, Alaska. For Formula 1 fans there is even a "Monaco F1 Grand Prix Cruise" in the Azamara's schedule each year.

Under the company's new ownership (Sycamore Partners since 2021), Azamara now operates a fleet of four ultra-luxury ships - Azamara Quest, Azamara Journey, Azamara Pursuit, Azamara TBN (fka Pacific Princess).

Azamara 2021-2022 itineraries

Azamara's 2021-Q2 itineraries include sailing across 4 continents from January through March. Changes include new country-intensive sailings in Japan, the introduction of Azamara Pursuit to Australia and New Zealand, additional experiences in South Africa and South America.

In Japan, Azamara offers 15- and 16-night itineraries with calls at up to 13 cruise ports, including Aomori, Hakodate, Kobe, Tokyo. Starting in 2019, the company offers immersive shore excursions program to showcase the country's culture in its various regions. Azamara Pursuit debuts in Australia-New Zealand (2021) and visits 18 ports, including Melbourne, Sydney, Akaroa, Auckland, Napier. The company is also introducing new experiences in South Africa and South America - a "Rio Carnival Cruise" (Azamara Quest) and a South Africa roundtrip (Azamara Journey).

In April 2019, Azamara announced its 2021-2022 schedule featuring 140+ overnights worldwide and discovery-themed itineraries in Eastern Europe (an expanded the Black Sea and Turkey program) with overnights in Istanbul and resort towns like Antalya and Sinop.

Azamara's 10x maiden ports include Amami, Arica, Brest, Fraser Island, Guayaquil, Manta, Milos, Pylos, Tema-Accra, Warrenpoint (Northern Ireland). In 2021, Azamara doubled the overnight stays in France and Spain (since 2015). Shore tour options include Andalusian Gastronomy Experience in Seville Spain and Nantes/Loire Valley.

Azamara also offers new "Grand Voyages" via B2Bs (back-to-back cruises) around the world with bookings receiving onboard credit for each leg of the voyage plus free WiFi. Grand Voyages are designed for travellers opting for longer itineraries with more destinations while saving money on the booking. An example is the 69-day South America Circumnavigation (roundtrip from Miami / January 2022) covering a total of 32 countries - including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Uruguay, Antarctic Sound passage.

In September 2020, Azamara announced new itineraries for 2022-H2 and 2023-Q1. The program includes 80+ new itineraries with a total of 170 overnights and 300 late-night port stays. Season's highlights include maiden port calls (Dakar Senegal, Aberdeen Scotland, Tinos and Syros in Greece) and more "Country-Intensive Voyages" scheduled.

In 2022-2023, Azamara visits a total of 275 ports worldwide, among which 26 are Greek. Azamara Quest operates a "Greek Intensive Voyage" (roundtrip from Piraeus-Athens on October 15, 2022) that visits Tinos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Agios Nikolaos (Crete), plus Kusadasi Turkey.

In late-2022 - early-2023, the company also offers the Black Sea and Holy Land (Egypt-Israel Intensive) cruises. Further south, Azamara will continue with its South Africa Intensive program. One option is the 14-night "South Africa Intensive Holiday" with Azamara Journey (roundtrip from Cape Town South Africa) leaving on December 22, 2022.

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