Azamara appoints Orlando Ashford as executive chairman

Former Holland America Line president Orlando Ashford has been appointed as executive chairman of cruise line Azamara.

Private equity firm Sycamore Partners has agreed a deal to acquire the destination immersion specialist line from Royal Caribbean Group, which is expected to complete in the first quarter of the year.

Sycamore announced the appointment of Ashford, who departed Carnival Corporation-owned HAL at the end of May last year, after it confirmed the purchase of Azamara’s fourth ship earlier this week.

Ashford said: “I am thrilled to be appointed to the role of executive chairman at this exciting time for Azamara, having long admired the business and the brand.

“I believe Azamara is uniquely positioned in the industry, and I look forward to executing on our shared vision for growth. Together with the Azamara team, we’ll focus on offering Azamara’s loyal customers more of what they have come to know and love.”

Carol Cabezas remains president after being promoted from chief operating officer as part of the acquisition.

She said: “I look forward to working with Orlando, who has equal passion for the cruise industry and the very special product Azamara offers.

“With the recent news of a planned addition to the fleet, Orlando will bring perspective that will support expansion of the brand while maintaining and growing the unique programming and itineraries beloved by guests and travel industry partners.”

Stefan Kaluzny, managing director of Sycamore Partners, said: “We are pleased for Orlando to take on this role as Azamara embarks on its next chapter supported by Sycamore Partners.”

“Orlando brings significant leadership experience as well as specific expertise in the cruise and travel industry, making him well-suited to serve as Azamara’s executive chairman.”

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