Azamara will not sacrifice experience for quicker return

Azamara will not compromise the experience it offers its guests to begin sailing sooner, its new president has pledged.

The line, acquired from Royal Caribbean by Sycamore Partners this week, has currently suspended sailings until the end of April.

Carol Cabezas, who has stepped up to president from chief operating officer, said the cruise line’s return date would be based on “two main elements” – which were ‘Can we go there and make it safe?’ and ‘can our guests get there?’

Approval from ports and destinations it wants to sail to is “key”, said Cabezas who explained that Azamara’s European team is talking to each of the relevant ports to get approval.

She also promised the line would be “operating in the safest of ways” and not just in line with EU guidelines, but “up a notch”.

Cabezas said the access of passengers to ships was currently “complicated” with “a number of exclusions and barriers.” She said the UK is doing a “great job” on the vaccine rollout and the US “will get there”.

“That [vaccine rollout] will enable those passengers to be opened up again,” she said.

Asked if the line, known for ‘destination immersion’, would scaled back on more unique destinations if they took longer to open up ports, she said: “We’ve looked at a couple of places where we could make some adjustments, but Azamara needs to deliver the Azamara experience.

“We don’t want to sacrifice what we’re about just in order to operate a sailing. It’s not the experience people are coming to us for.”

Cabezas described a “pretty large portion” of Azamara sailings as “country intensive” – meaning they primarily operate in one nation.

“What that means is it becomes a lot easier,” she said, giving the example that if all the calls were in Greece, the ship only has to adhere to one set of protocols which means “approvals become a lot easier to come by”.

“That makes it helpful for us to carry out operations without making changes,”  she added.

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