Big changes in cruising: Royal Caribbean to sell Azamara
The ongoing pandemic has caused sea changes throughout the travel industry. Today, Royal Caribbean announced that it had entered a "definitive agreement" to sell its beloved Azamara brand to Sycamore Partners. If you're not familiar with Sycamore, it's a private equity firm. The deal, worth $210 million, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.
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Azamara has a fleet of three ships and each carries fewer than 700 passengers. It may be one of the smaller lines in the industry, but over the years it's built up a reputation for offering premium cruises that focus on multi-night port calls, special VIP events on shore, excellent dining and beverage choices, and exemplary service. These intimate, upscale ships are comfortable home bases to explore the world's most exotic destinations.
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Royal Caribbean sees the sale as an integral part of its forward-thinking game plan. "Our strategy has evolved into placing more of our resources behind three global brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea, and working to grow them as we emerge from this unprecedented period," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Caribbean Group. "Even so, Azamara remains a strong brand with its own tremendous potential for growth, and Sycamore's track record demonstrates that they will be good stewards of what the Azamara team has built over the past 13 years."
For its part, Sycamore Partners says it will continue Azamara's operations in a way that presents consistency to passengers. According to Stefan Kaluzny, Managing Director of Sycamore Partners, "We believe Azamara will remain a top choice for discerning travelers as the cruising industry recovers over time."
Azamara Chief Operating Officer Carol Cabezas has been appointed president of the brand.