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Big changes in cruising: Royal Caribbean to sell Azamara

Jan. 19, 2021
2 min read
Big changes in cruising: Royal Caribbean to sell Azamara
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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.

Related: TPG honors Larry Pimentel, who 'raised the bar' for cruising over a long career

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."

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Azamara Chief Operating Officer Carol Cabezas has been appointed president of the brand.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Azamara
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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at American Express's secure site
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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees