Big news in the cruise industry: Azamara has entered into a definitive agreement to become part of Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm. In an announcement from Carol Cabezas, chief operating officer of Azamara, she says the move will play an important role in driving the brand forward and expanding its “Destination Immersion” experiences.

Sycamore Partners, according to the announcement, “is the ideal partner for the Azamara brand.” It has an extensive record of investing in and elevating brands and, through the partnership, the companies will accelerate the investment in its fleet and experiences.

“It is important to understand Azamara’s value proposition and operations will remain consistent under the new management,” Cabezas said. “We are committed to maintaining the high guest engagement and once-in-a-lifetime experiences that make Azamara a unique and beloved upmarket cruise line.” With the new ownership, Azamara plans to “rapidly” expand its portfolio of destinations. 

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View the video announcement by Cabezas below:

In a statement provided to Luxury Travel Advisor, Michelle Fee, CEO and founder of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, said, “We didn’t see this coming, but after a year like 2020, nothing surprises me, and travel brands will need to make smart business decisions in order to survive.”

Upon its return to service, Azamara says health and safety will be top-of-mind throughout the transition period and beyond. Azamara will adopt the same health and safety protocols as the Royal Caribbean Group, developed by the Healthy Sail Panel, which includes a renowned group of public health experts.

Azamara has paused cruising until April 30, 2021; currently, plans are to resume service on May 1 with Azamara Quest’s 14-night “Black Sea” sailing roundtrip and Azamara Journey’s six-night “Amalfi & Adriatic Wonders” voyage.

“This is an exciting time for the Azamara family, and I will keep you informed as this transition continues,” added Cabezas. “The transaction is subject to customary conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. We remain a full member of the Royal Caribbean Group until that time.”

Until the transaction is officially completed, “it is business as usual,” meaning, if you have booked a voyage with Azamara, it remains unchanged. If you have questions about current travel options or any existing reservations, Azamara says to call its customer care center.

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