Boutique cruise line Azamara Club Cruises has announced today that its new ship, Azamara Pursuit, will be refitted in the UK as it prepares to go into wet dock in Belfast in Spring 2018. In addition, the cruise line has announced that the ship’s maiden voyage will now begin in Southampton, and that its first four voyages will touch the UK. This comes after the news that Azamara Pursuit will be christened in Southampton, and shows Azamara’s commitment to strengthening its UK ties.
Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises, said: “We’ve seen unprecedented support from the UK market for Azamara Pursuit, so we are delighted to be able to show our recognition of this by allowing its transformational journey to take place here. We’ve seen double the UK demand for Azamara Pursuit than we usually see for its sister ships, so this is a really exciting time for us as a brand.”
He continued: “The maiden voyage will depart from Southampton and provide travellers with the opportunity to enjoy a country-intensive voyage to Norway, visiting eight destinations in the Scandinanvian country. We launched our country-intensive series last year as an opportunity for guests to explore countries on a more in-depth level, which is part of our commitment to Destination Immersion.”
Azamara Pursuit will join the line’s existing two-ship fleet in August 2018, after being transformed to be almost identical to its sister ships Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey. World-leading out-fitting specialist MJM Group will manage the entire refit project which will take place at the iconic Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Work will begin in Spring 2018 and will be completed by the end of July. This is the first time that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., owner of the Azamara brand, has chosen a UK ship yard for such a project.
The maiden voyage will depart Southampton on 1 August 2018 and travel to eight Norwegian destinations, including Kristiansand, Flam and Haugesund, with overnight stays in Oslo and Bergen. Azamara Pursuit’s sister ship, Azamara Journey, will dock in Haugesund on the same day, marking their first meeting.
Azamara Pursuit will then depart Southampton for an Iceland-intensive voyage on 13 August 2018, before a special christening voyage on 28 August 2018. The ship will then depart Southampton once more on 30 August 2018 for its 13 Night Wine & Romance Voyage.
Richard Twynam, Managing Director for UK and Ireland, added: “Thanks to the incredible support from our UK guests and travel agents, 2017 was a record year for Azamara in this market, with the business growing by an impressive 30%. Looking at 2018, the UK market is in a fantastic position already, having generated more revenue for 2018 at this point than in 2015 overall. What’s more, repeat guest levels from the UK are the highest for the brand overall. The Azamara Pursuit announcements are enabling us to continue the drumbeat of good news, with even more opportunities for agents and guests to see Azamara ships in the UK than ever before.”