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Travel Weekly’s editor-in-chief Lucy Huxley has christened Azamara Club Cruises’ new vessel, Azamara Pursuit, in her role as the ship’s co-godmother.

UK-based agents and media watched on as Huxley and co-godmother Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio, AFAR executive vice president and chief revenue officer, officially launched the vessel in Southampton.

Speaking at the christening, Huxley told attendees she was honoured and grateful to be named co-godmother of Azamara Pursuit.

She said: “It with a sense of great pride that I address you as one of the godmothers of this beautiful ship, and I am privileged to join Ellen on the stage today.

“While it is of course a humbling experience to stand before you all, I am grateful to have the opportunity to do so on behalf of the travel trade, who are so important to Azamara Club Cruises, and particularly on behalf of the wonderful readers of my own publication, Travel Weekly, without whom I would not be here now.

“My passion for the industry has been driven by its commitment to perpetual innovation, evolution and yes, sometimes revolution, continually pushing boundaries and curating experiences which will last a lifetime.

“Nowhere is this commitment to richly-rewarding and culturally-immersive experiences more apparent than in the work of Azamara Club Cruises, which makes it even more special to be here today to christen this wonderful ship, Azamara Pursuit.”

Larry Pimentel, Azamara’s president and chief executive, said launching Azamara Pursuit had given the brand “an even greater sense of purpose”.

He said: “I can tell you without hesitation that all of us at Azamara have an even greater sense of purpose and a renewed spirit to deliver for our guests.

“We’re all keenly aware that this is a seminal moment in our company’s history and we fully intend to seize it, enjoy it, and see just how far we can take it.”

The ship features an onboard sculpture called Beacon of Hope, designed by Andy Scott, which represents bringing people together and changing hearts and minds.

Pimentel added: “The Beacon of Hope is a tribute to the crew and the fine workers in Belfast that refitted [Azamara Pursuit]. They have done an extraordinary job.”

He explained he wanted to choose someone from the UK as godmother who “always serves agents”. “I would say that both Lucy and Ellen make the world a better place and as godmothers you will make the world a better place.”

The cruise line’s managing director UK & Ireland Richard Twynam said the christening marked the “biggest day in the history of Azamara,” a line which launched in 2007.

Hailing UK and Irish agents, Twynam told Travel Weekly: “In 2014 when the UK team was set up, the UK and Irish trade put their trust in us and believed in our product offering.

“That momentum has grown and grown and four years later thanks to their amazing support, we are on a ship well loved by Brits, now called Azamara Pursuit.”

Azamara Pursuit was acquired from P&O Cruises, where it sailed under the name Adonia, and refurbished.

Pursuit is Azamara’s third ship.