Britons are proving “loyal” to Azamara, which has healthy forward bookings from the source market – particularly for 2022 sailings.
The three-ship line’s new president Carol Cabezas, appointed as Royal Caribbean agreed to sell Azamara to private equity firm Sycamore Partners, said the UK market had been “resilient” throughout the pandemic.
“I love how resilient the British traveller is,” she told a Travel Weekly webcast. “You will not be told you will not travel. You will not give up your holiday.”
She added: “Not only is the UK faring well, it’s faring particularly well when you look at the summer and beyond. When you look at 2022, it’s outstanding.
“Our British loyalists are coming through. This indicates to us that the British traveller want to get out there, they just don’t want to pre-empt it and go too soon.”
While Cabezas reported “plenty of 2022” bookings, she said “we are still getting 2021” bookings from the UK, explaining: “Just not the early days. It’s a little bit further into the summer and into the fall, which is ok – we understand people feel uncomfortable.”
But she encouraged people to book early, noting Azamara’s flexibility with amendments and cancellations means “you can’t lose” by doing so. “If anybody does book any earlier and something gets cancelled they’re going to get a great compensation package,” she said.
Speaking to agents about what the sale means for them, Cabezas said “changes can be a little bit daunting” but stressed there will be “no change to our people, to our partnerships, to how we run our products and service levels”.
She said Azamara would continue to honour any previous future cruise credits, or ‘lift and shift’ options, saying it’s “business as usual” for agents dealing with the line.
“You can continue to expect the same terms we’ve had in place,” she confirmed, saying any promotions or compensations offered to trade partners previously will continue under the new ownership.