Azamara confirms purchase of Princess Cruises ship

Azamara’s new owner has confirmed the line has bought Pacific Princess from Princess Cruises, taking its fleet to four vessels.

Princess announced on Friday that the ship, identical to Azamara Journey, Quest and Pursuit, had been sold to an undisclosed buyer with no purchase price given.

The deal emerged just days after the boss of Azamara revealed plans for fleet expansion in an exclusive interview with Travel Weekly following its takeover from Royal Caribbean Group by private equity firm Sycamore Partners – a deal expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

Following a full renovation, the ship – which will be renamed – is scheduled to sail its inaugural season in Europe in 2022.

The 670-passenger vessel joined the Princess fleet in 2002, having originally entered service in 1999 as R3 for Renaissance Cruises.

Azamara’s fleet comprises three similar boutique-style vessels which can visit smaller ports. The trio includes former P&O Cruises ship Adonia, which was renamed Azamara Pursuit when it joined the US line in 2018, alongside Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey.

The sale of Pacific Princess is in line with parent company Carnival Corporation’s plan to accelerate the removal of less efficient ships from its fleet.

Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz said: “Pacific Princess holds so many memories and cherished experiences to all who sailed upon her.

“Pacific Princess offered a traditional style of cruising to unique destinations. While it’s difficult to say goodbye to our ‘Love Boat,’ our world cruise and exotic itineraries continue on board our Medallion Class-enabled Island Princess and Coral Princess, featuring the best Wi-Fi at sea, allowing guests to keep in touch with loved ones and share memories along the way.”

Passengers and agents with Pacific Princess bookings will be notified and receive information on how to book another cruise when operations resume.

“Guests who prefer a refund will be accommodated,” the line said.

Azamara last week extended the suspension of global cruises due to the Covid-19 pandemic until May.

Stefan Kaluzny, managing director of Sycamore Partners, said: “The addition of this ship is an important milestone and reflects Sycamore Partners’ commitment to supporting Azamara in its next phase of growth.

“Expanding the fleet will allow Azamara to continue to serve loyal customers, as well as those new to the brand, with more unique Destination Immersion programming and itineraries.”

Carol Cabezas, president of Azamara, added: “We are thrilled to be expanding our fleet with a fourth ship, allowing us to visit even more regions of the world and better serve our guests.

“We look forward to launching even more unique and immersive itineraries and feel this is just the beginning of an exciting growth phase for Azamara.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Sycamore Partners is being advised by former Holland America Line president Orlando Ashford. His LinkedIn profile states he has been a “strategic advisor” to Sycamore Partners from September 2020 to present.

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