Larry Pimentel Post # 3 - Ships Refit and Growth

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Q&A with Larry Pimentel, President & CEO, Azamara Club Cruises

Larry Pimentel

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167 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
I am pleased to see so much interest in Azamara Club Cruises. Good or bad, I agree with "Greeneg" who says that "The fact that people are expressing concern is actually a measure of how much they enjoy Azamara.”

In this post I will address your questions regarding drydock and longer term plans. This seems to be a topic of great interest, as it was asked back in May, as well.

We did have extensive plans about revitalizing our ships. We still do. However, as I like to say “ship sometimes happens”! Major events occurring in the first quarter changed the decision. The unfortunate accident of Concordia slowed industry bookings initially. This combined with the large European economic downturn and our own Quest incident lead to a perfect storm and a recalibration of our efforts. Our decision was practical yet disappointing. I, too, was let down – probably more so than most. But as we move forward and business continues to grow as noted in my 1st post, we will re-address these plans.

In the meantime, we are taking both ships in to drydock, Quest on November 2nd this year in Cadiz, Spain and Journey on January 6, 2013 in Singapore, and we are doing significant refits to the ships. Below is a summary of how the ships will be enhanced:

On the culinary front, guests onboard will enjoy a new caviar and champagne bar within Aqualina, one of the ships’ two specialty dining venues, as well as a new Chef’s Table concept featuring three wine and food tasting menus – Italian, French and Californian. Mosaic Café, as well as Discoveries Restaurant and Lounge will be refurbished in a new contemporary color palette reflecting our warm and inviting ambiance. As well, the Casino Bar will be enhanced with new furniture and an expanded and new bar area.

I think you’ve heard me say that our crew is our greatest asset, and a number of enhancements will be made in our crew area, as well. The crew focus is rather significant. Among other scheduled upgrades will be new carpets and upholstery throughout the ship for a new look and feel; staterooms and suites with new mattresses, and a fresh coat of paint and upgraded balcony furniture for those with balconies. While on the sun and pool decks, guests will soon enjoy a re-surfaced pool with new sun loungers and pool towels.

Now the question of future growth and planning… The answer from earlier this year hasn’t changed much. When I joined Azamara in 2010 several people immediately asked me if I planned any additional tonnage and I told them then that I didn’t join Azamara with the intention of it remaining a two ship fleet. That is still my intention. But expanding the Azamara fleet isn’t as simple as flipping a light switch. We need to be prudent, perform our due diligence and satisfy the management of our parent company and its shareholders that we are on the right track. It would also be good if the market conditions were more favorable globally. Clearly, I believe we are on the right track from an onboard guest satisfaction perspective and forward growth looks very encouraging.

Taxjam has asked for a detailed 5-year plan. I won’t share our operating plan on Cruise Critic, but when the time is right, you will be the first to know. Having stated this, the input of the Cruise Critic members on refits and revitalization plan is significant to us as it represents an important perspective from a very engaged and passionate group of past guests. Your input, along with the opinions I receive from other markets, provides me with panoramic feedback about your visions for our vessels.
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Larry Pimentel
President & CEO
Azamara Club Cruises
16,248 Posts
Joined May 2007
I was one of the lucky ones that had a good mattress on deck 8. i can now look forward to even a better nights sleep. not sure what was wrong with the balcony furniture but lookig forward to new.

as far as the pool chairs they were extra heavy and i always had to ask for help to move them. it was funny to watch me try.. So thank you for chairs that i can move.

i am really enjoying your posts..

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Lafayette, Louisiana
407 Posts
Joined May 2008
Thank you for your to-the-point explanation, which makes much sense.
Boca Raton, FL
18,797 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
As always, Thank you for sharing your insights with us Larry. I'm looking forward to seeing Quest's updates on our next Azamara sailing - hopefully in March 2013.
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Tucson, AZ
2,848 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
Hopefully we'll get pictures of the updating
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Laurie B
Zenith 02/01
Century 01/02, 2/02, 1/04
Tahitian Princess 01/03, 1/05, 1/08
Eclipse 12/10
Azamara Journey 9/12
Azamara Journey 3/17
Azamara Quest 5/29/17, 6/9/17, 6/12/17
Azamara Journey 9/10/18
Azamara Journey 9/21/18
1,163 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
I just wanted to say I've been cruising since the days of the Sun Viking, Nordic Empress and Song of America. I just came off of the Journey on Oct 15th and have to say it was the BEST cruise experience I've had in many, many years. It actually reminded me of my first cruise on Home Lines...service, service and more service! Great food and an even greater crew.

Thank you Larry for doing it the right way! I LOVE the new changes and have booked a future cruise to Viet Nam as a retirement gift to my husband.
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Boca Raton, FL
18,797 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Originally posted by laurieb
Hopefully we'll get pictures of the updating
That would be great Laurie. Let's hope Azamara will provide us photos of Quest's progress. I've always wanted to visit a Drydock. I'm sure it would be fascinating. If it ever happened ? I highly recommend not asking me to weld or nail gun anything
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Wiltshire UK
169 Posts
Joined Aug 2013

New ships would be great with a decent size bathroom and a real shower with no curtain cling. Your cabins no matter how nicely furnished as always going to be small. I don't spend much time in my cabin except to sleep, but most women will tell you the bathroom is important.

However the smaller ship concept with fewer guests is a good difference. It is great you can get into ports larger ships can't. I hope any new ships don't grow too much so you can keep the personal touch.
Sonoma County, CA
3,092 Posts
Joined Mar 2014
Hi UnitedFlyier - yes! New stateroom accommodations are a key aspect of any new design that may be considered in the future, with a priority on enhancing the bathroom spaces.
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Bonnie B. MacLaird
Chief Blogging Officer
Azamara Club Cruises

(*CBO is an authorized and compensated representative of Azamara Club Cruises)
Wiltshire UK
169 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Originally posted by BBMacLaird
Hi UnitedFlyier - yes! New stateroom accommodations are a key aspect of any new design that may be considered in the future, with a priority on enhancing the bathroom spaces.

Thank you for the reply. I look forward to any new ship pictures and information in the future. I'm looking forward to my B2B cruises April 22nd and 30th on the Quest.
152 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
We are looking to book our first cruise on Azamara Journey in August

We are having trouble tying to locating information about pre and post dinner entertainment, other than the stage show

We enjoy dancing and would love to see a small band, duo or piano player entertain before dinner