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Azamara cruise line sold


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30 minutes ago, avw said:

 

I am curious about the "12 week gap" between vaccines referred to in your post. The two vaccines in the U.S.(Pfizer and Moderna) have a 3 and 4 week gap. What vaccine is being offered with a 12 week gap in the U.K. (maybe AstraZeneca)? That is 3 months, which will drag out getting herd immunity! 

By waiting 12 weeks for the second jab it ensures that more people get the initial vaccination which the government says is preferable. 

 

Phil

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37 minutes ago, Tom47 said:

My preference for new Az management would be a new build, rather than purchase another 20 yr old ship. 

I have been on 4 Az cruises, and I appreciate Phil answering many of my questions when  I first started cruising w. Az.

You will then need to be prepared to wait 5 years for that new build.  All expendure and no revenue for 60 months or so.  And, even at a R class size + 50% or so say (Riviera/Marina size).  Cost likely $750 million or so.  Sycamore bought 3 ships recently refurbished for $201 million.  IF they bought Pacific Princess, they likely paid in the mid 8 figures, at most.  So they refurbish to current standards and could be carrying pax long before 2022 rings in.

I hope they bought PP AND talk about discussions of a new build.

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4 hours ago, MakingUpForLostTime said:

Good news? How so?

We, as passengers on these ships love the size but increasingly criticize the old outdated inefficient assets. Last update took away a casino and added more staterooms. Higher density. We got new shower curtains. RCL across 3 other lines all got new ships. Azamara got pursuit. It’s main competition, Oceania, gets new ships. Azamara gets sold. Please explain why adding a 20 year old ship is positive?

Because some of us like the R ships.  The new Oceania ships have too many passengers.  And the two officers Regent borrowed from Oceania for a Regent cruise we were on, a cruise director and hotel general manager, were duds.  As is Regent in general, by the way.

 

If you don't like Azamara, you can cruise...and post...elsewhere.  Why waste your time...and ours...here?

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10 hours ago, SteveH2508 said:

.....All in all, in UK we are doing pretty well on the vaccine front.

 

Shhhh, that could all change in a heartbeat.....!

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1 hour ago, bob278 said:

One person's "wow" is another person's "dud".  I like substance, not facades with glitz.  It's a small thing in many ways, but when an Azmara crew member says "Welcome back home" when we board, that perfectly illustrates the difference between Azamara and other cruise lines to me and my wife.

 

Some people want style over substance. I want some of each.   I am perfectly fine with an older ship where things work, are clean and convenient and the service and amenities are world class.  Azamara delivers both to the complete satisfaction of me and my wife.

 

The new Edge class with it's highly advertised "wow" factor leaves us cold.  The beauty of the industry is that there is something for just about everyone.  Rather than slam the new owners (especially when nobody knows their true intention), either wait to see if they improve or destroy the product or move on now and leave the waiting to those of us who are more open-minded and willing to give them a chance.

 

Of course a new build is a better indicator of long term plans, but it would not be very good business to do too much, too soon.  An incremental increase in capacity to buy time for new builds seems like a decent business plan to this former business analyst.

Agree with all you say.  Remember what happened with Crystal:  their new owners came on like a house on fire, promising new ocean builds [with condos!], a new river line, private jet tours, yachts – way more than their management could handle.  Within months every item was cut back, and their ocean fleet is still just two very old ships. 

 

Adding Pursuit did make Azamara more attractive – because it added that many more interesting itineraries.  A 4th ship will allow them to cover all areas of the world every year.  Then, and only then, should they start a deliberate process to plan a new ship class.

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1 hour ago, avw said:

There is a bit of a discussion about the second dose being administered: whether to delay it after the 12 weeks so more people can get their first dose or to stick to the 12 week gap.

According to the 10pm BBC news, the Scientists are now hopeful that the 2nd doses can be given 6 weeks after the first. This will of course be dependant on Pfizer being able to deliver, as there is some delay in the manufacturing in Belgium, as the factory is being extended.

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On 1/20/2021 at 2:31 PM, denali1 said:

The company I worked for (22 years), before I retired, was bought by an investment company, who had no experience in our industry. They ran the company into the ground. They thought they knew what to do, but turns out that they were wrong. Hopefully, that won’t be the case with Azamara   

I also worked for a company that was purchased by a private equity firm. The plus was that they invested considerable dollars in the company so we were able to do a lot of things we could not have done prior to the purchase for about 5 years. The bottom line is that they are going to want a return on their investment. After 5 years my company was sold to a major defense contractor where we remain today. Having worked for the company for over 20 years, things worked out well. I know that some private equity firms will drive a company into the ground as they look to make a profit, but that is not always the case.

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6 minutes ago, eanselm said:

I also worked for a company that was purchased by a private equity firm. The plus was that they invested considerable dollars in the company so we were able to do a lot of things we could not have done prior to the purchase for about 5 years. The bottom line is that they are going to want a return on their investment. After 5 years my company was sold to a major defense contractor where we remain today. Having worked for the company for over 20 years, things worked out well. I know that some private equity firms will drive a company into the ground as they look to make a profit, but that is not always the case.

I think this is a good point.

No one knows how Sycamore Partners will handle the ownership of the line.  For certain, they got it at a very equitable price. I just don't understand people determining, without any evidence, what will happen.  Or rushing off and cancelling cruises before the deal has even closed.  

I am more than willing to see how things shake out.  Hopefully will be pleased, but if not, it isn't the end of the world.

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For me this is very unfortunate news.  My experience on Azamara was one of the best I've had at sea.  The staff and crew were so proud and motivated to work for the brand.  The closest I've seen on other cruise companies is Disney Cruise Line for that kind of crew dedication.  

 

My confidence to book with Azamara now is low.  I don't think I would risk my $$.  Sure they say everything is going to be the same but I seriously doubt that.  This private equity firm is mostly retail oriented and doesn't have the best track record IMO.  They are not all created equal and this one has no experience operating a cruise line, and it won't be cheap doing it on their own.  They won't be able to take advantage of economies of scale like Azamara has under the RCG.  I'm guessing all onboard operations will eventually be outsourced to V.Ships as they probably can't handle it all on their own.  Personally I don't see Azamara lasting too long.  I'm guessing they will bleed it dry then sell off the ships to the highest bidder.  I truly hope I'm proven wrong and I only wish the best for Azamara and its employees, but I'm a realist and I just don't see this in any way as a positive.   

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2 hours ago, eroller said:

For me this is very unfortunate news.  My experience on Azamara was one of the best I've had at sea.  The staff and crew were so proud and motivated to work for the brand.  The closest I've seen on other cruise companies is Disney Cruise Line for that kind of crew dedication.  

 

My confidence to book with Azamara now is low.  I don't think I would risk my $$.  Sure they say everything is going to be the same but I seriously doubt that.  This private equity firm is mostly retail oriented and doesn't have the best track record IMO.  They are not all created equal and this one has no experience operating a cruise line, and it won't be cheap doing it on their own.  They won't be able to take advantage of economies of scale like Azamara has under the RCG.  I'm guessing all onboard operations will eventually be outsourced to V.Ships as they probably can't handle it all on their own.  Personally I don't see Azamara lasting too long.  I'm guessing they will bleed it dry then sell off the ships to the highest bidder.  I truly hope I'm proven wrong and I only wish the best for Azamara and its employees, but I'm a realist and I just don't see this in any way as a positive.   

The upside to this, is that I don't see where any immediate $$ could be wrung from the current operation.  It's an unbelievably unstable environment at the moment and I can't see many cruise companies recovering until at least 2 years out.

 

Assuming Sycamore have some business analysts on staff who have run the numbers, I'm thinking they are in for the longer haul, which is definitely a positive.

 

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I find this discussion interesting.  It seems many think only 1 line is the answer and on this board it is Azamara.  

We have booked Azamara for the itineraries and they have had some excellent ones.  We fine Azamara to be a very nice cruise line  with a friendly crew but not it’s not our favorite because it is too small, (ship and staterooms). not much in the way of night time fun and the included beverages are poor.  So it’s not our cup of tea, but when we are in the mood for tea it’s the cruise line we have chosen.
 
When we sail for just time for DH & I  we prefer a ship with larger cabins, a casino, more restaurant choices, more entertainment and a feeling of just more going on with a friendly crew who remember us when we return and a WOW factor. 

 

If we are cruising with the kids and grandkids then it’s a different story and Royal is the choice for the pools, slides, flow riders and things that can appeal to a wide age range.

 

We hope Azamara thrives as it moves forward but for now we are not confident putting our money on this bet.  

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4 hours ago, ECCruise said:

I think this is a good point.

No one knows how Sycamore Partners will handle the ownership of the line.  For certain, they got it at a very equitable price. I just don't understand people determining, without any evidence, what will happen.  Or rushing off and cancelling cruises before the deal has even closed.  

I am more than willing to see how things shake out.  Hopefully will be pleased, but if not, it isn't the end of the world.

I expect they might follow the same course Apollo did.  Operate the line as a private company, build it up with the intent of taking it public with an IPO when the cruise market gets back to normal.  In the mean time they can grab more resources for pennies on the dollar to build it up and prepare for that IPO.

 

 

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Yeah, that is what I would do.  Buy three old ships during a pandemic with a questionable future for the industry.   We'll see en masse departure of good people tied to Azamara.   The market will suck up the the talented ones in a flash.   My bet is that these ships end up in India before 2024.

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29 minutes ago, saminina said:

Yeah, that is what I would do.  Buy three old ships during a pandemic with a questionable future for the industry.   We'll see en masse departure of good people tied to Azamara.   The market will suck up the the talented ones in a flash.   My bet is that these ships end up in India before 2024.

 

There are business people that buy at the top and ride it down and those that buy at the bottom and ride it up.  In the stock market that's referred to as buying low and selling high.

 

Investment companies look for good opportunities to acquire businesses at distressed value.  I'd suggest that this was the best time for them to buy Azamara and it was time for RCL Group to cut their "dead wood."  Dead not because it's isn't a viable enterprise but because they weren't willing to do the things necessary to grow the business even before the pandemic. 

 

RCL Group tried to compete with Oceania but got way out-positioned.

 

Sycamore Partners has the funding. They're not making much interest on their cash anyway.  What better thing to do with it than buy something they can make more valuable either to keep in their portfolio or find a buyer down the road at a premium when cruising recovers.

 

I disagree with your premise that the key personnel who know how to run Azamara will leave. In fact they may be better off staying because now they won't be dictated to by the parent company. Thus they may have a free-er hand to make Azamara greater.

 

One thing is clear. Neither you nor I know what they know about below the surface reality. So what we hypothesize is really irreverent.

Edited by ChucktownSteve
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36 minutes ago, saminina said:

Yeah, that is what I would do.  Buy three old ships during a pandemic with a questionable future for the industry.   We'll see en masse departure of good people tied to Azamara.   The market will suck up the the talented ones in a flash.   My bet is that these ships end up in India before 2024.

Do you perhaps have some inside information that no one else seems to be privy to?  The mass exodus?  "Three old ships" that are filled (at a pretty good per diem) on every sailing?

 

And Azamara has never had all 3 sisters sailing in India at the same time.  I don't think that would be a good business decision. 😉

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2 hours ago, ECCruise said:

Do you perhaps have some inside information that no one else seems to be privy to?  The mass exodus?  "Three old ships" that are filled (at a pretty good per diem) on every sailing?

 

And Azamara has never had all 3 sisters sailing in India at the same time.  I don't think that would be a good business decision. 😉

I think that the poster refers to the indian scrapyards.

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There is no surprise about it. I mean people  have been waiting and longing for so long, and now they finally have a chance to make a purchase. I am sure the demand is super high right now 

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5 minutes ago, saminina said:

Even today, the growing luxury segment struggles to find good people to fill open slots.  

What does luxury have to do with Azamara?  They certainly are not a luxury line.  Premium yes but, not luxury.

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I"m guessing there are a few crew members that could easily qualify for slots on so called luxury ships.

Especially since we do not know what the luxury segment will look like once the industry begins sailing.

 

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1 minute ago, saminina said:

I"m guessing there are a few crew members that could easily qualify for slots on so called luxury ships.

Especially since we do not know what the luxury segment will look like once the industry begins sailing.

 

I think most of the Azamara crew care much less about the branding of the ship they work on and more about the leadership onboard and how they are managed. I think the letters to the crew that the captains sent and the individual crew reposting their excitement about the change on their Facebook pages confirms there is not a wholesale set of resignations on the cards.  The only resignations you might see are those who have successfully set up businesses or secured good jobs shoreside during the ships being laid up since Covid arrived.

If the crew were bothered about the segment, I think we would have seen a much higher level of turnover of staff than happened.  Azamara's contract repeat request level from crew was one of, if not, the highest level in the industry.

Many stayed when they were well capable of promotion - the introduction of Pursuit gave some opportunities.  Another ship will certainly give more opportunities for the crew.

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6 minutes ago, uktog said:

I think most of the Azamara crew care much less about the branding of the ship they work on and more about the leadership onboard and how they are managed. I think the letters to the crew that the captains sent and the individual crew reposting their excitement about the change on their Facebook pages confirms there is not a wholesale set of resignations on the cards.  The only resignations you might see are those who have successfully set up businesses or secured good jobs shoreside during the ships being laid up since Covid arrived.

If the crew were bothered about the segment, I think we would have seen a much higher level of turnover of staff than happened.  Azamara's contract repeat request level from crew was one of, if not, the highest level in the industry.

Many stayed when they were well capable of promotion - the introduction of Pursuit gave some opportunities.  Another ship will certainly give more opportunities for the crew.

 

 

There is not more of a mass-exodus as frankly right now there is no where to go.  Most crew are sitting at home right now just like the rest of the world.  Very few ships are sailing and most have a minimal crew onboard just to maintain basic operations.  It's not a good time to change companies that is for sure.  Even when the industry does ramp up, there will be an excess of crew as many ships have been scrapped.  Of course there are still new ships coming online so that should negate any capacity decreases in the long term.  

 

So for the time being I think most crew are going to stick it out and stay where they are, as frankly there are not many other options.  Once cruising resumes and things stabilize, you will likely see more crew movement.  Sycamore Partners may end up being an ok employer, and that remains to be seen.  I do think they will eventually outsource crewing to V.Ships Management as the logistics of hiring and managing crew rotations is complex and difficult for a 3rd tier small ship operator.  

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4 minutes ago, eroller said:

Sycamore Partners may end up being an ok employer, and that remains to be seen.  I do think they will eventually outsource crewing to V.Ships Management as the logistics of hiring and managing crew rotations is complex and difficult for a 3rd tier small ship operator.  

From comments like the above believe many people do not believe what a private equity company is.  They are the owners of other private companies much like stockholders are owners of public companies.  They are not an employer in that people work for Sycamore other than the private equity employees directly of Sycamore of which it appears are only 28.  Another post talked about a different name on the paychecks, no, it will not be a new name but  continue to be Azamara 

 

Azamara will be taking over all of the shared activities they currently have under RCG including the logistics of hiring and managing all Azamara employees or outsourcing. plus all the other shared activities currently shared with the RCG people including IT, procurement,, air, etc. etc.

 

Hope this helps

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