AZAMARA Cruises has formally named the new Azamara Onward, in a glittering ceremony in Monte Carlo attended by key industry partners and media from around the world. The addition of a fourth ship to the fleet marks a key milestone for the newly independent company, which was sold by Royal Caribbean Group to private equity firm Sycamore Partners less than 18 months ago. CEO and President Carol Cabezas and her team have wasted no time in forging a new future for the line, with Onward joining sister ships Azamara Pursuit, Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey as the foundation for its operations.
However it sounds like that may be just the beginning, with Cabezas telling travelBulletin that the long term strategy for Azamara is “to grow the fleet…our investors are extremely supportive and they are absolutely focused on growing our brand”. Like the other three Azamara ships, Onward offers an intimate experience, with capacity for 684 passengers and a size which allows it to cruise along scenic waterways and dock at locations that larger vessels can’t access. The ship formerly sailed as Pacific Princess, and has undergone a major US$50 million upgrade and rebranding as it joins the Azamara fleet. The classic vessel boasts a large gymnasium and the Sanctum spa facility, nightly entertainment, retail outlets and more.
The new ship’s name is particularly appropriate, symbolising both the brand’s forward movement under its new ownership, and also the state of the entire cruise industry as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, evoking feelings of “resilience, positivity and the endless possibilities of the future”. Azamara intends to continue its longstanding focus on destination immersion, with Onward’s itineraries including a wide range of so-called “country intensive” voyages as well as a 2024 World Voyage sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona.
Azamara’s ships are pitched as boutique hotels at sea, with each offering similar culinary experiences and restaurants. New to Onward is the sleek Atlas bar, a sumptuous specialty venue featuring a wide range of cocktails and light bites perfect for a pleasant evening with friends. There’s also an additional Chef’s Table experience available at the Aqualina specialty restaurant, taking guests on a culinary journey through a seven course degustation.
The ship was named by US-based Beth Santos, an inspirational entrepreneur, speaker and founder of the “Wanderful” global travel community and lifestyle brand which boasts a global community of more than 45,000 travelling females. Her vision aligns with that of Azamara, which aims to help its customers engage deeply with the destinations and cultures it visits. Key itinerary features include more overnight stays in port as well as late night departures to give opportunities for dining and activities on shore – including Azamara’s signature AzAmazing Evenings which are included on every itinerary more than seven days in length.