When [% 14665 | | Celebrity %] launched Azamara Cruises, it planned for two deluxe ships to sail to exotic locales and off-the-beaten-path ports. So the cruise line’s announcement that the Azamara Journey will scrap its South America itineraries and world cruise comes as something of a surprise.
The ship will sail its regularly scheduled cruises through November 12. It will then sail a new 12-night western Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona before heading across the Atlantic to Miami. After two 16-night Panama Canal cruises, the Azamara Journey will sail 12-night exotic Caribbean cruises through March 2009 and then return to Europe.
Effectively, the Azamara Journey is wintering in the Caribbean and summering in Europe—not unlike traditional mainstream and premium ships. While even Carnival is planning South America cruises and other lines are scheduling multiple round-the-world voyages, Azamara has turned its back on these up-and-coming destinations.
“Demand from both our travel agent partners and guests for our new Asia and exotic Caribbean cruises has led us to focus on these markets in lieu of South America and a world cruise,” says Azamara’s President and CEO Dan Hanrahan. Does that mean Azamara’s target market isn’t as adventurous as Celebrity thought? Is Asia a more lucrative destination than South America (and will the Journey join its sister ship there)? Or are wealthy baby boomers simply looking for a warm-weather getaway?
Stay tuned until March or April when Azamara announces its 2010 itineraries.