Azamara President Carol Cabezas used tinted glasses to shield tears as she christened Azamara Onward at a christening ceremony in Monaco overnight.
The gala was the first for Cabezas in the role of President at Azamara when the boutique small-ship cruise line was acquired by investment group Sycamore Partners in January last year. Prior to parting ways with Royal Caribbean Group, Cabezas was Chief Operating Officer at Azamara.
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Speaking from the heart on the pier alongside Azamara Onward and in front of several hundred VIPs including Azamara Circle loyalty guests, dignitaries, ground handlers, travel partners and media (including LATTE), Cabezas delivered an emotional speech lauding her onshore and onboard workforce as “superheroes who have exemplified resilience and passion”
Referencing the COVID cruise pause, Cabezas said with a shaky voice: “We have all been tested these past couple of years and I am exceedingly pleased to see where we are today.”
Cabezas offered her strongest praise to the cruise line’s loyalty guests. “Thank you for trusting us with the most valuable treasure – your time and travel experience. Time again and again you have sailed with us to different lands and it seems we have taken good care of you, allowing us the privilege of your visit to our ships again and again.”
Cabezas highlighted what she believes are the “great motivators” for travel – connections, education and happiness.
“Travel is an education. We are not just learning about destinations and cultures. We are learning humility, patience, resourcefulness and gratitude among many other virtues we can all use.”
Listen to Cabezas full speech below following a musical interlude by Donna Summers’ classic 80s hit, ‘She Works Hard for the Money’.
Offering the stage to Azamara Onward‘s godmother, Cabezas referred to Beth Santos as a “kindred spirit”.
“When we thought of the ideal protector for our ship, we wanted her not just to be an honourary bottle breaker whose portrait will live on board. We wanted to find someone who deeply appreciated our perspective on travel, and shared similar beliefs. I’m pleased to say we found the perfect woman for this important role – Beth Santos,” Cabezas said.
Cabezas said Santos’ mission and her love of travel is now helping thousands of others.
“We saw the intersection between Beth’s mission and ours being perfectly aligned and we are looking forward to much collaboration in the future”.
Santos offered insight on her movement to empower women to be confident to travel solo or with other women.
“When I started WanderFUL nearly 13 years ago I was travelling solo in my early 20s and logging all in a travel blog. It was one of my very first forays into the world on my own and it was exciting and invigorating, and sometimes scary.
“I travelled through a world where sometimes it wasn’t common or accepted to see a woman travelling on her own and I learned quickly how many parts of the travel industry don’t represent a deep diversity of travellers.
Santos continued: “It became my mission to build a global community that not only provided meaningful support and sisterhood for women travelling the world, but an international brand that challenged and pushed the travel industry to do better by all the women affected by it.”
Speaking of the Godmother honour, Santos added: “This is such a symbolic moment not just for Azamara, but
for the entire travel industry. Following two years of pause, we look forward to pressing onward with new mindsets, new adventures, and new opportunities to learn how we can be better travellers.”
Hear Santos’ full speech below: