Azamara is confident its boutique ship will operate near or at capacity when Azamara Quest returns to local waters at the end of 2022.
The small-ship operator has six sailings to, within and from Australia for the upcoming summer season, starting with an 11-night voyage from Singapore to Perth, via Bali and Geraldton, Western Australia, departing on 10 December. Azamara Quest will then embark on a 14-day Australia Intensive Voyage from Perth on 21 December, to Melbourne; followed by two trans-Tasman sailings in January, another Australia Intensive cruise from Sydney back to Perth and ending with a 16-night sailing to Asia in the second half of February 2023.
Subscribe to LATTE Cruise’s free eNewsletter to keep up to date with everything in the luxury cruise space.
Speaking to LATTE about short- and long-term goals for the Australian market, Azamara’s President, Carol Cabezas said the priority is “to get guests back on board.”
She highlighted the work of Belle Osmic, Director of Sales, Australia and New Zealand, and her team since late 2021.
“Right now our Australia team are very resourceful and very creative, and since December they have been going into the social arena and giving people visibility. Showing how easy it is to travel the world. They were among the first to get out of the country and post about it all on social,” Cabezas explained.
“They were onboard Azamara Quest in the Caribbean following a sales meeting in Miami, demonstrating to travel agents and loyalty partners how cruising is safe, it’s easy, and how we can get out there.
“So Belle and the team have been encouraging our Australian audience, and have been working on getting support for the winter season for sales in their own backyard, and also getting comfortable for any travel before then.”
Cabezas said helping Australian travellers and cruisers overcome their hesitancy to travel abroad, or to cruise, was crucial.
“I believe we might still be able to get people on board before December from Australia,” she told LATTE.
“I feel like Australians are some of the most intrepid travellers in the world, so we might be able to make headway there.”
For the long-term, Cabezas said she thinks Australians are the market that are most understanding and receptive of cruising. That’s indicated by Australia having the highest penetration rate around the globe.
“As we create more of the product that Australians really gravitate towards, we have that much more opportunity to capture their imagination. Our world cruise was one of those. We’ve received great support from Australia, and New Zealand for the world cruise,” she said.
Azamara Onward will operate a 155-day World Voyage between Fort Lauderdale and Barcelona, departing on 5 January 2024.
“During our last World Journey, the Australia and New Zealand market accounted for around 30% of guests, which is totally disproportionate to what they typically represent in a given year, and I attribute that to guests from this marketplace wanting to do those kinds of extended, exotic types of experiences,” Cabezas said.
While COVID saw two seasons of Azamara’s Oceania deployment quashed, many loyal Azamara guests were happy to roll over their booked cruises to the following season.
“We’ve got a really great base of guests,” Cabezas said of the local 2022/23 program.
“I think as people start seeing cruising happening again, until it’s in their face, it’s still a little bit conceptional. But as it becomes visible I think they’ll start taking action.”
Cabezas also confirmed to LATTE she hoped to return to Australia in early 2023 to meet with travel partners. She’s also keen to “get out of Sydney” on her next trip down under.