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Southampton festivities usher in Azamara Pursuit

PHOTO: Anne Kalosh
Richard Fain, far left, and Larry Pimentel look on as godmothers Lucy Huxley, left, and Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio push buttons to release the Champagne
CEO Larry Pimentel's mantra of 'destination immersion'—the distinguisher of Azamara Club Cruises—laced today's naming festivities for Azamara Pursuit in Southampton.

Trademarked phrase

In fact, the officially trademarked phrase became a running quip between Pimentel and Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

'In the early days we focused on the small size of the ships. Smallness wasn't enough. How could we be different?' Pimentel said.

It was his ability to make the two-ship brand stand out with its late nights and overnight stays in port, its focus on cultural connections, authenticity and enrichment, that made Azamara successful enough to merit the addition of this third ship.

Azamara Pursuit boosts the brand's capacity by 50%, enabling it to sail to all seven continents and more than 400 ports next year.

'We'll do it slow and easy, with cultural extensions,' Pimentel said, like pairing Azamara's first South Africa cruises with a Micato safari or European voyages with the Venice Simplon Orient-Express.

Two godmothers and two jeroboams

A pair of cruise advocates and Azamara admirers from different sides of the pond—the UK's Lucy Huxley, editor-in-chief, Travel Weekly, and the US's Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio, EVP, chief revenue officer, AFAR Media—did the naming honors.

They simultaneously smashed two jeroboams of Champagne against the hull, before joining Pimentel, Fain and Capt. Carl Smith for a selfie, with the backdrop of the audience waving blue Azamara Pursuit flags.

A replica of Andy Scott's towering sculpture 'Beacon of Hope' in Belfast—where the ship's conversion was completed at Harland and Wolff under the supervision of MJM Group—was presented and will be displayed on board in the Mosaic Cafe.

Taittinger, pipers and a toast from the sisters

The festivities took place in the ship's Cabaret Lounge, where Taittinger Champagne flowed, the Reading Scottish Pipe Band got the crowd tapping their toes and live video feeds from Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest showed their crews toasting Azamara Journey with a rousing 'Welcome to the family!'

As for Pimentel's immersion focus, 'It has clearly distinguished Azamara as a leader in destination travel,' Asmodeo-Giglio said.

For photos from the festivities, follow @SeatradeInsider on Twitter

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