Cruise

Larry Pimentel: We’re not all just big white ships

Ali Coulton

Recent stats reveal Cruise based holidays are more popular than ever – even with millennials.

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According to the 2018 Cruise Travel Report prepared for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), based on a survey by JD Power, cruising was the top vacation choice in every age range – and millennials are the group most likely to say they either “definitely will” or “probably will” book a cruise for their next vacation.

Overall, an impressive 94 per cent of millennials say they are likely to book a cruise for their next vacation.

We sat down with Azamara CEO Larry Pimentel to get the goss on how cruise companies can maintain this level of success and what they’re doing to keep up with millennials.

Ok, so he didn’t sit with us, but he did give us some pretty bloody good insights.

“Growth is just phenomenal, and cruising resonates with new consumers every day – there really is something for everyone out there now,” Pimentel said of the recent surge in popularity.

“The everyday consumer is beginning to understand the difference in product across the lines – we’re not all just big white ships – and brands like Azamara, where the focus is on the destination, really capture the imagination of the non-cruiser, opening up the market.”

Pimentel said that the recent string of bad press has done nothing to hinder the popularity of cruise holidays, especially for small operators.

“Our clients tend to be very mature – I’m not referring to age, but mature in terms of their worldview and their respect for each other,” he said.

“They’re well-travelled, intrepid and we’re such a small, luxury ship that we just don’t seem to run into those sorts of issues, which I see have been getting some negative coverage lately.”

The rise in popularity for millennials, in particular, may not come as a huge shock, seeing as they are the first generation to have grown up with their parents taking them on cruises, but Pimentel says there is more to it.

“I think millennials can be much more worldly than we sometimes give them credit for; many of them are also affluent and I think the Azamara brand can really speak to this group, considering the unique, interesting itineraries we offer,” Pimentel told us.

“We have more overnights and longer stays in ports than any other cruise brand and millennials look to truly immerse themselves in the local culture and authentic experiences – which aligns perfectly with our product.”

We also asked Pimentel what Azamara is doing to keep up with this unprecedented growth.

And his answer was pretty exciting if you ask us.

“We’re adding a third ship to the fleet in August this year – Azamara Pursuit, that represents 50% growth,” he said.

“She’ll be an identical sister to Journey and Quest and we’ve already had an amazing response from agents and clients to her itineraries, visiting ports all around South America, in Antarctica, and touching new ports throughout Europe, like Agadir in Morocco and Samos in Greece.”

“We’re constantly offering new itineraries and seeking out new ports that will appeal to our guests.”


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