“Azamara is a destination driven brand and by that I mean destination immersion,” said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO. “We stay longer in port, we do more overnights, more night touring and more pre- and post-programming than any other cruise line.”
The brand also has the advantage of intimacy, according to Pimentel. With a guest capacity of roughly 600 aboard each of the three ships, they can be considered small by today’s industry standard.
“We have also developed our product taking cues from boutique hotels. It is about intimacy and connection, and that is part of our platform,” he added.
“Azamara is a brand with a purpose beyond making money and that is to connect people with people, and in doing so we create understanding and kill prejudice, and doing it well, we also create profitability.
“Since I walked in here in 2009, my vision of connecting people to people and being a destination specialist has played out very, very well,” Pimentel continued.
“We are not a five-star product, I do not have the physical plant for that, but in terms of land experiences, we are clearly leaning toward six stars as evidenced by the guests’ response to us. So we are a bit of a hybrid,” he explained. “In many ways you could argue that we are a no-cruise cruise.”
Thus, in June 2019, the brand that had previously been known as Azamara Club Cruises, dropped “Club Cruises” from its name and simply became Azamara. “We felt it reflected better on us not so much as a cruise line but as an experiential provider of travel,” Pimentel noted.
In addition to offering a wide variety of shore excursions, the company also offers more than 1,700 pre- and post-cruise and over-land programs.
Pimentel launched his career in the cruise industry as president and CEO of Seabourn Cruise Line. Later, he was asked to create a new Cunard – “a new luxury brand and recreating the era of liner service.”
After that followed a stint with SeaDream where he was tasked with creating the new brand.
After some 30 years in the industry, Pimentel said: “I go to work with passion and energy every single day.
“The staff motivates me, they inspire me. I watch their growth as I push them to the next level. I want them to get there. I take great joy in that. These are amazing people with tremendous capabilities.”
As for his management style, he said: “I think my staff would say I am persistent, firm and caring.”
His advice for young people starting out: “Life requires goals. You need to focus, but you cannot focus unless you know what the target is. You will also make mistakes and that is okay, but get back up again and believe in yourself.”
Asked about his own keys to success, Pimentel answered: “Being determined and persistent, consistently developing my skills, having the passion and the discipline to get things done.”