With Azamara set to add a fourth ship (the former Pacific Princess), plus newbuild plans, according to sources familiar with Sycamore Partners, the new owners to be, the brand’s personality and strengths are supported and demonstrated by its officers and crew.
Captain Johannes Tysse was very visible and approachable aboard the Azamara Journey before the industry shut down last spring.
“I prefer to be visible,” he told Cruise Industry News; “to be out and about and chat with people. Sometimes I position myself strategically with traffic coming by, so I may spend time at the gangway in the morning with my coffee, alongside our hotel director, while greeting guests as they go ashore.”
Tysse could also be spotted onboard helping the staff serving food and drinks during a special event, and he was at the gangway at disembarkation, thanking guests and wishing them a safe journey home.
Born in Norway, Tysse first went to sea 1983 and his experience includes working on shuttle tankers in the North Sea, hence he has been allowed to sail his cruise ships through the oilfields, keeping a safe distance from the platforms, as he knows the rules and regulations in the area.
Also having sailed as a captain on fast ferries in Norway, he knows the fjords intimately and the little villages where he can stop for unique cheeses, sausages and fresh berries. The safety officer and the chef will use the rescue boat to go ashore, while the ship stays at a safe distance.
These unique experiences and calls are all planned ahead of time with the whole bridge team, Tysse said, stipulating speeds and distance from shore (or platforms). He underscored that he never goes off track.
Tysse’s cruise career started with Seabourn in 1996, followed by Royal Caribbean, SeaDream and then Azamara in 2010.
Serving with Captain Tysse aboard the Journey at the time were Staff Captain George Mastorakis, Chief Engineer Milen Minchev. Hotel Director Heike Berdos (pictured above) and Chief Housekeeper Clifford D’Costa among the senior officers.
Added Berdos: “As a company we are destination and crew focused. “What makes Azamara special is our respect not only for the passengers but also for ‘internal guests’ – the crew. Most of us come from larger ships and are happy to be part of a smaller ship. Our crew keeps coming back as do many of our passengers. They feel they are coming home as they are remembered by the crew and in turn know them too.”
In a separate interview, Azamara President Carol Cabezas , told Cruise Industry News that while the brand is focused on creating connections between the guests and the destinations and cultures they visit, equally important is how officers and crew aboard the ships bring the brand to life and are passionate about its purpose.