New ship Azamara Pursuit will be refitted in the UK before a maiden voyage from Southampton, it was announced today.
The new addition to the Azamara Club Cruises fleet – currently sailing as P&O Cruises ship Adonia – will go into wet dock at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast this spring, finishing by the end of July.
The maiden voyage on August 1 will take in eight Norwegian destinations, including Kristiansand, Flåm and Haugesund, with overnight stays in Oslo and Bergen. Pursuit’s sister ship, Azamara Journey, will dock in Haugesund on the same day, marking their first meeting.
Azamara Pursuit will then leave Southampton for an Iceland-intensive voyage on August 13 before being christened in the British city on August 28. The ship will then depart Southampton once more on August 30. Pursuit’s first four voyages will involve UK ports.
Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises, said: ‘We’ve seen unprecedented support from the UK market for Azamara Pursuit, so we are delighted to be able to show our recognition of this by allowing its transformational journey to take place here. We’ve seen double the UK demand for Azamara Pursuit than we usually see for its sister ships, so this is a really exciting time for us as a brand.’
He continued: ‘The maiden voyage will depart from Southampton and provide travellers with the opportunity to enjoy a country-intensive voyage to Norway, visiting eight destinations. We launched our country-intensive series last year as an opportunity for guests to explore countries on a more in-depth level, which is part of our commitment to Destination Immersion.’
The work on Azamara Pursuit by MJM Group – to make it almost identical to its sister ships Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey – will be the first time a ship in the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd group has been refitted in the UK.
Harland and Wolff is famous for building Titanic and its sister ships Olympic and Britannic in the early 20th century. A museum dedicated to the construction, and sinking, of Titanic opened in Belfast in 2012 and is now the city’s top tourist attraction.
Richard Twynam, Azamara’s managing director for UK and Ireland, said: ‘The Azamara Pursuit announcements are enabling us to continue the drumbeat of good news, with even more opportunities for agents and guests to see Azamara ships in the UK than ever before.’