Cruise veteran Larry Pimentel is a master of sharp, short, marketing phrases.
When he was chief executive of SeaDream Yacht Club, he coined the phrase “Its yachting, not cruising.’’
Five years ago when he took over as president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises, he came up with this catch phrase: ”If you have heard of the expression slow cooking, we are slow cruising.’’
For Larry, it’s all about coining a clever way of selling the Azamara brand to cruisers.
“Why do people travel?’’ he asks.
“They will tell you it’s for the destination. But the industry has forgotten about the destination as the ship became the destination.
”When guests go to St Tropez, they don’t want to get there by 9am to be on the first tour and return by 4 pm because they know it’s a night destination.
“So at Azamara, we have made it very simple – we came up with the L, M and N of cruising – Longer stays, More overnights and Night touring. And we do this more than other cruise line in the world.’’
Larry has recently been in Sydney to drum up more business because Australia is one of the biggest growth markets for Azamara.
And for the first time, Azamara Quest will be in Australia for Christmas next year and stay in our waters for two months.
Azamara’s Claudius Docekal who heads up deployment and destinations is right now scouting for small ports to put together a unique circumnavigation voyage of Australia.
And to add a different twist to its itineraries, Larry has whipped up yet another Azamara marketing phrase: “AzAmazing evenings.’’
In short, they are special bespoke events which capture the sights, sounds and tastes of the destination the ship visits.
As Larry explains: “In October last year, the week before we arrived in Livorno, the port used for Florence, we found a two-century-old opera house.
“From the outside, it looked pretty modest. On the inside, you’d be mind-boggled at the art and architecture. So we brought three tenors from Florence opera house to perform and had a lecturer from Oxford to talk about opera in Italy.
“Its about cultural enrichment – immersing our guests in the destination’s culture which turned out to be such an AzAmazing evening.’’
This year, the line’s two ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest each carrying up to 700 passengers, will visit 226 ports in 67 countries.
WORDS: Teresa Ooi