Azamara UK MD David Duff: ‘Taking immersion to the next level’

Lucy Abbott speaks to Azamara UK managing director David Duff about developing travel agent relationships and taking destination immersion to the next level.

There was a restructure in the sales team in October 2022. How has this helped?

We recognise the integral role that on-the-ground sales teams have on market performance and the value of their relationships with local trade partners.

With this new team structure and a surge of new hires around the world, we can offer more support to trade partners globally and drive forward our international growth.

Global growth is a top priority, so we have doubled the number of shoreside employees in key markets including the US, the Nordics, Germany, and Australia.

Azamara, Azamara Pursuit, cruise, cruising, Larry Pimentel
Azamara is growing its destination programme

How do you see the brand progressing in the future?

Sycamore Partners continues to invest and support growth, as we have already seen with the purchase and launch of Azamara Onward.

As we look to the future, together we are looking at all possibilities for further expansion.

The development of new technology and owned systems remains a key priority. Updated technology platforms will make the business process with Azamara as seamless as possible.

Azamara has always been known for its destination immersion, but how are you staying ahead of the curve?

In 2023, we will offer more country-intensive voyages than ever before, more longer stays and overnights in port than any other cruise line, and an impressive range of immersive land experiences, including shore excursions, AzAmazing Evenings and Destination Celebration events (complimentary events to connect guests with the local culture).

For example, on Azamara Onward, half of its voyages are country intensive itineraries, allowing guests more time to explore a country’s hidden gems, with 85 late nights and 21 overnight stays in multiple cities across Europe.

There are also pre and post options with the introduction of new AzAmazing Journeys for guests, including an adventure aboard Switzerland’s Glacial Express train followed by a day excursion to Mount Rigi.

We are also very excited about our 2024 and 2025 world voyages, which will take guests to more than 40 countries in six continents.

Azamara Onward christened in Monte Carlo
Azamara Onward had its naming ceremony in Monte Carlo

What has the reaction been like to Azamara Onward since it launched?

We have received fantastic feedback from our guests, including for the new Atlas Bar that debuted exclusively on Onward.

This venue delivers a unique concept, offering innovative artisanal cocktails inspired by a variety of destinations visited by Azamara ships.

In response to this feedback, we launched the Atlas Bar experience across the rest of the fleet.

How is Azamara strengthening trade partnerships?

Our new team structure here in the UK allows us to expand our reach even further, visit more travel partners and distribute products across more channels.

In his new position as UK head of trade sales, Stuart Pearce will oversee the UK sales strategy, with responsibility for driving sales and responding to the challenging needs of the market.

We will be adding new resources to his team with a business development manager role for the UK, enabling us to reach more of the smaller independent agencies and consortia members.

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