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Royal Caribbean to sell its Azamara brand including 3 ships for $201 million as the company continues to push back 2021 sail dates

An Azamara ship.

Adalberto Roque/AFP via Getty Images

Royal Caribbean is selling its Azamara cruise line for $201 million while cruises in the US remain docked during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced Tuesday. 

Sycamore Partners, the private equity firm purchasing Azamara in cash, will own the cruising brand and its fleet of three ships after the purchase is completed by the end of the quarter. Carol Cabezas, Azamara’s COO, will serve as president of the cruise line. 

“Azamara remains a strong brand with its own tremendous potential for growth,” Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of the Royal Caribbean Group, said in a statement.

Read more: COVID-19 has created a once-in-a-lifetime crisis for Carnival and Royal Caribbean, but after surviving hijackings and shipwrecks, the industry looks unsinkable

The ownership change will also result in a $170 million non-cash impairment charge. According to Royal Caribbean, this Azamara sale won’t “materially impact” the cruise company’s financial outcomes.

Unsurprisingly, recent months haven’t exactly been smooth sailing for Royal Caribbean. In December, Royal Caribbean announced it had sold its Empress and Majesty of the Seas cruise ships. Just several months prior, the cruise company reported it had lost $1.3 billion in its third quarter, the Miami Herald reported.

This Azamara announcement and Royal Caribbean’s difficulties are only some of the shakeups in the long list of cruise industry disruptions that have happened in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. From stranded crew members to refund issues to a “wasted year,” things have been looking a bit bleak for cruise companies around the world.

However, according to Royal Caribbean, this latest deal will allow the mega cruise company to “focus on expanding” its Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Silversea Cruises brands.

Read more: Carnival and Royal Caribbean salaries revealed: From $32,000 to $383,000, here’s how much the cruise industry’s power players pay some of their employees

The sail date for these cruise lines, and other cruises around the US, still remain to be seen as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on.

Are you a cruise industry employee or have a cruise industry story to share? Contact this reporter at [email protected]

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