The announcement comes as a surprise because South America is a hot ticket right now -- Carnival, for one, plans to take a ship there (its upcoming Splendor) for the first time next winter. Also, as world cruises continue to grow in popularity, they are often the first to sell out. However, Azamara's guests simply weren't biting.
"We got some strong demand and feedback from guests and travel agent partners," Azamara spokeswoman Tavia Robb tells us. "What we were finding to be the strongest draw is what we have Quest doing now, which is the Caribbean and Panama Canal."
On November 12, 2008, Journey will sail a new, 12-night Western Mediterranean cruise roundtrip from Barcelona. On December 3, the ship will set sail on a 15-night repositioning cruise across the Atlantic to Miami, where it will sail two 16-night Panama Canal sailings followed by a series of 12-night exotic Caribbean cruises. The ship will then head back to Europe as scheduled in March 2009.
The 2008/2009 season in South America would have been Journey's second, and the world cruise its first.
At this point, no other redeployments are expected. New deployments -- for 2010 -- will be announced at the end of March or beginning of April for both Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. Though we don't have any concrete details to share, Robb does say that Asia (where Quest will be sailing next winter) is right up there on guests' and agents' radar with the Caribbean and Panama Canal.
--by Melissa Baldwin, Managing Editor