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Royal Caribbean Group to sell Azamara cruise line for $201 million

19 Jan 2021

Royal Caribbean Group announced it has sold its small boutique cruise line, Azamara, for $201 million.

The all-cash deal will send the cruise line to the new owners, a private-equity firm Sycamore Partners.

Sycamore Partners is a private equity firm specializing in consumer, retail and distribution investments.

Sycamore Partners will acquire the entire Azamara brand, including its three-ship fleet and associated intellectual property. The transaction is subject to customary conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021. 

Royal Caribbean Group says the decision allows them to focus on its core brands and expanding those operations: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea brands.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain issued a statement about why they sold Azamara, "Our strategy has evolved into placing more of our resources behind three global brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea, and working to grow them as we emerge from this unprecedented period."

"Even so, Azamara remains a strong brand with its own tremendous potential for growth, and Sycamore’s track record demonstrates that they will be good stewards of what the Azamara team has built over the past 13 years."

In conjunction with the transaction, Azamara Chief Operating Officer Carol Cabezas has been appointed President of the brand. 

The transaction will result in a one-time, non-cash impairment charge of approximately $170 million. The sale of Azamara is not expected to have a material impact on Royal Caribbean Group’s future financial results.

Royal Caribbean Group Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty said the decision to sell Azamara was not driven by the global health crisis, but was something they were exploring for a while.

"It allows us to really prioritize our resources, which are not just financial resources -- it's also the minds and time of management," Mr. Liberty told The Wall Street Journal.

The move follows up the recent sale of Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas in December.

Azamara was created by Royal Caribbean in 2007, and according to financial filings, was the smallest of the group's brands. Azamara operated small cruise ships to regions around the world, but the acquisition of Silversea seemed to create a bit of overlap between the two lines.

The sale of Azamara will help remove some overlap Azamara has with Celebrity and Silversea, both of which cater to affluent customers, Mr. Liberty said.

Royal Caribbean Group hires new government relations expert

09 Sep 2020

Royal Caribbean Group announced on Wednesday it has hired a new government relations expert to join the company.

Donna Hrinak will be the new Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, and will be responsible for leading the Group's government relations, communications and public relations functions. 

In a press release, Royal Caribbean Group stated she, "brings a stellar curriculum vitae in global regulatory policy, multicultural negotiations, coalition leadership and international business transformation to augment the Group's industry leading government affairs team."

In her new role, Ms. Hrinak will provide informed counsel and facilitate productive communication among a broad array of stakeholders, including port authorities, coastal community leadership, government representatives, environmental advocates, scientific and marine leaders and more.

Ms. Hrinak joins Royal Caribbean after working at The Boeing Company as the former Corporate Vice President, The Boeing Company and President, Boeing Canada, Latin America & Caribbean.

"As a global company touching every continent," said Richard D. Fain, Royal Caribbean Group chairman and CEO, "we are used to making our way in a complicated world. But these last few months have reminded us, more than ever, just how challenging that world is. Donna will provide her decades of experience in navigating the complexities of regulatory and cultural ecosystems to enable us to continue to build and maintain strong, collaborative relationships with countries and organizations everywhere we operate."

Hrinak has designed and led strategies to confront an increasingly complicated global regulatory environment and guided executives in evaluating the business, political and economic risks involved in global operations. She has worked closely and collaboratively with a broad range of international coalitions and agencies, including the World Health Organization.

Hrinak began working with Royal Caribbean Group on August 24.

Royal Caribbean parent company officially renames itself Royal Caribbean Group

30 Jul 2020

The parent company of Royal Caribbean International has made it official and officially changed its name from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to Royal Caribbean Group.

The announcement was made on Thursday, and reflects a desire to update its corporate identity.

Royal Caribbean Group henceforth will be the name of the company that manages the cruise line brands of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea, Azamara, TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

In addition to the name change, Royal Caribbean Group's logo has also been updated.  The company's iconic crown and anchor emblem has been sharpened and made more symmetrical, and now resides inside a circle at all times.

Old name and logo


New name and logo

"The name is simpler, fresher and more modern. It's also more descriptive—Royal Caribbean Group sounds like a parent company name, reflective of our growth and evolution since we last updated our identity more than 20 years ago," said Royal Caribbean Group chairman and CEO Richard Fain.

The company's New York Stock Exchange symbol will remain RCL.

Slow changeover

The move from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to Royal Caribbean Group has been slow and steady.

Over the last few months, the new name has started to appear in various press releases and social media posts.

In May 2020, Royal Caribbean used the "Royal Caribbean Group" moniker to announce its first quarter 2020 earnings call with investors.

Since then, the name has made its way into more press releases, video updates, and most recently the company's social media and website presence.

Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean Cruise Group spokesman Rob Zeiger confirmed the change, "We felt switching to Royal Caribbean Group is a more modern expression. Modifying and updating the crown and anchor and the company name seemed practical and useful to us."

Do you like the new name? Or do you prefer the old one? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Royal Caribbean creates new medical officer role to keep cruise ships safe from COVID-19

28 Jul 2020

Royal Caribbean Group has hired someone to oversee all health concerns and initiatives on its cruise ships, including keeping crew and guests safe from COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the parent company of Royal Caribbean International announced it has hired Dr. Calvin Johnson as the Global Head, Public Health and Chief Medical Officer.

This new role will tackle the needs of the global health and wellness policy, manage its public health and clinical practice, and determine the strategic plans and operations of its global healthcare organization.

In addition, Dr. Johnson will  collaborate with the Healthy Sail Panel to ensure the company establishes and implements its protocols and recommendations. 

Dr. Johnson, most recently Principal at Altre Strategic Solutions Group, is the former Chief Medical Officer for Corizon Health, then the largest provider of correctional health care in the United States, and for Temple University Health System. He served as Secretary of Health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 2003-2008 and was Medical Director for the New York City Department of Health from 1998-1999. He earned his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a BS in Chemistry from Morehouse College.

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain commented in a statement on the hiring of Dr. Johnson, "Calvin's extensive experience in public health and clinical care will help us raise the bar on protecting the health of our guests, crew and the communities we serve. Calvin will also work closely with the newly announced Healthy Sail Panel to ensure we establish and implement leading health protocols and procedures."

Dr. Johnson has a strong background in protecting public health through service delivery innovation, policy development and analysis, and leadership training and development. He has successfully led significant response efforts during active infectious disease outbreaks and was responsible for ensuring all aspects of patient care while overseeing a clinical operation with 1,300 caregivers and more than 300,000 individuals.  

This is not the first time Royal Caribbean created a corporate role to address a sudden need to protect guests and crew.

Royal Caribbean created the role of Chief Meteorologist and hired James Van Fleet, following a high profile weather incident involving Anthem of the Seas.

Lisa Bauer leaving Royal Caribbean

12 Sep 2013

Royal Caribbean's global sales and marketing chief, Lisa Bauer, is leaving the cruise line.  Bauer has been one of Royal Caribbean's most publicly recognizable faces and has served in key roles in Royal Caribbean's senior management.

In addition, 100 lower level positions are being eliminated in an effort to reduce corporate bloat.  The number represents less than 2% of the cruise line's land-based employees.

Bauer has worked for Royal Caribbean for the past 11 years and she's been a major part of Royal Caribbean's sales, marketing, hotel operations and product development and execution.  She also played  a big role in the development and marketing of Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, as well as the fleet-wide revitalization that is currently ongoing.

With Bauer leaving, Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein will be taking a more hands-on role in the international aspect of the business, and Bauer's former employees will now report directly to Goldstein. They include Dominic Paul, Vice President and group Managing Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa; Carol Schuster, Senior Vice President marketing; and company veteran Diana Block, Vice President revenue management.

Royal Caribbean board of directors names new lead director

11 Sep 2013

At Royal Caribbean's board of directors meeting today, they named its first lead director, William L. Kimsey.  Kimsey is the former chief executive officer of Ernst & Young Global, Ltd., has served on the board since 2003 and is Chairman of the company's Audit Committee. 

As lead director, he will be the liaison between the board's non-management members and Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain. He will preside at meetings of the non-management directors, will advise and approve the content and scheduling of board meetings and discussions, and will be available for discussion with major shareholders.

The board of directors also adopted changes to its bylaws as a result of which candidates elected to the board will serve one-year terms, and will stand for re-election annually thereafter, effective with the slate of directors to be elected at the company's 2014 annual meeting. This implements a proposal adopted by shareholders at the company's May 2013 annual meeting. 

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