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Cruise Line Gets Clubby/All-Inclusive

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Azamara Cruises, the small-shipcruise line launched two years ago by Royal Caribbean, as an upscale sister line to Celebrity Cruises, this week got a new name—Azamara Club Cruises. And officials announced pricing will be going all-inclusive starting in April 2010, with wine at lunch and dinner, soft drinks, espresso drinks and gratuities included in the cruise fare.

200912-b-small-journeyjpgThe line operates two 694-passenger ships, Journey and Quest.

Why the redo? With Azamara not the big hit officials had hoped, Royal Caribbean brought in big-hitter, Larry Pimentel, as president and CEO (he previously helmed SeaDream Yacht Club and before that Seabourn). And he has ideas.

Other changes announced by Pimentel and other execs today include the ships spending additional time in ports with more overnights in places like Istanbul and Sorrento (Italy); new cool shore excursions such as “In the steps of The Beatles” in Liverpool; and a re-training of suite butlers to be “real British” butlers.

And there will also be new, higher pricing—Pimentel said fares have gone up about 20% in recent months and would go up further.

Guest blogger Fran Golden writes about cruising for TravelandLeisure.com.

Photos courtesy of Azamara Club Cruises

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