Azamara Pursuit will be christened in the UK
The refit of the former P&O Cruises ship Adonia, which briefly sailed as Fathom Adonia for the now defunct eco-cruise line Fathom, will take place in April before Azamara Pursuit’s christening in Southampton and maiden voyage in August.
“The success of this project has the potential to be a game-changer for the UK maritime industry,” the chief executive of MJM Group that will project manage the operation, told The Belfast Telegraph.
Gary Annett added: “By securing this multi-million-pound contract we are putting Northern Ireland, and the UK’s marine industry, in a strong position to compete for future drydock and refit works.
Most cruise ship refits are currently done in the Bahamas, North America, Asia and European countries such as Germany and France.
But Mr Annett said the multi-million-pound refit is a “milestone opportunity” that will give MJM Group the chance to revive Northern Ireland’s shipbuilding industry.
“To secure the Azamara project we had to demonstrate that we had the ability to provide complete project management, outfitting, berthing and ship yard services.
“With Harland & Wolff on our doorstep and our experience in the industry we were able to do this.
“This truly is a historic day for this industry in Northern Ireland, for MJM Group and indeed our customers,” he said.
Azamara Pursuit will join Azamara Club Cruises’ two other ships, Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey, offering boutique ship luxury cruises around the world.
Azamara Club Cruises will use Belfast’s Harland and Wolff to refit its new ship Azamara Pursuit
The three ships were all originally part of the Renaissance Cruises fleet and Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises, said: “We’re doing a lot of work so the three sisters will look like three sisters.”
Pimentel has been very supportive of the ship’s British heritage and told Cruise Advisor: “The Azamara Pursuit has come from a UK brand, its first voyages will be from the UK, it will be christened in the UK and its captain is from the UK.
“Now our ship is being refurbished by a British company.”
“This has the opportunity to create a broadened industry right here in the UK.”
Azamara Pursuit’s décor will be updated along similar lines to recent renovations on Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest before the ship sails eight cruises to Norway.
Mr Pimentel said: “We’ve seen unprecedented support from the UK market for Azamara Pursuit, so we are delighted to be able to show our recognition of this by allowing its transformational journey to take place here.
“We’ve seen double the UK demand for Azamara Pursuit than we usually see for its sister ships, so this is a really exciting time for us as a brand.”