(11 a.m. EST) -- Cruise Critic members are reacting to the news that Royal Caribbean Group will sell its Azamara brand to a private equity firm for just $201 million.
The small-ship line debuted in 2007 and has since found legions of loyal cruisers attracted to its intimate ships and unique itineraries, many of which specialized in longer stays in port than competing lines. Past passengers were particularly fond of Azamara's Captains, Hotel Managers and other crewmembers, many of whom have been with the line from the start.
Reaction to the news of Azamara's sale was overwhelmingly negative. Plenty of Cruise Critic members on the Azamara boards had an abundance of negative words for Sycamore Partners, the private equity firm Azamara was sold to.
"Went to the Sycamore Partners website...not encouraging for Azamara," writes VACruiser123. "They look like a "rip and strip" gang to me....maybe it will be different here."
"Not happy - they are the equity group that bought Staples (office supplies)," writes Skicruiser55. "Not at all excited about sailing with a company that has no cruise experience. TOTALLY BUMMED. At least we only stand to lose a total of $300 in admin fees."
"The question is who can they sell it to after Sycamore is "done"," writes tfred.
Others stated that the news Royal Caribbean Group would be parting with the brand cemented their decision around their own future sailings.
"This information clinches my decision to cancel our June AZ cruise," writes Chucktown Steve. " I'm wondering if I should take the cancellation penalty for our December cruise as well. No wonder AZ wouldn't issue a FCC for the penalty amount."
Some respondents also felt the news wasn't entirely unexpected, particularly after Royal Caribbean Group's acquisition of luxury brand Silversea.
"As noted in other threads, Azamara was the only brand Royal hasn't been investing into so this doesn't come as a surprise," writes twangster. "All other RCG brands have orders in for new ships and have new builds in process or took new ship handovers during the pandemic."
Cruise Critic will update this story as further information becomes available.