Larry Pimentel has resigned as CEO of Azamara after spending a decade at the helm of the Royal Caribbean-owned deluxe brand. 

In an internal memo, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. chairman Richard Fain said that Pimentel stepped down to help Azamara “bear the impact” of job cuts announced Wednesday. RCCL is making a 26% reduction in its shoreside staff.

Larry Pimentel had led Azamara since 2009.
Larry Pimentel had led Azamara since 2009.

“In saying farewell to Larry, we are losing one of the finest minds and one of the very best people in the travel industry,” Fain said. “He is an original thinker, an entrepreneur, and someone whose informed, considered opinions helped raise the bar not only at Azamara but at RCL over the past 11 years. He’s also been a counselor and mentor to countless individuals across the company.”

Fain praised Pimentel for introducing the “Destination Immersion” concept and longer port stays, which Azamara launched long before they were industry standards. Fain called these ideas “a defining breakthrough for the Azamara brand – and, eventually, the industry.” 

“Destination Immersion broke our competitors into two camps,” Fain said. “Those who tried to borrow his idea, and those who tried to steal it.”

Fain said that in tribute to Pimentel’s team-building skills, Azamara is “well-prepared to carry on as we move forward through these challenging days.”

Pimentel came to Azamara in 2009 after leading small-ship luxury line SeaDream Yacht Club starting in 2002. 

Prior to that, Pimentel was president and CEO of Cunard Line for six years after Carnival Corp. bought Cunard in 1998. At the time, Carnival Corp. merged the operations of Cunard and Seabourn, where Pimentel had spent six years as president and CEO.

Edie Rodriguez, who worked alongside Pimentel for four years as Azamara’s top sales executive and has known him since his Seabourn days, said he is “truly one of the icons in the global cruise industry and will be missed.”

Seadream’s tagline, “It’s yachting not cruising,” and “Destination Immersion” are just two examples of Pimentel’s “cruise industry marketing savvy and success stories,” she said.

Carol Cabezas, COO of Azamara, will assume its leadership.

Vicky Garcia, COO of Cruise Planners, called Cabezas a "travel advisor advocate. I applaud her for stepping up during this difficult and unprecedented time as great leaders tend to emerge during time of crisis.”

 

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RCCL is laying off or furloughing about 1,300 of its more than 5,000 employees. 

“Today has been one of the toughest days I can recall,” Fain said. “To see so many good people and fine professionals hurt by these incredible circumstances is the very definition of heartbreaking.”

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