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Fresh Faces: Azamara BDM Kristina Sambaher

Which country will 'set Azamara apart' from other lines in 2021? And what is the key to a great cruise company? New NSW-based Azamara Business Development Manager KRISTINA SAMBAHER reveals this and more...


Where was the last place you travelled and where would you like to go next? 

When I set off to Japan in February for my ski adventure, never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be my last international holiday for the year. A spectacular week was spent in the eastern region of Kita Shiobara village in Fukushima Prefecture. This area north of Mt Bandai is known for receiving the most amount of snow and it didn’t disappoint. The Japanese people are the most delightful and I look forward to coming back again.

For my next vacation I would love to experience all that the Baltics have to offer, in particular Sweden, which has come up in many travel conversations over the years. I’m eager to explore where my partner has lived and to embrace his passion for the country, its culture and the people he speaks so fondly of. The first dish I’ll be trying is the Tunnbrödsrulle - the ultimate Swedish-style hot dog - it looks scrumptious.


Why did you take up this role? 

My passion for cruising started with my first voyage 10 years ago; from that moment, I fell in love.

I was delighted to accept the Business Development Manager role with Azamara for many reasons. For one, working with a boutique luxury cruise line with unusual itineraries is awe-inspiring. 

Another reason is that this amazing career allows me to work closely with our travel partners and key accounts to make a positive impact on their business. 

I believe that collaboration is the key to business success to which I am committed to building on a daily basis.

I look forward to hosting Seminars at Sea with you very soon; it’s through these bonds that deals are closed and relationships strengthened.  


Tell us something people might not know about Azamara

Azamara has 131 land programs that venture deeper into the destinations we visit; this is the largest portfolio of land explorations in the industry.  

We understand that one size doesn’t fit all, therefore we have 1,528 authentic shore excursions to choose from. 

With inclusive amenities where pretty much everything you could ever want is included, we also add a complimentary AzAmazing Evening on our cruises of 8 nights or longer.


Tell us one thing that’s coming up at Azamara that’s got you excited. 

I'm excited about our new series of Greek country-intensive sailings. Greece will really set us apart from other lines in 2021 as one of our ships, Azamara Pursuit, will set sail for the first time since March 2020.

We will offer the largest collection of Greece experiences, with 26 of the ports in Greece and two maiden ports: Milos, and Pylos. 

Guests can expect shore excursions such as a making mosaic art pieces in Mykonos, visiting the “Holy Island” of Patmos to see the Cave of the Apocalypse, exploring the Colossus of Rhodes, as well as touring underground storied catacombs in Milos. 


How has Azamara handled the COVID-19 pandemic?

Azamara is prioritizing the health and safety of its guests, crew and the communities they visit.

As part of the Royal Caribbean Group, an expert panel has been assembled called the Healthy Sail Panel, which consists of a diverse group of experts in areas of science and public health.

The panel is tasked with developing recommendations for cruise lines to advance their public health response to COVID-19, improve safety, and establish health protocols that protect everyone and provide an enjoyable cruise experience. 

When we restart our operations, there will be a wealth of expert-reviewed health and safety protocols for guests and staff.


What makes a successful cruise line?  

I would say a successful cruise line provides guests with the same, if not better absorption of a locale that guests would get if they elected to travel fully by land. 

Additionally, a brand that encourages guests to spend the majority of their time off the ship and on the shore. 

For our 2021 and 2022 deployment, we're offering many country-intensive voyages, which goes back to our commitment in providing guests an immersive experience within a destination. 


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Written by: Kristina Sambaher as told to Traveltalk
Published: 15 December 2020

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