Norwegian CEO Del Rio enthused about return to Turkey

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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio said the company’s decision to return to the Eastern Mediterranean in 2019 is working out so far.

After pulling out of the region in 2016 because of terrorism fears and political instability in Turkey, NCLH has scheduled 12 sailings this year and has an additional 20 on the calendar for 2020.

“All 12 sailings in 2019 are better loaded and at higher pricing than the surrounding sailings that do not include Turkey,” Del Rio said.

He told investors on a conference call to discuss fourth quarter and 2018 earnings that Turkey is the key to the itinerary.

“The fact that the North American consumer, who is the one booking most of these Eastern Mediterranean cruises, seem to want to come back to the eastern Med and is willing to pay a premium price bodes very well for 2020,” Del Rio said.

The risk is that itineraries must be developed and sold 18 to 24 months in advance of sailing, he continued.

“So you test the waters, you see what happens, and it takes you a while to really ramp up. So at this point, assuming there are no other disruptions — reasons to not go to the Eastern Med — I expect that we along with the rest of the industry will probably increase the number of deployments to the Eastern Med beginning in 2020 and even more in 2021.”

Del Rio, who has a hand in all itinerary planning at NCLH, said that when the eastern Med is good, “it’s as good as any, if not the best, of all itineraries.”

On the call, Del Rio said NCLH enters 2019 in the best-booked position in its history, giving yield managers more leeway to raise prices.

“We’re pushing prices higher wherever we can,” Del Rio said. “While we still have a lot of cabins to fill, the emphasis will be on raising prices — on all three brands.”

In addition to Norwegian Cruise Line, NCLH operates Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The company had net income of $954.8 million in 2018, up 25.6% from the $759.9 million recorded a year earlier. Revenue rose 13% to $6.1 billion.

Last year, NCLH decided to redeploy the Norwegian Joy from China to Alaska, where it will cruise starting in April alongside sister ship Norwegian Bliss. That will increase NCLH’s presence in Alaska to 9% of total capacity, up from 7% last year.

Capacity in the Asia Pacific region will drop to 6% from 12% last year. NCLH will have six ships in Europe this summer and capacity there increases to 23% from 20% last year, while year-round capacity in the Caribbean is pegged at 36%.

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Dubrovnik seeks to sharply curtail cruise tourism

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The Celebrity Reflection in Dubrovnik.

The new mayor of Dubrovnik said he is in favor of halving the number of cruise passengers arriving daily at the Adriatic port city in Croatia.

Mayor Mato Frankovic, elected in June, told London’s Telegraph newspaper that the current soft ceiling of 8,000 passengers a day should be reduced to 4,000.

He also called for limits on tour operators running day trips to the walled medieval city, which has been a Unesco world heritage site since 1979.

A 2015 Uneco mission recommended that a cap on cruise tourism be developed, and that it should not exceed 8,000 passengers per day.

The Dubrovnik Port Authority said on its website that the cap was exceeded 18 times in 2016 out of the 243 days when cruise ships called. It also said it refused 40 cruise call requests for this year.

Dubrovnik has become one of the most popular stops on an itinerary from Venice to the Eastern Mediterranean, or the reverse route. Last year Dubrovnik had 639 ship calls and handled 831,730 passengers, up 0.1% from the year before, according to Med Cruise, an association of Mediterranean cruise ports. Of those, 763,561 were transit passengers, ranking Dubrovnik behind only six other ports of call in the Mediterranean region.

Frankovic said he would like to see a “reset” for tourism, and that ship calls need to be spaced more evenly so the weekend crush is reduced.

The Unesco report said 90% of cruise calls to Dubrovnik come between May and October. And although cruise visitors accounted for only 2.5% of all visitors in 2013, “they have a disproportionate impact on the World Heritage property due to their concentration in time and space,” the report said.

Top Reasons to Go on an Eastern Mediterranean Cruise

THE IDEA OF BOOKING A CRUISE HOLIDAY CAN BE SURROUNDED WITH OFF-PUTTING MYTHS OF SEASICKNESS AND DATED PICTURES OF GRANDPARENTS IN BAD SHIRTS. HOWEVER, SHIPS THESE DAYS ARE STABLE ENOUGH TO PUT SEASICKNESS AT BAY AND ARE BECOMING SO INNOVATIVE THAT CRUISES ARE SEEN AS PRETTY COOL.

These are just a couple of reasons why taking a cruise is definitely worth considering, so let’s take a look at how else you can benefit from sailing across the seas.

Everybody is welcome aboard

Cruises are no longer typically seen as a holiday option solely for the elderly and rich. According to the UK travel trade association for travel agents and tour operators, Abta, one in five under-25s are considering going on a floating cruise holiday. Whether it’s a family-friendly, adults only, party lovers or luxury cruise, you can choose a ship that suit your interests and needs.

Top Reasons to Go on an Eastern Mediterranean Cruise

 
 
 
Multiple destinations
Packing once then calling in at various destinations on your bucket list is probably the major draw of a cruise holiday. For example, holidaymakers looking for exotic treat can go on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise that takes you to countries such as Croatia, Greece and Turkey. If you’re on board one of the Eastern Mediterranean cruises to Croatia, you might visit the ancient city walls of Dubrovnik one day and stroll along the cobbled streets of Rovinj the following day. There’s nothing to beat the thrill of being transported from one fun and exciting place to another. Cruise companies plan their itineraries very carefully to ensure you’ve plenty of time for shopping, dining and exploring the area. They also offer guided shore excursions that include visits to popular attractions in every port.

De-stress with all inclusive

Cruise holidays offer great value for money because everything you need is in one place. Your accommodation, food, drink, facilities, entertainment and activities are included in the price. Most ships these days offer free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, laundry facilities along with fully-equipped medical facilities for peace of mind. With every little detail taken care of by the holiday company, there is little to worry about, leaving you to have fun on board.

So much good food

Whether you’re looking for family-friendly restaurant or a romantic dinner in a bar, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The quality of food served on-board will make your dining experience unforgettable. From the casual (but tasty!) dinner buffets, to highly recommended specialist restaurants, go for what you fancy every night. If you’re conscious about weight gain on a cruise, you can burn off your indulgencies on an on-board fitness class or in the gym.

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Floating theme park

Forget the old image you might conjure up of cruise ships, as they have overhauled their facilities in order to make vessels more appealing to wide ranging age groups. Whatever your tastes or interests are, you will be sure to find fun-filled activities and entertainment, including swimming pools, rock climbing, gyms, spa facilities, movies, karaoke, live entertainment and night parties. The sports activities on board can help to burn away those extra calories!

Children will not get bored; all major cruise lines offer organised programs for kids. Free childcare services are also available, giving parents the chance to unwind by relaxing and reading a book on lounge chairs by the pool.

Multiple destinations

Packing once then calling in at various destinations on your bucket list is probably the major draw of a cruise holiday. For example, holidaymakers looking for exotic treat can go on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise that takes you to countries such as Croatia, Greece and Turkey. If you’re on board one of the Eastern Mediterranean cruises to Croatia, you might visit the ancient city walls of Dubrovnik one day and stroll along the cobbled streets of Rovinj the following day. There’s nothing to beat the thrill of being transported from one fun and exciting place to another. Cruise companies plan their itineraries very carefully to ensure you’ve plenty of time for shopping, dining and exploring the area. They also offer guided shore excursions that include visits to popular attractions in every port.

The only cruise cliché that you should believe is that cruise ships have something for everyone on board. Being catered to while relaxing or being entertained, while sailing along to your next port-of-call: what’s not to like about that?