Norwegian Hits the NY$E

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A big change is coming to Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

Pending a shift from the Nasdaq Global Select Market to the New York Stock Exchange, ordinary shares of the parent corporation to Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises are anticipated to make the switch on December 19, 2017, while remaining under the existing “NCLH” ticker symbol.

“We are pleased to partner with the New York Stock Exchange as the new home for our stock listing and look forward to joining the collection of preeminent companies listed on the exchange,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, in a press release.

“This move marks the latest initiative in our continuous drive to increase our Company’s profile in the marketplace and enhance shareholder value by drawing on the NYSE’s unique competencies and capabilities which make it the ideal listing platform for our Company. We are grateful for the support Nasdaq has provided us over the last five years since our successful IPO and our inclusion in the prestigious Nasdaq-100.”

Until the transfer is finalized, Norwegian will continue to be traded on Nasdaq.

“We are delighted to welcome Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to the NYSE community,” said NYSE President, Tom Farley, in the release.

“As the operator of three award-winning cruise brands — Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises — Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has been creating treasured vacation memories for its guests for over 50 years. We are committed to a long-term partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and its shareholders and look forward to being a valued partner in the company’s future growth by providing the highest quality markets and services.”

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NCL moving final-payment deadline to 120 days before departure

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Artists impression of the Norwegian Bliss.

FORT LAUDERDALE — Norwegian Cruise Line will advance the deadline for final payment on its cruises from 90 days to 120 days before departure, said Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

Details about which cruises would be subject to the 120-day deadline and when the policy will be implemented are forthcoming.

The move means consumers will have to pay in full faster and is likely a reflection of the strong seller’s market for cruising that developed in 2017. The 120-day deadline already applies to Garden Villa and Haven accommodations.

Del Rio, who revealed the news at Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld on Wednesday, told hundreds of travel agents that they will benefit directly from the decision.

“It’s great for both of us,” Del Rio said. “It locks in the customer early. You get your payment 30 days earlier, and it helps you with your cash flow. We think it’s wonderful for our agent community that you get to collect on your hard work 30 days earlier.”

Norwegian Cruise Line established the 90-day deadline in January 2016.

In a Q&A with Travel Weekly editor in chief Arnie Weissmann, Del Rio was asked if he wants to acquire any more of the eight former Renaissance Cruises ships for Oceania Cruises, which already has four (Insignia, Regatta, Nautica and Sirena).

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Azamara Club Cruises, a competitor owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., recently acquired a third former Renaissance ship (P&O Cruises’ Adonia, to be renamed Azamara Pursuit). Del Rio said he hopes Azamara gets the one remaining (currently sailing for Princess Cruises as the Pacific Princess).

“It won’t be us,” he said. “We’re happy with our four and we’re happy with our Riviera and Marina ships. But the next introduction for Oceania will likely be a whole new concept we’re working on.”

Turning to Cuba, Del Rio said there’s no doubt that the market has rewarded Norwegian’s decision to use its four-day cruise from Miami to provide two full days and an overnight in Havana.

“The booking curve for a four-day cruise now looks more like a seven-day cruise to Alaska or to Europe. People are booking it way in advance, and therefore the prices have risen. It is now profitable for you to sell four-day cruises where it wasn’t before,” Del Rio said.

Norwegian next year will devote a second ship, the Norwegian Sun sailing from Port Canaveral, to a Havana itinerary. “That gives you an idea of how important, how profitable, Cuba is to us,” he said.

NCLH: Tickets and Onboard Drive Q2; Food Spend Down

Increased ticket and onboard revenue drove Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) record second quarter (Q2) earnings.

Despite carrying fewer passengers than last year, 569,857 down from 574,838, NCLH posted more passenger cruise days, 4,517,788 up from 4,237,020, and higher gross and net ticket and onboard revenue per passenger day.

The passenger number was down due to longer cruises, according to NCLH.

Operating costs were also up, except food costs that were down for Q2 and for first six months of the year, despite an increase in passenger cruise days.

The reduction in food costs were primarily due to a series of purchasing initiatives undertaken over the past year. In a prepared statement to Cruise Industry News, NCLH said: “We have been successful in finding significant efficiencies across our food distribution through a concerted effort to improve processes in delivering consumables to our vessels around the world. In addition, we have leveraged our buying power to deliver substantial hard savings across our food purchasing without compromising quality.

“For example, on a number of key proteins that represent the highest cost items across our food costs, we have been able to cut costs significantly simply by purchasing directly from the suppliers and cutting out middlemen. These initiatives have resulted in savings while providing the same, or in many cases, better quality protein.

“During this period we have also been refining the dining experience across our fleet, and with the benefit of guest research and feedback, we have refined our menus to better meet the preferences of our guests and, as a result, we have seen our guest experience scores improve year over year.”

NCLH spent $47.3 million on food in the second quarter of this year and $95.5 million for the six-month period, compared to $49.8 million and $100.8 million, respectively, last year.

Gross revenue per passenger day was $297.52 this year, up from $280.11 last year. Net revenue per passenger day was $229.63 this year, up from $216.55.