Norwegian Cruise Line’s premium all-inclusive fare ‘sparks rise in agent support’

Image result for norwegian bliss

Norwegian Bliss Topside.

Norwegian Cruise Line has promised to never undercut its travel partners after revealing a surge in smaller agents selling its cruises since the introduction of its premium all-inclusive fare.

Nick Wilkinson, vice-president and managing director UK & Ireland, the Middle East and Africa, hailed the efforts of the trade at a media event for new ship Norwegian Bliss in central London.

He went on to link the last year’s move to premium all-inclusive pricing to a spike in agent support.

He said: “Premium all-inclusive has been an incredible success. It has opened doors to more and more agents feeling confident knowing what they’re selling with Norwegian.

“The [number of smaller agents working with Norwegian] is in double-digit growth. To me that is driving the success that we see in the market place.”

In December, NCL offered a new low-cost Just Cruise fare to run alongside premium all-inclusive to helps its sailings rank higher on online travel agencies’ searches.

He added that premium all-inclusive gave agents “the simplicity” they needed to do their job, before revealing that trade sales make up 85% of NCL’s distribution.

“[Travel agents] are our ambassadors,” he said. “They make the difference. That is why we make sure they are protected. They have a really difficult job. We will never undercut our travel agents. They are our lifeline.”

Explaining NCL’s recent decision to make New York its homeport in 2019/20 rather than a UK port, he told Travel Weekly: “The UK market is the number one market outside the US you have to look at when you are designing deployment from a global perspective.

“You have to look at what your demand is from each of those areas.”

He said it was understandable the UK market wanted “the newest, brightest, biggest” vessel but said, thanks to the Norwegian Edge renovation programme, “all our ships are exceptional”.

The 4,004-passenger ship will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Seattle during its inaugural season.

From November, during its first winter season, the vessel will operate seven-day eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami.

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Pitbull And Norwegian Cruise Line Celebrate Norwegian Escape’s Arrival To NYC In Spring 2018

Norwegian Escape’s Godfather and international music star, Pitbull, made a special appearance with Norwegian Cruise Line President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Stuart at PHD Rooftop Lounge at Dream Downtown in New York to celebrate Norwegian Escape coming to homeport in the Big Apple in Spring 2018. 
 
The afternoon kicked off with guests enjoying delicious bites from Norwegian Escape’s culinary outposts, sipping on cocktails crafted from Pitbull’s very own vodka, Voli, and sampling a selection of Michael Mondavi Family Wines. Guests were able to “walk the plank” in a virtual reality segment of the largest ropes course at sea and pose for sharable photos with the ship’s celebrity Godfather Mr. Worldwide. 
 
The exclusive afternoon was topped off with an electrifying performance from For the Record: The Brat Pack™, one of Norwegian Escape’s award-winning Broadway-style shows. Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Andy Stuart and Pitbull took to the mic to say a few words to the guest and toast to the beautiful ship, Norwegian Escape, as well as discuss their joint support for Hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean. 
 
Click the image for Mr WorldWide (Pitbull) interview.
Image result for andy stuart and Pitbull in new york
 
When Norwegian Escape arrives to her new homeport in Manhattan next year, she will sail seven-day cruises to Bermuda during the summer months and seven-day cruises to Canada & New England and the Bahamas & Florida as well as a selection of longer cruises to the Western and Southern Caribbean during the fall/winter 2018/2019 season.
 
Norwegian Escape will be the brand’s largest ship to ever homeport from New York City at 164,600 gross tons and 4,266 guests. Norwegian Cruise Line has been homeporting year-round from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal since 2003.
 
Click the image to watch PitBull’s Freedom Video filmed on Norwegian Escape.
Image result for andy stuart and Pitbull in new york


About Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 50-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising.  Most notably, Norwegian revolutionized the cruise industry by offering guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal cruise vacation on their schedule with no set dining times, a variety of entertainment options and no formal dress codes. Today, Norwegian invites guests to enjoy a relaxed, resort-style cruise vacation on some of the newest and most contemporary ships at sea with a wide variety of accommodations options, including The Haven by Norwegian®, a luxury enclave with suites, private pools and dining, concierge service and personal butlers. Norwegian Cruise Line sails around the globe, offering guests the freedom and flexibility to explore the world on their own time and experience up to 28 dining options, award-winning entertainment, superior guest service and more across all of the brand’s 15 ships.

Recently, the line was named “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” for the tenth consecutive year, as well as “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line” for the fifth time and “North America’s Leading Cruise Line” for the second straight year by the World Travel Awards. Norwegian’s next new build, the highly anticipated Norwegian Bliss, will be delivered in April 2018 featuring many firsts-at-sea for the global market including the largest race track at sea, award-winning Broadway entertainment, two observation lounges for guests to enjoy stunning ocean and glacier views and more.  Norwegian will introduce an additional new “Breakaway Plus” Class cruise ship in 2019 and has four additional ships on order for delivery beginning in 2022, with an option to introduce two more ships in 2026 and 2027.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Bliss Will Draw West Coast Clients

Norwegian Cruise Line's Bliss Will Draw West Coast Clients
Norwegian Bliss, due in April 2018
The brand’s upcoming Norwegian Bliss ship, designed especially for Alaska sailings, is expected to appeal to West Coast-based clients

“It’s the first time we’ve had such a presence on the West Coast,” said Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), during Virtuoso Travel Week, held at Bellagio Las Vegas.

The line’s upcoming Norwegian Bliss — what Stuart referred to as “our most incredible ship to date” — will launch operations on the West Coast in June 2018. It will bring new features to the American market, as well as employ highlights from two previous Breakaway Plus ships: Norwegian Escape and the Chinese market’s Norwegian Joy.

The 4,000-passenger Bliss will debut June 2, sailing a series of weeklong cruises to Alaska and departing Saturdays out of Seattle. Noting that it is the first time that a brand-new ship will launch Alaska cruises, Stuart pointed out that Bliss has been designed especially for Alaska, underlined by its hull art, titled “Cruising with the Whales.”

In addition to scenic glacier cruising, the vessel will make calls in Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway in Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia, through September 2018. Starting Oct. 5, 2018, Bliss will initiate a month of weeklong Mexican Riviera cruises (roundtrip from Los Angeles), with visits to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. On Nov. 3, Bliss will set off on a 14-day Panama Canal cruise from Los Angeles to Miami, where the ship will spend its winter season offering Eastern Caribbean sailings.

According to Stuart, NCL’s Alaska cruises are quite popular, particularly because it is a bucket- list item for many travelers, and the line is also seeing more families booking the destination.

“As Alaska is very limited in berthing capabilities, the only way to increase capacity there is to bring a larger ship — and we think this is the right ship, offering compelling experiences for those new to cruising, plus those features that our loyal guests know and love,” he said.    Image result for norwegian bliss race track

Bliss will integrate the most popular features from previous ships, particularly on the top deck. There will be an expanded version of the electric car race track the debuted on Joy in China; it will be the longest race track at sea, at nearly 1,000 feet long, with four speed settings for the novice, intermediate and advanced drivers navigating its twists and turns. Another dramatic feature will be the open-air laser tag course, which will be designed as an abandoned space station in which guests can compete against one another while armed with state-of-the art laser guns.

In addition, Bliss’ top deck will have an Aqua Park with two multistory waterslides. The high-speed Ocean Loops will have one loop that extends out over the side of the ship and a second see-through loop down to the deck below. The tandem Aqua Racer slide will send guests racing side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 feet, with a translucent section that provides views of the sea.

Younger cruisers will have their own Kids’ Aqua Park, with splash pads, water cannons, tipping buckets and slides. And there will be segmented facilities for passengers ages 3 to 12, as well as for teenagers, who can enjoy their own space — dubbed Entourage — on deck 5. There will even be a Guppies playroom with sensory play activities for babies six months old to 3 years old.

Image result for norwegian bliss Kids’ Aqua Park,

New dining will include Q, an a la carte Texas smokehouse restaurant where guests can choose from a selection of brisket, ribs, chicken, sausage and more that will be freshly smoked over hickory, oak and pecan woods. The eatery will also feature live contemporary pop country music. The new A-List Bar — named for Stuart — will serve cocktails, wine and premium spirits.

Signature beverages from Seattle and its surrounding region will be easy to find onboard Bliss: The ship will have the line’s first full-service Starbucks, and The District Brew House will serve 24 beers on tap and more than 50 bottled beers, along with bites from the adjacent Food Republic. Craft beer will come from Red Hook Brewery and Elysian Brewery in Seattle, as well as from Wynwood Brewery and M.I.A. Beer Company in Miami (a bow to later Caribbean itineraries). The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar, will have a wine list that includes 35 grape varietals that encompass top selections from Washington-area vineyards; Tuscany, Italy; and Michael Mondavi’s own Napa Valley Estate.

The Local, a new complimentary, 24-hour dining concept, will offer guests pub fare in a relaxed atmosphere. Also new is Coco’s, where the scent of a chocolate fountain will summon passengers to its handmade pralines, truffles, crepes and other chocolatey pleasures paired with fine coffees and teas.

The indoor-outdoor Los Lobos, which made its debut in 2016 onboard Norwegian Dawn, will offer dishes from fresh guacamole prepared tableside to al pastor tacos and enchiladas de mole, along with margaritas featuring NCL’s own tequila blend.

Image result for norwegian bliss Los Lobos

Bliss will also feature both smoking and non-smoking casinos to cater to all guest preferences, and the lineup of entertainment will include Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys.” The ship will have two observation lounges, including the exclusive Horizon Lounge (for guests of The Haven), which will have vantage points for whale watching in Alaska.

Stuart expects that the array of innovative features onboard Bliss will introduce the NCL brand to West Coast clients. A ship especially designed for Alaska was a big step, but Stuart notes that Alaska sailings are heavily North American-sourced.

“At the moment, we feel the North American market is very strong,” he said. “Consumer confidence is up, and our guests are planning their vacations further out than they have in past years. Alaska sailings are typically stronger sourced from the West Coast, where as a brand we have tended to be stronger in East coast sourcing. We felt that bringing Bliss to the West Coast would give us an opportunity to bring a strong, exciting product to an audience who may not be as familiar with our brand. New ships are a great opportunity to get those who are new to cruising or new to your brand interested in sailing with you — someone who is wowed by the idea of a race track on a cruise ship will be drawn in to learn more about the brand, and ultimately the destination will drive their purchasing decision.”