It it time for NCL? | TravelResearchOnline


It it time for NCL?

It is time for me to get on my old soap box and suggest it is time for agents to start selling Norwegian Cruise Line. I truly don’t want you to miss the boat, as I think NCL has hit another home run with the adding of the Waterfront on their two new ships, the Norwegian Breakaway and pretty soon, the Norwegian Getaway.

Think of the Waterfront as a quarter-mile boardwalk experience along the outside of a full deck. Here you can select from 8 alfresco dining experiences or just have a drink in one of the great outdoor lounges. Let’s face it, people that love cruises enjoy looking out to the sea. That is why almost all outside cabins now have private balconies; and why you probably sell more balcony cabins than any other category. But, now your clients can not only enjoy the romantic view of the open sea, they can also enjoy it with a lot more friends than they could on their own balcony.

And almost everyone enjoys people watching…we do it from walkway tables in Vegas, Orlando and especially along Miami’s famous South Beach. So now you have something brand new (and exclusive to NCL) to offer to your clients…and not just you cruise clients.

Discerning Clients

Yes, I know many of you old time cruisers don’t like NCL’s “Freestyle Cruising” as they grew up with the set dinning times and enjoyed getting to know your same waiters and table mates. But folks, times are a changing and it might be time for you to rethink.

Today’s discerning client enjoys selecting from a wide selection of dinning venues. These two new ships have more than twenty a piece. Yes, some have a reasonable surcharge, but it is well worth the cost.  And, now they can enjoy an early dinner, while watching a romantic sunset; which is something they will remember and tell their friends about when they get home. Of course, suggest that your clients make reservations early, as they will fill up fast.

In addition, on deck 8, the Waterfront connects to NCL’s new three decks of action called 678 Ocean Place—decks 6,7 and 8! Now you can select from great entertainment, gambling or many wonderful dining experiences. Sell the experience, not the cruise. Be one of the first to tell you clients about the new Ocean Blu restaurant that offers a premium raw bar and sushi bar. Your seafood lovers will thank you. Recommend it for the first night, before everyone else starts raving about the experience.

NCL’s growing list of entertainment choices is arguable the best afloat. It starts with the new Grammy Experience and the Illusionarium special effects-laden magic show. Who doesn’t love a good magic show? It brings an adult back to the days of youth and wonderment.  There are 12 shows on each sailing! And if the small surcharge comes up, just check out the illusionist shows in Vegas and take note of what they charge. Again, recommend your clients reserve early!

Luxury Clients

I have been selling NCL since I was introduced to the “White Fleet” back in 1986…okay, okay; I’m one of the old timers you hear about. But, what kept me supporting NCL in good times, as well as bad times, is the fact they kept working on improving their cruise experience with things like the first private island, huge Garden Suite complexes–still the biggest at sea at 5,750 square feet. They now have solo cabins for your single cruisers and finally the new Waterfront. Folks, this is no longer the cruise line for those on a budget. For sure it can be, but it also has tremendous appeal to the luxury, solo, trans-generational, and family segments.

Have you delved into  “The Haven” on these new ships and five of their other ships? Here you upscale clients can select from a great selection of luxurious and spacious suites in a private enclave, with all kinds of pampering available. They will feel very special in this “ship within a ship” experience. Who wouldn’t enjoy their private courtyard with private pool, sundeck, hot tub and even fitness area?

So, before dismissing NCL as an entry-level ship, I suggest you give your luxury clients a look at these two great new ships. They will love having their own 24-hour suite butlers, concierge service, a Courtyard Valet and even white tablecloth en-suite dinning for those special occasions. They will thank you for it, and you will make a lot more commission from what could become your lifetime clients.

Larry Norman, CTC, MCC is an icon in the industry. He has been a consultant to over 5,000 Home Based Travel Agents and trained an estimated 22,000 travel agents over his career. He was Travel Trade’s 1996 Travel Educator of the Year. Larry owned a four state network of 16 agencies, with annual sales of $28 million.  Larry is known as “The Outside Sales Agent Expert” for his presentations on outside sales at Travel Trade Cruise-A-Thons, ASTA, ARTA and NACOA travel agent conferences among others. You can share your views with Larry at or leave a comment here.

  3 thoughts on “It it time for NCL?

  1. Louise says:

    The idea of waterfront dining sounds wonderful however if you have ever been on the outer deck of a ship whilst sailing the wind is certainly not going to make a pleasant experience for any guest. I must say that having regular dining rooms with large windows still allows for large parties that couldn’t fit on a private balcony…. But who has dinner parties on a private balcony? Last time I checked the room service menu wasn’t that extensive.

    Paying extras for a show? Yes you could say the price is comparatively better than a Vegas show, however didnt the guest pay for a cruise? Cruise includes food, entertainment and rooms…. Oh NCL have changed the dining pricing policies as well, bakeries, steakhouse, asian, italian. why not offer variations of these menus in main dining rooms. So NCL market there cruises as cheap and then make guests pay for all the extras on board.

    If you’ve ever spoken to guests this aspect of freestyle cruising is highly unappreciated. But I suppose it explains why they can build 2 new mega ships and have a fireworks display every week. Questionable way of making profits Mr. Sheehan.

    In actual fact there is nothing free about freestyle.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  2. Bobbye Haupt says:

    Amen! I just returned from the Breakaway. LOVE the Waterfront! We had an S6 aft penthouse and the balcony was amazing. Norwegian gives a wonderful luxury experience and we find it fits our extended family so well because we have the suites where we can enjoy the luxury and the “younger generation” has the big ship experience. We’re taking the family in March of 2014 and have another S6 with the kids in B1’s beside. I will admit to preferring the Garden Villas, but the Breakaway will be a perfect match for the younger people.

  3. Larry Norman says:

    Glad to see that Bobbye “got it” and agrees with my real point, that many upscale clients will like this new ship and will be willing to pay for it.

    As to Louise, she is still living in the past. Back then, folks paid the same price as they can today and didn’t have anywhere near the same cruise experience…without paying more.

    Not sure she has sailed on many upscale cruise lines…as yes, you can have private dinning on your balcony of anything on the menu. And, they bring it course by course. Very romantic.

    The point being, NCL can add the extra features for those that want more and are more than willing to pay for it.

    Need I point out; the agents that are promoting this upscale experience are making a lot more commission.

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