We who work in the travel industry are doubly blessed. First, we get to see the world and meet amazing people in places that take our breath away. Then, we get to bring home stories to enthrall and amaze our friends and families.
I think that’s what Silversea Cruises’ SVP Katina Athanasiou was getting at with the advice she offered at the annual conference aboard the Norwegian Encore. These days, “people don’t care about what you do or where you live,” she said. “They want to know where you’ve been and how it’s changed you.”Read the rest of this entry »
When it rains it pours—and it’s hurricane season in the travel advisor channel. The trickle of business that kept advisors going through Covid has turned into a torrent of demand, not only for the usual FITs and cruises, but also for the land vacations to which customers turned when there was no other option.
So it’s no surprise that travel advisors suddenly find themselves being courted more than ever. On the one hand, there’s the new hotels and resorts—and on the other are the traditional partners in the cruise industry, fighting off this new competition.Read the rest of this entry »
“We’re taking a risk with NCFs,” acknowledged Norwegian Cruise Line SVP of sales Todd Hamilton. “But if you are offered a ride on a rocket ship, you don’t ask which seat.”
Speaking at the Signature Travel Network conference in Las Vegas about Norwegian’s promise to pay commissions on NCFs, Hamilton noted that the cruise line’s growth plan (like that of many agencies) is headed upscale. “Cookie-cutter itineraries” are being replaced with more curated, longer, more port-intensive—and more expensive—ones, with the goal being to give guests not just a cruise but an amazing all-inclusive vacation experience.
Staying on the booking curve requires three things: being easy to do business with, being a true partner to the travel advisor community, and providing value to the guest. To that end, Norwegian’s marketing budget for 2023 is written in pencil, waiting for a number that travel advisors will help it determine.
“We have no clue what the number will be because we will market enough to fill our ships,” Hamilton said. “We are going to come to you guys and ask, what do you need?”
Selling more expensive cruises than those offered by its mainstream competitors requires real experts who can explain the value proposition to customers. “Marketing is at the heart of everything we do,” Hamilton said. “We want you to work with our sales team to come up with the best possible plan. We want to be a true partner; we are here to support you and we ask you to support us.”
NCL last week announced that it will pay commissions on NCFs starting with sailings departing May 1, 2023, and booked more than 120 days out—but travel advisors must file a marketing plan to be eligible.
Hamilton stressed at the conference that while the initial announcement said it was for bookings made after January 1, the offer has been made retroactive, so bookings made today are eligible.
On October 4, Norwegian Cruise Line became one of the latest major cruise lines to roll back its requirement for passengers to present proof of a COVID-19 vaccination in order to sail. Read the rest of this entry »
At All Points Travel in Salt Lake City, Corina Johnson made an easy sale yesterday. A member of her Theater Lovers whom she books trips three or four times a year, saw a post about an interesting offering from Norwegian Cruise Line: “The Broadway Cruise” to Bermuda, launching in March 2023. Read the rest of this entry »
Off Hawaii’s Naapali Coast, onboard Pride of America—Concerns over having to quarantine abroad are pushing travelers to domestic destinations and first among them is Hawaii, with the highest prices in the nation. But price is no object this year, and bucket list trips are all the rage. So you’d think Norwegian Cruise Lines wouldn’t need much help from travel advisors to sell its Pride of America itineraries in Hawaii.
Indeed, since returning to service last month at 40% capacity, the newly refurbished POA is sold out through October. Still, though, I’d argue that Norwegian needs travel advisors to help sell it more than most ships—and that it offers a great opportunity in return.
Pride of America is a unique and expensive product, commanding the highest daily rates in the NCL fleet but sailing under the most unusual conditions. The key to success, as she returns to service Read the rest of this entry »
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), is celebrating the 17th and final ship in its fleet to return to service. NCL’s return to service after a 500-day pause began with Norwegian Jade’s July 25, 2021 sailing from Athens (Piraeus), Greece. Since then, the Brand has systematically relaunched its ships around the world, welcoming guests and crew members aboard. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been more than 60 years since cruising to Cuba ceased. President Kennedy imposed the embargo because Fidel Castro seized American-owned hotels and gambling casinos.
The Cuban seizures were legal under international law, if equitable financial compensation is paid. Yet, every American President and Congress has kept the cruising embargo in place because of failure to compensate the injured parties. As reported in Hotel Hotline, the latest glitch that’s prolonging the cruising embargo is a lawsuit by the heirs of Meyer Lanksy, saying they too deserve compensation. The Bay of Pigs debacle also fueled enthusiasm to keep the embargo in place.
With this backdrop of more than 60 years of retribution, let’s look ahead to what may be in store for the Russian government now that their invasions of Ukraine have already created close to two- million refugees and thousands of deaths Read the rest of this entry »
(Caution: there’s some science and math ahead. But Norwegian solves the equation for you—and in so doing, offers a lot of hope for the future of selling cruises during a pandemic.)
Question: Is 100% really that much better than 95%?
It’s a math problem Norwegian Cruise Line has been tackling for months, and the result is a little painful.
When we set sail earlier this month on Norwegian Encore’s first post-Covid cruise to Alaska, many lamented that the strict vaccine mandate meant families with small children could not sail—a big loss for a family-friendly cruise company and its loyal customers and partners. Read the rest of this entry »
What are the new guys on the block to do when the old timers hog the best spots? If the guys are Norwegian Cruise Line’s Frank Del Rio and Harry Sommer, and the spot is Alaska, the answer obviously is to build a new (and amazing) spot of their own.
That’s just what they’re up to at Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan, where Norwegian Encore’s August 7th post-Covid maiden voyage included two ribbon cuttings in the 49th state.
It’s amazing what has been accomplished in just 80 days, the locals say, since Alaska got the word that there was going to be any cruise ship season at all in 2021. The raven and the eagle that watch over the native tribes surely were at work, when “a piece of legislation that hasn’t been touched in years was changed with 100% consent in the House and the Senate and signed by the President in Read the rest of this entry »
The Haven moves aft, the sea comes closer, the rooms get bigger. The Waterfront doubles in size, wraps around the deck and adds a global food hall. There are new infinity pools, glass bridges and an outdoor lounge. And, to add to the excitement, some lucky travel advisors get to sail free.
In a series of hints, tweets and press conferences, Norwegian Cruise Line ended months of relative quiet this week with one big reveal of what it has been quietly working on while the pandemic raged around it. The Norwegian Prima, the first new ship and new class in a decade, goes on sale today. Read the rest of this entry »