NCL President Reiterates the Line’s Focus on Safety

NCL President Reiterates the Line’s Focus on Safety

With three of its 17 ships sailing again, Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Harry Sommer said the company’s “main goal for this year is to start up, and to start up safely.”

Norwegian Gem began cruising out of Miami on Aug. 15; Norwegian Encore inaugurated Alaska sailings out of Seattle on Aug. 7 and Norwegian Jade on July 25.


“At the end of the day this is about safety,” Sommer said, noting that upward of 90 percent of NCL guests surveyed said they have been vaccinated. “They want to go on ships where everyone else is vaccinated.”

Norwegian Gem at the new NCL Terminal in PortMiami. (photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

On a related note, the line was able to operate Norwegian Gem from Miami after a federal judge ruled on Aug. 9 that the company has the right to ask customers for proof of coronavirus vaccination before boarding, temporarily reversing an order from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“We don’t believe the governor, or the state of Florida, has a right to regulate intrastate or international travel,” Sommer said in an interview aboard Norwegian Encore. “We’re committed to safety.”

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That commitment to safety is something Sommer suggested NCL’s travel advisor partners experience first-hand in order to counsel their clients on how the line offers them one of the safest vacations currently available.

“I would encourage them to see for themselves,” he said. “I can talk until I’m blue in the face.”

In other developments, Sommer discussed the myriad selling points of NCL’s newest ship, Norwegian Prima, which was floated out on Aug. 13 from its drydock at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, and is scheduled to enter service next year.

While the line’s Breakaway class ships carry nearly 4,000 passengers, the new Prima class of vessels, of which there will be six, accommodate 3,215 passengers.

“We’re not necessarily a believer in bigger is better,” Sommer said. “We believe if you reach a certain size it’s really hard to provide the premium experience that we’re looking to provide.”

One of the most notable features of Norwegian Prima is its generous amount of outdoor space. “People are really going to enjoy the outdoors on Norwegian Prima,” Sommer said.

A major highlight is the 44,000-square-foot Ocean Boulevard, which encircles Deck 8 and will be equipped with two infinity pools, a sculpture garden, a glass walkway, a food hall with 11 dining venues and more.

Norwegian Prima
Norwegian Prima (photo via Norwegian Cruise Line)

The ship’s ambiance and decor are also major selling points, he added. “Norwegian Prima takes it up a level in the investment that we’ve made in art, in light fixtures, in wall coverings and carpets – the soft goods that give the ship a residential feel. People are really going to enjoy the outdoors on Norwegian Prima,” Sommer said.

“I think this is the most beautiful in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet,” he added.

On the travel advisor front, Sommer underscored NCL’s commitment to helping agents see their way through the pandemic.

“We are committed to do our best to get the trade community up and running,” he said. “It’s super important to us. We are all in.”

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