Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) President Harry Sommer said he is optimistic about the company’s rebound, noting that business has been extremely brisk over the past several weeks.
“On Aug. 8, we made the announcement that we would allow unvaccinated guests on board the ships,” he said at a media briefing during the inaugural cruise of Norwegian Prima out of Reykjavik, Iceland to Amsterdam. “I think that was long awaited and the time was right.”
“Since then, bookings for 2022 are actually higher than the same weeks in 2019 across all three of our brands by a measurable amount.”
In addition to Norwegian Cruise Line, its parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. also operates Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
“We are very pleased with the trajectory,” Sommer added. “I’ve learned better than to predict the future but if current trends continue, 2023 will absolutely be a record year.”
On another positive note, he said that Norwegian Prima is the line’s “best-sold ship in the history of the company.”
He praised the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, for delivering a ship that is arguably one of a kind.
“Our goal was to create something that didn’t look like a cruise ship,” he said. “We wanted guests to feel like they were at a beautiful resort anywhere in the world. And we challenged Fincantieri to give us a design that did just that.”
Sommer also paid tribute to travel advisors.
“We can’t win without trade support,” he said. “We have a community of thousands of travel agents throughout the world who are really smart and accomplished businesspeople with unique business models that drive business to us.”
He added that in the US NCL has “about 100 to 150 deep partnerships with advisors that we work with day in and day out.” That number, Sommer said, rises to between 300 to 400 on a worldwide basis.
“Many of them are on this cruise ship right now,” Sommer said. “I can say without hesitation that they are a cornerstone to the success of this company. We couldn’t do it without them.”
Norwegian Prima is first in a class of six ships under construction at the Fincantieri’s Maghera, Italy, shipyard.
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