Norwegian Cruise Line will host 14 ship visits for agents and their customers on Norwegian Jade this summer in a move which has been described as “a game-changer”.
Nick Wilkinson, the line’s vice president and managing director UK & Ireland, the Middle East and Africa, is inviting agents to bring groups of between “five and 10 customers” on board Jade from next month following trade feedback.
The 2,402-passenger capacity vessel is sailing itineraries from Southampton and Hamburg, Germany, until November when it will reposition to Miami for the winter.
Speaking on board Norwegian Bliss’ maiden voyage from Bremerhaven, Germany, to Southampton, Wilkinson said: “This is what the agents are asking for. The opportunity for them to host and showcase it to their clients. This for me is a big game changer.
“It is not about the agents visiting the ship, it is about the agents bringing their potential non-cruise customers.
“The customers do not know what it is going to be like. When a customer stands at the side of the ship for the first time and sees the scale of it, they don’t know that they want to cruise at that point. They don’t realise the scale of it.”
Agents can book Norwegian Jade ship visit places for through NCL or Clia, Wilkinson said.
“Most agents will bring between five and 10,” Wilkinson said. “That is a nice number to host. You have got to make it manageable.
“Anyone can bring 100 [customers] but it does not increase the number of your bookings.
“It is not about how many agents we will bring [on board], it is how many agents are engaged to bring their customers to be engaged.
“We want to make sure that we are supporting agents.”
Norwegian Cruise Line’s new ship Norwegian Bliss is due into Southampton tomorrow following a two-day preview sailing from Germany.
The 4,000-passenger vessel is due to arrive in the UK from Bremerhaven in Germany following an 18-month building period at the Meyer Werft shipyard.
The 168,028-gross-ton ship features a two-level electric-car race track, an open air laser tag course and side-by-side waterslide.
The third ship in the line’s Breakaway Plus class will then leave for the US for two-night preview events in New York, Miami and Los Angeles before a christening ceremony and sailing from its first homeport at Pier 66 in Seattle on May 30.
Following a three-day inaugural voyage with a call into the port of Victoria in British Columbia, Norwegian Bliss will return on June 2 to embark on its first seven-day voyage to Alaska.
The 16th ship in the NCL fleet will move from Alaska in the autumn to run departures from Los Angeles to Mexico and will spend winter 2018-19 sailing to the Caribbean from Miami before re-positioning to New York to run Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean cruises.
NCL president and chief executive Andy Stuart said: “Norwegian Bliss is one of our most highly-anticipated ships to date, and today marks another exciting milestone for the newest and most innovative ship of our young and modern fleet.”
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