Norwegian Cruise Line said it could not pass up the opportunity to bring an “A-plus, super-experienced leader of Eamonn Ferrin’s calibre” into the organisation.

Industry stalwart Ferrin was this week appointed vice-president and managing director for NCL’s UK, Ireland, Israel, South Africa and Middle East markets.

Previous UK vice-president and managing director Nick Wilkinson moved into the new role of regional vice-president of business development, reporting to Ferrin.

International president Harry Sommer told Travel Weekly: “This was less about Nick and more about Eammon. We are happy with Nick. He is Mr NCL. He knows all the partners, the product and is so passionate about the brand.”

Sommer said Brexit and the economy had left the UK market “a little unsettled”, adding: “The opportunity to have someone of Eamonn’s calibre and experience join us was too good to ignore.”

He said international markets like the UK and Ireland were to become increasingly important with NCL’s capacity to increase by 50% with Norwegian Encore, due to launch in November, and six Leonardo-class ships on the way, taking its fleet to 23 ships.

But Sommer ruled out more ex-UK capacity. “We want British guests to get on a plane to Copenhagen, Barcelona or Amsterdam,” he said.

Ferrin said: “We are going to need to grow significantly so it’s a case of growing all our markets.”

Ferrin has previously held senior industry roles in the airline, tour operator, cruise and hotel sectors including at Holidaybreak, MyTravel and Airtours. He was most recently interim chief operating officer at Cruise.co.uk for a year from late 2017.

● NCL parent Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings ordered two ships for sister line Oceania Cruises this week. The 1,200-passenger new‑class ships are slated for delivery in 2022 and 2025.