NCL eyes the MEA re­gion

With a 51-year-old his­tory of break­ing bound­aries of tra­di­tional cruis­ing, Nor­we­gian Cruise Line (NCL) is now fo­cus­ing on the Mid­dle Eastern mar­ket. Nick Wilkin­son, VP & MD, Nor­we­gian Cruise Line, shares in­sights.

TravTalk - Middle East - - CRUISES -

How im­por­tant is the Mid­dle Eastern mar­ket for cruis­ing?

The Mid­dle Eastern mar­ket has ex­pe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cant growth over the last five years. This is due to the in­cred­i­ble sup­port we re­ceive from our travel part­ners across Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Ara­bia, Egypt and UAE who have done an amaz­ing job in pro­mot­ing cruis­ing and open­ing up the mar­ket for all to en­joy.

Could you share more de­tails on itin­er­ar­ies for the MEA re­gion?

The re­cently re­vamped 2,500 pas­sen­ger Nor­we­gian Jade fea­tur­ing new bars, restau­rants and mod­ern dé­cor will sail from Civ­i­tavec­chia in Novem­ber 2020 and stop at the fol­low­ing ports of call - Pi­raeus, Ku­sadasi, Rhodes, Li­mas­sol, Haifa, Port Said, Suez Canal, Safaga, Aqaba, Salalah, Fu­jairah and Abu Dhabi be­fore dis­em­barka­tion in Dubai. In De­cem­ber, she will cruise from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, Khasab, Fu­jairah, Mor­mu­gao Goa, Male, Colombo Phuket, Langkawi, Pe­nang, Port Klang be­fore dis­em­bark­ing in Sin­ga­pore. The 2,000 pas­sen­ger Nor­we­gian Spirit will be un­der­go­ing a bow-tostern re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion as part of the Nor­we­gian Edge fleet re­fur­bish­ment pro­gramme be­fore cruis­ing through the Mid­dle East in March 2020. Fol­low­ing em­barka­tion in Dubai, guests will stop at the fol­low­ing ports of call - Abu Dhabi, Fu­jairah and Mus­cat be­fore head­ing to Male, Nosy Be/Nosy Komba, Port Louis, Port Des Galets, Richard’s Bay, Port El­iz­a­beth and Mos­sel Bay be­fore dis­em­bark­ing in Cape Town.

Have you al­ready got agents for cruise book­ings in this part of the world?

Yes, we’ve seen dou­ble-digit growth from our agents and a stark in­crease in the pro­mo­tion and selling of our cruises in the last five years, with full dis­tri­bu­tion from leisure, MiCE and groups.

Why should agents sell the Nor­we­gian cruises to ME trav­ellers?

Our ships are per­fect for fam­i­lies with chil­dren, large groups or those who want to travel solo. Our ships have up to 28 din­ing op­tions, en­ter­tain­ment, call at 85 coun­tries and visit over 275 ports of call.

What ben­e­fits do the agents re­ceive?

We are proud to run a pro­gramme called ‘Part­ners First’ which of­fers sup­port, ed­u­ca­tion and sales and mar­ket­ing col­lat­eral to help them un­der­stand our prod­uct and drive sales. For the first time, we are of­fer­ing a 3 per cent bonus com­mis­sion on new book­ings made be­tween Au­gust 8-22 on se­lected sail­ings in 2019-20.

We’ve seen dou­ble-digit growth from our agents and a stark in­crease in the selling of our cruises in the last five years, with full dis­tri­bu­tion from leisure, MiCE and groups

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