NCL builds on Middle East success

Norwegian Encore, a Breakaway Plus-class cruise ship

The Middle East has experienced significant growth in the last five years thanks to our travel partners promoting cruising and opening up the market, says Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) vice-president and managing director, UK & I and MEA, Nick Wilkinson.

While 2019 will be a landmark year for the cruise line with the launch of the Norwegian Encore, it is also a great year for agents to start working on cruises that will take place in 2020. 

“We are excited to announce that the recently refurbished Norwegian Jade will be doing a sailing of a lifetime in 2020 calling at Piraeus, Kusadasi, Rhodes, Limassol, Haifa, Port Said, Suez Canal, Safaga, Aqaba, Salalah, Fujairah and Abu Dhabi before disembarkation in Dubai.

“In December of 2019, she will cruise from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, Khasab, Fujairah, Mormugao Goa, Make, Colombo Phuket, Langkawi, Penang, Port Klang before disembarking in Singapore.”

In 2020, the Norwegian Star will be sailing: Abu Dhabi, Fujairah and Muscat before heading to Mahe, Nosy Be/Nosy Komba, Port Louis, Port Des Galets, Richard’s Bay, Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay before disembarking in Cape Town.

“Norwegian Cruises are popular in the Middle East and Africa region because of our ethos of freedom and flexibility,” explains Wilkinson. “Our ships are perfect for families with children, large groups or those who want to travel solo, have up to 27 dining options, award-winning Broadway entertainment and sail to nearly 300 of some of the world’s most desirable destinations.

“Our agents are important to us and we firmly believe in investing in them. We are proud to run a programme called ‘Partner’s First’ which offers support, education and sales and marketing collateral to help them understand our product and drive sales.

“We have two dedicated campaigns that resonate most with the MEA market. Free at Sea offers guests the choice to tailor their cruise the way they want with optional free extras such as wi-fi, speciality dining, shore excursions and third or fourth guest free. The BOGOHO – ‘Buy One Get One Half Off’ is great for families and always an extremely popular offering.

“We are driving real confidence in the market with tailored promotions and our ‘Book With Confidence’ campaign, which allows guests to cancel or change their itinerary up to 120 days before sailing giving them security and confidence if their needs or requirements change (excludes The Haven),” he says. ”