We caught up with Eamonn Ferrin, VP of International Business for NCL, to get the lowdown on the latest cruise trends and an update on the ocean line’s ‘Prima’ plans to return to Australian waters.
Given the ocean cruise #ArrivalRevival is well underway outside of Australia, we caught up with NCL’s Eamonn Ferrin to find out what the travel trade can expect from NCL as we move forward into a new era of cruise down under.
You must be thrilled that Aussies can get back to cruising, finally! Do you think the market will rebound quickly?
There is a pent-up demand in Australia, and interest in cruising is increasing significantly, so we expect the positive trajectory to continue.
We believe the tides are turning and expect that 2022 will be the year that travel comes roaring back.
Our return to Sydney will herald the debut of Norwegian Spirit. Fresh from a USD$100 million-plus renovation (the most expensive in our history), she will be the newest ship sailing down under.
What is your favourite thing about a cruise holiday, and where will your next one be?
I have had the pleasure of sailing a few times in the past year, and one thing that hasn’t changed is the incredible crew and their warm welcome. Cruising is better than it ever was before!
For my next cruise, I am looking forward to boarding our stunning new Norwegian Prima when she launches in Northern Europe this August and visiting one of my bucket-list destinations, Iceland.
What new processes does NCL have in place for customer health and safety?
The key to restoring confidence in cruise is to make sure our partners understand NCL’s Sail Safe health, hygiene and safety protocols, which guide every touchpoint of their client’s journey with us.
These include 100 per cent vaccination for crew and guests over 12 years old, medical-grade air filtration, enhanced sanitation and medical facilities and a dedicated health & safety officer on each ship.
Furthermore, we work closely with our destination partners to design itineraries and onshore experiences so we can extend our Sail Safe protocols onshore.
We believe cruise is the safest way to travel with these protocols in place. Only a cruise can guarantee that 100 per cent of your fellow shipmates aged 12+ are fully vaccinated.
How important was it to stay connected to trade partners during the tough times?
It was very important. The key was to keep communicating with our trade partners and make sure we were always available.
Knowing how important it is to support the Australian trade, we joined TIME – Travel Industry Mentor Experience to sponsor two “Partners First” Australian Travel Industry Scholarships in 2022.
What would you like to say to our travel community?
We are so grateful for our partner’s ongoing commitment, hard work and loyalty to NCL, especially in the last two years. We look forward to working together to capitalise on the demand we see for our cruises.
Now more than ever, knowledge is king. Savvy consumers are doing more research to plan their dream holiday, so know your product.
NCL provides so many free training and education resources, which are often incentivised!
How is NCL working to engage with the travel trade in this new travel world?
Our Partners First philosophy guides everything we do, and we remain committed to our agent partners for the long term.
Trade partners should make the most of the free marketing assets available and simply add their call to action for local marketing. We even provide pre-prepared social media posts.
We also want to remind agents of our rewards programs – sign up and reap the benefits! And keep an eye out for famil opportunities – they are back!
In terms of our product, with our ground-breaking Prima Class, we are launching a new ship every year through to 2027, providing our travel partners with new options and experiences to offer their clients.
Katy Perry is the Godmother of your newest ship, The Norwegian Prima. How do you choose a Godmother?
Appointing a ship’s godmother is a nautical custom that dates back centuries. We are so excited that Katy Perry, a one-of-a-kind artist, is joining the Norwegian Cruise Line family.
We look forward to launching our beautiful, innovative ship, Norwegian Prima, when Katy Perry will not only perform at the Christening Ceremony on 27 August in Reykjavik, Iceland, but she then also sail with us.
What have been your key lessons that you’ve taken from the pandemic?
Indeed, a notable impact of the pandemic is the increased focus on health and safety. We have been successfully cruising in Europe, the Caribbean and Alaska since July 2021, underpinned by our comprehensive health & safety protocols.
Today the majority of our fleet is back in the water doing what we do best, delivering safe, exceptional holidays at sea, with the entire fleet back by Q2 this year.
And we can’t wait to welcome our trade partners back onboard soon!
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