NORWEGIAN Cruise Line’s new Norwegian Prima, and her upcoming sister ship Norwegian Viva, have been received extremely well by the Australian market, Vice President & Managing Director APAC Ben Angell told travelBulletin.
Demand for both ships is extremely strong, in particular Viva’s European itineraries, he said, as Norwegian made its return to Australian waters after three years earlier this week.
The two new Prima-class ships are the two most-booked vessels in Norwegian fleet for next year, added President & Chief Executive Officer Harry Sommer, who is in Australia for the cruise line’s return to the country.
This is despite the fact Viva will only sail for a little over four months of the year, after she makes her debut in August.
“We’re thrilled with the repeat rate, Prima has the highest repeat rate in the fleet, and she’s only been on the water for a few months now, so that that’s amazing,” Sommer said.
“People are coming off happy and wanting to come back.”
Spirit herself is resonating well with Australian guests too, following her USD$100 million bow-to-stern revitalisation.
Having sailed into Sydney Harbour on Wednesday for her debut in the region, Sommer believes Spirit is the perfect ship for the Australian market,
“We’re super proud of Spirit, after this 100-plus million dollars we’ve spent, she is like a new ship, she’s the closest thing we have to Prima, and Prima doesn’t fit under the [Harbour Bridge], so this was the next best choice,” he enthused.
Spirit’s inaugural Australian season is also the perfect opportunity for the brand to showcase its foundation product in Europe and Hawaii to locals, Angell added.
He said Norwegian’s philosophy believes the longer a passenger travels, the more they enjoy their experience, which underpins the Australian office’s goal of booking locals on airplanes to experience the cruise line’s overseas product.
“We’re focused on taking Australians and flying them to Europe, to Hawaii, where we’ve got our Pride of America product, to Alaska, up into Asia, so that really is the focus for our sourcing out of this part of the world,” he said.
“At the same time, with Norwegian Spirit, we might source 10-15% on some sailings, but really, it’s a true international mix of guests on board.”
“On the sailing that came into Sydney [on Wednesday], there were over 20 different nationalities on board, it’s just a beautiful melting pot of cultures and nationalities.”