NCL doubles business in India

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has managed to double its business from India with four years of direct presence in the market. It now readies itself for 2020 as it introduces two new ships to its trade partners here. The leisure segment continues to form a major part of its business from India.

Hazel Jain

It’s been four years since it opened its office in India and the corresponding growth in numbers over these years has been phenomenal. Felix Chan, Vice President and General Manager (Asia), Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, says, “Business has more than doubled in the last three years for us and growth in India has aligned with that in Asia with double-digit figures. We continue to see a lot of potential for more growth here.”

Chan started with looking after all three brands under Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings which includes NCL, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Though he will focus only on NCL, the other two brands will be handled directly by its sales director in Singapore office. He adds, “NCL is the most popular brand in India as it caters to the segment that is very large in India. We have cabins which start from $100 per night, per guest to the top-end Haven Suite, which can cost more than $500 per night, per guest. So, there is a broad range of guests that we can target in India for NCL. In fact, we see a lot of demand from India for high-end cabin categories and have booked the largest number of Haven Suite.”

We see a lot of demand from India for high-end cabin categories and have booked the largest number of Haven Suite

For 2020, NCL has introduced two new ships. In November 2019, it launched its Norwegian Encore which has itineraries from Miami and Eastern Caribbean, and New York to Bermuda, and then to Alaska in 2021, which is a hugely popular cruise destination among Indians. It also starts promoting its refurbished ship called Norwegian Spirit, which offers Asia itineraries from April 2020 ex-Singapore. This will include Southeast Asia, Japan, and Hong Kong.

“Norwegian Spirit will be based in Asia for a long time and we will add more deployment. Generally, Asia is also popular among Indians, but only for shorter itineraries. Up until now, most of our Asia itineraries were longer than 10-12 days. Hence, it is not yet our top destination for Indians. We do see some good feedback though, with our six-day cruise from Singapore where we have seen a lot of bookings from India,” Chan explains. On Norwegian Spirit, a majority of the itineraries are long, but there will be around four that will be fewer than a week, which should be attractive for Indian cruisers.

Speaking about 2020, Chan says, “We will continue our partnerships with key agents. We are already seeing some inquiries and bookings for 2020. So, we expect 2020 to be a good year for us in India.”

A key focus area for him in the new year will be education for the trade. “We will also push our in-house learning module, NCL University, for the trade in India and continue to do more webinars. We will also be more active on online platforms and offer real-time inventory. Apart from this, our annual roadshow covering more than 10 cities spread throughout the year will also take place,” he says.

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