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UK market has ‘bounced back quicker’ than others for NCL

Norwegian Cruise Line’s UK boss Eamonn Ferrin says the “mature” UK and Irish market had “definitely bounced back quicker” than others around the world.

Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, vice president of international sales Ferrin explained how he decided to appoint Gary Anslow as senior sales director because now is a “great opportunity” to add “more bench strength” to his team.

He pointed to the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout as key reason for driving bookings for the line’s 2022-23 cruises but acknowledged that 2021 had been “a challenge”.

Anslow, who will lead a sales team of 10 in his newly-created role, has been tasked with growing existing travel agency accounts and attracting new ones as well as expanding the NCL’s marketing share in this region.

With the first of six Prima-class ships coming into service next summer, Ferrin believes now is an ideal time to grow the business. By 2027, the line hopes to have expanded its fleet capacity by 40%.

On the decision to appoint Anslow, Ferrin said: “We thought it was a great opportunity to get in some more bench strength.

“We had a fairly rigorous process of selection and there was great interest in the role. We felt that Gary was a great fit culturally for our organisation and we’re really pleased to have him on board.”

Ferrin said Anslow, who previously spent more than three years at Cunard, comes with “really good experience” of the UK travel industry, thanks to roles at Monarch Travel Group, where he spent seven years.

He added: “Gary and I got on very well when we talked about our three core philosophies.

“People, first, we’re very much a people business and how we treat our company as a family. Our guest-first philosophy, which is a key principle about what we do and then there’s our belief in travel agents.”

Ferrin said he expects Anslow’s sales team to be “on the road” and talking to the line’s key partners as that is “a fundamental part” of any sales role.

He added that he would support his new appointment but his time would also be split with the other international markets under his remit.

Beefing up the UK and Ireland sales team with the addition of Anslow would ensure NCL’s people were not “spread too thin”, Ferrin explained.

On the incoming Prima-class ships, Ferrin said the vessels would have 36% more room than the “concept average” elsewhere in the cruise sector.

With 3,215 passengers and 1,800 crew on board, there would be “great service and product proposition”, Ferrin added.

Agents will be invited to experience Norwegian Prima, confirmed Ferrin, who said: “The best sales thing I can do is often get travel partners on our ships.”

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