European deployment gives NCL sales boost

Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed the company’s increased European ­deployment has been central to its boost in new year sales.

The cruiseline’s year-on-year sales are 50% up and its biggest sellers are departures from Southampton, Dover and Barcelona, which are targeted to the UK market.

NCL has increased its capacity in Europe by about 70% for 2008.

Head of sales Nick Wilkinson said: “European deployment has definitely been central to our business this year – we have the right mix from the UK.

“January has been going well. We would expect that because of the ­increased number of ships operating for the UK, we are exactly where we would like to be.

“Our best sellers are Mediterranean cruises on Norwegian Jade out of Southampton and Baltic itineraries from ­Dover on Norwegian Jewel.

“Our family market is also increasing – particularly out of Southampton. We have had a large uptake on the mini cruises, which is great for people who really want to get a feel for cruising or are interested in city breaks.”

Cruises from Barcelona on Norwegian Gem – the newest ship to join the fleet – are also selling well. Wilkinson did, however, highlight that the Caribbean is not as strong this year, even in the late market.

Wilkinson said travel agents had been very supportive of the new year campaign, which he described as a “single clear message of £200 off per stateroom”.

NCL is also planning a new campaign from March to keep agents selling the product.

“We need to have something to ­follow on from our latest campaign – it seems the peak selling period is extending right through to April.”

A ship visit invitation and educational programme is also due to be sent to agents this week.

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