NCL inaugural UK cruise departs Southampton

The first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to depart from Britain left Southampton last week with almost 1,600 passengers on board.

Norwegian Jade embarked on a two-week Mediterranean inaugural cruise from the south coast port.

NCL general manager Stephen Park said: “To have a ship in Southampton is a big deal for us as the UK market is growing rapidly.

“In 2008, we will have 40% more Brits sailing on our ships. It’s a huge increase for any business.”

The cruiseline is selling more cruises in the UK through specialist agents it already has a relationship with. The first cruise set sail from Britain as NCL launched its 2008/09 brochure which features nine new itineraries in Europe, Alaska, Hawaii,the Caribbean and South American.

The brochure also highlights the first winter sunshine cruises on Norwegian Jade.

It also has an insert highlighting its Villas and Suites on board.

“These are fairly unique and sell well,” said Park. “These give trade partners great earning potential.”

Early-booking discounts, of £400 per stateroom are available if bookings are made before the end of next month.

NCL is still analysing the results of its Partnership 2.0 survey of agents.

The cruiseline aims to increase the number of fam trips available for agents.

NCL will also be operating cruises that will call in at Cork, Dublin, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dover and Southamptongiving agents the opportunity to view the ship’s facilities.

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