Norwegian Cruise Line has steered clear of a discounting message for the launch period for its 2012/13 programme.
A preview brochure has gone on sale for what will be the line’s biggest ever European deployment consisting of four shop, two of which will be based in Europe year round.
The key sales message is ‘Best Stateroom for Less’ offering customers a free upgrade to the best available room in their chosen category on all summer Europe bookings for 2012/13 until June 14.
Nick Wilkinson, NCL’s UK director of sales, said the campaign was devised specifically for current market conditions. NCL did not come out with an overall launch sales message this time last year.
The campaign contrasts with last week’s launch from UK market leaders P&O Cruises and Cunard that both offered an additional 10% off for bookings mae until May 31.
Wilkinson said: “This gives clients the opportunity to get added value for money – we are going out with a clean pricing message.
“Having talked to our different agent partners about our campaign we felt this would appeal to both new-to-cruise and existing cruisers more than money off, which can be misleading.”
With no ex-UK programme, NCL has included regional flying with no supplement meaning customers flying from Manchester and Scotland for cruise departures in Barcelona and Venice are not disadvantaged. Wilkinson added: “We want to make sure we are supporting all markets throughout the UK.”
The PSA is forecasting that the number of fly-cruises emanating from the UK will surpass the one million mark this year, so despite a recent boom in ex-UK capacity, NCL feels it is serving a strengthening market.
“There is a lot of demand for flying clients to ports in the Med and the Baltic. Our clients are looking to get directly to the port where their cruise starts and to start enjoying their holiday immediately.
“With only 11 ships in our fleet we have to look at where we are sourcing clients from and what works well for us from a global perspective.
“The UK is a very important market for us and we believe we can create really exciting itineraries that allow us to create global and UK demand.”
Departures out of Copenhagen to the Baltic were cited as an example of the high level of demand already seen for fly-cruise from UK customers.
Wilkinson urged agents to take out group allocations early as these guarantee pricing at today’s level before yield management pushes prices up and come with additional incentives.
Points are allocated for groups based in the departures and agents can use these to offer customers a range of incentives like onboard credit ad spa treatment from a ‘menu’ of options.
He also said agents should target singles early as the suites on Norwegian Epic, the line’s newest and biggest ships, have proved so popular. Programmes for other regions will launch in coming weeks ahead of the full Worldwide launch in mid June.
Europe 2012/13 itinerary highlights include:
- Seven-night Western Mediterranean on board Norwegian Epic. From £874 per person fly-cruise and £599 per person cruise-only based on October 14, 2012 departure.
- 12-night Grand Mediterranean on board Norwegian Sprit. From £1,327 per person fly-cruise and £1,049 per person cruise only based on April 28, 2012 departure.
- Seven-night Adriatic, Greece and Turkey from Venice on board Norwegian Jade. From £874 person fly-cruise and £599 per person cruise only based on May 5, 2012 departure.
- Nine-night Baltic Capitals on board Norwegian Sun. From £1,129 per person fly-cruise and £849 per person cruise only based on May 4 and 13, 2012 departures.
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