Agents welcome record tri-brand NCLH ship order

Cruise specialists have hailed plans by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to expand the fleets of all three of its brands with new classes of ship.

The eight new vessels will add 25,000 berths across the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleets. They will be built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy and are due to be delivered between 2026 and 2036.

Norwegian Cruise Line will take delivery of four ships, each with a capacity for almost 5,000 passengers, in 2030, 2032, 2034 and 2036, subject to financing. They will follow the delivery of four Prima Plus-class ships between 2025 and 2028.

More: Scenic Group unveils plans for fleet expansion and ship enhancements

NCLH president Harry Sommer said the new ships will “take the best of the Prima and Breakaway classes and create something world class”.

Although Sommer would not confirm deployment details for the new ships, he said the NCL vessels would operate “perfectly” in warm weather destinations and suggested the Mediterranean and Caribbean would be the most “likely places” they would sail.

Oceania Cruises will add two ships to its fleet in 2027 and 2029, both of which will carry 1,450 passengers, while Regent Seven Seas Cruises will welcome two vessels, each capable of holding 850 passengers, in 2026 and 2029.

Sommer claimed the luxury brands would “focus on what they do best”, with Oceania Cruises “doubling down” on its culinary offering and Regent Seven Seas Cruises providing 16% more space compared with its newest ships.

Phil Nuttall, chief executive of Travel Village Group, praised the “show of confidence” NCLH had displayed, saying: “The expansion is great news for both the industry and the trade.”

He added: “It sends a great message to consumers that cruise should seriously be considered as a mainstream holiday.”

Dave Mills, chief commercial officer at Iglu Cruise, also welcomed the announcement, saying the brands have “distinctly different propositions with similarly high levels of trade engagement”. He described the lines as “trailblazers” within the sector and said: “The news of these larger ships to launch in the coming years across all three [lines] will help us to not only attract even more new-to-brand [customers], but also give us new classes of ship to offer already brand-loyal guests.”

Travel Counsellors agent Emma Otter said she was “really excited” about the expansion, adding: “More luxury offerings in the market is only a good thing.”

The Cruise Room director Robbie O’Grady commended the company for showing a “big statement of intent” to develop each of the brands.

“[The expansion] signals real confidence in the demand that the industry is experiencing and its potential for growth,” he said. “It’s fantastic news and for us as a dedicated cruise agency, it’s a great sign.”

Stefan Shillito, managing director of luxury specialist Sovereign Cruise Club, described the growth of the Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleets as “splendid news”, adding: “Our clients love Oceania and Regent and these new ships will increase the itinerary and experience choice provided by both brands.

“It is also great news for the trade and cements NCLH’s commitment to all three very successful brands and helps us to plan our resources and marketing for the future with confidence in the brands.”

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