Hundreds of UK agents will be among the first passengers to experience Norwegian Cruise Line’s new ship class next summer.
Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, shown to delegates at Clia’s Selling Cruise Day today, NCL president and chief executive Harry Sommer announced that agents would be invited to join the two-night cruise on Norwegian Prima departing Southampton on August 12.
NCL plans to launch six ships from 2022 to 2027, with Norwegian Prima entering service first, next summer.
Prima will feature the highest staffing levels and space ratio of any new cruise ship in the contemporary and premium cruise category, the line said.
Details about how agents can secure their cabin next summer have yet to be confirmed, but Sommer said the 3,215-passenger ship would not operate at full capacity during the shakedown sailing.
He said: “The one secret that I share with you today is our very first test cruise – not the christening – but the test cruise is going to be out of Southampton.
“We would love as many people as we possibly can have [but] I think we’ll have 2,200 people on board the first cruise. We’re not going to go full occupancy.
“The event is for trade and media, so hopefully a lot of people in the room today will be able to join us.”
He added that the UK had been the “most resilient” market “outperforming” the US “on a growth basis”.
Last summer, NCL’s parent company Norwegian Cruise Ling Holdings part-funded a new cruise terminal in Southampton.
Sommer explained how the £55 million facility was a further commitment to the UK market.
“We have lots of Caribbean cruises out of New York, Miami, Port Canaveral and Tampa, LA and that we love our British friends to come to come join us,” he said.
“And it seems like pretty much as long as you’re vaccinated, you can get here. It’s going to be a great season, we are really, really optimistic about the market.”