Braydon Holland, Senior Director, Asia, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) talks about the safety and positivity of the cruise industry as well as NCL’s latest offerings
The health and safety of guests, crew and communities is always the top priority. No setting is immune, however only on a cruise can you be certain that all of your fellow shipmates aged 12+ are fully vaccinated. With the comprehensive Sail Safe protocols in place, NCL believes cruising is now the safest way to travel. Excerpts from interview :
What steps you are taking to rebuilding the consumer confidence?
At NCL, we’ve been working diligently behind the scenes to resume our cruises carefully and safely. Our entire fleet is back in operation and once again welcoming guests in Europe, the US and the Caribbean, Hawaii and the South Pacific. Our agent community is telling us they’ve never been busier, while our guests are telling us, they’ve never felt safer.
We have taken a thoughtful approach to itinerary planning in partnership with destinations and local authorities, guided every step of the way by the leading experts of the Sail Safe Global Health and Wellness Council, enhancing our already robust health and safety protocols.
100% vaccination for all guests aged 12+ and crew is the cornerstone of our Sail Safe health safety protocols. We continue to evaluate and modify our health and safety protocols with our team of scientific and public health experts.
How does the booking trends look in the remaining 2022 and in 2023?
Now that we’re seeing the pace of the vaccination drive accelerate and the global resumption of cruise go from strength to strength, Indian travellers are recognizing the incredible value that cruise offers, allowing them the ability to secure a 2023 or 2024 cruise for a 2022 price.
We’re also seeing incredible positivity around Norwegian Prima, set to debut in August in Iceland. Our most in-demand ship ever, Norwegian Prima notched up the single-best booking day and best initial booking week for any of our new-build sales in our 55-year history.
What is the impact of Russia -Ukraine war on NCL?
We have cancelled all 2022 calls to Russia. As the conflict continues, our thoughts and support remain with the affected people including our very own officers, staff, crew and team members who are experiencing this devastating event first-hand. We’re keeping our Ukrainian team members and their families in our hearts and prayers as they face these incredibly difficult times.
In addition, NCLH pledged USD$100,000 to Save the Children’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund to support their efforts in Ukraine. The fund provides children and families with immediate aid, such as food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support and cash assistance.
Have you noticed changed in traveller’s profile post pandemic?
We are seeing an upward trend of multi-generational family groups, where families, including kids and grandparents, are all travelling together. The Haven by Norwegian is a top pick for such groups. We’re responding to guest demands by reimagining our itineraries, delivering more port calls and longer stays, allowing them to immerse themselves more deeply in the destinations they visit.
What is your India marketing and promotional strategy?
Our top priority in 2022 is showcasing the first of six new Prima Class vessels (Norwegian Prima & Norwegian Viva) to Indian guests, offering itineraries to some of the most sought-after bucket list destinations like the Mediterranean, Baltic, Iceland and Norway in Northern Europe.
In addition, we’re doubling down on the strength of our European offering, with nine ships sailing from a wide variety of home ports, including a year-round Europe offering with our new Canary Island voyages, 2022 marks the most capacity we’ve ever offered in the region and delivers Indian travellers with more choice than ever before.
And of course, we are always focused on working closely with our travel agent partners to optimise their selling potential – it’s our Partners First commitment and it guides our brand in India.
As a part of that Partners First philosophy, we have recently launched two new platforms for trade partners- Book-A-BDM and Norwegian Central Asia. Book-A-BDM enables travel agents and tour operators to seamlessly communicate with NCL’s regional Business Development Managers (BDMs).
Whereas Norwegian Central Asia is a brand-new knowledge hub to help travel partners in Asia and India learn about and market NCL holidays simply and seamlessly.
How serious is the cruise industry on green and sustainability front compared to aviation sector globally?
Our very business depends on the health of the oceans, the environment, and the communities around us, but preserving these natural resources for future generations is simply the right thing to do. We are committed to driving a positive impact on society and the environment while delivering on our vision to be the vacation of choice for everyone around the world. Based on this commitment we have developed Sail & Sustain, which is Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ global sustainability program. It starts with our commitment to pursue net zero by 2050 and will be the most transformative voyage our company has ever taken.
Are you in collaboration with any other players for developing alternative fuels? If yes, please share details? How do you plan to take it forward?
In 2022, we joined the Methanol Institute, a global trade association for the methanol industry which represents the world’s leading methanol producers, distributors and technology providers, to collaborate, share and adapt solutions for the future. Alongside strategic partners such as engine manufacturers and classification societies, we are assessing the feasibility of retrofitting existing engines to operate with dual fuels — diesel and methanol — with the goal to test the use of methanol by 2025.
What sort of sustainable initiatives NCL is adopting to become carbon zero?
We have committed to pursue net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 across our operations and value chain. To support the path to net zero, we also committed to develop short- and near-term greenhouse gas reduction targets. We are assessing the feasibility of retrofitting existing engines to operate with dual fuels – diesel and methanol – with the goal to pilot the use of methanol by 2025. We also target for approximately 70% of our NCLH fleet to be equipped with shore power capabilities by 2025, allowing these ships to connect to onshore electrical power grids while in ports with the required infrastructure. We are committed to offset three million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) over a three-year period from 2021-2023 to help bridge the gap in our decarbonization efforts in the short term.