NCL set to make big waves in the Middle East

Guest Writer

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is targeting the Middle East as a key source market and is ramping up its trade activity to drive more sales.

The cruise firm, which is known for its unique ‘Freestyle Cruising’ concept, has now appointed five Preferred Sales Agents (PSAs) in the Middle East and this week, prior to Arabian Travel Market (4-7 May), will conduct a roadshow where NCL’s Director of Sales for UK, Ireland, the Middle East and Africa, Nick Wilkinson, will meet with key agents Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

“What we are trying to do is to increase our communication with these agents and their frontline staff,” Wilkinson told TDME.

“We also want them to know that we value their business and can provide them with a strong support and training network.”

Resources include NCL’s Middle East-based sales and marketing representative Najeeb Mithvani, a UK-based support agency (see details below, plus comprehensive online training known as the NCL University (found at www.ncl.co.uk) whereby agents are offered tempting incentives to get clued-up on NCL products, in addition to the 10% commission they receive on all bookings.

Wilkinson noted that although the percentage of Middle East bookings was small, their value was high, with many clients booking 10 to 15 premium cabins at a time - a sale that could earn agents good commission

He noted that NCL pricing was in US dollars with well-known cruise operators such as Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises in the firm’s competitive set.

Wilkinson also stressed that NCL product was not only child-friendly, but particularly attractive to Arab families because of the resort-within-a-resort concept it offered - exclusive areas comprising 10 villas with their own private ‘courtyard concept’ and facilities including pools, private sunbathing deck and Jacuzzi.

The ‘Freestyle Cruising’ concept also means that dining is open - so no seating times - with most ships offering around 20 restaurants on board that span a wide range of international cuisine.

Wilkinson said entertainment was also freestyle with many restaurants offering live performances while guests dined.

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