NCL to take 1,550 agents on Norwegian Aqua showcase

Norwegian Cruise Line will take 1,550 UK agents on a three-night round-trip sailing from Southampton with Norwegian Aqua ahead of the ship’s inaugural season next spring.

President of the Miami-headquartered cruise line president David Herrera announced the fam trip on a webcast with Travel Weekly while he was in Europe to meet UK trade partners and see the ship being built in Italy.

He was accompanied on the trade mission by his international team, including Jason Krimmel, chief sales and marketing officer, and Gary Anslow, regional vice-president and head of UK and Ireland.

“We will let [the agents] experience firsthand why we’re so excited about our new ship…and make sure that they have the opportunity to tell their guests why they should be excited to book,” he said.

“The UK is critical for us. It’s our largest market outside North America and we have a long history here.

“Some of these partner relationships have been several years in the making…business is about relationships. The best relationships are those that have a personal connection.

“Our amazing team out of Southampton, and in Europe, build and form these relationships that are critical to our success.”

The first of the line’s expanded Prima Plus class vessels, Aqua will be 10% larger than the first two Prima class ships, Prima and Viva.

Featuring the Aqua Slidecoaster, claimed to be world’s first hybrid rollercoaster, the 3,571-passenger vessel will enter service next April, running seven-day Caribbean itineraries from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Other new features will be NCL’s first Thai specialty restaurant, Sukhothai; Planterie, offering plant-based cuisine; and the Swirl Wine Bar.

Herrera said details about the new entertainment will soon be released, adding: “I’ve seen the show a couple of times now. It’s amazing…pretty awesome.”

“Other little surprises” will also be released ahead of the launch in early 2025 – and the innovations are based on feedback from agents, crew and customers, he added.

“Our travel partners are as close to our business as we are,” he said.

Commenting on the booking curve, he said: “We are as well ahead as we’ve ever been.

“We are very, very happy with the amount of demand that we have today for our cruises.

“We want to work with our partners. I open up most of these meetings [with partners] with ‘how can I help? What can we do differently? How can we help you grow your business?’”

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