To Weekly tripwe couldn’t be more excited about the long-awaited return of the cruise industry to Australia!
After two long years, 23 adjournments and a cruise ship fiasco that had the nation watching the industry in March 2020, everyone’s favorite luxury spout at sea is back.
But many in the industry wonder how Australia’s return to sea will unfold. We caught up with Eamonn Ferrin, Vice President of International Affairs at Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), to discuss the big comeback of cruising.
“WWe are starting to see strong demand over the past few months from the Australian and New Zealand market as things have evolved and COVID has become less of an issue for governments,” Ferrin said.
“There is huge pent-up demand and we are seeing that pent-up demand decrease as we resume shipping.
“Generally (NCL) sees a lot of customers and it doesn’t matter if you’re looking at the UK or Europe or the US or even Australia and New Zealand, there’s a lot of money accumulated in the in those two years, surplus savings as they remember it and people put it to good use.
Ferrin and the NCL team have been eagerly preparing for the return to cruising in Australia and have even introduced a incentive for members of its Partners First Rewards program for reservations made on the Norwegian spirit during April.
The ship arrives in Australia and New Zealand after the largest – and most expensive – makeover in NCL history, totaling more than $130 million.
NCL also managed to make Katy Perry the godmother of the cruise line’s new ship, norwegian prima.
“Katy Perry is a global icon,” Ferrin said.
“I hope she will join us on our christening trip to Reykjavik in August, which we are looking forward to.
However, cruising is not all about fun and celebrities. In fact, the last time cruising was the center of attention was the ruby princess fiasco, which prompted cruise lines to prioritize health and safety.
“There is nothing more important to us as cruise lines and NCL than the health and safety of our crew, passengers on board and the communities we visit,” Ferrin said.
“All our crew on board are fully vaccinated. They are all regularly tested to ensure they are free of COVID. Each of the customers who have boarded our ship, anyone over the age of 12, must be fully vaccinated again with the approved dosage.
“We have invested heavily in health and safety as part of this review process and as a result our customers and travel partners feel very safe.”
With this higher level of health and safety, Ferrin said travel agents can rest assured they are selling a high quality product to their customers, where there is a lot of potential to make up for lost revenue during of the last two years.
“It’s a high-value, high-value product. So the prices are not low, but the commission is good,” Ferrin said.
“So if you want to make money and you want to grow your business, selling a cruise as a package with flight and hotel, maybe before and after and some kind of other transfers and other things behind, a cruise can be very rewarding for the travel partner.
Ferrin believes that cruising is a growing market with huge potential and that the hand-in-hand relationship between travel agents and cruise lines is key to emerging from the pandemic.
“We will need our travel agent partners to sell more than ever. So we are 120% behind the growth and support of travel partners,” concluded Ferrin.