Reinventing the cruise industry with innovative vessels

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Eamonn Ferrin talks with Rebecca Barnes about new ship launches, a celebrity godmother and why reinvention is key to the brand’s success

Reinventing the cruise industry with innovative vessels
Norwegian Prima will be a first-of-its-kind ship boasting various design innovations and onboard offerings

Launching a new cruise ship in a world that is already feeling significant economic pressure is not necessarily going to be smooth sailing, as Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) can testify. Both the line and its customers have already felt the repercussions of ongoing global issues as NCL prepares to debut the shiny new vessels that are waiting in the wings.  

“On 13 June 2022, we regretfully informed our loyal guests and travel partners that, as a result of the global supply chain constraints impacting industries worldwide, Norwegian Viva’s two maiden sailings in June 2023 had been cancelled,” says Eamonn Ferrin, NCL’s vice president of international business.  

However, he confirms that it will be full steam ahead in August 2022 for the launch of Norwegian Prima, the first of six new Prima-class ships to be delivered between now and 2027. The vessel will debut in Iceland, which represents a step-change for the brand as it focuses on becoming more premium.  

Prima builds on NCL’s 55-year commitment and ever-present aim to remain one of the world’s leading cruise lines while driving the global cruise industry forward through innovation. The 3,215-passenger Prima is set to be the most spacious new cruise vessel at sea. Along with the most outdoor deck space and most expansive accommodation of any newbuild, the ship also has a prestigious godmother who will resonate with many of NCL’s existing and future customers – and it’s all to do with reinvention. 

“We’ll continue breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising and creating pioneering industry firsts through our new Prima class of ships,” says Ferrin. “Norwegian Prima is the next step in the evolution of our brand and our fleet and will – so to speak – help us to reinvent ourselves. 

“Throughout her career, American singer Katy Perry has established herself as a groundbreaking and one-of-a-kind artist,” he continues. “She is the perfect fit as godmother for this unique ship as she has a track record of reinventing herself as an artist and musician.” 

NCL continues to navigate the pandemic and, while the full fleet has now returned to the water backed by the lines’ comprehensive Sail Safe Health and Safety programme, ships are still operating at a reduced capacity.  

“The health and safety of our guests, crew and communities that we visit is always our number one priority,” says Ferrin. “To facilitate a healthy and smooth return to service, we initially reduced our capacity onboard each ship to provide even more space per guest. Our plan is to have ships with more than 70 per cent capacity in the third quarter of 2022.”  

This year, a total of nine NCL ships will be positioned in Europe, collectively calling to more than 100 ports in the region. “It’s the greatest Europe offering in our history to date,” says Ferrin.  

For the first time since 2017, the line will also be returning to the Canary Islands. From November 2022, Norwegian Sun will offer 10 to 14-day itineraries that combine calls to the Canary Islands with visits to Portugal, Spain and Morocco. Guests will be able to embark in Lisbon, Malaga and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.  

Prima will also sail a variety of Northern Europe itineraries in summer 2022. However, sister ship Norwegian Viva will offer Mediterranean itineraries upon her delivery in June 2023, before sailing the Southern Caribbean for her 2023-2024 winter season. 

“We’re seeing a lot of pent-up demand as guests make up for lost time, with strong bookings for Europe this summer,” says Ferrin. “But besides Europe, there’s strong interest in the Caribbean, Asia, Alaska and Australia itineraries, and bookings and interest are also up for 2023 and 2024.”  

This article was first published in the 2022 Autumn/Winter issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.   

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By Rebecca Barnes
12 September 2022

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