Harry Sommer, president international of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, made his first visit to Auckland this month where the company opened a dedicated office last June ‘to support demand from local passengers.’
Sommer, who has made at least 12 trips to Australia, was in New Zealand for the arrival of Oceania Cruises' Insignia, which is making a 181-day world voyage from New York to Miami. It is the company’s first ship to undergo the OceaniaNEXT
Speaking in Sydney before returning to the United States on Friday, he said the welcome event for media, trade partners and past guests in Auckland was an outstanding success and he described New Zealand as ‘a wonderful cruise market for us.’
Fourth largest market
He believes New Zealand is punching above its weight on the global cruise scene. ‘It is amazing for a country its size that it is the fourth largest international cruise market for Oceania Cruises,’ he said.
He said Sydney cruise specialists and media representatives have been invited to lunch on board Insignia on March 4 and promotional luncheons will also be held in Brisbane on March 6 and Cairns on March 9 as the 684-passenger ship proceeds to Indonesia.
Sommer’s ‘unique perspective’
Sommer, who was with Frank Del Rio and Bob Binder at Renaissance Cruises when Insignia was launched in 1998 as R One, said they have a unique perspective of the changes that have taken place.
‘It is not a cliche when we say it is an entirely new ship,’ he said. ‘It is an entirely new ship. It is absolutely fantastic.’
Sommer said the trade is all-important to Oceania Cruises and he likes to come to Australia two or three times a year to keep in touch with key partners. He will return to Sydney in July for an Asia Pacific sales meeting.