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NCLH's Felix Chan eyes opportunities for continued growth in Asia

Felix Chan says 2018 debutante Norwegian Bliss is already gaining much traction and interest Felix Chan says 2018 debutante Norwegian Bliss is already gaining much traction and interest

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings might be a relative late entry to the Asia cruise, but its numbers have been encouraging, Felix Chan, vp sales for Asia told Seatrade Cruise News.

‘Asia is indeed one of the fastest growing international regions for the company and we see tremendous opportunity for continued growth in the region,’ he added.

‘All our three brands, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, have seen very encouraging sales growth in Asia since we established our office in the region two years ago.’

According to Chan, the May 2018 launch of Norwegian’s sixteenth ship, Norwegian Bliss is already gaining much traction and interest.

‘Norwegian Bliss has received very good response in the US and in our international markets, including Asia.  Our offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Mumbai and Tokyo have worked very closely with travel agencies to feature travel packages covering Norwegian Bliss which debuts in Alaska in 2018,’ he noted.

Sales for group bookings have already closed, he revealed: ‘That's quite abnormal’, referring to the trend in Asia is to book closer to sailings.

‘But Bliss has caught so much attention in the region that some agencies in Asia already started selling 2018 summer sailings this summer.’

The ship's features such as Haven Observation Lounge which provides panoramic 180 degree views from two decks ‘have certainly caught a lot of attention, particularly amongst families,’ he said. 

Another major draw is China-based Norwegian Joy’s electric-car racetrack which has been a tremendous hit, Chan reports. ‘The biggest complaint was that the rides were not long enough,’ he remarks.

Norwegian Jewel will be based in the Asia Pacific region starting with sailings in Australia from this month onwards.

Following the Australian deployment, Norwegian Jewel will offer Asian itineraries visiting Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan, and Japan.  This will also include a round-trip Yokohama charter sailing from April 28 to May 6, 2018 coinciding with the Golden Week holiday.

He said, ‘the Japanese already know the Norwegian brand and enjoy freestyle cruising when they travel to Hawaii on Pride of America. Now they can enjoy the same even for sailing closer to home.’

Looking ahead to its second Australai/New Zealand season in 2018/19, Chan said Norwegian Jewel will undertake a one-off 7-day round-trip Singapore sailing from November 5-12, 2018, right after its dry-dock enhancement in Singapore.

‘This is part of the Norwegian Edge multimillion-dollar revitalization program which will enable Norwegian Jewel to emerge with bow to stern refreshments and a new look across many of the ship’s public spaces. ‘

Given how well Asian sales have been, Hong Kong-based Chan is particularly delighted about NCLH being selected to join the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of top global blue chip companies last month.

Chan sees the rating highlighting ‘the company’s solid track record of strong financial performance and as a testament to a very strong team at NCLH.’

 

Posted 13 November 2017

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Jacintha  Stephens

Singapore correspondent

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