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Del Rio forecasts 'big' 2023 wave season

'If we have a strong wave, that'll be another checked box that we're that much closer to being normal,' after the pandemic disruption, Frank Del Rio said
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' brands plan 'big marketing pushes to generate as much business as we can during wave,' President/CEO Frank Del Rio said during the company's recent investor day.

The target for Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises is to be 65% booked for the coming year at current year-end.

A couple NCLH brands already 65% booked

A couple NCLH brands are already 'way past 65% for next year,' Del Rio said, adding they had 'not done anything extradordinary to get to 65% and at record prices.'

He stressed load and price go hand in hand — the objective is more berths sold at higher prices.

In the recent pre-pandemic years, many cruise lines were starting wave promotions earlier — in the tailing months of the prior year. So if wave promotions start in 2022, that should help the third NCLH brand toward the target.

'I think wave is going to be big'

'I think wave is going to be really, really good,' Del Rio told investors. 'We didn't have one in 2020 — the 2020 wave got cut short because we all ended the party March 10 [wtih the pandemic shutdown]. We didn't have one in 2021. So I think wave is going to be big.'

Del Rio added a strong wave season will be another 'touchpoint. Is wave back? If we have a strong wave, that'll be another checked box that we're that much closer to being normal.'

Carnival Corp. advertising ramp-up

During Carnival Corp. & plc's Sept. 30 earnings call, President/CEO Josh Weinstein noted wave season is particularly important for attracting new cruisers.

'Our goal is to be setting ourselves up really well for a very successful wave, and it has been years since we’ve had that,' he said. 'And so I think there’s a lot of excitement in the organization because our game plans are out and we know what we want to achieve.'

On that call, CFO David Bernstein added: 'What you’ll see is a big [advertising] ramp-up in the back half of this year versus 2019, even higher than the normal level that we would see in the fourth quarter in anticipation of wave season.'