Norwegian Cruise Line Announces Two More Industry Innovations

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Norwegian Cruise Line announces single-occupancy staterooms on the Epic and fleet-wide partnership with Nickelodeon.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Although it may rank as a distant third in size (behind Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line), Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) again demonstrated that it is an innovative giant within the cruise industry.

At a presentation by Executive Vice President Andy Stewart and CEO Kevin Sheehan onboard the Norwegian Gem in the port of New York, two of the cruise line’s newest innovations were revealed to members of the press and to several hundred of NCL’s travel agency partners in the Northeast.

After reviewing some of the previously-announced features of the new 4,200-passenger NCL Epic (which will begin service this coming summer), Mr. Sheehan announced that the new ship will contain 128 studio staterooms specifically designed and priced for the solo cruiser. Judging from the applause following the announcement, the news was very well-received by travel agents in attendance who have frequently lost potential business because of the standard “double-occupancy” pricing policy throughout the cruise industry (which essentially requires a single cruiser to pay twice the per person fare).

At 100 square feet, each studio stateroom contains a full-size bed and private bathroom / shower areas, all laid-out in a tasteful contemporary design. In addition, all guests staying in the Studios (which are located in a private key-card area of the ship) will have exclusive access to the Studio Lounge where they can meet and socialize with other single cruisers over morning coffee or an evening cocktail. Summing it up, Mr. Sheehan said, “We are breaking the mold of traditional cruising once again by offering a stateroom designed and priced specifically for solo travelers, making cruising a more attractive travel option.”

Then came the second announcement. Continuing their emphasis on world-class entertainment aboard its ships (which includes regular performances by Blue Man Group on the Epic, Cirque Dreams and Dinner and the Second City improvisational comedy group on many NCL ships), Mr. Stewart “brought the house down” with his announcement of an exclusive three-year partnership with the Nickelodeon entertainment network. Starting this April with cruises on the NCL Jewel (which sails from New York City), families with children cruising on select NCL ships will be delighted with Nickelodeon-themed entertainment including character “meet and greets” (featuring Sponge Bob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer, Diego and other popular childrens’ TV show personalities), interactive shows, dance parties and Nickelodeon-themed elements within Norwegian’s regular Kids’ Crew program.

For any older guests in the audience who might not have been familiar with Nickelodeon, Mr. Stewart introduced Mr. Howard Smith, Executive Vice President of Nickelodeon Recreation who said, “By partnering with Norwegian, we are now able to offer families Nickelodeon entertainment and programming at sea all year long.” Mr. Smith then introduced some of the Nickelodeon cast members who quickly proceeded to recruit six eager volunteers in the audience to play a game of “pie-in-the-face-musical-chairs”. The “winner”, a happy young lady (age 8) who attended the presentation with her parents, received the dubious “prize” of having gooey green slime poured over her head (as part of Nickelodeon’s trademarked “Slime Time”).

At the luncheon following the presentation, Helen Coiro, President of Direct Line Cruises, commented, “It was great fun. I’m going with my family this summer on a cruise from New York onboard the NCL Jewel and I can’t wait to see the look on my granddaughter’s face when she sees the Nickelodeon characters who she’s watched on TV since she was an infant”.

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Greg Coiro
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