In true Miami style, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) officially christened its newest ship, the 3,998-passenger Encore, last week along with special guests and godmother, Grammy Award-winning artist and TV host, Kelly Clarkson, writes assistant editor, Greg Coates in this week’s issue of Travel Courier.
NCL welcomed more than 3,500 guests, including travel partners, investors, government officials, media, family and friends of Norwegian Cruise Line for the christening event, which included performances from the cast of Kinky Boots – Encore’s premiere theatre show – and Clarkson.
NCL president Andy Stuart, who is leaving the line this month after 31 years with the company, received a hero’s welcome and delivered the ceremonial Champagne on stage via one of the ship’s electric go-karts.
Stuart, who described the event as bittersweet for him, said Encore is a milestone for NCL and the result of the hard work of the “best team in the industry.” He thanked agent partners for their support, saying, “we simply would not be here without you.”
Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said, “Norwegian Cruise Line has been sailing from Miami for over 50 years. We were the first to offer weekly cruises to the Caribbean from Miami, which shaped the city’s reputation as the ‘Cruise Capital of the World.’ Five years ago, we launched our history-making Breakaway Plus class and today, we are proud to christen Norwegian Encore, the final ship of this class and a true representation of the evolution of the brand, right here in our hometown of Miami.”
For agents wondering if the leadership change at Norwegian will spell changes for their relationship with the line, in a word, “no.”
Incoming president and CEO Harry Sommer, commented, “We are 100% committed to the trade. We believe the trade community adds a huge element to driving consumer demand, that’s how we fill our ships.”
Regarding NCL’s Partners First program, Sommer said the line is committed to becoming the easiest major cruise line to do business with.
For the full story, don’t miss this week’s issue of Travel Courier.