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Bon Voyage to Success

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line vies to lead the fast-growing cruise market in Asia.

Asia’s cruise line industry is definitely booming. According to Cruise Line Industry Association’s “Asia Cruise Trends Report 2018”, Asian cruise passengers grew from 775,000 to over four million between 2012 and 2017. Hong Kong, being Asia’s top five largest source markets, also saw an 80 percent growth in passenger number in 2017. 

Seeing a great potential in Asia, US-based Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), one of the world’s leading cruise companies, expanded to Asia in 2015 with Hong Kong as its first port of call. Followed by more regional offices opened in Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Singapore and Mumbai, Hong Kong remains NCLH’s regional hub for reservations and operations of its fly-cruise business in Asia.

Felix Chan, Vice President of Sales Asia, believes that the city’s high quality talent pool is the most important factor for NCLH to begin its Asia voyage from Hong Kong. “We have a strong team of sales and operations professionals here who could serve our travel agency partners and guests in different places such as Japan, India, Southeast Asia and Mainland China,” he said, “with the language advantage as well as the time-zone convenience, Hong Kong is undoubtedly an ideal place to be our regional hub.” 

NCLH’s three brands serve Asia’s diverse market well: Norwegian Cruise Line is the most popular choice for young adults and multi-generation families; Oceania Cruises features “the finest cuisine at sea” for upper premium, epicurean travellers, while Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers highly‑personalised services for guests who are seeking the most luxurious experience on the ocean. 

“Asian consumers are driven by destinations and great value,” Chan said, “cruising offers great value proposition as you can easily visit multiple destinations in a single trip, particularly so when you go to places where dining, transportation, and accommodation are expensive or difficult to get by in a typical land vacation.” 

Besides the consumer market, incentive travel also creates a big opportunity in Asia for NCLH. “Cruise is one of the best solutions for incentive travel organisers for its logistical arrangement convenience and value-for-money packages,” Chan said, “we are seeing more demands for hosting incentive groups on our ships, especially from India and Japan. There is a big potential in Asia.”

In response to the demand from its home market, NCLH is also expanding its deployment in Asia on top of its existing 450 destinations. More cruises will be sailing in Asian waters in the coming years, including a 2,400‑passenger cruise Norwegian Jade which will sail from Hong Kong in January 2020.

04.01.2019

Fast Facts

  • Listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:NCLH) and has been selected to join the S&P 500 Index from 13 October 2018.
  • Currently hires 14 employees in Hong Kong office covering operations, sales and administration functions.
  • Owns a combined fleet of 26 cruises with approximately 54,500 berths. Eight more ships will be added to the fleet by 2027.

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