Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCL) is further intensifying its focus in the Indian market in 2020 to ensure that its double digit growth remains unabated from Asia. Felix Chan, Vice President and General Manager, Asia, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, said that India significantly contributes towards the NCL’s growth in Asia.
Chan said that India has emerged as one of the top three source markets for NCL in Asia. “India is a very important market for us and growing very fast. That is why, we set up office here in Mumbai four years ago,” Chan said. However, he declined to share percentage of growth the company registered from India. According to him, for NCL, MICE and Incentives segment has contributed maximum growth from India, followed by leisure (with family).
As far as most preferred itinerary for Indian travellers is concerned, Chan said that when it comes to Asia it is Singapore and for exotic destinations people like to go to Europe, Alaska and the Caribbean. “As far as the number of days is concerned, people from India prefer 10 days or lesser,” said Chan.
When asked to comment the reason behind the growth from India, he said that more Indians now have realised the value and benefits cruising offer to them. “At a particular time when a traveller wants to go to a particular place at that time the traveller may find the hotel rents are expensive and transportation could be difficult for land-based travel. In such scenario cruise offers more value to a person because whether the ship is in India or any other places in the world (where hotel rents are expensive), our cost is the same. So, it makes sense for Indian guests to visit to exotic destinations on a cruise. And people from India have started realising this fact hence the growth,” explained Chan. Moreover, Indians prefer to travel with their families and friends, and NCL ships have all the facilities to cater to the needs of everybody, right from three years to 70 years.
Realising that food is one of the most important criteria for Indian travellers to choose a ship, NCL has taken adequate steps to address this. Said Chan, Our cruise ship has 20 dining facilities like bars and restaurants with a large number of vegetarian options. “Food is our competitive edge and not just talking about plethora of choices but also quality. Most of the Indian travellers who had boarded our ships talk about quality of our foods. Globally, 1/3rd of our passengers are repeat guests,” claims Chan.
NCL has also invested a huge amount to upgrade the existing ship, Norwegian Spirit. “From August 2020, the ship will be based in Asia and guests can enjoy more in-ship entertainment,” said Chan.
Globally, NCL is adding more number of ships and recently the company launched Norwegian Encore which can accommodate 4,000 pax. “The ship has many facilities and will offer next-level offerings on board for our guests. With Encore, we will have more itineraries in the coming years,” said Chang.