India emerges as the fastest growing market in Asia for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Akansha Pandey | New Delhi

Since Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) Ltd. has established its India office in Mumbai, the brand has seen tremendous double-digit growth from India year on year. Out of its three brands, Oceania Cruises has certainly caught the fancy of the experiential upper middle-class in India and is gradually picking pace. Both leisure and MICE travellers have been increasing very rapidly on Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). Regent Seven Seas Cruises too, is receiving a tremendous response and generating good business from the Indian market. Featuring all-balcony suite accommodation, Regent Seven Seas Explorer was launched last year and has been the brand’s most luxurious ship ever built.

Felix Chan, Vice President of Sales-Asia, NCLH agrees that India is definitely the fastest growing market in Asia for the brand and the revenue per guest from India is even higher than that from travellers in the US. This year Norwegian has reported better growth in the number of booking from India as compared to the same period last year. Booking 45-60 days prior to sailing, Indian passengers have now matured and begun to realise the benefits of early bookings with savings and good availability of rooms.

“The business growth from the Indian market is very strong. We started from a relatively small base but the business has been growing at an encouraging pace. NCL has seen an increase in the number of guests and revenue per guest from India. Indians are booking higher category of suites and preferring experiential travel. Once they upgrade to the higher cabin category they never look back. Undoubtedly, in India the potential for us is huge to drive the revenue per guest, particularly for Regent the growth of which has been phenomenal,” he remarked.

The social-event business and incentive groups are picking up from India as they gain immense value by booking a cruise which is all-inclusive and eventually caters to their major requirements of cost and logistics. Off late, Chan confirmed that they are targeting families from India. “We have seen an enhanced demand trend during the summer holidays in May and June for cruising in Alaska, Europe, Mediterranean, Baltic regions, Miami and Florida (for Disney), followed by Bahamas and Caribbean. Overall, anything less than 12 days fits the bill for Indian travellers. They prefer short stays on for 4-5 nights across our brands,” he revealed.

On the expansion front, the company will introduce seven additional ships through 2025 and has an option to introduce two additional ships for delivery in 2026 and 2027.

NCHL’s first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience – Norwegian Bliss will sail beginning June 2. She will spend her summer sailing seven-day cruises to Alaska and fall season cruising to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. In winter of 2018, she will sail to the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season, she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

In October, Norwegian Jewel ship will be based in Singapore for seven days. This is the first time and it has already grabbed the attention of the travellers in the region, claims Chan.