Friday, 8 November 2013

Norwegian Cruise Line has no plans for brand expansion

Norwegian Cruise Line has no plans for brand expansion

By Tom Stieghorst
2013CruiseWorld_logo200x115FORT LAUDERDALE — Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings will stick with its core competencies and not acquire or start brands other than its flagship Norwegian brand, CEO Kevin Sheehan said at the CruiseWorld event on Friday.

Sheehan said he looked at several acquisitions after he came to Norwegian in 2008 but decided against them.

“I don’t want to create distractions for our team,” Sheehan said. “We have so many opportunities with our brand.”

In addition, Sheehan told travel agents that Norwegian is a variety of brands under one name. The Haven ship-within-a-ship luxury areas on Norwegian ships function as a luxury line, he said.
CruiseWorld 2013 Kevin Sheehan and Arnie WeissmannHe also cited a focus on solo cabins, family programs with Nickelodeon and the Pride of America ship in Hawaii as other brand-like experiences within Norwegian Cruise Line.

Sheehan said he is working hard to keep Norwegian focused on its own long-term future and goals, now that the company has become publicly traded. He said he would have preferred to go public later, but the private-equity owners needed some “affirmation” for their investors.

“I have always said to our investors, I know you are watching the next quarter, but I’m watching the next five years,” Sheehan said.

The next big event on Norwegian’s horizon is the arrival of Norwegian Getaway, which will sail from Miami year-round. Norwegian last had a ship sail seven-day cruises year-round from Miami 10 years ago.

Sheehan said he has tried to keep Norwegian’s ships consistently positioned to provide stability for travel agents, and that a limited number of ships left Miami as a seasonal market, until now.

Getaway is in the final stages of construction and is expected to arrive in New York in early February for a week’s duty as the Bud Light Hotel at the Super Bowl before coming to Miami for its maiden voyage.

Sheehan pointed out that Norwegian started the modern cruise industry in Miami 45 years ago.

“It’s just getting back to where we should have been all along,” he said.

Sheehan was the third cruise CEO to address CruiseWorld attendees, following talks by Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. CEO Richard Fain.