Norwegian Cruise Line close to pre-pandemic levels

1,691Views 0Comments Posted 13/09/2023


The Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is “close” to reaching pre-pandemic levels, its new president David Herrera said in an interview with EFE, with his eyes on tourists who have never traveled on cruises to ensure “success” in market expansion.

Herrera, of Cuban origin and who took office this year as the first Hispanic in charge of the company, stressed that they are beginning to approach the numbers prior to COVID-19, remembering that this health crisis paralyzed that industry for a year and a half.

The executive also stressed that just over a year has passed since the United States Government definitively lifted, in August 2022, the health protocols for cruise ships, such as negative COVID-19 tests, among other restrictions.

In that sense, he indicated that it is a short time for that industry, but he predicts a "strong return to normality", with a "record" sales last July for the company that has a fleet of 19 ships.

After the pandemic, NCL has inaugurated two of a total of six ships in the new Prima category which, among other features, provides more open spaces to facilitate passenger distancing.

The president of NCL explained that the Caribbean has always been important for the company and that it has tended to be a bridge for many tourists who begin to travel through this region, and then go to other destinations such as Alaska, Europe, or other exotic destinations in Australia or Asia.

In that sense, he highlighted that both the Caribbean and Latin America have also shown continuous growth, but that “it takes a long time” to establish a market.

He highlighted growth in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, and said that they were “excited about Panama,” which is projected as the center to promote global cruises for Latin American passengers.

He recalled that less than two years ago the company signed an agreement with the port authority of Panama to encourage the shipping industry.

Herrera stated that the company has 20% more beds than in 2019 and that they plan to inaugurate the next cruise ship in March 2025.

He also stressed that the annual growth in capacity with new ships is between 3% and 5% annually, which he considers “easily digestible” by the cruise industry, which has about 31.5 million passengers sailing.