Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has greatly expanded its workforce in recent months, in addition to naming new leadership. // © 2015 Thinkstock
Feature image (above): Oceania and Regent cruise lines are part of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. // © 2015 Norwegian Cruise Lines
Travel agents who were fearful of a change in the Oceania and Regent product under Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) may now feel reassured that the tide is going the other way. Some of the Prestige brands’ best practices are being applied to NCLH, which has executed a vigorous turnaround in recent years.
Frank Del Rio, now president and CEO of NCLH, said that each brand will continue to deliver the experience it's known for.
"Three distinct brands and one incredible organization is my mantra,” Del Rio told attendees during his first earnings call.
In an exciting announcement last week, Andy Stuart was named president and chief operating officer of Norwegian Cruise Line, following the resignation of Drew Madsen. Stuart has been with Norwegian Cruise Line since 1988 and has held a number of leadership positions, most recently serving as executive vice president of sales.
"Andy and Norwegian are virtually synonymous,” said Del Rio. “He is very well known and respected by our guests, travel partners, officers, crew and team members. I am extremely confident that he is the perfect leader for the next phase of Norwegian's growth."
Another dramatic move is the expansion of Norwegian’s North American sales team by more than 40 percent, with nearly double the number of business development managers.
The leadership for all this expansion at Norwegian comes from all three brands: Nathan Hickman, formerly with Oceania Cruises and now vice president of field sales and national accounts; Norwegian veteran Alex Pinelo, now vice president of key accounts; and Katina Athanasiou, vice president of charters, who will handle meetings and incentives for Norwegian, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
California, the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic states are getting beefed-up with new sales representatives, and Norwegian is adding a new business development manager and a director of sales to the four representatives already serving agents in Canada. Sales managers will also be added to the national accounts; key accounts; charters; meetings and incentives; and the inside sales teams based in Miami.
Del Rio also sees serious opportunities for Norwegian in international sales, particularly in Canada, where Prestige has been very successful. If Norwegian had the same rate of success internationally as Oceania and Regent, it would mean more than 200,000 additional passengers annually, enough to fill one of the line’s ships.
Del Rio also sees an overlap in demographics among the three companies, with very rewarding cross-selling possibilities for agents to note. With all the additional support and fresh possibilities, agents and analysts alike are very bullish about NCLH.