Norwegian Cruise Line president Harry Sommer has vowed that his company will stand with travel agents as they work to financially recover from the crippling coronavirus pandemic.
Sommer told an Aug.6 (Friday) panel discussion that an agent community recovery appears to have begun, which has been welcomed by NCL.
“We’ll do everything in our power to make sure that continues in the future,” he said.
NCL has stood by agents during the coronavirus pandemic through such steps as protecting commissions, Sommer continued.
The discussion was held on the eve of NCL restarting its Alaska program, with the Norwegian Encore sailing for that state from Seattle on Aug. 7. Week-long Alaska cruises are planned into the fall.
July saw the company restart a Greek Isles program.
NCL is working to rebuild a cruise program that was idled for over a year because of the pandemic.
The cruise company requires passengers to be vaccinated against coronavirus and crew members must be vaccinated as well. Crew members must undergo weekly testing.
“We believe the safest way to cruise is to have everyone vaccinated and tested at the pier,” said Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Inc.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who advises NCL on safety measures, said cruise ships present both unique challenges and unique opportunities when it comes to protecting people against coronavirus. Opportunities include being able to control who gets into an environment, he said.
Cruise ships also have access to advanced air filtration systems, useful in keeping people safe, and providing advanced and quick medical care, he added.
Sommer said the company hopes to return to Asian, Australian and New Zealand waters in late January or February.
Down the road, NCL is looking forward to next summer’s launch of the Norwegian Prima, a vessel that Sommer said will represent an “elevation of the brand.”
In the photo
Tom Norwalk, Frank Del Rio, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Harry Sommer, Stephen Metruck, Andrea DeMarco and Steven Moeller