As the world’s third-largest cruise operator, there is no doubt that Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) is a market leader in many ways – be it through its three popular brands: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises; or its world-famous gourmet experience; or its cutting-edge innovations. But despite being one of the best cruise operators around, the group is hardly resting on its laurels. We catch up with Mr Steve Odell, the Senior Vice President and Managing Director Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises APAC from NCLH, to find out how exactly they are making waves in the cruising industry. Check out the video for some exclusive moments from the interview.
For the full interview, please scroll down.
What sets apart NCLH from the other cruises operating in Asia-Pacific?
Well, we are currently the third-largest cruise group in the region. We have three unique brand offerings in different segments of the market that attract different customer demographics and have different distribution channels and different price points. What sets us apart is that our three brands don’t compete with each other. So, we’re very fortunate that we can sell this portfolio of brands with one, unified voice. We often refer to it as the Power of Three, because together they make a strong proposition.
The Norwegian Cruise Line, one of the brands in your portfolio, has been receiving accolades for over a decade now. How hard is it to push the boundaries in an offering that’s already award-winning?
If you’re the best, you must be looking at the next stage of development. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing in several ways. For example, we have moved from having 15 dining choices on our last generation of ships to 29 restaurants on our current batch of ships. We are also pushing the boundaries of the kinds of cuisines that are on offer. So, we have everything from Texan-style barbecue steakhouses to Italian cuisine. We also have a racetrack on board.
How does Oceania Cruises, your more intimate ship offering, enhance the cruise travel experience?
Firstly, you can really deliver a high quality of service on smaller, more intimate ships, because there are fewer passengers and proportionately more crew to look after them. Secondly, smaller ships are more maneuverable because of their size. So, they can visit smaller, pristine ports around the world. With our Oceania Cruises offering, what sets us apart most is the cuisine. In Oceania Cruises, we claim to have the best cuisine on sea. We have more culinary staff as a percentage of the overall staff than in the other brands within our company. We also have plant-based food on offer now. We take the culinary experience ashore as well. We organise gastronomic tours on land where we go to wineries or high-end restaurants to complement the gourmet experience on board.
The Regent Seven Seas Cruises, meanwhile, claims to have the most inclusive luxury on board. What exactly do you mean by that?
Well, when you’ve reached the very top of the pyramid in cruising, the customer is very discerning and wants the very best in everything. The Regent Seven Seas Cruises caters to this group and we try to create a private yacht-like experience. So, when you go to a bar or a restaurant on the ship, you don’t have to sign a single bill. It’s a free-thinking environment. That also extends to the shore, with the Regent ships offering free unlimited shore excursions. It’s like going on a private-charter yacht where everything is taken care of and you have superlative service to go with it.
Tell us more about The Largest Suite Ever Built on A Ship…
We have the Regent Suite on the Seven Seas Splendor, which – at 4,443sq.ft – is the largest suite of its kind in the luxury set. It has two bedrooms, a spa, a living-cum-dining room, a conservatory, an outdoor space and even a Winter Garden. It’s located at the front of the ship, so you get the best views in the house. Of course, the suite also has its own private butler, and guests get priority services in pretty much everything on board. It’s being launched in February 2020 in Rome, and we will have an inaugural cruise with our top customers.
Interview: Suchetana Mukhopadhyay
Video: Kingsley Lau