Norwegian Cruise Line is moving its newest
and largest ship, the Norwegian Escape, from
Miami to New York in April as part of a swap
that sends the Norwegian Breakaway, which
has been in the Big Apple since 2013, to Scandinavia next summer
and New Orleans after
News editor Johanna
Jainchill spoke to Norwegian CEO Andy Stuart — in New York to promote the move with
the Escape’s godfather, Pitbull — about these
changes and about how important it is right
now for travel agents to sell cruises to Puerto
Rico and the rest of the Caribbean.
Q: You are offering a $50 bonus commission on Norwegian Dawn cruises from San
Juan. Are people skittish about cruising
A: There’s a lot of media around San Juan
and everything happening in Puerto Rico.
We want everyone to understand that Puer-
to Rico is up and running. Ships are al-
ready sailing out of Puerto Rico; we’re not
there until Nov. 12. So we wanted to get
some attention to it. And we also under-
stand that fares are lower than they typical-
ly are on that one ship, simply because of
everything that’s going on, and we wanted
to compensate travel agents fairly for that,
The other thing we want to get across is
that it’s really good for Puerto Rico to have
people flying in, getting on ships and start-
ing their economy again. We’d really encour-
age travel agents to
talk about that, and
that while Puerto Rico
is still facing chal-
lenges, getting some normalcy — and ships
sailing out of Puerto Rico is getting it back
to normal — is something that’s very impor-
tant. So we really encourage travel agents to
Q: What about the Caribbean in general?
Are people comfortable buying cruises to
the other parts of the Caribbean? Do they
understand that 70% of the islands were
A: I think they do. What we see when we
put a sale on an itinerary that
doesn’t have any of the affected destinations on it, there’s
very strong demand. And so
we’re trying to balance the demand factor with how soon we
can go back to destinations
that were impacted, because
that really is the best thing we
can do for these destinations,
when they’re ready and when the destination has the capability to handle tourism,
to get tourists back as soon as we can.
Because that really will get the economic
engine going again, which has come to a
standstill in the wake of these storms.
Q: Norwegian is bringing the Escape from
Miami to New York. Will you add New
York-centric features to the Escape, similar
to the ones on the Breakaway?
A: Not to the same extent as we did for
Breakaway, no. There’s so much new on
the ship, and New Yorkers have been
asking for a new ship. The Breakaway has been here for a while,
so they’ve seen the entertainment on the ship. They’re
looking for “new,” understandably. So we are bringing our newest ship here.
They will have new entertainment, new
restaurants, new bars, new everything. We
think they are going to be excited.
The unique aspect of the New York cruise
is that most people come from the tristate
area, so you have tremendous repeat, a lot
of people who sail the ship every year. Now
they’re saying, “Hey, we love ‘Rock of Ages,’
but we’ve seen it five or six times, we’d love
a new show.” And it’s not that easy to keep
rotating entertainment. We’re excited about
the new ship, and early indications are that
it’s been well received.
Q: Does this give you pause
about giving ships local
features and design?
A: I think it is a little limiting. It’s super-exciting
when you first do it. I
think for Breakaway,
the first ship we built
for New York, it was
the right thing to do.
But ultimately we like
the flexibility of moving
ships around. We don’t
really want a lot of ships to
get attached to a destination.
It does make it more challenging.
‘We want everyone to
understand that Puerto
Rico is up and running.
Ships are already sailing
out of there.’
The Silversea Cruises ship com- ing in 2020 will be named the Silver Moon, but TC hears that
the Silver Mirage was in the run-
ning, as well.
The line already has ships named the Silver
Shadow and Silver Whisper, names that are
very popular among guests. The Silver Mirage was another in that vein, but there was
some concern that it connoted that the
$372 million ship was insubstantial or
ephemeral. In the end, the consensus
pick of owner Manfredi Lefebvre
and CEO Roberto Martinoli was the
A spooky vibe at Disneyland?
Orange County news agencies last
week reported that guests at the theme
parks have been posting photos on social media of an eerie, orange-colored, smoky sky, a
result of nearby fires in the Anaheim Hills that
provided a creepy backdrop that coincidentally
corresponds to the Halloween season.
Despite the fires, the parks remained open
Pitbull became the latest celebrity to endorse
travel agents. The Miami-born rapper, who also
goes by the monikers Mr. 305 and Mr. World-wide (and also godfather of the Norwegian Escape), thanked travel sellers for their “true partnership” during a Norwegian Cruise Line event
promoting the Escape’s upcoming deployment
to New York.
When asked if he himself uses a travel
agent, he said, “of course.” To that we turn
to Pitbull’s catchphrase: ¡Dale!
Speaking of New York: TC was on
our way to a dinner sponsored by
Visit Houston when one of our col-
leagues asked the logical logistics
question: “Will the dinner take place
on Houston Street?”
And, in fact, the dinner theme was
“Houston on Houston Street,” despite the key
difference in pronunciation: HEW-ston the
town vs. HOW-ston the street.
And despite the fact that the dinner was not
technically held on Houston Street, but at a
venue about a half-block away.
Travel Leaders Corporate has named
Sue Berman its senior vice president of
Berman’s career started as an agent at
a local agency in New Jersey. She then
spent 27 years with Carlson Wagonlit
Travel, starting as a manager and rising
to vice president of operations, leading
more than 1,200 employees.
Gonzalo Guelman Ros was appointed general
manager of the
on Oct. 4 after sustaining minimal damage in the recent
Guelman Ros most recently served
as resort manager at the Four Seasons
Resort Punta Mita. Prior to that post,
He replaces Ed Gannon, who is now
at the Four Seasons Resort & Resi-
dences Jackson Hole in Wyoming.
InterContinental Hotels Group’s Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants has named
Nicolas Kurban and Scott Gingerich
vice presidents of restaurants and bars
for the company’s East and West regions, respectively.
Kurban was COO of Innovative Dining Group, whose restaurant concepts
include Sushi Roku, Boa Steakhouse
and Katana. He has also worked for
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
Gingerich worked for Hakkasan
Hospitality and Tao Group before joining Kimpton in 2015.
IN THE H T SEAT
FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES
SUBMIT YOUR STORIES AND PHOTOS: Gerry Bourbeau,
Travel Weekly deputy managing editor, at email@example.com.
Norwegian Cruise Line
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