For the first time since 2016 Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is back in the Eastern Mediterranean, with 12 sailings to Turkey this summer (with the Regent and Oceania brands) and 20 in 2020.
“I am pleased to tell you that all 12 sailings in 2019 are better loaded and at higher pricing than the surrounding sailing that do not include Turkey,” said Frank del Rio, president of CEO, on the company’s year-end and fourth quarter earnings call.
“When we talk about the Eastern Med, Turkey is the key destination which has been somewhat off limits to the industry for the last couple of years. So the fact that the North American consumer who is the one booking most of these Eastern Mediterranean cruises, seem to want to come back to the Eastern Med and is willing to pay a premium price bodes very well for 2020.”
Del Rio said cruise itineraries were developed and put on sale 18 to 24 months in advance.
“So you test the waters. You see what happens,” he said. “And then it takes you a while to really ramp up. So at this point assuming that there are no other disruptions or reasons not go to the Eastern Med, I expect that we along with the rest of the industry will probably increase the number of deployments to the Eastern Med beginning in 2020 and more in 2021. So it’s good news. As you know when the Eastern Med is good, it’s as good as any if not the best of all itineraries.”