Sommer: ‘Right Strategic Direction’ for NCLH

Norwegian Encore in Seattle

Harry Sommer, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said the company had a bold new vision for growth, not only with eight new ships for its three brands, but also a two-ship pier development slated for Great Stirrup Cay.

Sommer, speaking on a call with Wall Street analysts on Tuesday morning, said the ship orders, extending through 2036, locked in slots at Fincantieri for the Norwegian, Oceania and Regent brands.

There will be four new ships for Norwegian and two each for Oceania and Regent, all significantly larger on a guest basis than previous newbuilds.

“We see the future and we think this is the right strategic direction to go. The slots are available and we wanted to secure them before the competition does,” Sommer explained.

Capacity growth, on a gross level, will be six percent through 2028 and then drop to four percent through 2036, Sommer said.

Mark Kempa, executive vice president and CFO, said there were markets the company is not serving.

Kempa noted with the newbuilds locked in, the company’s growth profile was solidified, allowing it to focus on near-term priorities.

“As our fleets continue to age we invest in a rational, disciplined manner to make sure they stay relevant … as they age down the road we will look at opportunities to redeploy those vessels to other markets or to other players across the globe. We have no near-term plans for any disposals or retirements on that front,” Kempa said, also noting the new ships will help the company leverage its operating scale.

Sommer said the first step in Great Stirrup Cay’s development will be a $150 million two-ship pier, that will be followed by more investments on the island.

He said the company will increase traffic to the island by over 50 percent once the pier is finished in 2026.  Sommer said the island handled about 400,000 guests annually now.

The new pier will allow for greater guest throughput and better monetization, added Sommer.


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