Revolutionizing Cruise: Interview with Norwegian Cruise Line’s Regional VP

Bahrain Confidential interviews Norwegian Cruise Line’s MEA Regional Vice President, Mr. Nick Wilkinson.

Norwegian Cruise Line is an innovator in global cruise travel for over 52 years. Notably, this cruise line revolutionized cruising by offering guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal vacation on their own schedule with no assigned dining and entertainment times and no formal dress codes. Its fleet of 16 contemporary ships sails to nearly 300 desirable destinations, including Great Stirrup Cay, the company’s private island in the Bahamas and its resort destination Harvest Caye in Belize.

Just recently, we had the chance to interview Mr. Nick Wilkinson, Norwegian Cruise Line’s MEA Regional Vice President.

What would you describe as Norwegian Cruise Line’s ethos? What makes it special?

We have a really clear DNA – we want to create freedom of flexibility. I’d like to describe our ships as a ‘floating resort’ because of the range of superior services we provide. This includes a wide variety of entertainment and dining options as well as a range of comfortable accommodations. At Norwegian Cruise Line, you can find all the amenities available in a land-based resort, if not more. We have the right itineraries, floating resorts and facilities for every sector.

We’ve learned that NCL is the pioneer of ‘freestyle cruising’. Can you elaborate on this?

Freestyle cruising is very much about the freedom and flexibility to do what you want to do. It allows our guests to create their ideal vacation experience, with no fixed dining times, relaxed attire, several distinct dining options, relaxed disembarkation and other entertainment and activity options.

Can you share any exciting innovations that NCL have in the pipeline? What are your recent developments?

Bahrain is an important marketplace and we are investing extensively with our partners like 24x7Cruise, wholesalers and travel agents. In another perspective, we’ll be launching six more ships over the next seven years – a dramatic increase in our capacity which will give us more opportunities to offer to our customers, with each one bringing more innovation to the seas.

Are there any emerging destinations NCL considers particularly exciting?

We’re always looking at the backbone of what drives the market here. For 2020, we’re really pleased with the introduction of new paths and more exciting cruises. Norwegian Getaway is offering departures from Rome while Norwegian Spirit is doing itineraries in the Far East and Japan.

Where are the most popular destinations?

For Bahrain, the most popular is the Mediterranean. Next, is the Baltic followed by Asia and the Caribbean.

On a personal note, is there a destination you’ve always wanted to go but still haven’t?

If you asked me 12 months ago, I would have said Africa and South Africa. Norwegian Cruise Line is doing it for the first time in February/March 2020.