Middle East Cruise News

Norwegian Cruise Line says 2019 cruise bookings from Middle East looking “incredibly strong”

Norwegian Cruise Line has extended its buy one, get one half off cruise promotion in the Middle East as it reports “incredibly strong” forward bookings for cruises in 2019 from the local market, according to Vice-President and Managing Director, UK and MEA, Nick Wilkinson.

Speaking to TTN Worldwide, he said advance bookings, long the Achilles heel of the local source market, are now becoming more common.

“I’ve now been coming down to the Middle East for 16 years. When I first came here, no one was booking cruises in advance,” he said. “I’m happy to report that the forward bookings of 2019 are looking incredibly strong from the region. I believe they have been driven by BOGOHO and ‘book with confidence.”

Norwegian Bliss; Norwegian Joy; AquaLoop; Aqua Loops; Waterslide; PoolDeck

Norwegian Bliss is the NCL’s newest and most advanced cruise ships with a water park, race track and several other attractions.

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These two promotions for Middle East cruise passengers are aimed at redressing the prevalence of last minute cruise bookings.

Last minute bookings leave cruise line’s revenues up in the air until the last minute, and result in eager customers missing out on a particular cruise departure, or settling for staterooms that don’t suit their needs and therefore, take away from the cruise experience.

This is a challenge all cruise lines face in the Middle East, but Norwegian Cruise Line was one of the first to try and change the market’s habit.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s popular buy one, get one half off (BOGOHO) price promotion was valid until the end of September this year, but will be made available again in November in a bid to boost bookings further.

Norwegian is also extending its ‘book with confidence’ offer in the region. This enables passengers to pay a deposit in advance and only make the final payment 120 days before the cruise is scheduled to depart.


Norwegian Spirit is one of two NCL ships cruising from Dubai in 2020.

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If they change their minds before the 120 days is up, they get their full deposit back.

“Now is the time to secure those family cabins, those cabins that consumers really want, knowing that they have no financial exposure up to 120 days ahead of the sailing,” said Wilkinson.


Nick Wilkinson, Vice-President and Managing Director, UK and MEA, Norwegian Cruise Line.

“Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are fast-growing markets for us,” he added. “The launch of the 2019 brochure has stirred quite some excitement, with six European deployments from May 2019, a first in the history of NCL.”

Europe is a popular cruise destination for passengers from the Middle East, particularly cruise itineraries within the Mediterranean. But, cruises departing from Dubai and visiting India and Southeast Asia are also in demand.

Norwegian Cruise Line will have two ships cruising from Dubai in 2019 and 2020. Norwegian Jade will cruise from Dubai to Singapore next year, while Norwegian Spirit will cruise from Dubai to Cape Town in 2020.

Norwegian Spirit will be coming to the Middle East a totally new ship, after undergoing a massive bow-to-stern revitalisation as the final ship to undergo enhancements under the Norwegian Edge fleet refurbishment programme.

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