Norwegian to cruise back to Asia, Australia in 2016

It will be first time Norwegian has been there in 14 years
Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed plans to return to Asia and Australia next year, for the first time since 2002. It will also be expanding its presence in South America.
In 2016-17, it will offer sailings on board Norwegian Star from the Middle East to Asia, with itineraries departing from Istanbul, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and Auckland.
Ports of call will include Mumbai, Goa, Colombo, Phuket, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh and Sihanoukville, among others.
It will be the first time Norwegian has returned to the region in 14 years, and the first time it has sailed to the Persian Gulf and India. It comes after new chief executive Andy Stuart revealed last week that the line was eyeing expansion into the Asian market.
“There are two things we’re looking at,” he told TTG. “One of these is deploying a Norwegian ship to the Asian market, designed to serve our current focus markets of the US, UK and Europe. It would be another deployment option for our passengers – we haven’t had a ship in this region since 2001.
He added, “And then there is the bigger step. This would be to deploy a ship in Asia, for the Asian market. It is an important region that we are not currently represented in as Norwegian Cruise Line.”
While not aiming specifically at the Chinese market, “Asia has been on our mind for some time,” he said. “We have hired a senior person – Bill Harber – to be our senior vice president of Asia, a new role that we created, which is based in Hong Kong. He reports in to Harry Sommer, who is our executive vice president of international, which is also a new role – so that shows the energy that we’re putting into our international market.”
Questioned as to whether he would consider placing one of the line’s new ships into the region (it currently has two Breakaway Plus ships on order due for delivery in 2018 and 2019, in addition to Norwegian Escape which launches in October 2015), Stuart conceded: “We wouldn’t rule it out”.
But he admitted that, as with competitor Royal Caribbean, Norwegian would have to customise any ship placed in Asia, to tailor it for the Asian market.
Elsewhere, Norwegian has revealed it will be offering itineraries to more South American destinations, ranging from seven to 20 nights and visiting ports in Argentina, Chile and Brazil on the Norwegian Sun.
Norwegian Epic is also being moved – the ship will continue to spend its summers in Europe, but will return to the US in autumn, as Norwegian’s largest ship to homeport in Port Canaveral, to sail a number of Eastern and Western Caribbean and Bahamas itineraries.
TTG Digital