Continuing its commitment to Partnership 2.0, NCL Corporation (NCL) announced today that it has launched NCL University (NCL U), the first-of-its-kind online travel partner networking and education community, where travel partners can earn Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) credits, become certified in NCL’s Freestyle Cruising, get the latest information on NCL cruises, share selling tips and compare success stories via online classes, videos and blogs. Travel partners can access NCL U by logging on to www.ncluniversity.com.
“With the youngest fleet in the industry delivering the enhancements of NCL’s Freestyle 2.0; with the business efficiency of Partnership 2.0 kicking in; and with the sleek, futuristic innovations of the F3 ships on the horizon; travel partners will discover that a brand new NCL is here,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO, who also serves as the chancellor for NCL U. “It is more important than ever for NCL to provide a valuable resource to our travel partners 24/7 and NCL U allows them to stay connected, learn more about us and also interact with each other.”
NCL U is the only online travel partner education site offered by a cruise line that allows partners to earn up to15 CLIA credits toward ACC and MCC certification by completing the course, as well as earn Freestyle Certification. The program was developed in coordination with Dr. Marc Mancini, the person behind many of the industry's biggest training programs.
"I'm really impressed with NCL's unique and bold vision for its online training modules,” said Dr. Marc Mancini. “It's not unlike what NCL did when it introduced Freestyle Cruising, which really rethought the cruise experience. We had to do the same thing, in this case, to come up with training that's creative, entertaining and solid in content, while relaxed in tone and that NCL's travel partners can put to immediate use."
In addition to education opportunities, NCL U also offers travel partners an online community where they can post their profiles, read a blog written by NCL executives and pose questions to experts. As travel partners experience the site, they can also earn points and participate in contests to win prizes and giveaways such as free cruises, Nintendo Wii games and more.
Features and functionalities of NCL U include:
o A personalized dashboard allowing travel partners to receive instant messages and alerts about NCL and NCL U which includes sales and F3 updates.
o Travel partners can create their virtual student ID via this social networking feature by downloading a personal photo or choosing an avatar from the site.
o Includes information on Freestyle Certification, NCL U benefits and priority access to F3 news;
o Classes for CLIA credit, designed by travel agent training expert Dr. Marc Mancini, will initially include:
§ Who, What and Where: An Introduction to NCL;
§ Freestyle Cruising: The Experience;
§ Profiling the NCL Customer;
§ Ports and Places: Exploring NCL’s World.
o Elective classes featuring proprietary video from The Second City will include:
§ Freestyle 2.0, NCL’s fleet-wide initiative to further improve the guest experience which includes a major investment in the total dining experience; upgrading the stateroom experience; new wide ranging on-board activities for guests of all ages; and additional recognition, service and amenities for balcony, suite and villa guests;
§ Freestyle Cruising;
§ NCL's Bermuda;
§ Freestyle activities.
Ø Faculty Lounge features:
o A blog where partners can pose questions to be answered by industry leaders and NCL executives, as well as post and read messages on NCL’s ‘Buzz Blog,’ the inside scoop on what’s in, what’s hot and what’s new.
Ø Student Union features:
o A2A (agent-to-agent tutoring), a social networking function allowing travel partners to interact with each other;
o An audio visual lab where agents can download videos, commercials, and webinars. Select videos will include questions which travel partners can answer and earn points toward their Freestyle Certification;
o The Insider, the popular monthly travel partner newsletter;
o NCL U Pulse, a downloadable desktop widget which alerts travel partners about important NCL and NCL U updates.
Ø The Library features:
o A one-stop shop for everything a travel partner needs to sell and sail on NCL including useful tools, presentations, information about specials and promotions, archived NCL U lessons and a who’s who at NCL. All travel partners need to be registered via NCL U in order to take part in the specials and promotions.
Ø Intramurals features:
o A variety of virtual games allowing travel partners to have fun while learning about NCL.
Ø The Campus Store features:
o NCL gear that can be purchased by redeeming campus bucks that are earned during the Freestyle Certification process.
NCL Corporation Ltd. is the holding company for various subsidiary companies involved in owning and operating the ships of Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL plans to build two new third generation Freestyle Cruising ships for delivery in 2010. NCL today has the youngest fleet in the industry, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea, and has recently added its latest new ship, the 2,400-passenger Norwegian Gem.