As the transaction between Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Apollo Management, LP (“Apollo”) nears completion and the infusion of $1 billion comes into the company, NCL announced today its Freestyle 2.0 fleet wide initiative featuring significant enhancements in its onboard product that will further improve the guest experience. The enhancements include a major investment in the total dining experience; upgrading the stateroom experience across the ship; new wide ranging onboard activities for guests all of ages; additional recognition, service and amenities for balcony, suite and villa guests; and a re-launch of a tiered Latitudes past guest recognition program.
The initiative has been driven by quantitative and qualitative feedback from both guests and travel partners and has been enabled by Apollo’s billion dollar investment in NCL and Star Cruises continued commitment and vision.
“Our innovative Freestyle Cruising and exciting, dynamic fleet of new ships have combined to make NCL a truly unique and exciting cruise vacation,” said Colin Veitch, NCL’s president and CEO. “We have achieved the milestone of offering the youngest fleet in the cruise industry, and will now focus our attention on delivering the next generation of freestyle cruising - Freestyle 2.0 – a significant enhancement to the guest experience fleet wide.”
NCL will immediately begin to roll out Freestyle 2.0 fleet wide. Highlights of the different onboard initiatives include:
Ø Freestyle Dining:
o An increased investment in food of $50 million before we deliver our first F3, equating to a 20 percent increased investment in food per passenger per day plus major fleet-wide capital investments;
o Lobster Galore – Lobster in the main restaurant on multiple days and in one restaurant every night of the cruise;
o A signature specialty dish in every restaurant (i.e. 48oz Porterhouse in the steak house, chocolate fondue tower in the action station restaurant)
o An enhanced nighttime dining/ambience in the action station restaurant with table cloths, muted lighting and enhanced service;
o One or two alternative restaurants open for lunch on sea days;
o A new and expanded room service menu;
o A “bubbly welcome” – a welcome aboard glass of bubbly for everyone;
o A Taste of Freestyle on embarkation day – samplings from all of the specialty restaurants;
o A major hardware investment to bring all buffets to Norwegian Gem/Norwegian Pearl “action station restaurant”;
o An investment in back of house to refine the reservations process and system.
Ø Stateroom Experience:
o An upgrade in bedding and sheets, pillows, duvets;
o An upgrade in towels and bathrobes;
o An upgrade in in-room amenities including coffee maker and expanded TV offerings;
o Addition of sofa beds to suite categories.
Ø Balcony and mini suites
o A distinctive colored key card for ship wide recognition;
o An “at your service” hotline;
o A separate check-in for balcony and mini suite guests;
o A personal escort to stateroom;
o Priority disembarkation.
Ø Suites and Villas:
o All suites and villas to have concierge and butler service
o Welcome champagne in suite/villa;
o Upgraded canapés every day;
o Private breakfast/lunch in Cagney’s Restaurant
o An exclusive concierge lounge;
o Priority disembarkation;
o Priority restaurant reservations;
o Dedicated Butler presence in the Courtyard*;
o Private breakfast/lunch in the Courtyard*.
Ø Onboard activities:
o An enhanced educational, entertainment and lifestyle program – NCL “U”:
§ A range of new classes such as Improv, organic cooking, bartending, sommelier, etc.;
o An enhanced Health and Wellness program;
o An enhanced Pool Deck experience:
§ Entertainment taken upscale
§ Drink flags on all deck chairs
§ Pool of indulgence – Evian spritz, cold towels, etc.
§ Quiet zones and times
Ø Past Guest Latitudes program:
o A new program with various tiers rewarding both spend and frequency;
o A new range of tangible, meaningful and deliverable benefits;
o A staffed concierge lounge for Latitudes members.
Freestyle 2.0 enhancements will begin rolling out immediately and will be largely implemented by summer of 2008.
*Available to Villa and Owner’s Suite guests.
NCL Corporation Ltd. is the holding company for various subsidiary companies involved in owning and operating the ships of Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America and Orient Lines.
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.