As part of its continuing commitment to Partnership 2.0, a company-wide initiative to strengthen its relationship with travel partners, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) today launched Groups 2.0, an enhanced group booking program allowing travel partners more flexibility to market and sell cruises to groups.
“We listened to our travel partners and acted on their feedback as we continue to deliver the right tools for them to market and sell our Freestyle Cruising vacations,” said Crane Gladding, senior vice president, revenue management and passenger services. “With our new Groups 2.0 program, we have made it easier and more streamlined for our travel partners to book group blocks.”
NCL’s Groups 2.0 provides an incredible opportunity for travel partners with the following major enhancements:
- Allowing travel partners to hold up to 16 staterooms with no deposit required until four months prior to sailing;
- Allowing individual bookings to be transferred into groups up until the day prior sailing*;
- Group rate integrity policy that allows travel partners to convert an existing group into new FIT pricing, should overall rates be lowered**;
- Expanding the consumer facing amenity menu for all bookings which includes options such as alternative dining, spa treatments and Freestyle Bowling;
- Allowing groups to make advance Freestyle Dining reservations in any restaurant prior to sailing.
- Paying commissions up to two months faster than before via NCL’s Global Commission Payment program.
For group bookings requiring between 16 and 99 staterooms, travel partners have 60 days to hold space with no deposit. Then, a deposit of $25 per stateroom will be due. Travel partners who book more than 100 staterooms will work closely with NCL to negotiate a timeline that meets their needs.
Groups 2.0 was designed with feedback from NCL’s Partnership 2.0 Advisory Board, a group comprising 16 select travel agents from across the country who represent a cross-section of NCL’s travel partners.
“NCL’s new Groups 2.0 allows our agents to elevate the marketability and selling capacity of NCL’s cruises,” said Tom Baker, president of Houston-based CruiseCenter and member of NCL’s Partnership 2.0 Advisory Board. “NCL’s Partnership 2.0 initiatives continue to make it easier and more convenient for CruiseCenter agents to do business with them.”
Groups 2.0 will be applicable for new groups booked on or after December 1, 2008 for 2009 and beyond sailings. For existing groups on 2009 and beyond sailings, NCL has built the ultimate flexibility allowing travel partners to choose whether they want to maintain existing group terms or to move to the new Groups 2.0 enhanced terms.
Travel partners can book groups online by visiting www.bookncl.com or call an NCL group specialist at 800-327-7030.
NCL launched Partnership 2.0 in December, 2007. Since then, the company has implemented a number of new programs and services for travel partners including earlier processing of group commissions, a seven-day a week resolution desk, simplified and consistent pricing quotes, improved credit card policies, electronic payment processing, enhanced confirmations; the availability of a premium air desk and a flight assistance hotline, as well as NCL University, the first-of-its-kind online travel partner networking and education community.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is the innovator in cruise travel with a 42-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which has revolutionized the industry by allowing guests more freedom and flexibility.
Today, NCL has the youngest fleet in the industry with 12 purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed cruise vacation on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea.
NCL is presently building a new third generation Freestyle Cruising project known as F3, for delivery in 2010.