Cruise

NCL insists hip hop strategy won’t alienate older cruisers

Anne Majumdar

The selection of US rapper Pitbull as the godfather of Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Escape isn’t as off the wall as it may seem, says managing director Asia Pacific Steve Odell.

In 2015, the vessel was christened in the Port of Miami with Armando Christian Pérez, aka Pitbull giving the event an unusual twist as he officially christened the massive floating resort and became the first ever “godfather” of a cruise ship.

“It may seem surprising but when you dig a bit deeper, it isn’t,” said Odell of the decision.

“We are trying to open up to a much wider audience.”

As a result, Pitbull was deemed the ideal choice due to his strong social media following with upwards of 60 million Facebook fans.

“By announcing that he is not the godfather of a Norwegian Cruise Line ship broadens our reach to a much bigger target audience,” Odell told Travel Weekly.

He insisted the choice would not alienate the cruise line’s older or more traditional customers, with the involvement of Pitbull just one part of its overall marketing strategy.

“The way we market the brand is as a multi-generational brand – we get everything from grandparents to kids and we can deal with all of them,” he said.

“Certainly with Pitbull we are targeting a much younger, trendier group, but when we position the brand, we are positioning it as multi-generational which is becoming more and more important.”

The cruise line unveiled an online video featuring a backing track by Pitbull in January to celebrate the launch of its new brand strategy, entitled Feel Free which aims to highlight NCL’s emphasis on “freedom and flexibility”.

Check out the video here:

Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings has launched a local contact centre for its Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, following the launch of the NCL contact centre in December.

“This Friday marks the final integration of all activity for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ three brands into the operations of our Sydney-based Australasian headquarters, including call centre and help desk support, and sales and marketing activities,” Odell said.

“The integration has been undertaken to provide a greater level of support to our trade partners, travel agents and cruise passengers, marking an exciting milestone in the growth of our local office.”

In another move, Australian dollar pricing has been introduced for Regent Seven Seas in order to make it easier for local agents to sell the luxury product.

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