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New Norwegian Encore cruise ship sets sail

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As 2019 nears its end, Norwegian Cruise Line is beaming in the glow of cruise industry success plus new organizational changes, which are aimed at keeping the positive momentum full speed ahead.  

Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line is stepping down at the end of this year. His departure comes as the cruise line’s newest mega-ship, Norwegian Encore, begins its inaugural season from Miami.

Stuart’s successor is Harry Sommer, current president, International for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. Stuart will step down from his role on Dec. 31 and remain with the cruise company as senior advisor through March 31, 2020, to ensure a smooth transition.

Stuart joined Norwegian in 1988 and was instrumental in the introduction of Norwegian’s freestyle cruising concept that offered cruisers the choice of where and when to dine — shifting the cruise industry standard of set dining times and locations.

“I am honored to have played a role in the leadership position Norwegian now holds in this incredible industry and continue to be proud of the commitment, dedication and passion of our team for delivering a best-in-class vacation experience,” Stuart said in a statement.

Sommer currently is responsible for all sales, marketing, public relations and office operations for Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises in all markets outside of the United States and Canada. 

“Andy and I have worked closely together over the last several years, and I am humbled and honored to follow in his footsteps and lead this renowned brand,” said Sommer.

During an interview in Miami, Sommer said one of his key goals is to continue to raise the profile of a cruise vacation to reach first-time cruisers. “I want tell the story that a cruise is truly the perfect vacation experience,” said Sommer. “The message needs to reach those who haven’t considered taking a cruise. It’s a fantastic vacation.”

Another market segment beyond first-time cruisers that Sommer said he wants to continue to focus on is discerning guests who want more privacy and luxury.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s “ship within a ship” concept is The Haven, an enclave of lavish staterooms and suites with butler service, a separate sun deck, restaurant and well-appointed lounges.

“The Haven offers our guests a more upscale experience,” explains Sommer. “We see a lot of grandparents that are joined by multi-generational families. Grandparents can relax in The Haven, and the kids can enjoy the waterslides, the racetrack and kids’ clubs and all the wonderful things the ships offer.” Sommer said The Haven experience extends outside the designated area because guests get priority for restaurant reservations and have exclusive seating in the main showroom.


New Norwegian leadership, new ship

The leadership helm change comes as the cruise line launches its newest ship, Norwegian Encore.

The ship is the fourth Breakaway Plus-class ship from Norwegian Cruise Line and has a capacity of 3,998 based on double occupancy.

On Sunday Norwegian Encore began seven-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries. In April 2020, the ship will move to New York City, and then return back to Miami for Western Caribbean voyages in fall 2020.

Norwegian Encore includes more than two dozen dining venues, some with waterfront dining experiences; a racetrack; a virtual galaxy pavilion; a laser tag course; and water slides that will take adventure-seekers’ breath away.

Complimentary dining choices include the main dining rooms with changing menus and impressive service and The Garden Café, the ship’s buffet restaurant, which offers bountiful breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Specialty dining restaurants cost extra and are popular with cruisers who want to mix up their dinner repertoire. A trendy Italian restaurant, Onda by Scarpetta, has its first location on a ship aboard the Encore.

By Erica Lamberg, USA Today
Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more
For more cruise news and articles go to https://www.cruisecrazies.com

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