President and COO John Werner sits down with Vice President of Agency Sales, North America for Norwegian Cruise Line, Derek Lloyd to discuss NCL’s newest ship – the Prima. John and Derek detail the new line of ships from Norwegian, with all the updates and taking the cruising experience outdoors. Find out about the new Ocean Boulevard, infinity pools, and the exclusive updates to the Haven. 

Key Points Mentioned In The Podcast

#1    New ship announcement from NCL

“the Prima that’s coming out in 2022, we’re going to have Prima two and Prima three and Prima four those aren’t the actual names. But that’s the placeholder names coming out for every subsequent year after” 

#2 –  NCL has added infinity pools to the Prima

“this is one of the two Infinity pools that are on Ocean Boulevard. And then we have a third within the Haven complex.”

#3 –  New dining options

 “We’re also launching a new concept with dining; we’ve got the Indulge Food Hall. Think of it as the food halls that are kind of the newest rage right now you go to New York City” 

#4 The Haven offers exclusive experiences

“You’ve got this sort of this private enclave, it’s keycard access, you’ve got private lounge area, private restaurant area, Butler service large rooms. You’ve got all of these advantages, so you can have the seclusion and this solitude and relaxed, and then you step out of the Haven and you’re immediately in the action and all of the stuff going on” 

#5 –   The Prima is all about the itineraries

“But the nice thing is with the Prima is it’s a slightly smaller ship, we can do the itinerary we have more flexibility on the itineraries. What we’re saying with the Prima is we’re doing an inaugural tour. To your point we’re starting her off in Northern Europe and we’re doing Copenhagen and Reykjavik we’re doing the transatlantic which is almost sold out at this point, it’s a 12 day from Southampton”

Full Podcast Transcript

John W.  0:12  

Welcome, everyone to the MASTers of Travel series. I am John Werner, President of MAST Travel Network, a network of over 1000 travel advisors who plan trips all over the world, including lots of spectacular cruise vacations. My guest today is Derek Lloyd, Vice President of agency sales, North America for Norwegian Cruise Line. Derek why don’t you say a few words about yourself and the work that you do at Norwegian Cruise Lines and why we’re going to talk about the Norwegian Prima today. 

Derek L. 0:48

I really appreciate you inviting me on today, John. I’m VP of agency sales for North America, what that essentially means is my team of people work with all those 1000 consultants that you had mentioned, to help know our product better, have a better sense, do some training, help advertise, etc. Because most of the bookings that we see are coming through advisors just like yourself. It’s really important that we do this type of stuff together. And it’s, so fantastic to actually talk about some really positive stuff with the new ships coming out. Because the ship that we’re focusing on today, is the first of an entirely new class of vessels. It’s not just a new ship, it’s the first of her kind. So that’s kind of exciting. And I’m really looking forward to talking about the elements and features of the new ship. We’re going to get into that in a moment. But first, we’re going to show a short video. {video plays} 

John W.  3:09  

What is the genesis for creating a new class of cruise ship? 

Derek L.  3:22  

Cruise lines tend to build classes of ships, and there’s multiple reasons for that, partially, there’s economies of scale when you’re building a class of ship when you’re contacting the shipyards. And it allows us to plan further out so, the Prima that’s coming out in 2022, we’re gonna have Prima two and Prima three and Prima four those aren’t the actual names. But that’s the placeholder names coming out for every subsequent year after and the nice thing is for clients is when you talk to clients all the time that they have a favorite class of ship. I’ll talk to people who love the jewel class. And the jewel class encompasses six different ships of ours or the breakaway class, which is five. What’s nice is we can look at the earnings from all of our other ships. And we can say, okay, so now let’s start fresh, take what we really like, on these other classes of ships, put it into a new idea, a new concept, try to plan a little bit forward for the future. The premium class is actually a little bit smaller than the last class of our ships. Because we want to look at, where are the different places in the world that we want to go? That maybe one of the 4000 passenger ships can’t get to it gives us a little more flexibility. 

John W. 5:00

So how did the name Prima come about?

Derek L.  5:02  

This is the first time in a while that we build ships in Italy. Prima, the first, in Italian, we wanted to sort of give a little bit of a shout out to the, the Italian aspect of that, Italian seafaring is such an influence on the entire industry. It’s it also it sounds Premier, it’s the first an elevation of our brand of ships. And we’ll see as we talk about it a little bit. I thought it was an appropriate name for the first of her kind. 

John W.  5:48  

Yeah, really looks beautiful, and very sleek and elegant, very nice.

Derek L. 5:52

And notice the hull art is a design component of our ships, that’s kind of unique to. You can see on this picture, the hull art is actually extending up to the bridge. 

John W. 6:02

And I noticed too, when looking at the ship, and on your website, and looking at all the pictures and the descriptions of what the ship is like, I noticed that the guest experience is going to really come outdoors. Traditional cruise ships, the interiors have always been very beautiful. But this ship really gets people outdoors. t takes being at sea, gives it a whole new meaning. I’ll bet all of the creative minds that on this project had lots of fun designing those outdoor spaces. Tell us about that? 

Derek L. 7:01

Well, that’s kind of interesting, because what you’ve seen over the years, as ships have gotten larger, it tends to be the focus is on the inside. You see more and more inside space. And in a way, what we didn’t want to have is, we didn’t want to lose the connection to the ocean. With the Breakaway class of ships that we had just the previous we had the waterfront, which was it was on deck, which is nice, because that’s lower down than the typical sort of top decks of the ships. And it created sort of a nice flow between the inside and the outside space on any of our ships. You could go from, having an alfresco dining and Cagney’s restaurant, outside on the deck. And we’ve really ramped that up with Ocean Boulevard onboard the Prima. You’ll see a lot of the stuff that we’ve announced so far is all along that Ocean Boulevard. And there’s a lot of design elements and neat sort of areas and instagrammable places as well as, dining options, etc. 

John W. 8:13

Yeah, really nice. Another new feature I saw on ship was about the Infinity pools and of course, other ships have built what I call “hanging hot tubs”, over the side, but I’ve not seen infinity pools before. I can’t think of any place else to be that is more relaxing than sitting in one of them right now. How many of the Infinity pools will you have on board the Prima? 

Derek L.  8:39  

The image that you see here, this is one of the two Infinity pools that are on Ocean Boulevard. And then we have a third within the Haven complex. I know we’ll probably get to the Haven at some point. What’s great about this and again, I talked about connection to the ocean. Just look at this. Just look at this photo. I mean, it looks like you’re going straight from the pool into the ocean which, when people go on a cruise, I think part of the appeal there is feeling like you’re at sea you’re on the ocean. 

John W. 9:02

What is the capacity of these pools and are they heated? 

Derek L. 9:05

They are full pools they’re not like the as you call it the floating jacuzzi. Depending on whether you stack people, I don’t know on the on the capacity, but they are full, they are like a swimming pool that you would see on any other ship. We’ve got two of them. We do have the capacity of heating them. When we’re in some of our northern climates, like when we’re doing Iceland, etc. in the Caribbean, hopefully it’s not necessary. 

John W.  9:50  

I know this is along Ocean Boulevard outside of the ship around that that deck. What other unique experiences someone’s going to find at Ocean Boulevard? 

Derek L.  10:05  

Ocean Boulevard, it’s sort of that Deck eight area. We’ve got the Infinity pools, that’s going to be kind of a big element to it. We’re also launching a new concept with dining, we’ve got the Indulge Food Hall, which you can’t call it a food court because that’s something where we don’t want people to think like that. Think of it as the food halls that are kind of the newest rage right now you go to New York City, and there’s this concept and it’s sort of like a central area with different food stations and food trucks and all of this and so that’s going to be kind of a really neat aspect on board where you can go down to there’s noodles bar, and there’s a healthy option and, just all sorts of different concepts there. Yeah, we’ve got a couple other restaurants that we’ve announced as well off of Ocean Boulevard. Los Lobos, which we’ve had on a few of our newest ships, really neat, premium Mexican restaurant. It’s not like its Tex Mex burritos type thing. It’s good, authentic Mexican. When I ate on Los Lobos on the Bliss I had probably the best mole sauce of my life. Definitely had some heat. And then we’ve got Andavar. Scarpetta, which is another restaurant that will have an indoor and outdoor component off of Ocean Boulevard.

That’s what we’ve put out so far, there’s still some more stuff to come. Then we’ve got lounge areas outside and there’s hammocks, as I mentioned, the pools, there’s glass bridges. Picture this: eight stories up connection from the instead of the midsection of Ocean Boulevard with full glass floors. People are going to be taking their photos on that. I will probably just be walking very quickly and not looking down. I totally know that my colleagues are probably going to make me go out on this glass walk at some point in time. And then we’ve got an outdoor sculpture garden too. And that, is sort of just a neat visual focus. Where we’ve got these, I think there’s six sculptures, and they’re sort of industrial, but also like a Greek mythology type of design, there’ll be different light features. What you see during the day versus what you have at night will be different. A really good spot to get a selfie, send an Instagram post etc. There’s gonna be a lot going on onboard. What I like about it is on the waterfront on Breakaway, it’s phenomenal. And it gets it starts to pick up later on in the afternoon. People are sort of the dining, the restaurants, etc. It’s not used as much as maybe it could be during the day. What I really like with the development with Ocean Boulevard is it’s very much going to be a morning till night place to hang out. I think that’s, that’s a nice development on board the Prima. 

John W.  13:50  

I agree because I am an outdoor person. Hanging out on Ocean Boulevard would be great. I didn’t notice the Indulge Food Hall. It does look incredibly inviting. I want to try all the restaurants of course, there’s a food truck feeling at the truck. Other restaurants have a counter seating like in a 50’s diner,in a retro sense, but very comfortable and sophisticated. That really looks cool. You were describing just a moment ago about some of the cuisine one can find in the food Hall.

Derek L.  14:36  

We’re not talking about massive rows of tables. Very intimate, small pockets areas. Some of them will be a little bit larger than others. Some of them will be little counters, but yeah, 1111 different options and what people might do is they might go tomorrow to get some Indian cuisine for their main course, or maybe go to the garden to get a salad. You can sort of hop around a little bit. It’s nice having all of these different options. It’s completely different than buffet areas that most cruise ships offer. The pictures look very intimate neighborhood feeling like as if you were just like walking down the street in a neighborhood. Starbucks will be there. We’ve got our famous Coco’s desserts bar dessert restaurant where they have massive Sundays, etc. 

John W. 16:00

I also noticed that with Ocean Boulevard and other deck areas, Norwegian converts, the traditional promenade, often lined with, plastic deck chairs like a lot of ships of yesteryear, but really making the outside areas of the ship be the center of life on board. You’ve described many of the areas around Ocean Boulevard, are there other areas, like the outdoor areas of the ship, that are also very new, innovative first time ever on a cruise ship?

Derek L.  16:16  

There’s a couple of those. For one, we’ve only just started talking about the Prima. At the moments, all we’ve officially announced is deck 8. Deck 8 is that is what we’re talking about here with Ocean Boulevard, there’s more to come, we still need to talk about the entire upper deck area, like on our other ships, where there’s the main pool area and all of that. There will be more reveals to come which will be kind of neat. We’ve talked about the big screen at sea. We’ve talked about fire pits, which I have no idea how we’re working them yet. There’s going to be some neat elements there. I think in a few of the photos, and I mentioned it earlier, there’s hammocks outside. How cool would it be to be on deck sitting as the oceans going by in a hammock on a cruise ship? Phenomenal.

John W.   17:39  

I noticed in my reading of the different types of accommodations aboard Norwegian Prima and talking about larger cabins, more square footage. And then, there’s the Haven. Before I start asking you some questions about the Haven, will we have a short video to show? {video plays} 

Derek let’s talk about the Haven. It’s not just another category of accommodations. It’s the ultimate in having an exclusive experience of luxury at sea. The level of personal attention, I’ve stayed in the Haven accommodations, on the bliss, and it rivals the service that you’d get on a land resort. But yet, it’s not obtrusive in any way. You get a great sense of privacy. Obviously, a huge draw for people who want to get away and distress. It’s kind of like having the best of both worlds where you can travel in luxury visiting the world’s iconic and most amazing places, have incredible cuisine and entertainment right outside your door. But it’s an escape. Do you have some stories that you could share with about the Haven experience? You’ve heard from other guests? 

Derek L.  20:00  

The way I always talk about it is it’s a ship within a ship. It’s like we took a luxury high end ship. But it’s almost like we’ve taken a small luxury ship and put it on top of the contemporary ship that Norwegian is about and so you’re getting the best of both worlds. You’ve got this sort of this private enclave, it’s keycard access, you’ve got private lounge area, private restaurant area, Butler service large rooms. You’ve got all of these advantages, so you can have the seclusion and this solitude and relaxed, and then you step out of the Haven and you’re immediately in the action and all of the stuff going on in the casinos, in the big shows, and the multiple dining options. You’ve really got the best of both worlds. For anybody who likes the idea of going on something, a luxury type of product, but wants entertainment, or you’re going with a family and you need to have appeal to all elements of the family. The Haven’s a great option. You hear stories the service elements where, somebody’s kid jokes that they only liked the red gummy bears when the butler brought over the bowl full of gummy bears, and the next day, they had actually gone through and picked out just red ones. You hear little stories like that just simple things like the bartender, when you go immediately knows what your drink is, and that if you want to have hors d’oeuvres and cocktails served in your room, at 430 in the afternoon, as you as you get ready, or for the evening type thing, that’s all doable in the Haven and with the with the Prima in particular. What’s neat is, on our other ships where we’ve got the Haven, it’s at the top of the ship, usually in the middle or towards the forward, and there’s the pool in the center, and all of the Haven suites surround the pool sort of looking in. What’s neat with the Haven, we’ve moved the Haven complex to the very back to the aft of the ship. That third infinity pool is essentially looking out versus looking in. And then all the Haven suites will line up towards the aft of the ship, all with private elevator access to that lounge that I mentioned to the restaurant. It’s an evolution of the Haven concept. It’s going to be absolutely spectacular. 

John W.  22:50  

I wanted to talk a little bit about the itineraries, the first season of the Norwegian Prima will be summer of 2022. And you’re showcasing both the Caribbean and ports on this side of the Atlantic as well as on the other side of the Atlantic, particularly in Northern Europe, Iceland, the coasts of Belgium and the Netherlands and Norway and across the Baltic Sea as well. What are the reasons for having such a variety of itineraries because usually a ship runs a certain pattern for a period of time but it looks the itineraries I’m seeing are the ship is moving around quite a bit? 

Derek L.

Yeah, I’m really excited by the itineraries and you’re right typically when we bring out a new ship, we’ll position her in a home port, and we’ll run sort of seven-eight cruises over and over. With the Bliss when she first came out, she started Alaska, she did seven days over and over. And it makes sense in one way. But the nice thing is with the Prima is it’s a slightly smaller ship, we can do the itinerary we have more flexibility on the itineraries. What we’re saying with the Prima is we’re doing an inaugural tour. To your point we’re starting her off in Northern Europe and we’re doing Copenhagen and Reykjavik we’re doing the transatlantic which is almost sold out at this point, it’s a 12 day from Southampton. And it’s a neat transatlantic because it’s not the typical one that sort of goes you know, south through the Canary Islands and across she’s actually going north. British Isles, Reykjavik, Halifax, New York. Really kind of neat. And then we’re doing New York to Galveston, so around Florida etc. And then a Galveston to Miami and in the winter, we’ll be doing a few rotations from Miami as well as Port Canaveral. But then she launches back up again to heading back up the coast and from New York over to Reykjavik. I think, for anybody, whether people have cruised with Norwegian or not before. It’s very itinerary focused. Yes, there’s tons of great stuff on the ship, but the itineraries really, really stand out. 

John Werner

I also see some other very enticing itineraries that include Great Stirrup Caye, Harvest kay, in Belize. Both Norwegians private islands and two opportunities off the ship to feel the sand between your toes and watch the palm tree sway in the tropical breeze. I think this is also a first in the way the itineraries have are designed. I haven’t seen that combination before. And of course, then you still have the diversity of cultures. And the privacy of that the island resorts that will carry the same standard and quality with those on the ship. How is the Norwegian Prima able to move around so quickly and cover so much in a short period of time?

Derek L.  26:24  

Well, partially, it’s because we’re doing longer itineraries with her. We’re doing more sort of 11–12-day type itineraries versus the standard seven. Add a couple more days to a cruise and you can just go so many more places. I’ve got to say personally, seven days is great, but I’m just starting to get relaxed by the time it’s coming to an end, to me at 12 days about the perfect length of cruise. We’re doing some different things like that, that the one cruise that I mentioned the Galveston to Miami, we’re going all the way down to the to the ABC islands, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, which from Galveston, you typically don’t see even from Miami, you don’t typically see because it’s so far south. Right. So, again, it goes back to that we’re very itinerary focused it, it becomes challenging for your 1000 advisors to keep track of where the ship is when, but it just provides so many options for people to get on a new ship and see somewhere different. Because I did think the itineraries were quite varied and combinations that you don’t typically see. Because if you’re adding on a couple of extra nights, nine-night cruise, 10, night cruise 11 nights or whatever. 

John W.  28:07  

This new ship will be out by a year from now? The second of the Prima class, when is that out? 

Derek L. 

A little less than a year after the Prima comes out, I think it’s about 11 months from then, and then it’s about a ship every year for the next six years. So yes, we’ve got six ships in the Prima class that’ll be coming. 

John W.  28:39  

What else do you want to tell us that about? The ship itself? Or Norwegian Cruise Line? What else should we know? 

Derek L.  29:24  

In terms of the ship itself, pay attention because there’s more to come, there’s going to be more reveals and more exciting stuff. We’re gonna be talking more about because Norwegians all about that. We’re a phenomenal ship for people that are looking for entertainment options and food. We’ll be seeing more when it comes to the restaurants we’ll be seeing more when it comes to the entertainment options on board. On a bunch of our other ships, we’ve got, headline style entertainment, we’ve got Kinky Boots on other ships, we’ve got, Six on ships, we’ve got just all sorts of different entertainment options. There will be more coming about the ship. There’s lots of exciting stuff, the most exciting thing is we’re going to be sailing in July. It’s been a tough year for everybody. Cruise Lines included and we’re really excited that in late July the Norwegian Jade is going to be sailing from Athens, followed by the Bliss in Italy. Alaska out of Seattle. It’s nice to be back to the water to be talking about actual sailings, it’s kind of an exciting time. I think traditional cruisers and new cruise passengers, or guests are still looking forward to all the cruise possibilities. And, and of course, the brand-new ship is really exciting, and it’s just great to see and have something to really look forward to.

John W.  30:34  

So well with that, I guess. Is there any anything else? Any last comments?

Derek L. 30:43  

Thank you to you, John and your network. It’s been a rough year for everybody, the service provided by your travel advisors is so important. It’s always been important, but especially now, I would say just because there’s a lot of things to navigate as we as we get back out to the water. As we get traveling again. It’s the travel advisors who know all that stuff, and can put it all together and say, here’s what you need, and here’s how we book these flights, and here are the options on insurance and all of that it’s just so critical that clients use that expertise, because that’s really what it is, is expertise. We are so grateful that we’re coming out of this last 16 month period, we we’ve got 17 ships that we’re now talking about bringing back to the ocean and bring it back to the sea. I know the crew are so ready to be back to it. We hear about them on the ships, and they’re there right now. They’re getting back to it. And they’re, practicing and they’re running through how do you cook dinner again? And how do you make up a cabin? They’re all they’re all 100% excited about welcoming our guests back. Such a great crew on our ships as well. And I can’t wait to also get back on the ship and meet the crew on the vessel. And it’ll just be a great time. 

John W. 

Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Well, thank you, Derek. We really appreciate you spending some time with us today and talking about the exciting new ship and moving forward in cruising. 

Derek L. 

Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

John W. 

Thank you.