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During its most recent earnings call, Norwegian Cruise Line execs spoke at length about how good the industry in general — and NCL in particular — is doing these days, in large part because cruising has become so popular around the world. Asked if there were any ports seen as perhaps weaker, President and CEO Frank Del Rio indicated that at the moment, that didn’t seem to be a problem. “Even the guy who bats 9th for the Yankees when the Yankees were good is a good hitter,” he quipped. “And that’s what we’ve got here. We’ve got a line-up where I see no underperforming regions.”
Where NCL Could Potentially Move A Ship
Of course, if a market did show weakness, the company could easily change things up. “I’m always looking where to move vessels to,” Del Rio admitted. “Cruise lines seek to move vessels to the highest-yielding destination. That’s why ships have propellers and rudders”
At the moment, however, he doesn’t see the need to make big changes. “It’s one of the few times in my 25-year tenure in the industry that I wouldn’t move any of my ships. I like where they are. I think… we have optimum itineraries,” he reflected, “and I think that’s one of the reasons we’re seeing strong pricing that we’re seeing, because they’re in the right place at the right time.”
Asked if Norwegian might consider sending a second ship to China, the exec indicated that there were probably better places for them to consider. “Quite frankly, the rest of the world is doing so well,” he explained, “that it’s hard to pull a vessel when you only have 26 [ships], like we do, into China. We have many other either unserved or underserved markets that we would also consider in the mix should ships become available to us.”
Such as? “We don’t have a presence in the mid-atlantic states,” he said. “We’re not in Baltimore, we’re not in Charleston. We don’t have a presence at all in the world’s second largest port, which is Fort Lauderdale. We don’t have a presence in the golf states of Texas or Alabama. We don’t have a year-round presence in Tampa or New Orleans or Los Angeles. We only have three ships in Alaska, which is a very high-yielding market. Some of our competitors have up to eight vessels there.”
At the moment, however, Del Rio sees no need to make major changes such as those, given their strong position in the markets they currently occupy.
Where would you love to see Norwegian move a ship if one became available?