Non-commissionables are a problem for travel agents with many cruise lines, but with NCL it can seem worse because of low pricing. In this economy though, what counts is having a product that sells at rates profitable to agents, and that’s why Epic is likely to help NCL.
While publicity of the 150,000 ton ship may be drowned out by Oasis hype in the months ahead, the rising sea created by the debut of the world's largest cruise ship should lift Epic bookings just in time for Wave Season.
Cruise Week has received feedback from agents concerned about low prices for the new studio cabins on Epic. These are small staterooms linked by corridors with a central living room/social area staffed by NCL, but the pricing for these 128 studios is the same as a minimum inside cabin. On the flip side, this is a ship with 1,400-plus balconies, so there are no plain old outside staterooms on Epic, just insides, balconies, and suites.
A key to agent profitability is the expanded ship within a ship concept. The private villa concept debuted with the courtyards on Jewel-class ships, but never to the extent found on Epic, which has 63 private courtyard suites and villas around the private courtyard.
The size and amenities of the Epic courtyard should help sell these upscale categories. Things like a separate adults-only pool in the aft of the ship and numerous entertainment acts with their own dedicated spaces should appeal to people willing to spend a few extra bucks.
The suite complex on Epic features three variations: the Courtyard Penthouse at 322 sq. feet, Courtyard Villas at 506 square feet, and Deluxe Owners Suites at 852 sq. feet. Enclosed within a Courtyard complex is a pool area, sundeck, fitness center, and concierge lounge, plus private restaurant, bar, and beach club.
Guests in these categories will enjoy perks like priority embarkation and disembarkation, priority tenders ashore, dedicated butler and concierge service and priority restaurant reservations. This distinctive offering is promising for agents wanting to generate enhanced revenues with NCL.