Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


Norwegian Cruise Line Cancels Israel Trips Through 2024

8 months ago

Norwegian Cruise Line has removed Israel from its itineraries through 2024 due to the country’s ongoing conflict with Hamas.

Israel represented 7% of Norwegian Cruise Line’s capacity in the fourth quarter and 4% of its capacity for the full year 2024 in the Middle East region.

Other cruise companies have also cancelled trips to Israel. Last week, Royal Caribbean said it removed Israel from its itineraries this year.

Travel Agents

ASTA Free Guide to Becoming a Travel Advisor Sees Thousands of Downloads

9 months ago

The American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has seen over 12,000 downloads of its Travel Advisor Career Overview guide to becoming a travel agent since it made the resource free.

Previously, ASTA’s materials came with a fee, with only about 50 downloads in the five years before 2023.

ASTA’s next step in career training for aspiring travel agents has also been modified to include an ASTA membership with the “Future Travel Professional” level, which forms part of the Roadmap to Becoming a Travel Advisor course starting at $199. An independent advisor membership begins at $228.

The guide was made freely available through a partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line and forms part of ASTA’s overall initiative to bring new travel advisors to the industry, said Zane Kerby, CEO and president of ASTA.

“Right now, the travel industry desperately needs more talent,” said Kerby. “If someone is interested in becoming a travel advisor, they first have to understand the landscape of our industry and the variety of pathways available to them.”

“Our members are telling us they need help,” Kerby further stated as he explained that the overhaul of ASTA’s Travel Career Center extends beyond recruitment with the intent to “equip future professionals with comprehensive tools for success.”

ASTA represents 80 percent of all travel sold in the United States through travel agency distribution channels.


Norwegian Cruise to Return to Maui in September

10 months ago

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Pride of America will resume its weekly trips to Kahului, Maui starting on September 3, the cruise company announced on Wednesday. Norwegian Cruise suspended trips to the island in early August to avoid taking up local resources dedicated toward relief and combating the wildfires in West Maui.

In the aftermath of the devastating wildfires in West Maui, airlines, tour operators and tourists reduced their trips to the island. Maui, which is dependent on tourism, has seen unemployment soar. 

State and local officials welcomed Norwegian Cruise’s return and hope more businesses will follow. “We are encouraging travelers and visitor industry companies, such as Norwegian Cruise Line, to make a responsible return to the island, visiting the many areas that were not impacted by the fires and are welcoming travelers back,” said Kalani Ka‘anā‘anā, chief brand officer of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.


Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Frank Del Rio to Step Down

1 year ago

Frank J. Del Rio will step down as president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, effective June 30, the cruise company announced Monday. Harry J. Sommer, president and CEO of the company’s Norwegian Cruise Line brand, will officially succeed him on July 31. The transition process starts on April 1.

Del Rio has been president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings since 2015. He led the company through the Covid pandemic, which devastated it and the global cruise industry, and its ongoing recovery. He’ll be heading into retirement and serve as a senior advisor to the board of directors through 2025. Del Rio has been in the cruise industry for over 30 years.

Norwegian Cruise Line ship at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Source: Alonso Reyes

Sommer, Del Rio’s successor, has more than 30 years of experience in the industry and rose through the ranks of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings over eight years. His prior roles include president international, executive vice president of president international business development and chief integration officer. Sommer will be succeeded by David J. Herrera, who currently serves a chief consumer sales and marketing officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.


Norwegian Cruise Line Reports $509 Million Net Loss for Second Quarter

2 years ago

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd reported a net loss of $509.3 million for the second quarter of this year, as the company benefits from relaxed Covid protocols and navigates through inflation and higher fuel costs. The company reported a reported a net loss of $1 billion in the last quarter.

Revenue was $1.2 billion, up from $4.4 million in the second quarter of 2021. Onboard revenue has risen over 30 percent from the same quarter in 2019. Load factor was 65 percent, up from 48 percent from in the last quarter.

Total cruise operating expenses rose year over year. Inflation and continued Covid-19-related costs including testing were major contributors. Fuel prices per metric ton rose to $836, up from the second quarter of $673 in 2021. The impact of the labor shortage has been limited to Norwegian Cruise’s U.S. operations, according to Norwegian Cruise President & CEO Frank Del Rio.

Looking ahead, Norwegian’s advance ticket sales balance rose $0.3 billion in the quarter to $2.5 billion, an all-time record high for the company. Sales for 2023 tickets are 40 percent higher than they were in 2018 for 2019 tickets, according to Del Rio.

Recent events are boosting the cruise line’s recovery in the months ahead. Del Rio cited President Joe Biden lifting the testing requirement for incoming travelers, the Center for Disease Control retiring its Covid outbreak tracking program for cruise ships and Norwegian Cruise’s recent protocol relaxation around vaccination and testing requirements. “Each one had a positive impact on booking,” he said. “Each of those events triggered an improvement in bookings.” 

The company expects a net loss for the next quarter due to the effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and current macroeconomic conditions.


Norwegian Cruise Line Posts a $1 Billion First-Quarter Loss

2 years ago

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd has reported a net loss of $1 billion for the first quarter of this year, as the Omicron variant hit sailings.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict also resulted in the cancellation or modification of 60 sailings, which included all voyages with calls to ports in Russia.

However, the result is an improvement on the same quarter in 2021, when it racked up losses of $1.4 billion. Revenue also increased to $521.9 million, compared to $3.1 million in 2021, as cruise voyages restarted.

Total cruise operating expense increased 266.1 percent in the 2022 first quarter, compared to 2021, due to the resumption of sailings but also higher payroll, fuel, and “direct variable costs of fully operating ships.” Inflation also affected food, fuel and logistics costs.

While as of May 7 its entire fleet was back up and running, it was operating at just 48 percent capacity in the first three months of 2022.

“Last week we reached the biggest milestone yet in our Great Cruise Comeback as Norwegian Spirit, the last ship in our fleet to resume sailing, welcomed guests on board in Papeete, Tahiti,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO. “The herculean effort to restart our fleet would not have been possible without the incredible fortitude of the entire Norwegian team and the unwavering support of our key partners and stakeholders around the world.”

Looking ahead, its advance ticket sales balance increased $418 million in the quarter to $2.2 billion as of March 31, 2022. This includes $0.6 billion of future cruise credits, or 27 percent of the total deposit balance.

Gross advance ticket sales were $1.1 billion during the quarter, the highest level since the start of the pandemic.

The cruise line has removed all calls to ports in Russia from its itineraries in 2023.