Last updated: 01:09 PM ET, Wed April 22 2015

Norwegian Debuts More Inclusive Shorter Sailings on Norwegian Sky

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Norwegian Cruise Line | James Shillinglaw | April 22, 2015

Norwegian Debuts More Inclusive Shorter Sailings on Norwegian Sky

Norwegian Cruise Line is going all-inclusive—at least in a limited way on much shorter voyages. At CLIA’s cruise3sixty conference in Fort Lauderdale, Andy Stuart, Norwegian’s new president and chief operating officer, announced that beginning in January 2016 all guests onboard Norwegian Sky sailing on three- and four-day cruises to the Bahamas from Miami can get free unlimited beer, wine and premium spirits included, in addition to free dining and entertainment options.

Earlier this month Norwegian announced that the Asian restaurants onboard its ships would no longer have a coverage charge, so this latest announcement steps up the line’s experiment in all-inclusive sailings. The vast majority of ships sailing in the contemporary space do not offer free drinks and beverages unless guests pay for a beverage package. Norwegian will continue to charge guests for specialty restaurants on Norwegian Sky.

Guests on Norwegian Sky, effective next January, can enjoy a variety of unlimited premium spirits, cocktails curated by the mixologists from Miami’s Bar Lab, wines by the glass, and bottled or draft beer. Guests 3 to 20 years of age can get unlimited sodas and juice throughout their cruise.

“The three- and four-day market is important for us,” said Stuart. “We’re excited by the prospect…..of free dining, free entertainment and now free premium drinks, beer, wine and sodas starting in January 2016.”

Stuart said Norwegian had been offering unlimited beverages as a promotion, but saw the new inclusive option as an opportunity to differentiate Norwegian Sky in the market. The cruise fare will rise a bit because of the new inclusion, he said, but not by much.

“We absolutely believe we can drive more demand earlier by differentiating and will need to discount much less,” Stuart said. “The goal is to sell early and fill ships sooner, and don't discount close in.”

Norwegian Sky sails three- and four-day roundtrip cruises from Miami to the Bahamas year-round. The new all-inclusive experience will also provide guests with unlimited premium beverages while on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas.

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