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An Analysis of Norwegian Cruise Line: Why You Should 'Cruise Like a Norwegian'

Updated on June 18, 2012

Written for the University of Dallas 'Senior Seminar' class in Spring 2012. Part I

Me swimming with the dolphins!
Me swimming with the dolphins! | Source

What's Up with Cruises?

When one thinks of cruising, one might envision old people lounging on the upper decks fully clothed (or not!) with a newspaper, or perhaps hundreds of newlyweds walking around, holding hands, oblivious that anyone else even exists. Surprisingly enough, life aboard a cruise ship is nothing like this. The diversity of both the passengers and crew is extensive, with everyone doing something different. There are an endless amount of activities to keep one occupied and exhausted by the end of the day and don't forget the ports of call! Each port offers several different excursions but if you choose to wander around by yourself, go for it! Of course, it also goes without saying that there are loads of food waiting to be enjoyed all day everyday. With apparently so much to do on a cruise, the decision must be made on which cruise line to take. Do you prefer bargains? Perhaps exotic locations intrigue you and you don’t care what cruise line gets you there. More importantly, perhaps you are the kind of person who wishes to have exclusive amenities, unparalleled twenty-four hour service, and an oceanfront boardwalk with shops, eateries, and bars? If this is how you roll, then book yourself a suite or a studio aboard the Norwegian Breakaway right now and be blown away!

Norwegian Breakaway
Norwegian Breakaway | Source
Andy Stuart, Executive VP
Andy Stuart, Executive VP | Source

Quick Background

Founded in 1966 by Knut Kloster as Norwegian Caribbean Line, “Norwegian Cruise Line is the innovator in cruise travel with a 45-year history of breaking the boundaries of traditional cruising, most notably with the introduction of Freestyle Cruising which has revolutionized the industry by allowing guests more freedom and flexibility.”[1] Jointly owned by Star Cruises, the sixth largest cruise line in the world, NCL is renowned for its innovation and superior ship amenities. Its mission statement is, “To provide a consistently superior cruise vacation by exceeding customer expectations and embracing our passion for innovation that delivers freedom and value for our guests, travel partners, team members and shareholders.”[2] In this $30 billion industry, Andy Stuart, the Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Passenger Services, says, “We have the best product to attract the first time cruiser to.”[3] Let’s see if he’s correct.


Success in the External Environment

The executives at NCL clearly understand the nature of the external environment as well as its impact on their success. This is why NCL is consistently acknowledged and rewarded for its service and innovation. For example, in the year 2007 according to the Cruise Lines International Association, the worlds largest cruise industry organization, Knut Kloster of NCL won the Cruise Line Executive award in the Cruise Industry Hall of Fame.[4] Since then, NCL has won an incredible eight additional awards and twenty nominations from the World Travel Awards, the “travel industry’s equivalent to the Oscar’s”.[5] These include winning “Europe’s Leading Cruise Line” four years in a row, “World’s Leading Cruise Website”, and “Europe’s Responsible Tourism” awards. Their successful strategy takes into consideration both internal and external factors. As pointed out in Strategic Management, “If [companies] focus exclusively on the efficiency of internal operations, the firm may degenerate into the world’s most efficient producer of buggy whips, typewriters, or carbon paper.”[6] These words ring true for any company in any industry, not just NCL. After all, an essential aspect of capitalism is the creation of goods or services that society actually wants or needs. Anyone in his right mind would tell you that if there is no market for a product or service, there is no hope in success for that product or service. NCL has wisely come to the conclusion that in order to secure competitive advantages it must scan, monitor, and gather competitive intelligence in the cruising industry, which it most certainly has.

Continues with Part II...

How does this strike you?

Works Cited

[1] NCL, About NCL

[2] Jobing, Profile: NCL

[3] CNBC, Greenberg, Cruise Inc. Big Money on the High Seas

[4] CLIA, Cruise Industry Hall of Fame

[5] World Travel Awards, Norwegian Cruise Line

[6] Dess, Lumpkin, Eisner, McNamara, Ch.2, pg. 40


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