Thomas Cook has partnered with NCL Freestyle Cruising to offer a new way of cruising in 2009.
In a move set to reinvent customers’ cruising experience, Thomas Cook is creating a more integrated holiday experience on board NCL’s Freestyle Cruises to offer holidaymakers a new package holiday experience at sea.
On selected 2009 departures, Thomas Cook reps will be onboard NCL’s European-based ships – Norwegian Gem, Jewel and Jade – to greet customers and ensure all their needs are catered for throughout their trip from booking excursions to sourcing emergency suntan cream – just as they would on a traditional package holiday.
All flights and transfers will be booked by Thomas Cook and customers will receive port-side priority check-in at a dedicated Cruise Thomas Cook branded check-in area.
A door-to-door chauffeur service is also exclusively available to Cruise Thomas Cook customers along with low deposits of only £50 on NCL’s European and Mediterranean cruises and exclusive prices on a range of NCL cruises – ensuring VIP treatment for customers both on and off shore.
This revolutionary move by Cruise Thomas Cook follows extensive research into what today’s generation of cruisers are looking for from a cruise. Cruise Thomas Cook’s recent study into UK holidaymakers revealed more than half of cruisers (52 per cent) believe it is important to book cruises through a specialist agent, and nearly one in four said the expertise of the cruise agent was a key factor when choosing a cruise holiday.
The report also revealed that cruising is no longer viewed as old-fashioned, with six out of ten cruisers seeing it as less formal than it used to be and over half (57 per cent) believing cruise ships now offer more to do onboard.
The new partnership with NCL aims to expand on these findings and open up cruising to a wider demographic that includes younger couples and families, who will be attracted by the combination of Thomas Cook’s 154 year heritage of delivering secure and exciting package holidays and NCL’s young fleet and unique Freestyle Cruising philosophy – enabling guests to dine where they like, with whom they like and with no set dress codes.
Marc Bennett, director of Cruise Thomas Cook, said: “As the original founder of package holidays, this is the next step in a long history of travel firsts for Thomas Cook and one which we believe will revolutionise the way people take cruises in 2009.
“As the fastest growing holiday sector in the UK, the cruise market offers exceptional value and great potential for further growth, and NCL has recognised the opportunities within the new-to-cruise and younger family markets in particular. With the loss of informal cruise capacity in the European market, NCL provides the perfect solution for guests looking for a relaxed yet high-quality cruise experience, and as such we’re delighted to have them on board.”
Stephen Park, general manager for NCL UK, added; “NCL is known for its relaxed, resort-style experience and we’re excited to attract new guests with this initiative and Thomas Cook’s endorsement. Freestyle Cruising suits holidaymakers who want to do their own thing but would like the security of knowing a rep is on board to assist should they need guidance.”