Norwegian Cruise Line will make its UK TV debut later this week, with the launch of its first-ever television brand campaign to run on both terrestrial and digital channels, as well as radio. Airing from 14 September to 12 October, the four-week TV campaign will feature a 30-second commercial showcasing Norwegian’s ‘Feel Free’ ethos.

Speaking to Cruise Trade News, NCL vice-president and managing director for the UK&I and MEA Nick Wilkinson said that this slogan embodies the flexible approach that Norwegian has purposely championed.

“We’ve made a concerted effort to get rid of some of the traditions surrounding cruise, like the first and second sittings at dinner”, said Wilkinson (pictured right). “We now offer 28 different dining options, with up to 50 per cent of these included in the fare. There is only one buffet restaurant, the rest offer a sit-down service”.

Wilkinson said he believed this would put NCL in a good position to compete with land-based, all-inclusive holidays, rather than other cruise operators by giving the ship “a true resort feel”. He added that the entertainment choices on offer, including Broadway musicals, jazz performances and the Beatles-themed Cavern Clubs, also contribute to the idea of freedom of choice.

The NCL vice-president stressed the importance of working with travel partners and said that the campaign came about after feedback from agents who were asked how the cruise line could best “grow the market and get across the emotion” associated with cruising.

“It’s a real 360 integrated campaign”, commented Wilkinson, pointing out that the advert is being used by agents “across multiple channels” including video screenings in branches and embedded in emails and websites. Asked whether the campaign could help dispel the myth that cruising is only for the older generation, Wilkinson said it represented “a good start… viewers can see the energy, the fun, the choice and that will challenge perceptions”.

In terms of the timing of the campaign, Wilkinson explained that the travel market has changed: “the ‘wave period’ has disappeared, but we see September/October as a great booking period – the ‘consideration phase’ before booking [begins in earnest] in January and February.” The ad emphasises the ease of booking via your local travel agent for only a £50 deposit per person, thereby encouraging customers to book early in order to secure their preferred cabin style and itinerary.

The four-week TV campaign will be broadcast on ITV1 in the Granada, Midlands, the Borders and Scotland regions, and nationally on ITV3 and ITV4. In addition, a seven-week radio campaign will air from Saturday 8 September-Wednesday 31 October on Heart Scotland and Clyde 1 in the Glasgow and Edinburgh regions, and Heart North West in Granada.