Norwegian Cruise Line Introduces New Youth Program
Play like a Norwegian? Count on it, now that Norwegian Cruise Line is revamping its youth programs fleet wide. The cruise line's re-branded program will be launched on the Norwegian Gem in mid-February of this year and will subsequently be available on all ships throughout the line. Norwegian is selecting new names for its Youth and Teen programs through its "Up2YOU" contest, soliciting ideas from parents and kids.
A growing number of families are sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line, causing it to roll out a new best in class program. "More and more families are choosing a cruise for their vacation since it represents such a good value and offers so much for the entire family," said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line's Chief Executive Officer. "In fact, close to 150,000 children sailed on our ships in 2010," Sheehan said.
Norwegian Cruise Line offers popular Nickelodeon experiences on several of their ships. "Now," says Sheehan, "we want to make sure that we are continuing to offer the best possible experience for families. To do this, we are investing millions of dollars in revamping our youth and family programming.
Norwegian's current program, Kid's Crew, has been available fleet wide since 1999. As part of this new initiative, the youth program will be renamed and the age groups are being changed to better match the skills and interests of children vacationing on the ships. Under the new kids' program, the ages will be: three to five years; six to eight years; and nine to twelve years. The teens program will be divided into two age groups: 13 to 14 and 15 to 17 years. There will also be programming for babies and toddlers ages six months to two years, but it is not clear at this time whether it will be a nursery-type program or scheduled activities with parents present.
The King's Foundation and Camps, a United Kingdom-based organization that offers sports and activity programs, is working with Norwegian Cruise Line to develop a new curriculum of activities for each age group. More focus is being placed on sports, arts and crafts, theater and technology programs. According to Norwegian, activities will change every 30 to 60 minutes depending upon the age group and will be programmed into morning, afternoon and evening timing blocks.
Richard Ambrose, Norwegian Cruise Line's Vice President of Entertainment, is heavily involved in designing and implementing the new youth program. "We want to ensure our youth and teens are engaged in the programs we offer and that they are having fun," said Ambrose. "We have designed the new youth program to cater to the specific interests and skill sets of children and teens to ensure that they are having the vacation of a lifetime."
The company is introducing themed days, such as circus day, theater/technology/sports and port of call day. As part of this, Norwegian Cruise Line has hired Cirque Du Jour, a New York-based company that focuses on teaching children circus skills. Circus workshops and shows will also be available for the entire family. In addition, the kids' and teens' programs will be expanded to use more areas of the ships including the sports courts, rock walls, theaters, lounges and public spaces. More events for the whole family, such as parades and scavenger hunts, will also be offered.
Norwegian Cruise Line is also investing in its staff, increasing the ratio of youth staff to children and setting new criteria for the hiring of counselors. As part of the new program, all counselors must have a college degree in recreation or childcare or the equivalent experience.
Norwegian's new program builds on its exclusive Nickelodeon family events, shows and activities on three of its ships. Nickelodeon programs are currently available on the Norwegian Epic and the Norwegian Jewel, and will be rolled out to the Norwegian Gem beginning in mid-February. Activities include breakfast with Nickelodeon characters, pool games, Dora's Dance Party, and "meet and greet" events with the Nickelodeon characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and many more. Other family inclusive activities are also offered, including Nick Jr. story time, family trivia and arts and crafts activities.
More information on Norwegian Cruise Line's new youth programs will be revealed in the coming months. For more information on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise, visit the company's website at http://www.ncl.com, call 1-866-234-7350, or contact your favorite travel agent.