Francis Riley, Norwegian Cruise Line’s former international sales chief, has revealed plans for his new company, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, to grow its business through the UK trade.
Riley, who joined the two-ship line this week as senior vice-president, sales, told TTG he was aiming to visit the UK in May to meet with agents face-to-face and discuss its product and potential partnerships.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line is also considering pricing in sterling, to “simplify things” for agents, and "will not be shy with our rates of commission”, said Riley.
The line, based in Deerfield Beach, Florida, currently operates two-night cruises (leading in from $129pp) and cruise-and-stay packages to Grand Bahama island from the Port of Palm Beach.
A major investor in the company is former Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings chief executive, Kevin Sheehan, whose son, Kevin Sheehan Jr, is also its president.
Riley said markets outside of the US currently attributed to 10% of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s business, describing the UK as having “fantastic potential”.
“It’s a unique product – you get a full day in Grand Bahama on a two-night sailing or you can extend that for a longer stay,” he explained.
“It’s perfect to be packaged from the UK with a two-week Florida holiday and there’s great access from four airports – Palm Beach where we sail from, Fort Lauderdale is 55 minutes away, Miami an hour-and-a-half away and Orlando is two-and-a-half down the road.
“The properties we offer are all-inclusive too, so it’s attractive for Brits.
“Not many agents would be aware of us right now as we have been predominantly focused on the US domestic market, but I’ve been really encouraged by messages from UK agents who got in touch after my new role was announced asking how they can get involved with us.”
After leaving NCL in September 2017, he joined Traveltek Group in March last year.
“I really enjoyed my time at Traveltek and being part of a smaller business, compared to the size of NCL," he said.
"I do have a love affair with the cruise industry and it’s exciting to be back with Kevin; he’s got a great track record of building businesses and we are very focused on growing.”