Which? publishes annual cruise line report

UK-based consumer group, Which?, has published its annual cruise line report.

The report, which is based on cruise passengers’ experiences on board, assessed 13 different cruise companies and rated them out of five stars across eight different categories. These included customer service, cabin space, on-board facilities, entertainment and value for money. Oceania achieved five stars in several categories and came out as the overall leader in customer satisfaction with a score of 89 percent. At the other end of the scale, Norwegian came bottom with an overall satisfaction score of 60 percent.

The figures revealed a trend towards customers favouring smaller ships with fewer passengers. Cabin space also proved a major issue with consumers and Oceania scored well in both of these categories, including five out of five stars for passenger to space ratio. Although the company’s food quality and on-board facilities also scored highly, it only managed three stars for its entertainment.

Saga, a cruise line exclusively for the over 50’s, came second on the list. 85 percent of its passengers were Very Satisfied with their cruise experience. P&O was named best of the large cruise line companies. It scored well for on-board facilities, cabin quality and passenger to space ratio, and at an average per night cost of £152, it figured well against Saga’s £252 per night and Oceania’s £294 per night. Its main complaint was the hard sell of add-ons and excursions.

Norwegian’s less impressive rating came despite a competitive £175 average cost per night. Not surprisingly for a company that has three ships that are capable of accommodating 4,000 passengers, it fared badly on the passenger to space ratio, with frequent queues for restaurants, bars and entertainment. However, Which? stated that Norwegian’s overall 60 percent score was by no means a disaster.

Norwegian announces new route to Singapore from London Gatwick

Norwegian, a low-cost long-haul airline, has launched its first route from London Gatwick to Singapore on September 28, with fares starting from £149.90 one way.

According to the airline, the new 12-hour 45 minute flight from London Gatwick to Singapore Changi Airport is now the world’s longest route operated by a low-cost airline, covering 6,764 miles (10,885km) using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Consumers can fly direct to Singapore from Gatwick four times a week, with tickets available for booking at www.norwegian.com/uk.

Commenting on the launch, Bjorn Kjos, CEO at Norwegian, said: ‘Today we brought a taste of Singapore to Gatwick to mark the expansion of our high quality long-haul flights from the UK to Asia for the first time. I’m delighted to build upon our popular USA flights and give leisure and business customers more affordable access to Singapore and the Asia-Pacific like never before.

‘The 787 Dreamliner has the range to allow us to expand our long-haul services to other parts of the world while keeping fares affordable for all. This is just the start of Norwegian’s UK expansion into new markets as we will continue connecting destinations where fares have been too high for too long.’

Stewart Wingate, CEO at Gatwick Airport said: ‘Norwegian has raised the bar by introducing the world’s longest low-cost long-haul route between Gatwick and Singapore.

‘Singapore is one of the world’s premier destinations and is a significant addition to Gatwick’s 60-strong long-haul route network. Services in both directions are likely to be very popular, both with tourists and business travellers flying between two of the world’s top financial centres.

‘It’s such an exciting time for Gatwick as airlines like Norwegian continue the low-cost long-haul revolution and I’m already looking forward to hearing about the next new destination.’

Norwegian’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners provides passengers with personal 11-inch seat back screens. All seats are equipped with USB ports for charging personal electronic devices. Premium passengers also benefit from cradle seating offering more than a metre of legroom and free lounge access at Gatwick Airport from £699.90 one way, the airline said.

Norwegian introduces new nonstop service between Denver and London Gatwick

Norwegian has launched nonstop flights between Denver International Airport (DEN) and London Gatwick, offering a low-cost option for passengers travelling between Denver and London.

Norwegian’s new service to London Gatwick will operate twice a week, on Saturdays and Tuesdays, until October 28. The service will then increase to three times a week, with an additional flight on Thursdays starting on November 2. The flight will arrive in Denver at 12:40 pm and depart Denver at 2:40 p.m. It will operate using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner with 344 seats, making it the second carrier at Denver International Airport to operate this aircraft.

London is Denver International’s largest long-haul market and second-largest international market after Cancun, Mexico. Currently, nearly 400 people travel between Denver and London in a day, and the market demand has grown by 33 percent since 2013, DEN said in a release.

‘It is an exciting day for DEN as we celebrate not only a new flight, but a new airline partner who is helping us expand our global reach,’ said airport CEO Kim Day. ‘Norwegian’s unique transatlantic business model will lower fares for Denver travellers, leading to more opportunities to explore the world.’

Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian’s chief commercial officer, added: ‘We are very excited to continue our expansion in the U.S. and add Denver to our ever-growing route network. We know Coloradans are asking for more affordable flights to Europe, and at the same time, both Denver and Colorado are highly attractive for European business and leisure travellers alike, bringing thousands of visitors to the state. And this is only the beginning for us here in Denver, as we will increase service this November, and in April next year we will also add a nonstop flight to Paris, not only making flying to Europe more affordable than ever, but with award-winning service onboard one of the world’s youngest aircraft fleets.’

With the addition of Norwegian, Denver International Airport has 25 airlines operating at the airport including 10 foreign-flag carriers that provide service to 26 international destinations in 11 countries, and more than 190 total nonstop destinations, the airport noted.

Norwegian announces new routes to Chicago and Austin from Gatwick

Norwegian Air, a Norwegian low-cost airline, has announced two new US routes from London Gatwick, with flights now on sale to Chicago with fares from £179, and Austin, Texas from £239.

Starting March 25, 2018, Norwegian will commence a year-round, four-weekly service to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, with economy fares from £179 one way and Premium fares from £499. And, starting March 27, 2018, Norwegian will operate flights to Austin with a new year-round, three-weekly service to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, with fares available from £239 one way and Premium fares from £579.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: ‘Once again we have put the UK at the heart of our ambitious expansion plans, with affordable fares to another two exciting US destinations. As America’s third biggest city, Chicago is perfect addition to our growing networks while Austin has also become a major hub for leisure and business travel so we are delighted to offer passengers more choice and lower fares to these vibrant cities.

‘Many people said low-cost long-haul would never work but three years, 13 routes and 1.5 million UK passengers later and Norwegian has shown there is huge demand for more affordable long-haul travel.’

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said: ‘These new flights are yet more proof that the low cost long haul revolution is here to stay as Norwegian and Gatwick’s long haul networks reach into all four corners of the globe. Norwegian now offers 13 long-haul routes from Gatwick to destinations across the US and also to South America and south east Asia.

‘The addition of new flights to Chicago and Austin also means that Gatwick’s long haul network breaks yet another world record as we now offer 62 long haul routes – more than any other single runway airport in the world – and the fifth largest network of any airport in Europe.’

The new routes from London Gatwick to Chicago and Austin will be operated on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft offering passengers seatback inflight entertainment, and a Premium cabin offering more than a metre of legroom, complimentary meal service and airport lounge access. Flights are now on sale at www.norwegian.com.

The airline, which first launched its low-cost long-haul services from Gatwick in July 2017, now serves 13 global long-haul destinations from Gatwick, including nine US cities, Singapore and Buenos Aires. Over 1.5 million UK passengers have now flown low-cost long-haul with Norwegian since July 2014, it said.

Norwegian announces new London -Argentina route starting February next year

Norwegian has announced a new route from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires – the airline’s first ever South American route.

Known as the ‘Paris of South America’, Buenos Aires offers UK travellers a mix of European and Latin American culture. The new route will start in February 2018, with fares from £299. Norwegian already offers long-haul flights from London Gatwick to nine US cities and Singapore. Buenos Aires will become Norwegian’s 11th long-haul route from London Gatwick as it continues to expand its services from the UK into a range of new global markets.

Effective from February 14, 2018, Norwegian will start a year-round service of four weekly flights from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport. Operated using the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, the service offers passengers seatback inflight entertainment and fares from £299 one way in economy. Passengers can also opt for Premium cabin which offers more than a metre of legroom, complimentary meal service, and airport lounge access, with Premium fares available from £699 one way. Flights are now on sale at www.norwegian.com.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: ‘With our new Argentina route we are offering UK passengers more choice and lower fares to another exciting global destination. Buenos Aires is a cosmopolitan capital city with something to offer all travellers and Norwegian has fares to suit all budgets.

‘From Europe, the USA, Asia and now South America, our long-haul network is going global and the UK will continue to be at the heart of our ambitious plans for expansion. We also see huge potential in the Argentinian market so this is not only a major milestone as our first South American route, it is also a first step towards ambitious plans for international and domestic growth in Argentina.’

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: ‘Norwegian’s new direct route to Buenos Aires shows that the low cost long haul revolution continues to break new ground. The boom in these routes is a major factor in Gatwick recording the second largest increase in direct connectivity of any European airport over the last five years. Gatwick now serves more than 50 long haul direct services and this is only the beginning. This is the future of air travel becoming a reality before our eyes and is being driven by new low cost long haul services that Gatwick and Norwegian have pioneered.’

Norwegian carries more than five million UK passengers each year from five UK airports, to over 50 global destinations. Earlier last week it was announced that Norwegian has been awarded the ‘World’s best low-cost long-haul airline’ for three consecutive years at the SkyTrax World Airline Awards.

Norwegian commences new direct flight to Rhodes from Gatwick; to US east coast from Edinburgh

Low-cost airline Norwegian has announced an expansion to its routes from the UK with a new direct service from London Gatwick to Rhodes.

Norwegian’s inaugural flight to Rhodes departed on June 17 with a weekly service throughout summer, and fares available from £29.90 one-way.

Rhodes will be the fifth Greek island Norwegian serves direct from London Gatwick, including Corfu, Crete, Kefalonia, and Santorini.

Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Commercial Officer for Norwegian, said: ‘Rhodes is a fantastic addition to our growing UK route network and with affordable fares, we expect Brits to flock to the Greek island this summer.’

In addition, Norwegian has also recently launched new routes to the USA from Edinburgh Airport, commencing its daily service to Stewart International Airport in New York on June 15. Norwegian’s transatlantic expansion to the US east coast include services from Edinburgh Airport to Providence, Rhode Island starting June 16 and the UK’s only direct service to Hartford, Connecticut commencing June 17. With this, Norwegian operates 14 transatlantic flights per week from Edinburgh, with fares starting from £138 one way.

Norwegian Chief Executive Officer, Bjorn Kjos said: ‘Not only is Norwegian transforming transatlantic travel by connecting smaller cities in huge catchment areas but we’re also unlocking affordable direct high quality travel to a new market of travellers.

‘As such, Edinburgh is important to our future UK growth and it will allow us to create more Scottish jobs at Norwegian which in turn benefits the workforce of Scotland’s tourism industry.’

Norwegian now serves over 50 business and leisure summer destinations worldwide- carrying nearly 5.2 million UK passengers each year – from London Gatwick, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham. Short-haul flights are operated by a fleet of brand new Boeing 737 aircraft offering passengers free inflight Wi-Fi.

Seats are available to book now at www.norwegian.com. Fares are per person, per one-way flight and include all mandatory taxes and charges, the airline said.

Norwegian announces new London-Singapore route from September 2017

Norwegian, a European low-fares airline, is planning to launch a new route from London Gatwick to Singapore this winter as the airline’s long-haul UK network expands into Asia.

Starting September 28, Norwegian will operate four weekly flights, increasing to five in the winter, from London Gatwick to Singapore Changi Airport. Flights are now on sale at www.norwegian.com with fares from £179 one way.

Operated on Norwegian’s new 787 Dreamliner aircraft, the Gatwick-Singapore route will offer up to 344 seats in both economy and premium cabins. Premium cabin fares are available from £699 one way which includes access to No1 Lounges at Gatwick, more than a metre of legroom, complimentary meal service and a reportedly generous baggage allowance.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: ‘Our transatlantic flights have shown the huge demand for affordable long-haul travel, so we are delighted to expand into new markets and offer our first route to Asia from the UK. Travel should be affordable for all so adding Singapore to our growing UK network will give passengers even more choice for affordable, quality travel to a range of global destinations.

‘The UK is at the heart of Norwegian’s ambitious plans for growth so it is a significant moment not only to launch this exciting new route, but also for it to be the first long-haul route to take to the skies with our new ‘Norwegian UK’ subsidiary.’

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive, Gatwick Airport said: ‘These new direct flights between two of the world’s top three financial centres will be welcome news for business travellers, particularly at a time when global trade is increasingly important for the UK economy. Singapore is also a key tourist destination and gateway hub for long-haul travellers looking to venture further into Southeast Asia and Australia.

‘I’m delighted that Norwegian has responded to this demand and added such a premier destination to its growing long haul network from Gatwick. Crucially, Norwegian continues to make important destinations like Singapore much more affordable and easier to reach for a wider range of passengers. As our 50-strong world route network expands, so too does Gatwick’s reputation on the global stage as a strong, dependable option for international travel.’

Lee Seow Hiang, CEO, Changi Airport Group said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Norwegian to Changi’s portfolio of airlines in September; it will enhance options for Changi Airport’s passengers as well as attract more UK visitors to Singapore. With changing consumer preferences and an improvement in aircraft technology, low-cost carriers have taken the opportunity to expand into the long-haul market. We will continue to work with our airline partners to exploit other such opportunities to grow their operations at Changi.’

Norwegian carries 5.2 million UK passengers each year from four UK airports to more than 50 global destinations. The airline already offers flights from London Gatwick to nine U.S destinations including newly announced routes to Seattle and Denver.

Norwegian, No1 Lounges partner to enhance travel experience from Birmingham Airport

European low-cost airline Norwegian has announced a new partnership with No1 Lounges to offer an enhanced travel experience to the airline’s loyalty scheme members travelling from Birmingham Airport.

With the agreement, all Norwegian Reward members flying from Birmingham Airport will receive an exclusive 15 percent discount for No1 airport lounge access, which includes complimentary Premium Security lane access, enabling them to skip the queues. The new partnership also offers Norwegian Reward members 25 CashPoints when purchasing airport lounge access with No1, which may be used to reduce the cost of future flight bookings, seat reservation and checked baggage. 

Brede Huser, Vice President of Norwegian Reward, said: ‘Our new partnership with No1 Lounges is significant for Norwegian Reward members who can now earn even more cost savings. We’re continuously giving more value to our customers and now we’ve made lounge access more affordable and accessible for cost-conscious travellers. With this in mind, our most loyal passengers can get their summer holidays off to a fantastic start in high-quality lounge facilities even before they step on to our brand new aircraft.’

Phil Cameron, CEO of No1 Lounges, said: ‘We are delighted to be adding to the departure experience for Norwegian passengers – and to be offering greater value. We see innovation as key to our success, so it’s very exciting to be working with a like-minded airline such as Norwegian, which is continually striving to deliver the very best for its customers.’

There are currently 500,000 UK-based Norwegian Reward members earning rewards on all flights, which could boost CashPoints, gain free seat reservation, free fast-track or free baggage for a year, the airline said.

The No1 Lounge in Birmingham has a fully tended bar, open plan bistro and lounge areas, alongside an exclusive living herb wall. 

Norwegian operates flight service from Birmingham to Barcelona using Wi-Fi equipped aircraft with fares from £29.90. Customers looking for discounted No1 lounge access using Norwegian Reward may book their trips at https://no1lounges.com/norwegian, it added.

Norwegian to launch three Spanish Routes from Birmingham

Birmingham Airport and European low-fare airline Norwegian have announced plans to launch new flights to Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga from Birmingham next summer.

Starting March-end, Norwegian will offer regular services to the three Spanish routes, with Madrid becoming a brand new destination from Birmingham. Norwegian will operate a 186 seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft, with a one- service cabin and free Wi-Fi.

Flights to Madrid will commence on March 31 and will operate each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Malaga will commence on March 30 and will operate every Monday, Friday and Saturday, and Barcelona will start on June 1, flying each Monday and Friday.

Paul Kehoe, Chief Executive of Birmingham Airport, said, ‘We are very pleased to be able to announce this new airline and offer more new routes from Birmingham, and I thank Norwegian for choosing to launch Birmingham to these popular Spanish destinations.’

‘Although Norwegian is new to the Midlands market, I am certain that consumers – both business and leisure – will be impressed with the carrier’s low fares and efficient service, which has allowed them to grow to carry more than 20 million passengers a year. We are therefore very pleased to be welcoming Norwegian to Birmingham next summer.’

Chief Commercial Officer, Thomas Ramdahl of Norwegian, added, ‘We’re happy to announce that Norwegian is launching new routes from Birmingham to several destinations in Spain.’

‘We are looking forward to offering our low fares and award-winning service to travellers in the greater Birmingham area and welcoming them on board our brand new and more environmentally friendly fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft with free WiFi.’

Norwegian, which launched its long-haul operation in May 2013, operates 416 routes to 126 destinations in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Thailand and the US.

 

Norwegian and London Gatwick sign landmark commercial partnership

Budget airline Norwegian and the UK’s second largest airport, Gatwick, have entered into a long term commercial partnership, with the airline unveiling its growth plans at the airport.

The plans for 2014 include new trans-Atlantic routes to New York to be operated three times weekly, and twice weekly services to Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale direct from Gatwick starting from July. All long haul routes will be operated on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which will have 291 seats including 259 in economy and 32 in premium economy

From April 2014, Norwegian will offer services once a week on a Saturday to Santorini, Sicily and Cyprus, and three times a week to Budapest. From July 2014, there will also be a service once a week on a Saturday to Corfu.

From summer 2014, Norwegian will increase its frequencies to: Malaga, Ibiza, Split, Dubrovnik, Majorca, Faro, Tenerife, Copenhagen and Barcelona.

Bjorn Kjos, Norwegians CEO, said: ‘Norwegian is delighted to have agreed a long term commercial partnership with London Gatwick. As one of the fastest growing airlines at the airport, Norwegian will continue offering our passengers at Gatwick an increasing route network and a high quality product at reasonable fares.’

Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick, said: ‘This partnership with Norwegian is a landmark in London Gatwick’s history. Four years after the end of the BAA monopoly at Gatwick, this deal marks the start of a new era for passengers bringing more competition to the aviation market.

‘This partnership deal also shows the shared vision and commitment both Norwegian and Gatwick have for London and the South East which is the largest, most exciting and vibrant travel market in the world. That commitment extends to Norwegian’s support for Gatwick’s need to build an additional runway by the mid-2020s.’

The commercial agreement comes after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) proposed to endorse Gatwick’s approach to creating custom-made commercial arrangements between its airlines and the airport.

Norwegian started UK operations at Gatwick in 2009, moving from Stansted Airport. Nearly two million of its passengers will use the airport this year, flying to 25 destinations across Europe. This is expected to increase to 33 destinations across Europe and North America.