Norwegian Announces 9% Staff Cuts and Leadership Changes

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A major management shake-up has hit one of the industry’s biggest names. Executive leadership changes were announced by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises. At the same time, the company revealed a 9% reduction in its shoreside workforce, calling the move a rightsizing.

New Presidents Named for Regent, Oceania

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is making some high-level organizational changes, effective January 1, 2023, at its Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises brands.

In an announcement on December 15, the company said that Regent president Jason Montague will be replaced by the line’s chief sales and marketing officer, Andrea DeMarco, and Oceania president Howard Sherman will be replaced by Frank A. Del Rio, Oceania’s chief sales and marketing officer. Del Rio is the son of Frank J. Del Rio, president and CEO of the holding company.

Oceania Cruises Funnel
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

Both Montague and Sherman will serve as special advisors to the company, to ensure a smooth and seamless transition, the announcement said. Montague was named Regent president in 2016. Sherman became Oceania president in January 2002. According to the company, the changes are part of its succession planning process.

Holding company president and CEO Frank Del J. Del Rio said, “We are grateful to Jason and Howard for their significant contributions to our Company’s success and their tremendous achievements at Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises. We look forward to continuing to partner with them in their new roles as special advisors and benefitting from the wealth of knowledge, experience and strategic relationships they have accumulated as leaders in the cruise industry for over two decades.”

Read Also: Norwegian Cruise Ships – Newest to Oldest

He continued: “Our entire management team and Board of Directors are confident that Andrea and Frank are the right executives to succeed as presidents of Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, respectively. In their current roles as chief sales and marketing officers for their brands they have worked side-by-side with Jason and Howard, proving time and again their leadership acumen, strategic mindsets and ability to deliver top notch results.”

Workforce Cuts ‘Align With Strategic Priorities’

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said the decision to reduce shoreside staff by 9% is one of the company’s “prudent actions across our business to align with our strategic priorities.”

A statement from the company said, “After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to restructure and rightsize our shoreside workforce, reducing our current and planned shoreside roles by approximately 9%. This action is part of a broader and ongoing effort to improve operating efficiencies, including cost minimization initiatives, to strengthen the foundation for sustained, profitable growth.”

Norwegian Cruise Line Ship
Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz

Details regarding how the workforce reduction would affect the operations of the company’s three brands were not provided. Norwegian Cruise Line is a mainstream line catering largely to families. Oceania Cruises is an upmarket line, and Regent is one of the top luxury lines operating today.

The planned cuts in shoreside staffing come on the heels of fee and gratuity increases the company has announced in recent weeks. Guests onboard Norwegian Cruise Line ships are now being charged a new $4.95 service fee for continental breakfast room service. While many cruise lines have rolled out room service fees in recent years, classic continental breakfast offerings have typically remained free of charge.

Gratuity charges have changed onboard Norwegian Cruise Line ships, too. The Haven and Suite guests, who book the highest level of accommodations on the ship, will now be charged $25 per day per person. Previously, the charge was $20 per day. Club Balcony suite guests and all other guests now pay $20 per day per person. It represents a $2 increase from the previous gratuity charge of $18 per day for Club Balcony suite guests and a $4 increase for guests staying in all other cabin categories. 

New Leadership Set to Take the Helm

With the new year, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises will undergo top-level management changes.

Regent’s DeMarco has nearly 20 years of cruise industry experience. She has served as chief sales and marketing officer for Regent Seven Seas Cruises since September 2021. Previously she was senior vice president of Investor Relations, Corporate Communications and Environmental, Social and Governance for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

DeMarco said, “I am honored to lead the world’s leading luxury cruise line. The hard-working and talented team at Regent is truly unrivaled, and I look forward to contributing to the line’s future growth and success, particularly as we prepare for the addition of our newest ship, Seven Seas Grandeur, in 2023.”

Frank Del Rio
Photo Courtesy: Norwegian Cruise Line

Oceania’s Frank A. Del Rio began his career in the cruise industry in 2003. He has served as chief sales and marketing officer for Oceania Cruises since March 2022. Previously he was senior vice president, Port Destinations and Onboard Revenue. He also has pursued entrepreneurial opportunities in the private equity, finance, and tech spaces.

Del Rio said, “I look forward to building on the incredible momentum we are experiencing at the renowned Oceania Cruises brand. I am truly humbled and thankful to lead the world-class team at Oceania and I am excited for the bright future we have ahead of us at the brand and the company.”

With a combined fleet of 29 ships with 60,000 berths, the brands offer global itineraries to some 500 destinations. Several new ships are scheduled for delivery through 2027. Five of the new ships are included in Norwegian Cruise Line’s Prima-class vessels.

The first of the Prima-class ships, Norwegian Prima, debuted in August 2022. Regent will launch the Seven Seas Grandeur in 2023, while Oceania will debut the Oceania Vista, also next year.

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