Harding, a major provider of the cruise industry’s shipboard retail stores, is expanding its operations to include several new and renovated cruise ships. New partnerships with five cruise lines will bring its retail spaces to nine more ships.
New Partnerships Include Major Cruise Lines
Global cruise retail specialist Harding, which already operates retail spaces on 102 ships, announced new partnerships with P&O Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Marella Cruises, and Ambassador, and said additional deals would be revealed for 2023.
The company, founded in 1930, said that original spaces, cruise retail firsts, new brands and the highlighting of wellness products would be emphasized in the new shipboard partnerships.
Harding Chief Executive Officer James Prescott said, “As ships become more individual, more creative and more boundary pushing in their differentiating offer, so does the retail space we create and manage. The power of data and intelligence we gather from more 20,000 guest insight surveys, and our quaternity approach that matches that insight with individual cruise and ship strategies, brand’s perspectives and our know how, is what delivers both creative and bottom-line returns.”
Harding Retail is featured on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Prima, which debuted last summer with a new promenade-style shopping space, the largest tech shop at sea, and a Pandora jewelry lounge.
Further partnerships with Norwegian will include the Norwegian Viva, set to debut in summer 2023, plus Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Gem. The retail operations on Spirit and Gem will go live between July and November 2023, said Harding.
P&O Cruises Arvia, debuting this month, which will feature Harding’s open-plan retail space, a wellness retail focus, a tech at sea space, and a design-your-own fine jewelry bar. New brands that will roll out include Marc Jacobs and Floral Street.
Other ships scheduled to feature Harding retail spaces are Ambassador’s Ambition and Marella Voyager, both in spring 2023, Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Mardi Gras in January 2023, and Carnival Luminosa in November 2023. The company said that four other ship partnerships will be announced for 2023.
Prescott added: “But equally important is the role of shared values and ambitions, and behind the scenes excellence in everything from logistics and IT to the onboard approach and reputation of our teams in delivering exemplary guest service. The critical nature of brand and culture and the role that this mentality at the heart of our business plays is key to our growth strategy, to guest satisfaction and spend, and our track record of winning and keeping long term contracts.”
$4 Million-Plus Annual Transactions Expected
The newly announced partnerships mean that, through 2024, the company expects to handle 4.4 million onboard transactions per year. Cruise guests often take advantage of the tax and duty-free status of shipboard retailers.
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With Harding as the leading provider of cruise retail spaces, guests sailing on different cruise lines are likely to see the same products and promotions offered, and sometimes even the retail staff members, since they are employed by and assigned to a ship by Harding and not by any individual cruise line.
The company was named Cruise Retailer of the Year at 2022 Frontier Awards.