The boss of the company that has revived the Gill’s brand said he had been encouraged by the level of consumer interest despite major cruise lines saying they would not sell through it.
Warren Joy, International Cruise & Excursions’ chief operating officer for Europe, said 1,000 customers signed up to become a member of the new Gill’s Holidays site on the first Saturday after launch.
Ice acquired the database of Gill’s Cruise Centre, the agent that failed in July 2011, via WeCruise.
But Carnival UK, owner of P&O Cruises, Cunard and Princess Cruises, told Travel Weekly it did not want its brands on the site, although it continues to work with other Ice brands.
Joy said: “On a global basis Carnival is a huge partner for Ice and that will continue. They [Carnival] were worried about what happened last year but they understand we are not going to launch a retail website just to sell cruise cheaply.”
John Williams, Ice chief financial officer, said: “We did not launch this as a cruise-centric brand. We would like to offer all 44 cruise lines but if we are limited to 30-plus, that’s fine.”
Ice said it was pleased with the response to its first emails sent to names on the Gill’s database.
“Early indications are that this is a very strong brand and one that resonates with consumers,” Joy said.
Ice operates an unusual rewards scheme model, allowing customers to lock in the price of their holiday now and shop later.