New Fred Olsen ships ‘on the drawing board’

New Fred Olsen ships ‘on the drawing board’

Time is right to consider building new ships for Fred Olsen Cruises, according to the cruise line’s chairman.

Speaking at the launch of the operator’s 2018/19 season brochures Fred Olsen Jnr, son of the company’s founder Fred Olsen Snr, said there were plans ‘on the drawing board’ for new ocean vessels.

“Just over ten years ago in 2005 we looked at having a new ship but in terms of finances it didn’t make sense at the time. We are looking at it again and we have ships on the drawing board.

“Any new ships we do produce in the future will be smaller ocean ships which is what we want as a brand and what our customers want.”

UK managing director for the cruise line Mike Rodwell said: “We look at opportunities all the time and a new ship is of course an aspiration of ours but it has to make financial sense.”

At the London launch event on Wednesday evening, the cruise line unveiled its first ever dedicated fly-cruise brochure which Rodwell said had been created following support from the travel trade.

“We’re known for our ex-UK sailings but in the last few years fly cruises have become more important to our customers and to the agents who are selling them,” he said.

“This is a brochure we believe the travel trade can really get behind, as it is what they have told us their customers want.”

In addition to the fly-cruises the line’s four ships – Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch – will visit 13 new ports of call, including Anavilhanas in Brazil, Khasab in Oman, St Tropez in France and Sanremo in Italy.

Newly appointed sales and marketing director Justin Stanton revealed the line was almost 80% sold for 2017/18, and said he looked forward to working with the trade and sales team to increase agent engagement and knowledge of the brand.

“Travel agents are absolutely key to our continuing success, especially as more than two-thirds of our sales are done through the trade,” he said.

“The next year will see a renewed focus on supporting agents in their knowledge of the product and we can’t wait to get agents on board Black Watch since its drastic renovation.”

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