Cunard’s new sales team will be in place by early May as the line attempts to become the “benchmark for luxury travel”.

Carnival UK announced last year it was splitting Cunard and P&O Cruises’ sales teams to enhance the distinction between the brands and improve agent relationships.

Gary Anslow, the line’s new UK sales director, has been tasked with recruiting the 18-person sales team after taking up his role in January.

Cunard has appointed 14 sales staff so far and is interviewing for two regional business managers and also has two partnership development manager positions yet to be filled.

Anslow told Travel Weekly that Cunard was recruiting people “not from a cruise background” as it looks to achieve its “very clear objective” of becoming “the benchmark for luxury travel”.

Confirming his team would be in place by early May, Anslow said: “Some of them come from a hotel background, which is good. It is a nice mix.”

He said a sales team with mixed experience “made complete sense”.

“We are in the cruise industry and a huge part of that is the quality of the service on board,” he said.

“There are so many connections between the industries,” he added.

Anslow said it was rare to have an opportunity to set up a new sales team with “such an established brand”.

He also revealed Cunard has doubled the number of places for agent ship visits to 700.

Upcoming visits will take place in Southampton, Greenock, Liverpool, Belfast and Glasgow.

Anslow said Cunard was making a “conscious effort” to set up agent visits across the nation this year to help boost trade sales.

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