Pictured: Richard Cross, manager, Southampton Cruise Centre

The Travel Village Group has taken on former Cunard partnership development manager Richard Cross to lead the expansion of its Southampton Cruise Centre brand.

Cross was among several sales staff at Carnival UK who were made redundant in June.

A statement from The Travel Village Group said: “The Travel Village Group is taking a positive approach to the impact the Covid-19 crisis is having on the cruise industry by bringing one of its inhouse brands out of the shadows as a standalone business, but still within the ‘Group’.

“Southampton Cruise Centre now has its own dedicated Abta number.

“The new website, southamptoncruisecentre.com, is also now live, with a sleek, modern design and a quicker, more responsive feel.”

Phil Nuttall, Travel Village Group chief executive, said Cross has been recruited as manager to lead the expansion of the brand.

“I am delighted to be working with Richard once again and he is the perfect fit for our family business,” said Nuttall.

“He is very highly regarded in the cruise industry and his knowledge and passion for cruising from Southampton is a huge benefit to us all.”

Cross added: “We see Southampton as the perfect springboard for growth in 2021 and beyond.

“Our ‘can do’ attitude and personal service is what customers are looking for, even more so now than ever before.

“Yes, it is a tough market and it has been a year to forget for many reasons, but Phil and his team are so positive, and great supporters of the UK cruise industry through Clia and other distribution channels.”

The Southampton Cruise Centre brand was established more than 10 years ago to focus on the port which sees almost two million cruisers depart from the UK each year.

Nuttall has also recruited another cruise industry professional who has been made redundant but is currently unable to reveal the details.

MoreAgent petition demands dedicated minister for outbound tourism

Travel agents ‘bottom of the food chain’ on refunds

Video: The Travel Village boss tries to lift gloom with ditty about life in lockdown