The UK’s leading cruise operators have said they will not sell through new agency Gill’s Holidays after its owners revealed plans to resurrect the failed cruise specialist’s name.
The move last week by International Cruise and Excursions (Ice) stunned many in the industry, but senior vice-president for Europe Warren Joy said it wanted to exploit the “trusted” and “recognisable” Gill’s name that traded successfully for many decades until last July.
Gill’s Cruise Centre ceased trading in controversial circumstances last year, leaving some cruise lines millions of pounds out of pocket after they were forced to honour bookings it had made.
The remnants of the firm, including the Gill’s database, were bought from the administrators by the P&P Associates-owned WeCruise.
But cruise operators, including the market leader Carnival UK, which owns P&O Cruises, Cunard and Princess Cruises, refused to work with WeCruise. In April WeCruise sold its database on to Ice.
This week, Carnival UK confirmed it would take the same stance over the Gill’s/WeCruise database and ensure its brands were not featured on the new site.
Giles Hawke, sales director for Carnival UK, described Ice’s revival of the Gill’s name as an “interesting business decision”.
“It’s not a brand we particularly wish to engage with,” he added.
“A lot of our customers were very distressed when Gill’s failed and we do not want to cause those customers more distress by seeing our brands associated with that brand in the market again.”
Joy said the decision to revive Gill’s was part of a major drive to expand its cruise and holiday offering in the UK.
“The brand was one of the longest established and most recognisable and trusted…before it ran into financial difficulties.”
Carnival will work with other brands owned by Ice, which bought 1st4cruising and Ideal Cruising this year.
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