Princess Cruises plans to strengthen its UK sales force as it unveils its two new large ships at a ceremony in Italy.
The line revealed it was creating a 12-strong team under new head of sales Alex White ahead of the floating out ceremony for Regal Princess alongside soon-to-be launched Royal Princess at the Fincantieri shipyard near Venice on Tuesday.
The 3,600-passenger sister vessels are currently under construction, with Royal Princess nearing completion ahead of its naming in Southampton in June.
Regal Princess is due to join the fleet on June 2, 2014 allowing both new generation vessels to be deployed in Europe next summer. The ships share the same new design concept as P&O Cruises’ as yet unnamed new-build which is scheduled to enter service in 2015, although the UK market leader has yet to disclose its on board facilities.
Royal Princess, which will be running fly-cruises in the Mediterranean this summer and Caribbean sailings from Fort Lauderdale in the winter, returns next year to operate Northern Europe itineraries from Copenhagen, with Regal Princess sailing in the Med between Barcelona and Venice.
The increased capacity comes as the line looks to grow its UK passenger base with the creation of a dedicated sales force and a raising of commission to 10 per cent on 2014 bookings.
Princess Cruises fleet operations executive vice president Rai Caluori, speaking from the Italian shipyard, said the line was maintaining the same philosophy across the new vessels with only minor “subtle” changes being made to Regal Princess.
The company is still keeping the details of who will name Royal Princess in Southampton in June under wraps but Caluori said details would emerge in the next few weeks.
The decision to hold the naming ceremony for Royal Princess in the south coast home of Carnival UK demonstrates the line’s commitment to the UK together with the deployment plans for the ships in Europe in summer.
“Our passengers first decision point is the itinerary and our plan was to build new ships that are not that much different from what they are familiar with,” said Caluori.
He emphasised the greater scale of both ships, with larger piazza areas, deck space and glass bottomed SeaWalk extending 28ft over the side of the vessel.
“Our belief is that by naming Royal Princess in Southampton and deploying the ship in Europe will be high profile events which will cement our profile in the UK,” added Caluori. “Princess is already successful in the UK with passengers enjoying our North American product.”
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