P&O Cruises is looking to bring forward its booking cycle by six months as it launches its 2018 programme earlier than ever.
The line usually goes on sale in March or April for the following year, but senior vice president Paul Ludlow said the UK market leader is bringing that forward by six months to September 19 due to demand and customer feedback.
The 2018 programme includes 36 school holiday cruises, the most ever; seven new maiden calls; a new 30-day Canadian cruise on Arcadia; a new 12-night Norwegian Fjord cruise; and more evening and overnight calls.
The new ports will be Capri and Rapallo in Italy; Rovinj in Croatia; Kristiansund in Norway; and Gaspé, Sept Iles and Iles de la Madeleine in Canada.
P&O Cruises will offer 26 evening calls, leaving ports no earlier than 9pm, and overnights in eight destinations – Alta, Amsterdam, Funchal, Hamilton (Bermuda), New York, Quebec, Reykjavik and St Petersburg.
Ludlow insisted the line hasn't had to lower prices to fill late space this year, due to more customers booking earlier and opting for ‘Select’ fares, which includes extra benefits such as priority on dining times and cabin upgrades. As a result, customers have more confidence in booking early, he claimed.
Ludlow said: “Our launch day is always momentous because we have tens of thousands of customers who book on day one. There’s already an appetite for 2018 cruises so we’ve decided to launch six months earlier than usual. We’ve had a brilliant 2016, and 2017 has been flying since we launched.
“Because we’ve had fewer late deals and prices in the market this year than previous years, customers now know that if they book early they secure the best price and that it won’t be undermined down the line.”
To mark the launch, P&O Cruises is giving away 180 prizes, from afternoon tea to a West End show with dinner. Book a summer 2018 cruise and log your booking to enter.
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