P&O Cruises is claiming an “extraordinary” response to sailings in the first week of its 2022 programme going on sale.

Early booking trends point to the popularity of no-fly departures from Southampton across the six-strong fleet, including new ship Iona’s second season of cruises to the Norwegian fjords.

More than 150 holidays are available from the UK port together with a series of Mediterranean fly-cruises offered with a low 5% deposit.

A range of discounts feature alongside special rates for children for bookings made by December 14.

The line believes interest in cruise holidays two years in advance reflects pent-up demand for future travel experiences.

Cruises have been suspended since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic and P&O Cruises’ operations remain paused until early 2021. Industry lobbying is continuing with government to lift the ban.

A framework for cruises to re-start has been endorsed by the Department for Transport but the next step is lifting of the travel advisory by the Foreign Office.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “The truly remarkable first week on sale of our 2022 cruises surpassed all expectations and clearly demonstrates both confidence in cruising and the desire people have to return to sea with us following this unprecedented year of virtually no overseas travel.

“The extraordinary take-up in the first seven days of us putting the programme on sale reflects an undying love for cruising with a trusted, quintessentially British brand.

“Travel agents have really got behind our extensive range of tempting early booking offers to deliver an exceptional launch for us.

“While it is still early days, we are extremely optimistic about the future and know our guests can’t wait to sail with us again.”