Princess Cruises will take time to assess changes to international travel restrictions as it builds up to a restart beyond UK domestic waters.
Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast as the line prepared for its first ‘Seacation’, UK & Europe vice-president Tony Roberts hailed the lifting of the government’s international cruise ban this week.
But with ex-UK sailings to international ports not scheduled to start until the end of September, he said Princess was well-positioned to assess further changes and be flexible where needed.
“We’re dealing with a changing picture all the time, as is the rest of the travel industry,” he said.
“There’s a real variety of destinations, including Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, and the Canaries as well. There’s a lot of planning that goes into that, but the nice thing with the cruise industry is that we can change our itineraries and pivot a little bit so that if we continue to have challenges around certain destinations, then we’ll be able to alter our plans.”
Roberts paid tribute to the support the line had received from its travel agent partners, saying the line “could not have returned to service without them”.
He said: “The way [trade partners] work with Princess is just incredible. We’re hugely grateful not just for their support in supporting these sailings through 2021, but where they’ve been side by side with us throughout the whole pandemic over the last 16 months,
“It’s just an incredible debt of thanks, we really could not have done this without them and that continues to be the case.”
Roberts paid tribute to agents’ support for the line’s forthcoming Seacation sailings on Regal Princess and, from September, Sky Princess.
But he said there had also been strong support for Princess’ global programme, with strong interest in Alaska sailings, which restarted last week, and its global programme including the US east and west coasts.
He said: “We are seeing future bookings into 2022, and we just put Europe ’23 on sale as well, and our partners are working incredibly well with us there.”
“We are hugely grateful for the way that we work with the trade partners and for all of the support that they give us.”