P&O Cruises upbeat as Royal Caribbean International sets up UK base – 8 Mar 2007

P&O Cruises has admitted it will have to respond to rival Royal Caribbean International’s announcement that it will base one of the world’s three largest cruise ships in Southampton in 2008.

The UK’s cruise market leader, which carries around 200,000 UK passengers annually, does not believe that the arrival of 3,600-passenger Independence of the Seas will overshadow the launch of its own super liner 3,000-passenger Ventura in 2008.

However head of brand marketing Philip Price said the cruiseline will have to do something to ensure Ventura stands out in the market place, “even more so in the light of the Royal Caribbean announcement”.

“We have modelled the size of the market and we are confident that our deployment is well within the scope of the market and the potential for growth and there is room for both of us,” he added.

Price said if the UK market did not grow as predicted there might be a risk of over-capacity, but P&O Cruises’ British brand save it from the worst effects.

“Ventura is the superliner for Britain and she will appeal to a unique and different audience from Independence of the Seas.”

Passenger Shipping Association director Bill Gibbons said: “The fact that Royal Caribbean is putting one of the newest and biggest cruise ships in the UK is fantastic.”

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