Ocean Village UK managing director Peter Shanks is expecting more support from trade partners following the launch of the cruiseline’s new ship Ocean Village Two.
More than 2,000 agents visited the ship during inaugural celebrations in Southampton, including 800 Thomas Cook agents, who were on board for the naming ceremony on April 24.
“The reaction from agents has been outstanding,” said Shanks. “There’s nothing like seeing the product to help agents to sell it and we are looking forward to a huge increase in support as a result of having so many on board.”
In the days leading up to the naming, 700 independent agents and 800 Going Places agents were on board and all took part in training seminars. The best-performing agents from Going Places and Thomas Cook sailed on the ship’s six-night repositioning cruise to Palma.
Agents now have plenty of opportunity to sell Ocean Village for the rest of this season, said Shanks. “May has been a good month for sales, but there is good availability for June and high season,” he said.
PSARA director of business development Andy Harmer said the launch of Ocean Village Two and Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas in Southampton in the same week gave agents more opportunity to match customers with cruise product.
“The fact that Ocean Village has doubled its capacity shows what a force modern cruising is,” he added.
“This is a quality ship, and with it being older there is much more space in the upper cabins,” Shanks said.
Ocean Village Two sails its first seven-night itinerary from Palma, Majorca on May 1.
What agents said
“Ocean Village Two is fabulous, and I am actually quite surprised; it’s much better quality than I expected. The food is good and the rooms are lovely.”
Antonio Fellino, branch manager, Thomas Cook, Oxford
“People want the wow factor when they come on a ship and they certainly get it here. I had always thought Ocean Village was three star but the spa facilities are definitely five star.”
Brian Little, branch manager, Thomas Cook, Mary Hill
“The look and feel of a ship is so important and they have really got it right – the size of the cabins is incredible when you think about what people are paying.”
Ann Harris, branch manager, Thomas Cook, Ely, Cambridgeshire