P&O Cruises’ 2009 preview brochure has increased capacity for next year by 30% with the inclusion of new cruise ship Ventura.


It is the first brochure from the Complete Cruise Solution stable affected by the recent 1% commission cut.


Ventura has 19 departures out of Southampton and 10 ­flycruise holidays from Barbados. There are also 16 itineraries of two or seven nights to ­attract first-time cruisers – ­double last year’s number.

Travel Weekly Cruise Month - April 2008

Shoulder season prices have seen “more modest” increases than in the peak season to ­attract earlier bookings at less popular times of year.


Managing director Nigel Esdale said: “We are keen to reward those who book early and we are bringing forward prices we would have deployed later. We tried it this year and it seems to work.”


For example, a 14-night cruise around the western Mediterranean on November 3 on Aurora leads in at £949.


Other early sales incentives include up to 45% Pricebreakers discounts for bookings ­before June 30 and free car parking on all Southampton round-trip itineraries.


The brochure aims to define product more clearly for new and experienced cruisers.


Shorter cruises around the western Mediterranean are ­offered on Ventura and Oceana, dedicated to younger couples and families.


Esdale added: “These ships are most aligned to newcomers, while Aurora, Oriana and Artemis have more diverse ­programmes with longer ­itineraries, which appeal more to experienced cruisers.”


New product includes an ­11-night debut tour of the ­British Isles from £1,099 on Artemis.