Princess Cruises is targeting newcomers as it increases capacity out of Southampton by 40% next year.

Superliner Grand Princess will offer sailings out of Southampton for the first time, while the cruiseline will also have its biggest fleet in Europe next year.

Its 2009 Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Canada and New England brochure features Grand Princess and Crown Princess, both sailing out of Southampton next year, Emerald Princess, Ruby Princess, Royal Princess and Tahitian Princess. All are sailing in the Mediterranean and Scandinavia in 2009.

Head of brand marketing Pieter van der Schee new cruise passengers were needed to fill the extra capacity out of Southampton.

“In the last three years we’ve grown the number of passengers and our percentage of repeat passengers has grown exponentially, but to reach 40% we need growth from all areas.”

He added the cruiseline offered “unrivalled” time in port to attract newcomers

Grand Princess’ new 14-night sailings out of Southampton to the Mediterranean will avoid the usual stop-off at Lisbon, and include Alicante and Malaga as new ports of call. Prices lead-in at £1,099 per person on the 2,600 passenger ship.

Offers include a third or fourth passenger travelling for free on selected cruises to drive up shoulder season sales, discounts of 45%, free car parking in Southampton or coach transfers to the port, and free cabin upgrades for past passengers.