Cruiselines have abandoned “silly pricing” in favour of targeted marketing tactics which may prevent a late holidays price war.

That’s the message from Complete Cruise Solution sales director Giles Hawke, who said strong early sales had led to toned-down marketing as the lates season starts.

He said: “All cruiselines went out with good early prices and sold well. They are now being quite discreet with more targeted marketing and not going out with silly, highly-visible prices.”

The comments follow fears of heavy discounting in the lates period, when companies traditionally sell off remaining stock cheap to fill ships.

But Hawke added: “It doesn’t do any cruiselines any good to have cheap prices in the market. There will be deals but I don’t think there will be ridiculous deals in huge numbers.”

P&O Cruises managing director Nigel Esdale agreed: “There is always some discounting to fill cruises up but sales are going well and people are better at understanding the value of cruises.”

Costa Cruises UK managing director Marco Rosa said holidaymakers were booking later for this summer. “Last year at this stage people had booked and were looking at winter. This year, because of the credit crunch, people have waited to see if they can afford it and are booking now,” he said.