Holland America Line has admitted there is a possibility it will base a ship in the UK in future following a launch event for new ship Eurodam in Southampton.
In total 1,400 UK travel agents, including three Travel Weekly Cruise Club agents and their colleagues, stayed overnight and enjoyed dinner on board HAL’s new Signature-class ship Eurodam in Southampton at the weekend. On Friday around 500 agents attended product seminars on board.
The ship, which hosted 3,600 people during its UK stay and will have hosted 35,000 people during its 10-day long launch events, is to be named tomorrow by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in Rotterdam.
Speaking after the Southampton launch event, UK managing director Lynn Narraway said the cruiseline had not ruled out having a UK base for one of its 14 ships but as yet no plans had been confirmed.
She said: “One of the questions I was asked the most by travel agents was when are we going to bring a ship to the UK. There has been no committment but there is always a possibility, although it won’t be next year. I hope before I retire that there will be a HAL ship sailing out of Southampton.”
The cruiseline is already monitoring bookings following the weekend’s event, with some agents making bookings on Saturday as a result of bringing customers on board on Friday. “The feedback from the trade has been incredible. It was great they took the time to visit the ship and certainly our sales have been very busy this morning,” added Narraway.
Narraway said she would be keen for HAL to host a similar event for trade and consumers for its next Signature-class ship, launching in 2010.
Meanwhile, the cruiseline’s 2009 worldwide brochure, launched on Eurodam, includes some ex-UK sailings on Prinsendam out of Greenwich in London and Dover for cruises around Britain and the Baltics.
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