Retaining and switching customers to sister brands will become the “most significant agenda” for Ocean Village over the next two years, managing director Nick Lighton has admitted.

The company hopes to move customers across to P&O Cruises and Princess as its brand is phased out and once the ships leave the UK. The first goes to P&O Cruises Australia in autumn 2009 followed by the second a year later.

Lighton said: “As time evolves that will be the most significant agenda. P&O Cruises would be the most natural brand for past passengers, while Princess Cruises is also being expanded in the UK.”

But he reiterated the company’s message that there would be no decrease in investment in the brand despite its phase out.

“The major message to our agents is that it’s worthwhile continuing to develop Ocean Village. Clearly we will be working with agents on marketing programmes to maintain their customers,” he said.

He admitted the economic climate would make it tough for the cruise sector next year but said the company was introducing new activities to boost demand, such as an enhanced youth programme, new onboard packages, and an improved entertainment programme.

“We are going to do some exciting things in the Mediterranean with our entertainment programme,” he said. No details have yet been revealed.