Ocean Village has teamed up with Thomas Cook to launch its first national TV advertising campaign in its biggest multi-platform turn-of-year marketing push.

News of the £2 million eight-week TV campaign, which launches on January 5 2009, comes just weeks after parent company Carnival UK announced it would be phasing out the Ocean Village brand over the next two years due to rising fuel costs and opportunities to use its ships profitably as part of P&O Cruises Australia.

The cruiseline is spending around 50% more than last year on its 2008 peaks campaign and has chosen to partner with Thomas Cook rather than a mix of travel agents.

Animated TV and radio advertisements will direct viewers to Thomas Cook agents. Actress Tamzin Outhwaite will do the voice-over for both. The £549 lead-in price for a week’s fly-cruise in the Mediterranean includes a £100 per couple saving on seven-night cruises from Palma, while there is £150 off 14-night Riviera cruises, booked before January 31 2009.

Managing director Nick Lighton insisted the decision to ramp up the cruiseline’s peaks campaign was not because of poor bookings due to the downturn or the planned phase-out.

He said: “We have done regional TV advertising successfully and the national campaign is about the success we have had and the confidence we have in the ‘wave’ [peak sales] period.”

The cruiseline ran its first regional TV campaign in January 2009, followed by a £1 million campaign in the Granada, Central and Meridian regions in June.

Lighton added: “We are seeing a booking pattern similar to last year and we are ahead of last year in terms of volumes. One of the most significant issues for us is about confidence.

“There are still two years of Ocean Village, that’s nearly £200 million worth of revenue. Clearly the focus is to make sure we manage that from a commercial and consumer perspective.”