An early booking discount of 20% is being offered by Princess Cruises as part of its 2012 programme launch.

The deal applies to bookings made before May 31 on sailings which go on sale from 2pm today (Thursday) and past passengers are being offered an addition £200 per couple early booking saving.

The launch offer contrasts with that of sister operators P&O Cruises and Cnuard, both of which are offering an additional 10% off for early bookings.

The 2012 Princess Cruises programme sees 3,114-passenger Caribbean Princess make its debut in Southampton sailing to Iceland, Norway and around Britain

Newly refurbished Grand Princess will return to Southampton sailing to the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and Russia, the Norwegian Fjords, and the Canary Islands.

A new 14-night Grand Princess Baltic cruise from Southampton includes a two-day stay in St Petersburg. Prices lead in at £361 per person for a three-night weekend cruise on Grand Princess in September 2012.

Small 688-passenger Ocean Princess will sail from Dover to Scandinavia and Russia, Norway and the North Cape including a new itinerary to St Petersburg.  In total, Princess will deploy seven ships in Europe next year offering 125 departures on 57 itineraries.

UK head of brand marketing Pieter Van Der Schee said: “As the cruise industry’s destination leader this programme really does give UK holidaymakers more options than ever before to visit the world by sea.

“We will also be offering our greatest choice of cruises from the UK with Caribbean Princess joining Grand Princess sailing out of Southampton and Ocean Princess sailing out of Dover.”

Princess will have seven ships in Alaska next summer offering 122 departures on seven itineraries. There will be five ships offering 115 departures on 10 itineraries in the Caribbean and Panama Canal.

An 11-night cruise to view 2012 Solar Eclipse is among the long haul options which include sailings in Asia, the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand.

A range of seven-night Canada & New England cruises will run from New York, plus 10-night cruises between New York and Quebec

More cruises have been scheduled to Hawaii with three ships sailing from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Star Princess and Grand Princess will sail Cape Horn itineraries between Buenos Aires and Santiago.