The president of P&O Cruises says the line has “learned our lessons” on refunds and is ready to return customers’ money for cancelled cruises in “a timely manner”.

Speaking as the UK line launched its summer 2022 programme, Paul Ludlow said P&O had paid back “99.5%” of customers who had asked for a refund for cruises cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He admitted there was a “minority” of cases where “complexity” had led to delays, but explained: “This might have been due to missing information, discrepancies over booking values, a special request being made or we were at fault for not giving what they asked.

“So there were some customers who would have liked their refunds more quickly and for that I apologise, but we have absolutely learned our lessons and we’re now in place where people can get their refund in a timely manner,” he said.

Ludlow said he was “really encouraged” by demand for summer 2022.

“We opened up pre-registration and are seeing levels akin to previous years. People have gone crazy for it and that’s something that we can all take pleasure from. Consumers know there will be better times ahead and today has proved a point about how they feel about cruising,” he said.