Independent agents could be the beneficiaries of Fred Olsen Cruise Line’s move to stop selling through Thomas Cook, the operator has claimed.

Nathan Philpot, the line’s sales and marketing director, said more product will be available to sell through rival agents and he admitted he did not know how long the situation would last but that Fred Olsen could not find a solution during discussions with Cook.

“We explored all kinds of options but they have their policies and we have ours and we could not come to a solution to carry on trading. We are confident we can replace that business. We have a good loyal customer base and we have one of the highest repeat rates in the sector at well over 50%, plus we have got regional departures that are very strong where we do not have much competition as others do in Southampton.

“Of course this will affect us but hopefully we will work with other agents to increase their business with us. There has to be a great opportunity for other agents to increase their Fred Olsen business.”

Philpot said he could not speculate how long Fred Olsen will be off sale with Cook but said the operator will not work with any agent it is not able to secure pipeline monies with. He has previously said the line is prepared to consider other options like the customer paying direct or some form of bond.

“We are still very reliant on cruise specialists, that’s where the majority of our business is coming from. There are still travel agents on the high street selling us. That option is there. With a loyal customer base people will find a way to book us.”

The move came after credit insurer Euler Hermes withdraw its cover for third party suppliers.