View photos from the naming ceremony

Travel agents remain ‘critical’ to Princess Cruises, particularly in challenging times, according to the line’s sales chief.

Sales and marketing executive vice president Jan Swartz, speaking at the naming of new ship Royal Princess in Southampton, highlighted the value of the trade for giving reassurance to potential passengers.

With the cruise industry under a cloud due to the highly publicised technical issues involving sister brand Carnival Cruise Lines, she said: “Travel agents remain the vast majority of sourcing for our business and they are critical to us.

“In challenging times they are even more critical with consumers looking for reassurance.”

UK director Paul Ludlow said the launch of 3,600-passenger Royal Princess was helping drive a strong momentum in sales from the trade in the UK on the back of simplified commercial terms for agents.

The move upwards to 10% commission in a break from the 5% paid by sister Carnival UK brands P&O Cruises and Cunard will be reviewed annually. The earliest any decision to make changes will be made is when programmes for 2015 go on sale.

He added that business from the UK is looking very strong.

“What’s happening today (the naming by the Duchess of Cambridge) is going to be good for Princess and the UK cruise market in general,” Ludlow said.