Princess Cruises is targeting further growth in fly-cruise on the back of a record-breaking year for its UK business.
Eithne Williamson, the line’s vice-president for the UK and Europe, described travel agents as an “absolutely vital” element in the success enjoyed in 2023.
Williamson (pictured) told Travel Weekly she hopes next year will be even stronger and the focus is now on supporting the fly-cruise products.
She said: “Flight availability and price across the travel industry has been a little bit of a challenge. That’s improving and I’m hoping for further improvements in 2024.”
Williamson, who took part in a shipyard visit this week as Sun Princess nears completion, said “incredible growth” has been achieved in ex-UK sailings this year following the line’s most significant trade programme to date.
A record 2,600 agents spent time on a Princess ship in 2023, which the line has credited as being behind its record sales figures.
Williamson said the “real growth and opportunity” is now in the fly-cruise market, adding: “We’re currently working with Aer Lingus out of Dublin and British Airways out of London and we’ll do more work with airlines and our travel agents to make sure we’re supporting getting our guests to the ships.”
The line plans to host 240 agents for fam trips on Sun Princess after it starts sailing in February.
The line’s first Sphere-class ship, with a capacity of 4,300, will launch with a season in Europe before moving to the Caribbean.