Speaking to TTG onboard Crown Princess, Arnold Donald said the UK’s elongated exit from the European Union “has been an uncertainty for a number of years now” but was upbeat in how he assessed demand in the region.
“I know things are kind of bubbling right now [around Brexit] and there could be some dramatic things that happen, but we find that the British people are very resilient and Europeans are very resilient, so we think whatever happens, people in the end will still want to holiday and the world will go on.”
Asked how the cruise giant would react to a potential no-deal Brexit on 31 October – as touted by new prime minister Boris Johnson – Donald said he saw the outcome of Britain’s exit having “some impact one way or another and we will have to adapt to it and adjust just like we do everywhere else in the world”.
“Our assets are mobile and there are changes every year in the world; we were going to Cuba and now we can’t go – that was abrupt and we had to redirect those ships and rebook guests.
“There are cyclones, typhoons, hurricanes, disease scares, so we have to always be prepared to adapt to whatever happens, but right now we have a lot of confidence in the UK market.”
His comments of confidence came as Tony Roberts, Princess’s vice-president UK and Europe, revealed the line’s Europe 2021 programme would go on sale in mid-August – several months ahead of its usual launch.
The season will include nearly 500 days ex-UK cruising from Southampton across three ships – Grand Princess, Island Princess and Crown Princess – an increase of 9% on 2020.
The line’s two newest ships, Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess, will also be based in Europe in 2021, making up the five-ship accompaniment.
Enchanted Princess – set to be named in Southampton next June – will sail across the Mediterranean from April to October via Rome, Athens and Barcelona.
Its deployment means every Princess ship based in Europe that year will feature the line’s OceanMedallion technology – launched in the UK market onboard Crown Princess yesterday (25 July).
Roberts said the move to expand ex-UK sailings for 2021 “demonstrates the confidence we have in the UK and European market and in the trade”.
“Some lines are taking capacity out of the UK – Princess Cruises is not. We are absolutely committed to this market,” he told trade partners and media.
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