Princess Cruises will base Sky Princess in Southampton for summer 2022 – the newest and largest ship the line has ever homeported in the UK.
Sky – which launched in October 2019 – will also operate Princess’s longest ex-UK season with an extra month of sailings.
Tony Roberts the line’s vice-president UK and Europe said the move showed an “incredible commitment” to the UK market.
Revealing Princess’s 2022 European deployment to media and trade partners on Thursday (19 November) he said: “Today signifies a turning point as we start to plan for the future. We appreciate your support as we start to rebuild and prepare for the future of cruising with Princess.”
Also featuring in the line’s summer 2022 European programme is Regal Princess, which will operate a roaming deployment in the Mediterranean sailing from Barcelona, Rome and Athens.
Elsewhere, Enchanted Princess – which Princess took delivery of in October – will sail out of Copenhagen.
Meanwhile, Crown Princess will offer British Isles itineraries, while Island Princess will sail Discovery voyages out of Rome and Copenhagen.
Elite membership guests are able to book summer 2022 from 2pm on 1 December and the programme goes on general sale the following day. Pricing leads in from £699pp for a seven-night sailing onboard Sky.
Roberts also announced a new Cruise with Confidence booking policy allowing customers to cancel up to 30 days before sailing and receive their cancellation fees back as a future cruise credit.
The policy is valid on bookings made until 31 January 2021 and on voyages until 31 October 2021.
Asked if 30 days would be enough to help customer confidence, when compared to some lines offering much shorter cancellation windows, Roberts said Princess was “seeking to find a balance”.
“We have sort of struggled with this a bit. The reality of the situation is that if somebody is unwell, we don’t want them to travel and we don’t want them to feel like there’s a financial penalty or that they need to turn up to the ship in order to get turned away.
“We felt that 30 days gives people enough flexibility that if they want to change their mind, they have that right up until that month before. We were seeking to find a balance and we need to recognise we’ll be flexible with guests closer in if there’s a reason they can’t travel."
Asked by a travel agent what was “the one thing" the trade could do to help cruise lines as they prepare to restart operations, Roberts urged partners to work together to build confidence around the return of cruising.
“It’s so incredibly important at the moment. We have to give our guests compelling reasons to book and get back onboard. It’s so exciting to be talking about destinations and onboard experiences and all the things we used to talk about rather than cancellations and schedules.
“That’s where everyone can help – to build that confidence. We’re really starting to turn a corner now and it feels like there is light at the end of the tunnel, so we should be excited about what’s coming up."