Announcing its 2011 programme, Cunard Line has cited a desire to widen its agent distribution base as a potential key to its success.
The brand will add the Queen Elizabeth to its fleet later this year, allowing the luxury brand to offer an extensive range of voyages in 2011.
Speaking at the launch of the latest programme, president and managing director, Peter Shanks, explained: “One of our core objectives for the trade is to bring more agents into the fold.
“We will grow by a third with a new ship, so more agents are looking at us a growth opportunity.
Strong early demand is expected when the programme goes on sale worldwide on April 26th, with the Queen Elizabeth joining the Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 in the Cunard fleet.
Mr Shanks added: “Three new ocean liners in just six years proves the demand for the Cunard brand from guests looking for the best in luxury cruising and the ability to experience a unique sense of heritage, history and tradition.
“With the anticipation and arrival of Queen Elizabeth, this is our biggest offering for the UK market for many years.
The Queen Elizabeth will be based in her home port of Southampton for her maiden season and will offer 22 voyages; ranging from five to 24-night in duration and costing from £499 per person.
Growing interest in overnight calls will see Queen Elizabeth stay overnight in St Petersburg, Amsterdam, Venice, New York and Quebec – as part of short, five-night trips - giving guests more time to explore these famous cities.
A longer 23-night Caribbean voyage from Southampton in December will take in six famous ports, including Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts and St Maarten.
After two years in service, Queen Victoria has built an enviable reputation and become a second home to many Cunarders – especially past QE2 guests. The vessel will offer 23 voyages, with costs starting at £799 for trips of seven nights.
While trips will continue from Southampton, Cunard is also offering fly-voyages to the Mediterranean; with eight trips of 12-nights setting sailing from Venice, Rome and Athens from £1,349 per person.
Queen Mary 2
The final vessel in the Cunard fleet will offer 21 transatlantic voyages between Southampton and New York; most crossings are now seven nights in duration - from £899 per person.
Queen Mary 2 is now well established on the growing transatlantic market with more and more regular cruisers around the world vowing to experience the unique event of a crossing.
Cunard Line is owned by the Carnival Corporation.
“With three liners in the fleet we can now offer our travel agent partners a choice of all the best destinations. In 2011 we will be covering Europe, the Americas, Transatlantic, the Caribbean and with our world voyages – the world,” added Mr Shanks.
The international cruise market has seen a marked turnaround over the past 12 months, with signs of strong growth in 2010.
This week saw the annual Cruise Shipping Miami event took place in America, with Norwegian Cruise Line chief Kevin Sheehan explaining: “Nothing this industry has experienced in the past could prepare us for what came barrelling down the pipe in 2008 and 2009.
“The Second Great Depression, The Great Recession, The Financial Crisis, whatever you want to call it – it was big and it was scary.
But a year later, “we’re seeing solid signs of a recovery, albeit one that will play out over the next two to three years.
“The industry is expecting, and in fact is realising, positive yield growth, albeit to yields still below pre-meltdown levels. But beyond that, the general climate in the industry is much more positive, and is becoming contagious to our customer base,” he concluded.