If you missed the Winter Edition of ‘Into The Blue’, here’s ourexclusive interview with Paul Ludlow, Managing Director for Princess Cruises UK.
Princess Cruises first set sail in 1965 with a single ship cruising to Mexico. Today, the line has grown to become the third largest cruise line in the world, renowned for innovative ships and exceptional customer service. A recognised leader in worldwide cruising, Princess Cruises offers approximately 1.7 million passengers each year the opportunity to escape to top destinations around the globe.
Firstly Paul, we’d like to congratulate you on your new role, as well as Managing Director for Princess Cruises UK, we understand you will now take on the role of Europe MD?
Many thanks and that’s right, I’m now Managing Director for UK and Europe. So I’ll be leading our passenger sales efforts both domestically and across 16 European offices encompassing countries including Ireland, Spain and Italy.
Overseeing 16 European offices must be a challenging task, how are you settling into your new role?
Thanks to the strengths of our European team I’m settling in very well. Things will certainly be challenging, but more than anything it’s an incredibly exciting time for us as we look to continue our growth.
What do you think of our ‘Into The Blue’ magazine so far?
It’s great, easy on the eye and a nice mix of advice and information. Keep up the good work – just make sure you include as much on Princess Cruises as possible!
Since the line’s beginnings, Princess has frequently paved the way in the cruise industry, evolving to meet the needs of the modern day traveller, how would you describe the Princess Cruises experience for a first time cruiser?
We offer comfortable, relaxed cruises to an unbeatable amount of destinations. I think the outstanding on board service we offer, and the range and quality of food, give us an additional wow factor for first timers.
2013 was an exciting year for Princess with the arrival of Royal Princess and Regal Princess will make her debut this year, what can we expect from the newest member of the fleet?
Regal Princess will accommodate the same amount of passengers as Royal Princess – 3,600 – but there will be a couple of additions in response to passenger feedback. Regal Princess sets sail in the summer and will be based in the Mediterranean and Caribbean this year – she’s booking up fast so don’t miss out!
You’ve been with Carnival UK for many years now and overseen many changes to the Princess Cruises brand, what do you think sets Princess apart?
For me two things that stand out – our outstanding customer service and the range of activities and destinations we offer. We go to an unrivalled amount of destinations, meaning there’s always somewhere new for you to visit and explore. At the same time there’s something on board for everyone. Passengers are often amazed at just how welcoming everyone is, whether this is the first time they’re travelling with us or have sailed many times previously.
Princess has recently launched their most extensive marketing campaign ever in the form of the “Come Back New” message, can you tell us a little more about it?
The introduction of ‘Come Back New’ further emphasises that our service is designed to rejuvenate and enrich passengers. We want our guests to immediately think of us when they are looking to embrace something new, both on board and ashore through the destination choice we offer our passengers. Princess Cruises offers cruise holidays to help people come back new, providing fresh perspective by connecting them with nature, cultures and loved ones in a new way.
With so much competition within the cruise industry at the moment, was the campaign derived to boost the points of differentiation between Princess Cruises and rival brands?
In a travel industry where holidaymakers have so many options it is important for us to stand out in the crowd. We know the fantastic experiences we offer on board our ships, and in the destinations we visit, Princess Cruises first set sail in 1965 with a single ship cruising to Mexico. Today, the line has grown to become the third largest cruise line in the world, renowned for innovative ships and exceptional customer service. A recognised leader in worldwide cruising, Princess Cruises offers approximately 1.7 million passengers each year the opportunity to escape to top destinations around the globe and this campaign was designed to highlight these to both travel agents and consumers.
The new itineraries have been launched and 2015/2016 sailings are on sale now, what are your favourite highlights amongst the new Princess Cruises calendar?
We have more air cities to join our ships on a fly cruise and six ships will be cruising in Europe, making 150 departures and visiting over 120 destinations. European cruises are booming in popularity and as such we’ve provided something for everyone. The return of Royal Princess will be a special moment, as it is the first time she will be deployed from these shores after being launched by HRH the Duchess of Cambridge. It is particularly fitting that Royal Princess will sail roundtrips of the UK, as it will give people across the country the opportunity to welcome a ship that was so warmly received here last year.
Princess Cruises has also announced that an ‘all inclusive’ package will be available on ten sailings in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe on board Caribbean Princess. In addition there is a reduced deposit of £99 per person on all Europe cruises.
Do you yourself have any plans for cruising in 2014?
I can’t wait to step on board Emerald Princess in Southampton this summer and visit the Baltic. Departing from my home town means my holiday starts straight away and, more importantly, my wife can take as much luggage as she wants…
We’ve seen so much from Princess Cruises over the years. Exciting innovations, great itineraries and a fantastic choice of dining venues on board, where next for this world renowned cruise line?
Princess Cruises moving forward will continue to offer excellent service to our passengers while seeking out new destinations for them to explore and different cruise options for them to maximise their precious time away. We will carry on evolving our brand and being the ‘quiet innovator’ to ensure our passengers…well… come back new!