Coronavirus: P&O Cruises boss says ‘bear with us’

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P&O Iona currently doing sea trails.

P&O Cruises’ president, Paul Ludlow, has asked passengers to show “some forbearance and patience” as the cruise line deals with mass cancellations amid the coronavirus crisis.

On March 16, the cruise line was one of four Carnival brands which announced a temporary halt to all cruises, lasting until mid-April.

P&O Cruises said it will provide a 125% future cruise credit for passengers affected by the suspension.

In a message for passengers, Ludlow said: “I am…aware that some of you have stated you are frustrated at some of the changes we have had to make to our policies.

“While I understand your concerns, I would ask you to bear with us as we work through the multitude of new guidelines from government and industry bodies, including Abta.

“These are being updated regularly as this situation evolves and we are striving to strike the right balance between doing our very best for our guests and working in line with the rest of the travel industry in what will be, without doubt, the most challenging period the travel industry has ever seen.

“P&O Cruises needs you, more than ever, to stay with us and to show some forbearance and patience.

“Also, I promise you that I fully understand the disappointment caused for many of you, given your holidays have been curtailed, have been cancelled or are looking unlikely in the current situation.

“We are working through the very complex plan for our resumption of sailings and we will be sharing that once completed.”

The full statement is on the P&O Cruises Twitter feed @pandocruises

Abta issued guidance to members on delaying refunds on Friday and hopes for government confirmation of the changes today (March 23).

These would see ‘refund credit notes’ issued to consumers protected by the ATOL scheme, initially up to July 31.

Carnival UK reveals major restructure

Princess Cruises’ UK boss Paul Ludlow is to switch brands and take the helm at P&O Cruises.

The announcement comes as part of a major restructure of the commercial teams for P&O Cruises and Cunard less than a week after the shock announcement that Carnival UK’s chief commercial officer Gerard Tempest was to exit the business after two years.

Ludlow’s new role as senior vice-president of sales and marketing for P&O Cruises will also see him take responsibility for sales support, guest insight and the digital teams of both P&O Cruises and Cunard.

Cunard is now recruiting for the role of senior vice-president of sales and marketing.

As part of the restructure, sales and distribution director Chris Truscott will be leaving the business.

Head of partner sales, Jeremy McKenna, will lead the agency sales team for both brands, reporting directly to Ludlow in the interim period until the new Cunard role is appointed.

P&O Cruises marketing director, Christopher Edgington, will report into Paul Ludlow and Cunard’s Angus Struthers will report into the equivalent for Cunard when appointed.

Carnival UK chief executive, David Noyes, said that bringing sales and marketing together in one role would help Cunard and P&O Cruises create more momentum for the brands.

“I am delighted to appoint Paul to this critical role. Paul’s 15 years of experience within our company makes him an ideal fit to lead the sales and marketing teams for P&O Cruises to ensure sustained growth of the brand.

“Chris Truscott leaves this business in a significantly better position than the one he joined. He should be proud of what he has achieved and the relationships he has built.”

Ludlow said: “Following the launch of Britannia in March, which positioned P&O Cruises at the forefront of the nation’s mind, there has never been a more exciting time for the company.

“The potential for the industry as a whole is vast and I am determined, through giving a seamless, exemplary guest experience, working closely with our travel agent partners, to develop this growth to the maximum for P&O Cruises.”

During his time at Princess Cruises, Ludlow oversaw the creation of an individual sales team and commercial operation for the brand. He led the team which launched Royal Princess, named by the Duchess of Cambridge, and also oversaw the launch of new travel agent tools such as the recently-launched booking portal OneSource.

Princess Cruises is now recruiting for Ludlow’s replacement.