I’m surprised to see (on the P&O website) that what they describe as their ‘New Summer 2018 Collection’ will be on sale as early as this September. The P&O website is promising ‘a glimpse of summer 2018’ ‘coming soon’. Would-be passengers will be able to register their interest in cruises from 5 September, and the cruises will be bookable from September – from the 15th to 18th for top tier Peninsular Club members, and from the 19th for general bookings. I think therefore that this must mean that the details will be available sometime in August.
Usually, of course, the itineraries for a year aren’t released until the spring of the year before; so this spring, 2016, was when we found out about the itineraries for 2017. I wasn’t expecting summer 2018 itineraries and details until next spring, March or April 2017. But here they are (or will be, soon).
This is a major break with tradition, although I have feeling that some other lines (Celebrity?) have pushed out their booking horizons in the last year or so. I’m puzzled as to why this is happening. Could sales for this year and next be weak, and this is an attempt to bring in some more bookings to make the figures look good for Carnival Corp HQ in Miami? Or does it perhaps reflect a move away from the hard-copy brochure era? I can imagine that producing rafts of physical brochures must have been a major task and must also have had a big role in determining the announcement dates, whereas a website can be updated (and entries edited) very easily. It’s already been the case for several years that the brochures haven’t carried prices, it’s been necessary to refer to a website for them. (Which has also made the task of tracking price changes much harder.) It might also be that, rather like the airlines, details for cruises might be released in smaller batches than before, perhaps just four to six months’ worth at a time. The traditional brochures generally covered a full year, of course.
It will be interesting to see if there is a real brochure to support this ‘glimpse of summer 2018’.