It was an interesting concept. Base a cruise-ship in Palma and offer cruises around the Mediterranean. The tour firms could take advantage of their ample network of flights from Britain to get the people here and after the seven day cruise could even offer seven nights in a local hotel. The concept has enjoyed a remarkable success and is probably one of the shining lights of the tourist industry at the moment. It was My Travel, formerly Airtours, which got the ball rolling and the other companies were quick to follow suit. But like the “no-frills” in the airline industry the “big boys” were quick to see the advantages and profitability of the summer cruise from Palma. Now, P&O is weighing in and weighing in is certainly the word. From next summer they will be basing their giant 64'000 tonnes Arcadia in Palma. Under a dramatic shake-up the cruise-ship will be renamed Ocean Village. This is all part of the company's strategy aimed at broadening the appeal of cruising and to attract young passengers to its ships. The 12-year-old Arcadia will undergo an extensive refit and be the first ship to be operated by the company's new brand. Designed to appeal to 35 to 55-year olds. Ocean Village will seek to capture a bigger slice of the rapidly expanding UK cruise market, the second largest in the world with annual growth of 17 per cent between 1995 and 2000. One or two week cruises will be offered from Majorca on two alternating itineraries with prices for a seven-day fly cruise starting at 549 pounds. She will be in direct competition with the other cruise operated by My Travel, World of TYU/Thomson and First Choice. The giant cruise ship will also be a welcome boost for the port of Palma which is rapidly expanding.


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