When bookings opened yesterday morning for the casual cruise line's farewell voyages, the Ocean Village Web site had some technical issues that caused it to wrongly display high prices (CruiseCritic.co.uk members were among those who noticed the glitch). Ocean Village then took the sailings off sale.
Now, we're told the sailings will go back on sale on Friday, March 12 at 9 a.m. GMT -- which means consumers will get one last chance to sail with the line.
Ocean Village executives were quick to respond to the crisis. Gill Haynes, head of marketing, told Cruise Critic: "We are really sorry for the inconvenience caused by these technical issues which are due to very high demand, and hope you will bear with us while we make sure we've got everything sorted."
"132 bookings were taken yesterday and we will honour those bookings and go forward from that position when we re-open. Published prices will apply but are subject to availability and may change over the course of the selling period."
Two cruises will go on sale Friday. Fond Farewell, the ship's final voyage as it makes its way to down under to join P&O Australia, departs Crete on October 21 and visits Egypt, Dubai, Cochin in India, Langkawi in Malaysia and Singapore, taking 23 nights.
Also up for grabs is The Big Goodbye, on which fans can squeeze in an extra week before the 23-nighter on the final Mediterranean sailing from Crete, calling at ports in Croatia, Italy and Greece, making 30 nights in total.
"We think there'll be a very special atmosphere onboard for this unique cruise," Haynes said in a press statement. "Excitement for the exotic destinations to come, enjoyment of the great upbeat, friendly, informal style on board and a touch of nostalgia that this voyage marks the end of an era in casual cruising."
She's right there. Assuming the site can cope this time round, both cruises are expected to sell out extremely quickly, so stand by for the big rush on Friday!
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor and Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor