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More on "Poor P&O"

The topic of Ventura’s Christmas/New Year cruise won’t go away. There’s been quite a bit of press coverage, and yesterday there was a lengthy segment of Jeremy Vine’s BBC Radio 2 programme about it. One thing that especially strikes me about all this coverage are the very vituperative remarks about the alleged misbehavers: all the ‘chav’ comments. What could cause such ill feeling?

Well, I wonder if it could in part be envy, or frustration? I’ve just been looking at some of the prices for this cruise, which I believe was cruise N822/822A, which was broadly from 19/20 December to 3/4 January. Back in the P&O 2008 1st Edition brochure – the first time this cruise would have been mentioned, and the ‘Ventura launch’ brochure – a standard category JD balcony cabin was listed at £2,319 (the full ‘brochure price was £4,209 but anyone who’s cruised knows that you don’t pay any attention to full brochure prices). Reductions for cabin sharing (for 3rd and 4th occupants) were pretty small: 70% of the OH cabin rate for an infant, 15% for someone 16 and under, 10% for an adult (which would include a 17-year old child, of course). This is typical of the price markup for a cruise over Christmas & the New Year – the very similar cruises either side of Christmas were a lot less. Most TAs would have discounted those fares somewhat, but even so N822 was an expensive cruise for an early booker: a family of four (two parents and two children aged, say, 6 to 16) would have paid up to £8,500 for that JD cabin.

So I can well understand that if those who had paid that much learned that others on the same cruise had paid 50% of that amount, or less, for a similar cabin they might well be upset. Yes, intellectually we all know that if you were happy  to pay that amount when you booked it you ought still to be happy today; but in real-life, that’s not how it works, is it? So I suspect that there may have been some bitterness about the discounted prices. Add to that the fact that the ship must have been well over 100% occupancy (i.e. lots of 3rd & 4th occupancy beds occupied) and therefore very crowded; and three ports of call were cancelled, thus keeping all the passengers onboard in the pressure-cooker, and it’s not surprising that incidents happened, and caused so much bitterness.

All that said, I can’t help thinking that the whole thing appears to have been an unedifying spectacle, not only of the alleged behaviour of some but also of the appallingly prejudiced expressions of outrage from others. But I wonder how I would have felt if I’d been on board? I suspect it’s easy to be reasonable when you’ve not been subject to the pressures, and you haven’t spent £8,000.

Let’s go back to happier topics. Arcadia’s World Voyage seems to be proceeding smoothly; she’s in Athens today. There’s a good blog about it here, from James Cusick who’s a senior member of the crew.

2 Responses to “More on "Poor P&O"”

  1. Malcolm Oliver says:

    Tom said: “So I can well understand that if those who had paid that much learned that others on the same cruise had paid 50% of that amount, or less, for a similar cabin they might well be upset”.

    Tom, in America, I understand if the price of your cruise drops after you have paid you can have a refund. I think Carnival have just formalised this and are using it as a big selling point.

  2. Malcolm says:

    I understand that in America the cruise lines have much better booking conditions than thus Brits. Here’s what I understand: pax can cancel much later than us Brits, but with no loss of deposit.(My US Friends often say to me that they have booked a cruise well in advance but are not yet sure if they will be going!)

    I also understand that if you pay a fare and it later drops you can claim the difference back from the cruise line – as long as you notify them.

    These booking conditions may have alleviated some of the ‘Ventura Anguish’.

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