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I received the Azura brochure from P&O this morning.

The itineraries are not what I was expecting. There are no 14-night western Mediterranean cruises (surely, P&O’s bread & butter?); instead, all seven Med cruises are 16-nighters to the eastern Med (Venice). There are also some 14-night cruises to the Baltic, some 11 and 12-night cruises to the Canaries, and a few shorter cruises. I wonder if these itineraries are intended to dissuade families from choosing her? Azura does have family facilities but (as I’ve posted before) they aren’t marketing them especially strongly. 16 night cruises are unattractive to families because they are more expensive, of course, and also because they tend to not fit well with family holiday schedules. I also see that none of Azura’s cruises begin on a bank holiday weekend; again, cruises that begin on a bank holiday, especially 7-night cruises, are attractive to families, and Azura doesn’t have any of these.

I’ve also looked at the prices. I’m still working through it all, but it’s clear that they are high. Part of this is due to the longer cruises, of course, but that’s not the whole story. P&O seem to be looking for about £150 per person per night for a balcony cabin, which is a lot. This is markedly higher than the prices for Ventura’s first season in 2008: compare the price for A010 on Azura with that N811 on Ventura (both of these are/were 16 night E Mediterranean cruises in high season, so are quite comparable). Balconies started at £2249 for the Ventura cruise, while for the Azura cruise the start price is £2619 (after deducting the ‘early bird saving’). That’s a difference of almost £400 per person, call it £750 for a couple – total cruise price would be £4,500 on Ventura, £5,250 on Azura – that’s a significant difference, more than 15% more.

My conclusion is that I don’t think we will be cruising on Azura in 2010. I’m also starting to worry about the prices P&O will be charging for the rest of the fleet. The general brochure (which will contain these prices) should be published in early April or thereabouts.

In the meantime I’m still looking at those Celebrity prices for 2010: around £1400 per person for 14 nights from Southampton to the western Mediterranean on Celebrity Eclipse, or a bit more, including flights, for 12 nights from Barcelona to Venice (or vice-versa). These look to be much more attractive deals than what we currently know about P&Os plans for 2010. I await the rest of P&O’s 2010 details with interest.

6 Responses to “Azura – P&O want all the money!”

  1. greg says:

    well i have cruised with p&o for the last 8 years,and like you tom i awaite the rest of the fleets prices,looks like i’ll be cruising on celebrity in 2010.

  2. Sue -libralass says:

    I always find myself agreeing with you on cruisecritic, I too looked at Azura and am now considering Eclipse for Sept 4th 2010.
    I did a Venice cruise last year in a balcony 16n, the quote for Azura for same type balcony was £2400, I paid £1700 on Arcadia…. thats £700pp more = £1400 per couple… I know 2 years apart (2008/2010) but £1400 MORE for same cruise, same cruiseline, same balcony grade type… Eclipse agree I have a quote for £1330 for a good balcony on a 14n med cruise – amazing..
    please email me sometime for a chat?

    • tomtotley says:

      Thanks for the comment, Sue. I always enjoy your posts there too. And your pictures: you would not believe just how many times I’ve looked through your Arcadia pictures.

      I think I’m waiting for the main P&O brochure before I jump, but who knows…

      Here’s a thought: I wonder if the reason for the high prices is that P&O have to return a certain amount of revenue to Carnival Corp *in US$*? With the falling exchange rate, they’d have to charge more pounds to get those dollars.

      • Malcolm Oliver says:

        As for Azura: People are prepared to pay a ‘premium’ for a brand new ship. The funny thing is that it can take six months for the operation to ‘settle down’ so you may well get an inferior experience if you book on an early voyage. As for the high prices of other P&O ships, I’ve no idea why. Thir ‘die hards’ must be well heeled and very loyal.

  3. […] a lot – too much for me. I’ve posted about this before now – have a look here for an earlier post about pricing on Azura and here for another one on the general pricing for […]

  4. […] for Azura (coming into service in April 2010) wrong – they’re way, way too high. (I blogged about this before.) Looking at the current (2010/Mar 2011) P&O brochure, prices for Azura seem to be […]

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