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In the last week or so P&O have published their 2010/11 itineraries, both for their new ship Azura and also for the rest of the fleet. There are some interesting points.

First, several different pricing levels seem to be emerging. Certainly (as I’ve posted already) P&O are asking a lot of money for cruises on Azura. She’s a very close sister to Ventura – the only differences are in the details – but she’s priced a lot higher. For a standard balcony cabin Azura’s brochure prices seem to be set at around £140 per person per night. This is pretty high – in previous years that much money got you close to a mini-suite, or at least a ‘larger balcony cabin’. Ventura’s prices are rather lower – still over £100 pppn (which is my target), but not by so much. Her nightly rates for the same balcony cabin seem to be in the £120 pppn range. 

This pretty high pricing is extended to a number of the other ships. It’s difficult to compare the new pair (Ventura & Azura) with older ships such as Oriana & Aurora, but comparisons with Arcadia & Oceana are easier, and it turns out that Arcadia is just about as expensive as Azura. (Pity – I’ve been fancying a cruise on Azura for a while.) Oceana on the other hand is lot cheaper, down at the Ventura level or even a little bit lower.

So are P&O going to offer a different cruise experience on the different ships? They certainly seem to be marketing them differently: Ventura & Oceana are very much family ships, Arcadia & Azura are sophisticated & suited to couples (in fact, Arcadia is ‘child-free’, i.e. kids are not allowed), while Oriana, Aurora & Artemis seem to be aimed squarely at P&O’s traditional passenger base. But the message in the brochure is that a P&O cruise is a P&O cruise; there’s no suggestion that you’ll be getting something ‘better’ on Azura than on Ventura, for example.

Another change from previous years lies in the itineraries the ships will be running in 2010. Previously, each ship ran a range of itineraries, of varying lengths – the one thing you could say about P&O was the ships never did the same cruise twice running, at least not in the European season. Not any more. Oceana is the clearest example: from early April next year all through the summer and early autumn she will be doing the same 14-night western Mediterranean itinerary, over and over. Ventura also will be majoring with a standard 14-night western Med itinerary (different from Oceana’s), although she will also be doing side orders of 7-night cruises (Norway & Iberia). She won’t be doing Baltic cruises, however;  these will be done by Azura, along with a series of identical 16-night ‘central’ Mediterranean cruises. Arcadia will doing similar itineraries to Azura. Finally the remaining three ships will be doing the variety that we’re familiar with – longer cruises, to a range of destinations.

These are interesting and bold changes. It will be fascinating to see whether, in a year when many of their passengers will be feeling the financial pinch and caution might be the order of the day, P&O can make it work.

2 Responses to “P&O Itineraries & pricing for 2010 – bold changes!”

  1. Malcolm says:

    Hi Tom, I’ve yet to cruise with P&O, but I’ve no idea how they charge so much and why they are so popular. From all the reviews that I’ve read, they do not offer a ‘premium’ experience but often seem to charge for one. I’m puzzled?

    Maybe the brochure fares are simply the starting point for deeper discounts, but I’ve rarely seen P&O offer cheaper cruises. Personally I think £100 per person, per night, for an inside cabin is pretty steep in the current economic climate.

  2. […] 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 P&O cruises in 2010. Possibly related posts: […]

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