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P&O 'Vantage Fares'

I think I know what P&O’s ‘Big Announcement’ is. The P&O website today has a new lead-in page with this headline: “New Vantage Fares with exclusive benefits”, and there’s also a logo saying “New Price Protected Promise”. Then the page goes on:

We’ve reduced the price of many of our 2013 cruise holidays and introduced new ‘Vantage Fares’ which are protected by our new Price Promise.

P&O Cruises Price Promise

We promise that, should we reduce the Vantage Fare for a holiday you have already booked (for your cruise and cabin type with the same terms and conditions), we will pass on the value of the reduction to you automatically in the form of a complimentary benefit such as on board spending money or a cabin upgrade. If, however, fares for your holiday should rise after you have made your booking, and they may, you can rest assured that you have received excellent value by booking early – so both ways you win.

And indeed it seems to be working. This morning I received a letter from P&O telling me that because the price for the appropriate cabin on the cruise we’ve already booked on Ventura for next June is being reduced, we will receive an extra £180 on-board credit. I also know that we’re not alone in this as a number of regular posters on Cruise Critic have reported that they’ve received similar letters.

I think this is a good move. Over the years we’ve been cruising we’ve read posts by US-based passengers on various forums   reporting that they’ve received a price drop without having to do anything about it. This never happened for UK-based passengers, whether they were on US or UK-based lines e.g. Celebrity or P&O. We’ve always had to tell ourselves that if we thought it was a good deal at the price we booked it at, then the fact that someone else has got a better deal for an identical cabin on the same cruise shouldn’t make a difference to us. But it does, of course.

We would have continued to book early in any case: we’re both still working, we need to get our holiday dates in our respective work diaries, and we value getting the certainty of the cabin & dining arrangements we want plus any other early-booking benefits such as free car-parking. But this promise from P&O will mean that we will do so with a little less worry.

I see that Cunard are making the same announcement, so well done Carnival UK.

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