Feed on
Posts
Comments

Given that both Cunard and P&O are going to continue selling both Vantage and Getaway fares, what’s needed is something to make Vantage fares more attractive even with the price difference.

At the moment we have the following advantages:

  • you get to choose your cabin, and you certainly know your cabin number at the end of the booking process;
  • you get to choose your dining preference (although actually getting this isn’t guaranteed….);
  • you get free shuttle buses (from next year).

So how could Vantage fares be made more attractive? Well, here are some thoughts:

  1. Give Vantage fare customers more Loyalty Club points per night than Getaway fare passengers. Currently P&O awards 10 points per night, so when you’ve done 60 nights you’ve earned 600 points.  A night on a Vantage fare should be worth more loyalty club points than a night on a Getaway fare. So how about 12 or 15 points per Vantage fare night? The thresholds for moving up to the next level should then be expressed in points, not nights, and Vantage fare passengers would accumulate their loyalty points faster than those Getaway fare passengers who did the same cruises.
  2. Give Vantage fare passengers a guarantee that their dining preference request will be met. I’ve read posts on Cruise Critic from Vantage fare passengers who found out, on embarkation, that their requested dining preferences had not been met. Later in the cruise they met Getaway fare passengers who been given the very same dining preferences that the Vantage fare passengers had requested and not received, and that seems strange. I understand that in the traditional situation where all passengers were considered at the same time some passengers had to be disappointed, but I think that as we are in a two-tier situation (of the lines’ making) there is a case for giving Vantage fare passengers priority and a guarantee;
  3. Give Vantage fare passengers priority for upgrades. Again, I’ve read accounts of Getaway passengers who have received significant upgrades – from an Outside cabin to a Super deluxe balcony cabin on Ventura or Azura, for example – while Vantage fare passengers who booked earlier, and paid higher fares, did not get upgraded. Again, I understand that previously whether or not you got an upgrade was both rare and random, but I think that in the new situation Vantage fare passengers should have priority for upgrades if they’re available and if they want one.
  4. How about priority embarkation for Vantage fare passengers? This would be easy to do, certainly at the Ocean terminal. At the moment, when you arrive (assuming you arrive early), you’re given an embarkation card, on which there is a letter. They hand out the cards with ‘A’ on them, then ‘B’, etc, and when embarkation starts they ask for “passengers holding embarkation marked with ‘A’ to make their way….”. Just give Getaway fare passengers embarkation cards marked ‘Z’ regardless of when they arrive.
  5. And finally, how about priority tendering for Vantage fare passengers? Again, a similar ‘tendering ticket’ system is used on the ships. Just give Getaway passengers high-number tickets, whenever they turn up.

OK, I recognise that some of these won’t happen. (Indeed, most likely none of them will!) But it must be in the lines’ interest to have as many passengers as possible paying Vantage fares and (given the savings that a Getaway fare can bring) they’ve got to offer some positive advantages to encourage passengers to do so. The list above is my suggestion.

7 Responses to “Let's have some Advantages for Vantage fares”

  1. Linda says:

    Good post Tom. I certainly think there should be additional benefits of booking early and paying the MUCH higher prices. To be honest though I’m not sure we could justify paying vantage again. Having recently come back from 12 nights on Ventura the price we paid compared to what we could have paid on the Getaway Fayre well! ……

  2. Gary says:

    I’d agree Tom, there should be distinct advantages to booking the Vantage fare and not woolly ones. I would point out though that with Vantage there is also the ‘on board credit OR car parking OR coach travel’. Vantage is also the only choice for single, three share & four share.

    A good idea about loyalty club points that I’d not thought of though on reflection I’d say Getaway fares should get a reduction in points rather than increase Vantage fare points as people who choose Getaway could of chosen Vantage but not always the other way round (see above).

    As for cabin upgrades they should definitely go to Vantage customers with the people booking earliest being offered first and for P&O to say so rather than the current ‘if you’re lucky’ method as seems to be case.

  3. Brian says:

    I’ve booked a few getaways now and I think you have a point with regard to upgrades and points and I sympathise with those people who book need to book vantage fares in order to guarantee their cruise for a specified period of time or date. I would be disappointed though to be positively penalised for booking a getaway fare, at check in they have no way of knowing how you’ve booked when the letter cards are given out, likewise with tender tickets. I am retired now so have a much smaller disposable income than when I was working so getaways work for me, we are doing as many as we can afford at the moment because I genuinely believe when the World economy eventually picks up again getaways will quickly become unavailable and I for one will be unable to enjoy cruising as a holiday choice.

    • Tom says:

      Brian

      Thanks for your comment, Brian. I take your point about ‘positively penalising’ Getaway fare passengers – I did say that my fourth and fifth points were more tongue-in-cheek (or at least I meant to…).

      As for Getaway fares disappearing, I’m not so sure. First, there have always been a few lower-price tickets available at the last minute, as the cruise line tries to fill the last remaining cabins. What’s changed, of course, is the number of lower-priced tickets and the time from which they’re available, and as the economy improves so they might become less common. But there’s also the point that the number of ships is always increasing and they’re getting bigger. Ten years or so ago P&O had just four ships, I think – Oriana, Aurora, Oceana and the first Adonia, with a total of about 8,000 berths. From 2015 they may have 8 ships with a total of 18,000 berths to fill. Two-tier pricing may continue to be required.

  4. John Edwards says:

    You really have to be desperate to sail on a specific voyage to book Vantage, (DISADVANTAGE) fare. This was a total, “rip off!” No priority disembarkation, a stewardess dressed as a butler, extremely POOR service in the Queens Grill, limited choice menus in Queens Grill, (Formal Nights),very poor quality food and effectively half portions compared to the same restaurant last year, Crew NOT communicating in ENGLISH in guest areas, Captain could not be bothered to attend Receptions which were in fact utterly shambolic. The whole voyage was a total disappointment and a very expensive MISTAKE especially as we paid £403/person/day for 15days!

    • Tom says:

      Well we must be desperate!

      From the terminology you’re using I think you must have been in a suite on a Cunard ship. I had always read that Queens Grill on Cunard was just about as good as cruising could get, but clearly not so for you – at least not this time at least. Can you tell me which ship?

      • Tom
        Thank you for asking. The ship in question is the Queen Victoria, cruise V308 and the suite was a Q5. The previous August we had probably our best cruise ever, same ship same restaurant, BUT a different Maitre’D, with whom we experienced a similar problem on the QE, September 2011. Whilst we understand the rigors of budget control we cannot accept the fact we paid £403 per head/day and others only paid approximately half this price. Our loyalty, thirty voyages with Cunard obviously means nothing. The question we ask ourselves is, “Should we ever risk another voyage with Cunard?”. We are not alone.
        Regards, John E Edwards

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: