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It’s March, and the New Year offers from both P&O and Cunard closed at the end of February – no more additional OBC if you book a cruise at the full fare. But nature abhors a vacuum so you’ll not be surprised that on 1 March new offers appeared for both lines, in the form of gift vouchers. Book a Select Fare balcony cabin for a 14-night cruise this year and P&O will give you £400 of gift vouchers. Cunard are not as generous at this level – a Britannia balcony for a 14 night cruise will attract just £340 worth  of vouchers. Other cabin classes and cruise durations attract vouchers of different values, of course, from £80 for an 7 night cruise in an inside cabin with P&O, to £1,340 for a 17+ night Queens Grill cruise with Cunard. These offers only apply to those buying Select fares (P&O) or ‘Cunard fare’ (Cunard).

But the really interesting thing is the type of vouchers. P&O are offering Marks & Spencer vouchers but Cunard are offering  John Lewis vouchers, and I’m struck by that difference. I think those two retail chains would see themselves as occupying slightly different positions in the market, and I also think most people might regard John Lewis as being a little bit up-market of M&S. So what does this say about Carnival UK’s perception of their customers for these two lines?

Actually, I think Cunard have missed a trick. Given that their Britannia, Princess Grill and Queen’s Grill fares represent the last vestiges on the high seas of First Class, Second Class and Steerage, they should have offered different vouchers again for their non-Britannia passengers. Liberty or Harvey Nicks for Princess Grill, perhaps; and definitely Harrods or Fortnum & Masons for Queens Grill.

5 Responses to “A Tale of Two Vouchers”

  1. Carol Reed says:

    I am at a loss as to why there is still a ‘class system’ on Cunard. Its like living in the titanic era with the rich in one corner and the poor in another. Its not right.

    • Tom says:

      Well, I agree with you. That said, if I was onboard a Cunard ship and travelling Grills class, I’d probably really enjoy it.

  2. Carol Reed says:

    Somebody I know went on the Queen Elizabeth last year and was in an inside cabin. He didnt realise they had sections in the theatre for the different classes, they went in the rich persons box instead of the cheap seats and had drinks all night without having to pay and nobody questioned them.

  3. Neil Ringan says:

    Personally I’d rather have OBC any day as it is “real” money – it pays for things you would normally buy on board such as drinks, excursions, etc. I shop at neither M&S or John Lewis so vouchers would be no use. I also find it surprising that both P&O and Cunard are offering a “perk” which costs them – no matter how big a volume discount, there will still be a cost for them buying these vouchers. OBC is a sunk cost – the services are already paid for so in effect there is additional cost to them.

    We booked Arcadia J402 a few weeks ago when the OBC deal was on, and no matter which way you did the sums, booking an Early Saver always worked out cheaper. For 3 of us in one balcony and one in another we were over £2000 OBC which there is no way we would spend, even on a 17 nighter.

    Also agree with comments re Cunard – its one of the reasons I would never consider Cunard. Cunard (and some of their passengers) need to realise it is 2014 not 1914 🙂


    • Tom says:

      “For 3 of us in one balcony and one in another we were over £2000 OBC which there is no way we would spend, even on a 17 nighter.”

      I think I’d like to have go….. although the fact that excursions booked in advance have to be paid for in advance would make it more difficult. But if I said to Val ‘I say, darling, we seem to have £500 OBC left – can you help?’, I’m sure she’d give it a shot.

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