Keeping Base Costs Low


Unregistered, just back from your P&O cruise? Get published on Cruise Critic; Write a Review!
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 12:23 AM.
#1
Solihull
2,194 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
In the past six months we have seen several threads which included discussion about P&O strategic direction, and their objective of keeping base cost low to ensure 'affordable cruising' appealing to a wider customer profile.

We have also discussed whether the quality of standard offerings such as MDR & buffet quality have declined, and how with the introduction of more charges and Select dining options P&O have effectively 'unbundled' the package allowing passengers to choose upgrades to their holiday.

It seemed like a perfect strategy to me, the ships are full and each customer gets to choose the sort of holiday they want (including dress code options) - but I have definitely fallen out of love with this.

We have had three trips cancelled on this cruise, two of which are due to a lack of bookings. None of the trips can be done alone especially at short notice, and it has really changed what we thought our holiday would be. The issue is that people booking at bargain prices don't necessarily want to spend money on expensive trips, and this leaves us high and dry.

In addition to this I've noticed a few people who seem to drink to much and argue/swear on their balcony or in lifts - although this can happen anywhere it's not something I've really encountered before, perhaps it is the hot climate and the drinking culture.

The select dining venues are almost empty and staff are constantly touring the ship trying to get bookings. They are becoming as unpopular as the photographers once were.

I have found myself adding up the cost of the holiday, the cost of the onboard spend to upgrade to select venues, thermal suite etc. and asking myself whether we would be better off just paying a bit more with a different company to get the sort of holiday we want without having to upgrade everything onboard.

There isn't anything wrong with the ship,the cruise, the staff etc. (In fact they are lovely) but I'm not sure we will be compatible with the P&O of the future, as unbundling doesn't seem to work for us in reality.




Sent from my iPhone using Forums
#2
Cambridgeshire
2,610 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
I think the problem is that people these days are very price conscious. Trying to book with the cheapest operator and then try and coordinate it with some sort of cash back web site or credit card. To capture the market cruise lines need to be able to publish the lowest figure for the most days. Many potential new cruisers have no idea that cruise lines offer cruises at different levels. People understand cars, Ford, BMW, Skoda and Bentley. If you are looking for a four door and you had a chance of a new Ford at £10.000 or a new Bentley for £12,000, not many people will go for the Ford and save themselves £2000 as they can see the difference in what you are getting. All car manufacturers offer , optional extras to confuse people too.

Regards John
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
John Watson

Ships cruised on
RMS Queen Elizabeth, SS France, Oronsay, Oceana, Vision of the Seas, Caribbean Princess, Aurora,
Queen Mary 2, Star Flyer, Star Clipper, Grand Princess, Queen Elizabeth, Azura, Ruby Princess, Ventura, Diamond Princess, Britannia, Emerald Princess, Navigator of the Seas
#3
Solihull
2,194 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
Originally posted by john watson
I think the problem is that people these days are very price conscious. Trying to book with the cheapest operator and then try and coordinate it with some sort of cash back web site or credit card. To capture the market cruise lines need to be able to publish the lowest figure for the most days. Many potential new cruisers have no idea that cruise lines offer cruises at different levels. People understand cars, Ford, BMW, Skoda and Bentley. If you are looking for a four door and you had a chance of a new Ford at £10.000 or a new Bentley for £12,000, not many people will go for the Ford and save themselves £2000 as they can see the difference in what you are getting. All car manufacturers offer , optional extras to confuse people too.



Regards John

You are well travelled and knowledgeable John, out of interest which do you think are the top 3 cruise companies sailing out of the UK, where value is based on the holiday experience rather than cost? Thanks.


Sent from my iPhone using Forums
#4
Scotland
814 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Yes the "unbundling" has become more prevalent this year in particular and I do think it gives pax a false impression of cruising.

Some would say it is offering more personal choice but it does impact on other passengers, as you say, when trips are cancelled or select dining lacks atmosphere as they are all but empty.

Add to that the more recent reports of people bringing excess alcohol onboard and it changes the whole atmosphere.

Personally for us P&O is just an add on, not a main holiday anymore as it has become "cheap and cheerful".

Have a look at Celebrity suite or Aqua class, they might just offer you what you are looking for.
#5
Cambridgeshire
2,610 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by Florry
You are well travelled and knowledgeable John, out of interest which do you think are the top 3 cruise companies sailing out of the UK, where value is based on the holiday experience rather than cost? Thanks.


Sent from my iPhone using Forums

I tend to stick to four cruise lines as I have a good idea what you are getting:

P&O Cruises Quality, dedicated cruise line offering cheap cruises at a level that suits me. Not many people realise how inexpensive they are in comparison to US lines. Anything either more budget like Fred Olsen, I pass on even though they do better itineraries though from more UK embarkation ports than P&O to be fair. Thomson, I never think as a dedicated cruise line more of a package holiday company.

Royal Caribbean Ideal for younger people looking for strenuous action on board activities, rock climbing, ice skating etc. Top wow factor with their mega-ships. They always post a lower fare than competitors on a like for like basis but your final bill will be more expensive as they are good at adding costs as you cruise. Discovered Med-Fly long before P&O and offer other fly-cruises too.

Cunard Love their formal cruises and the way they do things. It's a different cruising experience but there is an undercurrent of humour underlying the facade of formality which many think is all that happens. You can get cheap off peak themed cruises with Cunard they tend to be focused on big band theme, extended Christmas shopping, top obscure interest speakers etc.

Princess Not an all season player ex-UK and they are expensive in comparison to P&O which they are similar. I am booked with them too. Cheap holidays around school holidays are available as late deals ex Southampton. They are more for people who want a far away fly cruise, Caribbean, Hawaii, Japan, Australia, French Polynesia if you can afford it. I'm looking at Sapphire and Pacific Princess at the moment.

Regards John
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
John Watson

Ships cruised on
RMS Queen Elizabeth, SS France, Oronsay, Oceana, Vision of the Seas, Caribbean Princess, Aurora,
Queen Mary 2, Star Flyer, Star Clipper, Grand Princess, Queen Elizabeth, Azura, Ruby Princess, Ventura, Diamond Princess, Britannia, Emerald Princess, Navigator of the Seas
#6
Solihull
2,194 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
Thank you both, Holland America and Oceania have also been suggested - will be researching when we get home!


Sent from my iPhone using Forums
#8
2,812 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Originally posted by Florry
In the past six months we have seen several threads which included discussion about P&O strategic direction, and their objective of keeping base cost low to ensure 'affordable cruising' appealing to a wider customer profile.

We have also discussed whether the quality of standard offerings such as MDR & buffet quality have declined, and how with the introduction of more charges and Select dining options P&O have effectively 'unbundled' the package allowing passengers to choose upgrades to their holiday.

It seemed like a perfect strategy to me, the ships are full and each customer gets to choose the sort of holiday they want (including dress code options) - but I have definitely fallen out of love with this.

We have had three trips cancelled on this cruise, two of which are due to a lack of bookings. None of the trips can be done alone especially at short notice, and it has really changed what we thought our holiday would be. The issue is that people booking at bargain prices don't necessarily want to spend money on expensive trips, and this leaves us high and dry.

In addition to this I've noticed a few people who seem to drink to much and argue/swear on their balcony or in lifts - although this can happen anywhere it's not something I've really encountered before, perhaps it is the hot climate and the drinking culture.

The select dining venues are almost empty and staff are constantly touring the ship trying to get bookings. They are becoming as unpopular as the photographers once were.

I have found myself adding up the cost of the holiday, the cost of the onboard spend to upgrade to select venues, thermal suite etc. and asking myself whether we would be better off just paying a bit more with a different company to get the sort of holiday we want without having to upgrade everything onboard.

There isn't anything wrong with the ship,the cruise, the staff etc. (In fact they are lovely) but I'm not sure we will be compatible with the P&O of the future, as unbundling doesn't seem to work for us in reality.




Sent from my iPhone using Forums
A very good post Florry. Totally agree with what you are saying. We have finally made it up to Caribbean..had our 2 cruises on Adonia cancelled so we are considering looking at other lines. I do think over the next few years Pando will sell all their smaller older ships. I am guessing when the new pando biggie comes on line there will be no dress code above smart casual. It will be a great shame but we are a dying breed literally..those who like the formality.
#9
West Sussex, UK.
127 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
An excellent post Florry.


On the topic of the excursions, I think the increase in reliable and very well run independent tour providers has a major impact on cruise lines own tours (not just P&O). Across Cruise Critic and other boards and forums there is always a lot of chat about tours and sightseeing excursions and the opinions of posters regarding the independent providers can be summed up in two words, 'better' and 'cheaper'. The cruise lines own tours do strike me as expensive. We will probably end up taking a couple of them to use our OBC - we couldn't drink our way through the amount we have been given even if we have a bottle of Tattinger every day!
#10
Kent, England
6,246 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Originally posted by the english lady
A very good post Florry. Totally agree with what you are saying. We have finally made it up to Caribbean..had our 2 cruises on Adonia cancelled so we are considering looking at other lines. I do think over the next few years Pando will sell all their smaller older ships. I am guessing when the new pando biggie comes on line there will be no dress code above smart casual. It will be a great shame but we are a dying breed literally..those who like the formality.
Or Carnival will move them to parts of the world where they can make more profit. Don't expect Carnival to increase the sophistication of P&O ships. They have more upmarket cruise lines for that and I suppose Carnival don't care where you cruise, as long as it is Carnival.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Include tips in the fare

Previously
Thomson Celebration x 4
Thomson Spirit x 3
Thomson Destiny x 3
Thomson Dream x 2
Thomson Majesty x 3
P&O Ventura x 6
P&O Oceana x 8
P&O Arcadia
P&O Britannia
P&O Aurora x 2
P&O Oriana
TUI Discovery x 2
NCL Epic

To come
Thomson Majesty 2017
P&O Oceana 2017
P&O Azura 2017
TUI Discovery 2018
TUI Explorer 2018
P&O Oceana 2018
#11
lancs
393 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Wonder why there are so many children on board as its not half term? Very interesting post Florry. We did the similar cruise early September and really thought we had made a mistake until we found the MDR breakfast. As its such a huge ship we found that you can avoid certain areas.
#12
uk
130 Posts
Joined May 2004
Perhaps P and O are getting too greedy by asking so much to go to select dining venues? We enjoyed Epicurian on Britannia for a special anniversary dinner but thought £28 pp extra far too much. No wonder it was quite empty. We like Sindu but, as we had delightful MDR table companions, did not feel the temptation to pay so much extra to go. Some friends went to The Limelight lounge and had a great night but that too was half empty and very expensive.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
hopeful traveller
#13
72 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Originally posted by sapphire4
Wonder why there are so many children on board as its not half term? .
I wondered the same. We did the same cruise on Brittania in September last year, there were 42 children on board with 26 of those being under 5.
#14
Staffordshire
1,052 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by my marina bay
I wondered the same. We did the same cruise on Brittania in September last year, there were 42 children on board with 26 of those being under 5.
To some people the lower price is more important than their children's education. We always try to cruise during term time but there are always a number of school age children on board unless we go on an adult only ship. The current penalty for taking a child out of school for a holiday is nowhere near enough to act as a deterrent, I believe that some councils do not expect the schools to fine any parents.
#16
Kent, England
6,246 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
On my last cruise in September the first week had 4 children in the kids club, the second week there were a few babies and one very bored teenage girl so the kids club staff had a week off. The week before the cruise there were over 100 kids aboard.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Include tips in the fare

Previously
Thomson Celebration x 4
Thomson Spirit x 3
Thomson Destiny x 3
Thomson Dream x 2
Thomson Majesty x 3
P&O Ventura x 6
P&O Oceana x 8
P&O Arcadia
P&O Britannia
P&O Aurora x 2
P&O Oriana
TUI Discovery x 2
NCL Epic

To come
Thomson Majesty 2017
P&O Oceana 2017
P&O Azura 2017
TUI Discovery 2018
TUI Explorer 2018
P&O Oceana 2018
#17
West Sussex, UK.
127 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by Josy1953
To some people the lower price is more important than their children's education. We always try to cruise during term time but there are always a number of school age children on board unless we go on an adult only ship. The current penalty for taking a child out of school for a holiday is nowhere near enough to act as a deterrent, I believe that some councils do not expect the schools to fine any parents.
Do bear in mind that those children may be home-schooled and are therefore able to travel when it is cheaper. According to recent figures there are now in excess of 30,000 children in England and Wales who do not attend a school but are schooled at home instead.


On our upcoming 14 night cruise the roll calls on here and elsewhere suggest there will be quite a lot of school age children on board
#18
Nottinghamshire, UK
215 Posts
Joined Sep 2016
Originally posted by Josy1953
To some people the lower price is more important than their children's education. We always try to cruise during term time but there are always a number of school age children on board unless we go on an adult only ship. The current penalty for taking a child out of school for a holiday is nowhere near enough to act as a deterrent, I believe that some councils do not expect the schools to fine any parents.

Or may it possibly be that the extra £1,000/£1,500 that P&O want for summer holiday cruises is unaffordable for some?? When we took our kids on our first cruise in 2009, what they had experienced in those two weeks, ie. visiting Pompeii, are things that very few teens their age can say they've seen. And here we are, 8 years down the line, with 2 kids doing extremely well in their studies. As ours have got older we've chosen not to take them out of term time whatsoever, but truth be told I don't think 5 days out (unless in exam season for your child) is going to be detrimental for their education in the grand scheme of things - having a break from the stress which is loaded on them daily and replacing it with a sliver of quality family time may (dare I say it) do them a world of good. And I'm assuming others have the same thoughts - which is why they're deciding not to stump up the extra £1k.

I certainly see where you're coming from, but if a child is willing to put effort into their education to catch up, a week definitely shouldn't effect them.

A bit off topic, but that's just my opinion on the issue

Dan


Sent from my iPhone using Forums
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature


Sailed!

P&O Oceana - April/May 2009 - Western Mediterranean 14nt
Norwegian Epic - August 2011 - Western Mediterranean 7nt
Emerald Princess - April 2012 - Eastern Caribbean 10nt
P&O Ventura - July/August 2013 - Canary Islands 12nt
Emerald Princess - May 2014 - Spain and France 7nt

Coming up...

P&O Ventura - April 2017 - Iberia 7nt
P&O Ventura - July 2018 - Canary Islands 12nt
#19
West Country, UK
4,287 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Originally posted by Florry
Thank you both, Holland America and Oceania have also been suggested - will be researching when we get home!


Sent from my iPhone using Forums
I can highly recommend both - BUT they rarely offer ex UK cruises.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Host Sharon


Cruise Photos:
https://photos.google.com/albums
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sharonsshiptravels/
Blog: http://sharonp-shipsinmylife.blogspot.com/

Ships sailed on:
Vistafjord, Caronia, QE2, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth Maiden Voyage, Aurora, Arcadia, Oriana, Oceana, Artemis, Ventura, Balmoral, Braemar, Adonia, Discovery, Royal Princess (2013 ship), Nautica, MV Funchal, Zaandam, Saga Pearl, Anthem of the Seas, Norwegian Escape, Harmony of the Seas. Also Rhine and Dutch river cruises

Ships visited:
Independence of the Seas, Azura, Artania, Prinsendam, Maasdam, Crystal Symphony, Saga Sapphire, Saga Pearl II, Marco Polo



To come:-
Saga Sapphire Xmas Markets 2017
Aurora circumnavigation of South America 2018

Oriana - Iceland & Greenland July 2018
Arcadia - USA & Canada Sept 2018


>
#20
Solihull
2,194 Posts
Joined Sep 2013
I'm not sure P&O know what they are anymore, last night we saw what was possibly the best show on a ship ever; Judy and Liza in the Limelight Club. We had front row seats with a lovely dinner in a room which was only 1/2 full despite the 30% offer - we paid £14, the mind boggles.


Sent from my iPhone using Forums