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The Real PM

Cunard's Advertised Price Reductions Deceptive?

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Last week I received a Cunard brochure and in it was an offer of a balcony for the price of an inside cabin. There was a list of dates and under it they showed the prices that had been crossed out and the new price next to it.

 

So seeing I was planning to travel to and from England on QM2 on two of those dates, i booked yesterday. When I heard that the price was $300 higher per person, I was surprised and told the Cunard representative about the price I thought it should be. She offered nothing to what I had told her and she just said that what she had given me was the correct price.

 

Today my husband called back with brochure in hand and told them that we thought they had charged too much. It took a while, but finally the girl found the brochure and the correct page and finally the small print that said the price only pertained to the bold printed dates. My question is, why would they bother to list a number of other dates with those discounted bold ones other than to deceive perspective customers?

 

I have been on a number of Cunard cruises and have always been a loyal customer, always taking Cunard's side when others complained. I just wonder if things are that bad that they must stoop to these kind of deceptive practices to entice past passengers to cruise with them. I am almost ready to cancel.

 

Or maybe it was my mistake and I should have been aware that the lowered price was meant for only the bold print.

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I would want to see the brochure before deciding if it was deceptive - but like you I HATE deceptive advertising.

 

If you really think Cunard is advertising in a deceptive way, write to the head of Carnival (or whoever) and complain about it. They need to hear from passengers so that they know we do not like such marketing practices.

 

To answer your question, though, about showing various dates, I know that it is done in many brochures and on TV. They always tell you the lowest price (often with 'from'), but give the other dates in case the reduced price date does not suit you but you still want to travel. In my experience, similar cruises are rarely the same price.

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Recently a Cunard ad listed in BIG letters "INSIDE CABIN " and a good price ,then "book by ***** and receive there was a really excellent list of 4 "freebies" including " paid gratuities , Dinner for 2 at TE ,OBC." etc. Then right at the bottom of the ad, it stated in really SMALL print that these freebies were for bookings of balcony staterooms only.

 

Talk about deception, in fact inside cabins got no freebies, and for solo passengers carried 200% surcharge.

 

Sorry Ossiesmum that you were deceived, I do not think you should blame yourself, we should not have to take a magnifying glass to read the small print , not from a company that used to have a reputation second to none.

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My apologies The Real PM . think my brain took a 10 min break when I called you Ossiesmum.

 

I do feel bad about that. I do know so well how you feel Cunard deceived you. Hope you eventually receive some satisfaction.

 

Best wishes

 

Lynn

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In our experience, Cunard ALWAYS uses the bold print technique for lower fares in their brochures. That way, they can keep a master set of brochures and then print selectively with different dates bolded, depending on their promotions. We've seen this often enough now that we know to look for the bolded print dates when we get those brochures. I'm not sure it's so much trying to be deceptive (though it is to us consumers) as it is a cost-savings in being able to have one master set of brochures that has all sailings in it instead of multiple versions.

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The bolded print trick is quite common among cruise companies. I've seen Holland America and Celebrity do it as well as Cunard. I'm so used to it I look for the bolded date to see when the price is valid.

 

The advertising also usually uses 'from' in front of the $ price which is another indication many prices are higher. When you see 'from' its a clear indication only the bolded date is at the price publicised and every other date is more expensive.

 

It's not much different than the scam price advertising used by airlines in North America. One must always read the fine print.

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No human apparently checks the booking engine for Cunard. For M424, the 12-day Canadian voyage from New York. Balcony reads $3,598 and Club Balcony $3499.

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No human apparently checks the booking engine for Cunard. For M424, the 12-day Canadian voyage from New York. Balcony reads $3,598 and Club Balcony $3499.

 

I received an e-mail from Cunard offering the "best available inside staterooms" for $799....

 

 

 

"FARE DETAILS

 

* This offer is for new bookings only and is available from 12 September to 30 September. Full payment is required at time of booking. Best available stateroom offer is valid on inside categories IA-ID on Queen Mary 2 16 October sailing (M424) on a space-available basis at time of reservation. Additional stateroom categories may be available at higher fares. Fares are per person, do not include air travel, are cruise only, based on double occupancy and apply to the first two passengers in a stateroom. These fares do not apply to singles or third/fourth-berth passengers. Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses of up to $185 per person are additional and subject to change. This offer is capacity-controlled, nontransferable, subject to change, and may not be combinable with any other public, group or past passenger discount, including On Board Credit. Offer is available to residents of the 50 United States, Canada, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the District of Columbia who are 21 years of age or older and receive this offer. Fares quoted in U.S. dollars. Launch fares are offering fares and may not have been in effect for the past 90 days or resulted in actual sales in all categories. Intermediate discounts may have been taken and fares may remain at discounted levels after this promotion. Please refer to the applicable Cunard brochure or Cunard.com for terms, conditions and definitions that apply to all reservations. Ask about our applicable air add-on programme. Please reference promotion code: PE6. Offer expires 30 September 2014. Ships’ Registry: Bermuda. ©Cunard 2014. The Cunard logo and logotype are registered trademarks of Carnival plc, an English company trading as Cunard Line. Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria are trademarks owned by Cunard. All rights reserved in the United States and other countries. Note: For assistance reserving a wheelchair-accessible stateroom, please contact customer service at 1-800-728-6273."

 

 

If my math is correct, $799 per person double occupancy, for an inside cabin means that the passenger cost per day on this 12 day QM2 voyage is $66.58.

Edited by Salacia

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No human apparently checks the booking engine for Cunard. For M424, the 12-day Canadian voyage from New York. Balcony reads $3,598 and Club Balcony $3499.

 

A web vacation site has balcony or suite for $2899. (inside $799) It seems most sites have inaccuracies.

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I received an e-mail from Cunard offering the "best available inside staterooms" for $799....

 

 

 

"FARE DETAILS

 

* This offer is for new bookings only and is available from 12 September to 30 September. Full payment is required at time of booking. Best available stateroom offer is valid on inside categories IA-ID on Queen Mary 2 16 October sailing (M424) on a space-available basis at time of reservation. Additional stateroom categories may be available at higher fares. Fares are per person, do not include air travel, are cruise only, based on double occupancy and apply to the first two passengers in a stateroom. These fares do not apply to singles or third/fourth-berth passengers. Taxes, Fees, and Port Expenses of up to $185 per person are additional and subject to change. This offer is capacity-controlled, nontransferable, subject to change, and may not be combinable with any other public, group or past passenger discount, including On Board Credit. Offer is available to residents of the 50 United States, Canada, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the District of Columbia who are 21 years of age or older and receive this offer. Fares quoted in U.S. dollars. Launch fares are offering fares and may not have been in effect for the past 90 days or resulted in actual sales in all categories. Intermediate discounts may have been taken and fares may remain at discounted levels after this promotion. Please refer to the applicable Cunard brochure or Cunard.com for terms, conditions and definitions that apply to all reservations. Ask about our applicable air add-on programme. Please reference promotion code: PE6. Offer expires 30 September 2014. Ships’ Registry: Bermuda. ©Cunard 2014. The Cunard logo and logotype are registered trademarks of Carnival plc, an English company trading as Cunard Line. Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria are trademarks owned by Cunard. All rights reserved in the United States and other countries. Note: For assistance reserving a wheelchair-accessible stateroom, please contact customer service at 1-800-728-6273."

 

 

If my math is correct, $799 per person double occupancy, for an inside cabin means that the passenger cost per day on this 12 day QM2 voyage is $66.58.

 

 

But the part that really gets me about that is that it is for "new bookings only", the exact thing I was told when I asked (as I always do) if the fare is discounted will I get that discount. And I was told that I would unless it says "for new bookings only". I would need to cancel to get the discount in that case, I was told. I feel that instead of being rewarded for booking early, we are penalized for doing so. I suppose if I did cancel to receive a discount, I would lose my deposit--or would I? Anyone know?

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But the part that really gets me about that is that it is for "new bookings only", the exact thing I was told when I asked (as I always do) if the fare is discounted will I get that discount. And I was told that I would unless it says "for new bookings only". I would need to cancel to get the discount in that case, I was told. I feel that instead of being rewarded for booking early, we are penalized for doing so. I suppose if I did cancel to receive a discount, I would lose my deposit--or would I? Anyone know?

 

If you've booked on the standard US Ts&Cs and it is before final payment is due you are able to cancel without penalty.

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If you've booked on the standard US Ts&Cs and it is before final payment is due you are able to cancel without penalty.

 

Hello Cap'n,

 

What is the standard US Ts&C's?

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One could always wait out for a promotion rather than book early. But some will never be satisfied unless they get the lowest price ever offered. Unfortunately many of the price drop bottom feeders will then complain of cutbacks, why can't they get mid-ship or first seating, etc, etc..

 

Economics 101 friends. It's a business and no business can stay in business if they allow promotions to be combined.

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Hello Cap'n,

 

What is the standard US Ts&C's?

 

Passage contract here.

 

Most don't bother to read it, but failing to do so can be expensive.

 

Cunard covers its backside by requiring one to tick a check box at booking to acknowledge having read the T&C. Nothing unusual there - pretty standard for online transactions in the US.

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One could always wait out for a promotion rather than book early. But some will never be satisfied unless they get the lowest price ever offered. Unfortunately many of the price drop bottom feeders will then complain of cutbacks, why can't they get mid-ship or first seating, etc, etc..

 

Economics 101 friends. It's a business and no business can stay in business if they allow promotions to be combined.

 

Well, unless you consider booking early a promotion, I don't think that if I accepted a lower price that I would be combining promotions. I have booked full price as far as I can see.

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Hello Cap'n,

 

What is the standard US Ts&C's?

 

I would suggest that they are the ones that you agreed to when buying the trip unless you accepted different ones that include non-cancellation except with a penalty. Most US travel agents would caution against taking those deals.

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I would suggest that they are the ones that you agreed to when buying the trip unless you accepted different ones that include non-cancellation except with a penalty. Most US travel agents would caution against taking those deals.

 

WEll, I have booked the cruises but have until tomorrow to pay the deposit. I booked directly through Cunard by phone. So as far as I know I haven't agreed to anything yet. So when will I see the non-cancellation stuff?

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WEll, I have booked the cruises but have until tomorrow to pay the deposit. I booked directly through Cunard by phone. So as far as I know I haven't agreed to anything yet. So when will I see the non-cancellation stuff?

 

Do Cunard not read a whole spiel to you when they quote you a price and before you agree to accept the deal? If I were you I might consider calling them and enquiring about what deals are available and what are the cancellation conditions.

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Do Cunard not read a whole spiel to you when they quote you a price and before you agree to accept the deal? If I were you I might consider calling them and enquiring about what deals are available and what are the cancellation conditions.

 

No, not that I recall. When she told me the price I told her I was surprised because I had seen in the brochure sent to me that it was lower than that. She didn't say anything and I said , can you wait a moment while I find it, but I couldn't find the correct date while I was on the phone. She told me that I could pay the deposit on the phone or pay it by Tuesday. I said I would wait until Tuesday. And she asked the usual, what cabin I would like, what seating and was there anything else I would like. I told her we would probably want a transfer to London, but could we do that later and she said we could. She said final payment was due June 6. I asked if the fare was lowered would I be able to get the lowered fare and she said yes up until the final payment.

 

But I don't believe that anything else was discussed.

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Total Confusion , no not just at passenger level but also at Cunard (whether in UK or USA).

 

As I wrote earlier, I spoke with my agent re a Cunard mailing, but when she called Cunard , NO ONE knew anything about the mailing, this went on for at least 2-3 days.

 

Finally she was on phone with Cunard for ONE HOUR, and was "transferred" through 4 (FOUR) different departments before finding one who was aware of the mailing!!!!!

 

I would not have had my agents patience. Believe me whatever commission she received for that service to me was well and truly earned.

 

Booking a cruise these days is liking walking through a mental mind field.

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I asked if the fare was lowered would I be able to get the lowered fare and she said yes up until the final payment.

 

Whenever I am told things like this, I keep a note of the agent's name and the time and date of the phone call. That way if anything went wrong I could point out that they record phone calls so could they please check the recording for this date and time and they will see what I have been promised. (This was after a car insurance policy where I asked about one specific detail and was assured it was possible, and then found it wasn't!)

 

My suggestion would be to phone again before paying the deposit and to ask that question again, saying you will take a note of her name and the time just in case you need to quote her on that. Alternatively, ask if she can confirm it in an email.

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Unfortunately when I produced an e -mail, the Pursers desk would not accept it, they seemed to think I had "manufactured" it myself. They insisted they would have to contact HO, which would take days (which on a 7 day cruise a passenger does not have).

 

It does spoil things on a cruise to have to fight to get the correct OBC (or anything else which is "normal"). It really is necessary to consider in advance having the correct paperwork.

 

Putting the amount of OBC or any other "extra amenity" on to the invoice would deal with this problem, and would be so easy for Cunard or an agent. Some already do this, but some do not.

 

I also wish that Cunard would include a phone number for the agency that handles the meet and transportation, so that in the event of a failure to meet, , a passenger could contact the agency direct. This would have saved a great deal of time, and anxiety for myself in July.

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Unfortunately when I produced an e -mail, the Pursers desk would not accept it, they seemed to think I had "manufactured" it myself. They insisted they would have to contact HO, which would take days (which on a 7 day cruise a passenger does not have).

 

This is normal practice Jimsgirl. It's not a case of thinking you manufactured it; they are given limited options or responsibility when it comes to adding money. As I said in an earlier post, they were extremely polite and helpful but told me they would have to contact HO. It all worked out.

 

On one occasion I actually had a ticket that showed the shareholder's OBC. That made things somewhat faster.

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Recently a Cunard ad listed in BIG letters "INSIDE CABIN " and a good price ,then "book by ***** and receive there was a really excellent list of 4 "freebies" including " paid gratuities , Dinner for 2 at TE ,OBC." etc. Then right at the bottom of the ad, it stated in really SMALL print that these freebies were for bookings of balcony staterooms only.

 

Talk about deception, in fact inside cabins got no freebies, and for solo passengers carried 200% surcharge.

 

Sorry Ossiesmum that you were deceived, I do not think you should blame yourself, we should not have to take a magnifying glass to read the small print , not from a company that used to have a reputation second to none.

We just got one 2 days ago. The QV was listed on a 15 day trip from Ft.Lauderdale to Los Angeles on Feb.2 2015 for 1150 per person for standard inside. Considering how much we enjoyed our Celebrity trip last Jan. I still feel this is a super bargain. We have till 9/30 to decide.Hmmmm.

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