P&O and Cunard discard Vantage Getaway fare structure

Cruise lines P&O Cruises and Cunard have decided to replace the Vantage and Getaway fares with a new fare structure, according to a report by Travel Weekly.

The new fare structure will be effective from November 4, 2013, and will be applicable to cruises from the spring of 2014 onwards. All bookings on Getaway and Vantage fares before November 4 will be honoured, the lines said.

From Monday, 90,000 cabins will be made available on the Early Saver fares across 178 cruises, and a further 100,000 cabins will be available on the premium fares across 200 cruises. The fare is also inclusive of shuttle buses and a choice of one of the following: onboard credit, car parking or coach transfers to Southampton. The two new fares will be available on all cruises indefinitely.

The new fares are introduced as a direct response to agent feedback gathered through the Agent Matters initiative, Chris Truscott, sales and distribution support director for P&O and Cunard, reportedly told Travel Weekly.

Truscott said: ‘Clearly we have cruises between now and spring and we will have Vantage and Getaway fares on them. Past that we will dispense with them in place of the new structure.

‘What we are trying to do is change the new culture of late bookings; this new structure encourages early bookings and it will drive demand in early bookings. Our approach to getting more early bookings with these fares is by offering more variables and more value for agents to be able to use in their favour.

‘The response from agents has been really positive. We have had a webinar with 300 agents and we have talked to a number of agents to inform them of what’s changing. It is very positive.

‘We have listened – and we continue to listen – to feedback from the trade on what we can do to stimulate early bookings.’

Gerard Tempest, Carnival UK chief commercial officer, said: ‘We listened to our travel agents as part of our Agent Matters programme and have developed a fare structure that will allow them more opportunities to convert customers at all booking lead times.

‘Importantly, this initiative will help agents to replace lower-priced late bookings with more profitable earlier-booking business.’

The existing Vantage and Getaway fares will remain available for all cruises departing until the start of the spring 2014 programme. For customers who have already booked on a Vantage or Getaway Fare, the booking terms and conditions will remain the same and Vantage fares will continue to be protected by the price promise, the report said.