Yesterday I did a long post about the working of the Vantage Fare and Getaway Fare for the same cruise. After working through the prices for an example cruise I said this:
The extras for Vantage fares seem to be worth about £120 per person. Annoyingly, however, if you choose to take it as an on-board credit it’s wiped out by an equivalent extra charge for ’Sea Fuel Supplement’ (the dreaded oil surcharge); e.g. the per person cruise price is £1699 + £60 fuel surcharge, plus £60 on-board credit. Confusingly, however, if you select Free Parking then the cruise price is £1639 + £60 fuel surcharge, making £1699 including surcharge.
By late yesterday afternoon the picture had changed – the Vantage Fare price with on-board credit as the benefit had been brought into line with the other Vantage Fare options: the fuel supplement was included within the £1699 which made the on-board credit a definite plus.
Not wishing to blow my own trumpet here, but during yesterday morning I did in fact send an email to P&O pointing out the issue I’d spotted earlier and asking for clarification. I haven’t received a reply from them, but I can’t help wondering if it was just coincidence that the price of that option changed shortly afterwards.
On the general point my view is hardening: I don’t believe that offering a Getaway Fare 5 months before the cruise date fits the original description of Getaway Fares as ‘last minute offers’. There are now a large number of cruises quite a long way off that have both Vantage Fares and Getaway Fares advertised. Remember, the Price Promise only comes into effect if the Vantage Fare is reduced; if Getaway Fares are already available for that cruise, I don’t expect that the Vantage Fare will ever be (further) reduced so the Price Promise will never come into effect. Early bookers will have been left high and dry. It’s a huge disincentive to book early.