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I’m not the only person to think that P&O have got the prices for Azura (coming into service in April 2010) wrong – they’re way, way too high. (I blogged about this before.) Looking at the current (2010/Mar 2011) P&O brochure, prices for Azura seem to be around £150 per person per night (pppn), whereas Ventura, a virtually identical ship, is coming in at about £125pppn. That £25 pppn extra amounts to £350 per person over 14 nights, £700 for two, which is a significant amount of money, especially as the actual cruise experience will be very similar on the two ships.

Of course P&O often seem to charge high prices. Next year, however, they will be under some pressure. Celebrity’s Eclipse (the third of the Solstice class) will be based in Southampton, doing a mix of cruises pretty similar to the standard P&O fare: 14 night cruises to the Baltic & western Med, 16 nights to the central Med, and 11 nights to the Canaries; and prices on Eclipse, at least at the beginning of the season, aren’t far above £100 pppn for a balcony cabin. Up at P&O price level there will two Cunard ships, Queens Victoria & Elizabeth, and I’ve heard a lot of people say that if they’re going to spend that much money they’d rather do it with Cunard than P&O.

It’s beginning to look as if this pressure is telling. I received a sales leaflet through the post today from Ideal Cruising, through whom we’ve booked several times already. This leaflet is all about Azura in 2010, and it shows some significant reductions. Balcony cabin prices are quoted as £1899 for 14 nights in the spring as against £2499 in the brochure; 16 nights in the central Med in the high season is £2269 as against a brochure price of £2899. So perhaps Azura’s inaugural season isn’t selling as well as P&O would have liked.

4 Responses to “Azura prices – going down?”

  1. Malcolm says:

    Hi Tom, I’ve yet to cruise with P&O but their fares ALWAYS seem higher than the quality of the passenger reviews. I don’t know how they generally sustain their high fares? They seem to have a very very loyal ‘well off’ following – I’m not sure why?

  2. tomtotley says:

    Malcolm: I’m often struck by the different tone in reviews and postings between P&O forums and other lines’ forums on cruise discussion websites. The only conclusion I can draw is that there seem to be a lot of whingers and moaners among P&O passengers who post on them. They may well be perfectly happy with P&O! – or at least, perfectly happy with their favourite P&O ship.

    I think also that many P&O passengers aren’t happy flying (except to P&O Caribbean cruises), so they feel constrained to cruise out of Southampton. That means they’re restricted to P&O plus (up until now) a bit of Cunard and maybe Fred Olsen. Of course, the Southampton cruising scene is changing; lots more Cunard, more Princess, and some Royal Caribbean and (from next year) Celebrity. There’s no doubt that this will greatly increase competition.

  3. Malcolm says:

    Of course pitching the Azura fares too high to begin with did P&O no hard: they probably did sell some cabins to those with ‘more money than sense’ and now they can discount and shout ‘sale’.

  4. Malcolm says:

    Of course pitching the Azura fares too high to begin with did P&O no harm: they probably did sell some cabins to those with ‘more money than sense’ and now they can discount and shout ‘sale’.

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