It’s March, and the New Year offers from both P&O and Cunard closed at the end of February – no more additional OBC if you book a cruise at the full fare. But nature abhors a vacuum so you’ll not be surprised that on 1 March new offers appeared for both lines, in the form of gift vouchers. Book a Select Fare balcony cabin for a 14-night cruise this year and P&O will give you £400 of gift vouchers. Cunard are not as generous at this level – a Britannia balcony for a 14 night cruise will attract just £340 worth of vouchers. Other cabin classes and cruise durations attract vouchers of different values, of course, from £80 for an 7 night cruise in an inside cabin with P&O, to £1,340 for a 17+ night Queens Grill cruise with Cunard. These offers only apply to those buying Select fares (P&O) or ‘Cunard fare’ (Cunard).
But the really interesting thing is the type of vouchers. P&O are offering Marks & Spencer vouchers but Cunard are offering John Lewis vouchers, and I’m struck by that difference. I think those two retail chains would see themselves as occupying slightly different positions in the market, and I also think most people might regard John Lewis as being a little bit up-market of M&S. So what does this say about Carnival UK’s perception of their customers for these two lines?
Actually, I think Cunard have missed a trick. Given that their Britannia, Princess Grill and Queen’s Grill fares represent the last vestiges on the high seas of First Class, Second Class and Steerage, they should have offered different vouchers again for their non-Britannia passengers. Liberty or Harvey Nicks for Princess Grill, perhaps; and definitely Harrods or Fortnum & Masons for Queens Grill.