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Eglesbrech

Is “select” less valuable than it used to be?

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P&O have changed the way the website works yet again today. You are now automatically presented with the saver fare and have to fiddle about to find the select offer, change cabin etc. At least you do on an iPad.

 

We book a mixture of select and saver fares depending on ship, deck layouts, requirement for shuttles etc.
 

With the newer ships select seems to be offering less and less. Iona dining is all the same, dining was a big incentive for some to book select. Priority upgrades are a bit of a joke because most move people to places they did not want to be, I have heard of very few genuine upgrades (but would be happy to be corrected). Free shuttle buses are good but a lot of cruises don’t actually need them and for me at least I have never had to change a cruise once booked as we don’t tend to book years in advance.
 

I know that those who do book select very early benefit from the initial discount and the OBC. I also know that for some select is a essential to get the cabin type they require or a suite as they sell out quickly. For the average cruiser like me who books a reasonable standard of balcony (of which there are many available) what is the incentive now to book select? 
 

My early saver cabins have been fine and I usually get bumped up 2 or 3 grades to a mid ship position (not a proper upgrade which I consider to be grade to grade,  not just along the corridor). Why would I now pay the extra for select, particularly with all the added caveats  of subject to, if available etc  (see below) so are P&O now shooting themselves in the foot both with the offer and the way the web works.

 

Discuss 😀

 

“Here's what's included

Choose which cabin you'd like

  • You'll get to choose your cabin number (subject to availability).

Priority upgrades

  • First priority for upgrades (where and if available).

Complimentary shuttle bus

  • You'll get complimentary use of our shuttle buses in port (where provided by P&O Cruises).

Flexible dining table size and time

  • First priority for dining time and table size in the main restaurant (Club Dining only).

Flexibility to change your booking

  • Benefit from flexibility to change your booking (subject to our booking conditions).”

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Has the price differential changed?

 

I’ve always thought the two price structure is a bit odd/potentially confusing.  I would prefer a simple *price* with cabin and dining choice plus shuttles, included.  The *price* could be fluid, throughout the booking period, with the company raising or lowering it, as they do now, to maximise sales.  Only at the very last minute should there be any thought of any *clearance price*, which would be interior, sea view or balcony cabin and pot luck, no changes permissible on cabins or dining.

 

But, what do I know?  Certainly don’t understand P&Os business reasoning.  I guess the Select/Saver works for them.  Does any other cruise line do it?

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19 minutes ago, eddie11 said:

Has the price differential changed?

 

I’ve always thought the two price structure is a bit odd/potentially confusing.  I would prefer a simple *price* with cabin and dining choice plus shuttles, included.  The *price* could be fluid, throughout the booking period, with the company raising or lowering it, as they do now, to maximise sales.  Only at the very last minute should there be any thought of any *clearance price*, which would be interior, sea view or balcony cabin and pot luck, no changes permissible on cabins or dining.

 

But, what do I know?  Certainly don’t understand P&Os business reasoning.  I guess the Select/Saver works for them.  Does any other cruise line do it?

RCCL do a cabin grade guarantee price.

I always book the balcony I want so never done a balcony guarantee but there is a good price difference but they don't qualify for any obc offer.

RCCL have Royal Up where close to sail date you might get offered an opportunity to bid on upgrades.

Edited by grapau27

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I book Select for my choice of cabin and some OBC.  This year I did very well registering on board, even though they put me on A deck when I asked for D deck, but my TA soon rectified that.  Our cruises are now £200 pp more than when booked.

I see what you are saying for Iona. 

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37 minutes ago, Eglesbrech said:

P&O have changed the way the website works yet again today. You are now automatically presented with the saver fare and have to fiddle about to find the select offer, change cabin etc. At least you do on an iPad.

 

We book a mixture of select and saver fares depending on ship, deck layouts, requirement for shuttles etc.
 

With the newer ships select seems to be offering less and less. Iona dining is all the same, dining was a big incentive for some to book select. Priority upgrades are a bit of a joke because most move people to places they did not want to be, I have heard of very few genuine upgrades (but would be happy to be corrected). Free shuttle buses are good but a lot of cruises don’t actually need them and for me at least I have never had to change a cruise once booked as we don’t tend to book years in advance.
 

I know that those who do book select very early benefit from the initial discount and the OBC. I also know that for some select is a essential to get the cabin type they require or a suite as they sell out quickly. For the average cruiser like me who books a reasonable standard of balcony (of which there are many available) what is the incentive now to book select? 
 

My early saver cabins have been fine and I usually get bumped up 2 or 3 grades to a mid ship position (not a proper upgrade which I consider to be grade to grade,  not just along the corridor). Why would I now pay the extra for select, particularly with all the added caveats  of subject to, if available etc  (see below) so are P&O now shooting themselves in the foot both with the offer and the way the web works.

 

Discuss 😀

 

“Here's what's included

Choose which cabin you'd like

  • You'll get to choose your cabin number (subject to availability).

Priority upgrades

  • First priority for upgrades (where and if available).

Complimentary shuttle bus

  • You'll get complimentary use of our shuttle buses in port (where provided by P&O Cruises).

Flexible dining table size and time

  • First priority for dining time and table size in the main restaurant (Club Dining only).

Flexibility to change your booking

  • Benefit from flexibility to change your booking (subject to our booking conditions).”

For us,obc, freedom dining and picking the balcony cabin we want is worth the extra price.

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For me at least, Select is the only way to guarantee a particular suite, and at probably the best price when bookings first open. I also want to be sure of Freedom Dining, though that's probably possible even without Select given the right approach. 

 

Shuttles are a bonus, but it's essentially price and certainty of the precise suite we want.

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37 minutes ago, eddie11 said:

Has the price differential changed?

 

I’ve always thought the two price structure is a bit odd/potentially confusing.  I would prefer a simple *price* with cabin and dining choice plus shuttles, included.  The *price* could be fluid, throughout the booking period, with the company raising or lowering it, as they do now, to maximise sales.  Only at the very last minute should there be any thought of any *clearance price*, which would be interior, sea view or balcony cabin and pot luck, no changes permissible on cabins or dining.

 

But, what do I know?  Certainly don’t understand P&Os business reasoning.  I guess the Select/Saver works for them.  Does any other cruise line do it?

Celebrity moved away from this kind of model as too many people were waiting to book the bargain basement prices at the last minute. 
 

Most lines don’t want to advertise the fact that they have not sold all the cabins, nor annoy the people who booked mid way through the process by making the massive discount available to very early / saver bookers obvious. They try to package up the “savers” as offering less somehow to appease those booking select at the wrong price point. In reality the differentials are getting smaller by the day.

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23 minutes ago, jeanlyon said:

I book Select for my choice of cabin and some OBC.  This year I did very well registering on board, even though they put me on A deck when I asked for D deck, but my TA soon rectified that.  Our cruises are now £200 pp more than when booked.

I see what you are saying for Iona. 


I agree that by booking early you will have got about the best price / OBC ratio and exactly what you wanted.


The early saver price offered sometimes does not look as good as the launch booking price but it does not take account of the fact that most savers never see the grade they booked, they are bumped up several grades to fill the gaps.

 

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Thanks Eglesbrech

I suspected that

In fact I’ve seen plenty of examples where the Select price minus OBC is less than the Saver price

I expect others have too

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2 minutes ago, eddie11 said:

Thanks Eglesbrech

I suspected that

In fact I’ve seen plenty of examples where the Select price minus OBC is less than the Saver price

I expect others have too

Yes, I have seen that too but you have to know the market to be aware of it which many first time / newer cruisers are not. You then get “select” guests getting all superior and self righteous about savers changing dining etc when they actually paid less!

 

Personally when we book a saver I accept the cabin and dining I am given, that’s part of the deal imo.

 

Booking a cruise should not be so complex and have so many trip hazards (and no not just P&O, they are all at it) which can cost guests thousands of pounds if they book at the wrong time.

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We have so far booked select but it's a matter of economics, at launch the OBC plus discount makes Select not much more expensive. 

 

If we were booking at another time without the select discount and there was a big price difference then it depends on cabin you are booking. We like a midship full suite, where basically there are no bad cabins, so a guarantee would work, as you can't be downgraded.

 

However in a cabin grade where there are cabins you don't like in that grade or the grades above, then a guarantee is a much bigger risk, much more likely to end up with cabins no one wants. 

 

But if there are no cabins you don't like in in the grade you chose and any upgrades would be true upgrades it's a good deal. Need to spend a lot of time looking at deck plans.

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1 hour ago, Eglesbrech said:

Yes, I have seen that too but you have to know the market to be aware of it which many first time / newer cruisers are not. You then get “select” guests getting all superior and self righteous about savers changing dining etc when they actually paid less!

 

Personally when we book a saver I accept the cabin and dining I am given, that’s part of the deal imo.

 

Booking a cruise should not be so complex and have so many trip hazards (and no not just P&O, they are all at it) which can cost guests thousands of pounds if they book at the wrong time.

Yes in your list you missed out the OBC / car parking / coach travel. There is also those of us who want / need specific cabins.

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6 minutes ago, daiB said:

Yes in your list you missed out the OBC / car parking / coach travel. There is also those of us who want / need specific cabins.

Dai, the list is not mine - it is a direct copy from the P&O website. I mentioned those who want / need specific cabins.

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For the last three launch dates I have booked a Select cabin as with the past passenger discount and onboard credit it has been cheaper than the saver fare.  The Cruises I have booked have always gone up considerably so if I know there is a certain cruise I want to do than this has worked out the best practice. I also want freedom dining and worry about the cabin location being under the gym, buffet or sundecks so the peace of mind in knowing where my cabin will be is worthwhile. I took a chance on booking a saver on Britannia in January as it was too good a bargain but the anxiety of where we would be was awful and I don’t think I would do it again, although our cabin was perfectly fine and we got freedom dining.

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I tend to book select as cabin location and dining choice are important to me - especially when sailing solo.  For me, Freedom Dining would be a nightmare as I have no wish to be sitting with different people every night for between 14 and 19 nights.  Being allocated First Sitting would also spoil a cruise for me as it is far too early for me to eat - especially in warmer climes when I might want to be out on deck at 5.30pm.

I can certainly agree that with Iona coming in, the Select Benefits are few, with no set dining and the odd shuttle bus thrown in.

 

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It allows them to meet the needs of different customers. 
 

There is a P&O customer who is often retired, books high grade cabins, longer duration cruises, likes to be comfortable, likes quiet, wants to know where they are going to be on the ship (may have mobility requirements), prefers traditional ships dining arrangements, must park with CPS (otherwise their expensive car will be damaged), only cruises P&O (and Cunard) and is not particular concerned by the price.  They are probably Caspian level in the Peninsular Club. Select is for them. 
 

There is a P&O customer who is possibly a working person, books lower grade cabins, shorter duration cruises, does not spend much time in the cabin, likes to be enjoying themselves with activities and entrainment, would consider a cabin next to the disco a convenient location, like a port every day, prefers eat quickly so often uses the buffet and would book MSC if it was cheaper for the same itinerary. They are probably North Sea level in the Peninsular club. Saver is for them. 
 

P&O tries to keep everybody happy.  The problem often arrises when the Select booker goes for the Saver fare. They complain about everything but forget they paid significantly less. I met a couple in an apparently small noisy basic inside cabin who had spent three days lying seasick on the bed. To add to their woes the TV was too small, not a good picture and a poor choice of programmes.  They had booked a last minute cheap deal. Never again on P&O they said. 
 

Best wishes, Stephen 

Edited by stephen@stoneyard.co.uk

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17 minutes ago, stephen@stoneyard.co.uk said:

It allows them to meet the needs of different customers. 
 

There is a P&O customer who is often retired, books high grade cabins, longer duration cruises, likes to be comfortable, likes quiet, wants to know where they are going to be on the ship (may have mobility requirements), prefers traditional ships dining arrangements, must park with CPS (otherwise their expensive car will be damaged), only cruises P&O (and Cunard) and is not particular concerned by the price.  They are probably Caspian level in the Peninsular Club. Select is for them. 
 

There is a P&O customer who is possibly a working person, books lower grade cabins, shorter duration cruises, does not spend much time in the cabin, likes to be enjoying themselves with activities and entrainment, would consider a cabin next to the disco a convenient location, like a port every day, prefers eat quickly so often uses the buffet and would book MSC if it was cheaper for the same itinerary. They are probably North Sea level in the Peninsular club. Saver is for them. 
 

P&O tries to keep everybody happy.  The problem often arrises when the Select booker goes for the Saver fare. They complain about everything but forget they paid significantly less. I met a couple in an apparently small noisy basic inside cabin who had spent three days lying seasick on the bed. To add to their woes the TV was too small, not a good picture and a poor choice of programmes.  They had booked a last minute cheap deal. Never again on P&O they said. 
 

Best wishes, Stephen 

Exactly, we’ll explained. 👍

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19 minutes ago, Les_ldh said:

Exactly, we’ll explained. 👍

Do the higher grade cabins have bigger and better TVs then, I think not?

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49 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

Do the higher grade cabins have bigger and better TVs then, I think not?

I wasn’t referring to the details, but rather that P&O are trying to attract differing types of cruiser.

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45 minutes ago, Les_ldh said:

I wasn’t referring to the details, but rather that P&O are trying to attract differing types of cruiser.

I imagine that most mass market cruise lines try to attract as diverse a passenger mix as they can, that way they are likely to fill more cabins. I just don't subscribe to the view that P&O specifically are trying to dumb down their cruise experience in order to attract more passengers.  That way would lead to losing their core market, but with Iona I do understand why they are prepared to reduce the number of formal nights.

As to whether select fares are no longer as attractive, that depends on how important the remaining benefits are to each individual, how bad the worst cabins in each category is, the number of P&O shuttles and the value of OBC/coach/car park, and of course now which ship you are booking.

Edited by terrierjohn

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Whatever people may say on here the vast majority of passengers on P&O are older and generally retired. Who else can go on 2/3/4/5 week and more cruises between Oct and April. Even Iona is doing 14 night winter cruises. The company cannot ignore these cruisers.i am on Ventura at the moment for 2 cruises covering the half term weeks. Its great to see so many children and young people. However the majotity of cruisers are older. Remember they have the time and money to cruise.

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2 hours ago, stephen@stoneyard.co.uk said:

It allows them to meet the needs of different customers. 
 

There is a P&O customer who is often retired, books high grade cabins, longer duration cruises, likes to be comfortable, likes quiet, wants to know where they are going to be on the ship (may have mobility requirements), prefers traditional ships dining arrangements, must park with CPS (otherwise their expensive car will be damaged), only cruises P&O (and Cunard) and is not particular concerned by the price.  They are probably Caspian level in the Peninsular Club. Select is for them. 
 

There is a P&O customer who is possibly a working person, books lower grade cabins, shorter duration cruises, does not spend much time in the cabin, likes to be enjoying themselves with activities and entrainment, would consider a cabin next to the disco a convenient location, like a port every day, prefers eat quickly so often uses the buffet and would book MSC if it was cheaper for the same itinerary. They are probably North Sea level in the Peninsular club. Saver is for them. 
 

P&O tries to keep everybody happy.  The problem often arrises when the Select booker goes for the Saver fare. They complain about everything but forget they paid significantly less. I met a couple in an apparently small noisy basic inside cabin who had spent three days lying seasick on the bed. To add to their woes the TV was too small, not a good picture and a poor choice of programmes.  They had booked a last minute cheap deal. Never again on P&O they said. 
 

Best wishes, Stephen 

Then there is the specific category for the Scots and our souls mates from Yorkshire who generally do not like paying over the odds for the same itinerary, same food, same entertainment, same..... 😉

 

Personally I don’t fall into either of the categories you describe but I do recognise them as being an accurate description of large chunks of the P&O market.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, daiB said:

Whatever people may say on here the vast majority of passengers on P&O are older and generally retired. Who else can go on 2/3/4/5 week and more cruises between Oct and April. Even Iona is doing 14 night winter cruises. The company cannot ignore these cruisers.i am on Ventura at the moment for 2 cruises covering the half term weeks. Its great to see so many children and young people. However the majotity of cruisers are older. Remember they have the time and money to cruise.

The times that we sail, yes most pax are at least over 50. P&O annoys this demographic at their peril as they are indeed the ones who fill the cabins.

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7 hours ago, Eglesbrech said:

Then there is the specific category for the Scots and our souls mates from Yorkshire who generally do not like paying over the odds for the same itinerary, same food, same entertainment, same..... 😉

 

Personally I don’t fall into either of the categories you describe but I do recognise them as being an accurate description of large chunks of the P&O market.

 

 

You do meet many passengers from Yorkshire and Scotland. Presumably they value the coach service but would prefer a Northern departure port. 
 

Best wishes, Stephen

Edited by stephen@stoneyard.co.uk

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Fred Olsen for a while had a similar system of fares. In theory a perk of the Anchor fare was earlier boarding. In practice this did not seem to make much difference. It was after the suites and higher loyalty tier so in reality after almost half of the passengers. 
 

Best wishes, Stephen.
 

 

Edited by stephen@stoneyard.co.uk

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