The lines have replaced Vantage fares with 'P&O Cruises Select Price' and 'Cunard Fare' rates, which will allow passengers to pick their cabins as well as dining times and table sizes. The new fares also offer the possibility of cabin upgrades if higher-tier cabins become available prior to the cruise sail date, and include a choice of one of the following: onboard credit, car parking or coach transfers to Southampton. These two new fares will be available on all cruises, according to Cunard and P&O.
Getaway fares have been scrapped altogether, although both lines are introducing a new 'Early Saver' fare. These fares, like guarantee cabin fares, come at a reduced price, but don't allow passengers to choose a specific cabin, only the cabin category and general location on the ship. Unlike guarantee cabins, however, Early Saver fares don't offer the possibility of an upgrade, and mean that passengers will have lower priority when selecting dining times and tables.
The new fare types are bookable beginning 4 November, 2013, and apply to cruises from the spring of 2014 and beyond. All bookings on Getaway and Vantage fares before 4 November will be honored, according to the lines. 100,000 cabins will be sold on the Select Price and Cunard Fares across 200 cruises, while 90,000 cabins will be available on the Early Saver fares across 178 cruises.
A statement from the lines quoted Gerard Tempest, Chief Commercial Officer for the lines' parent company, Carnival UK: "We listened to our travel agents ... and have developed a fare structure that will allow them more opportunities ... Importantly, this initiative will help agents to replace lower-priced late bookings with more profitable earlier-booking business."
P&O and Cunard put Vantage and Getaway fares in place on cruises beginning in April 2013.
According to members on the Cruise Critic forums, passengers were informed of the fare changes yesterday (Oct. 30), and told the new fares would be available on sailings beginning 24 March, 2014.
P&O and Cunard said full details will be made available on the Carnival Group website when the fares go on sale Nov. 4.
--by Jamey Bergman, U.K. Production Editor