P&O Cruises Scraps Future Cruise Deposit Scheme

June 30, 2017
details from Britannia funnel

(1:25 p.m. BST) -- P&O Cruises is to end its future cruise deposit scheme from Sunday, July 2, in favour of a restructured offering to future bookings made while onboard.

The restructure means that passengers making a future cruise booking will now be required to commit to a specific sailing when paying a £50 per person deposit.

The scheme has previously allowed passengers to secure future cruise benefits -- such as onboard credit -- without needing to commit to a particular sailing when making a down payment.

P&O Cruises will offer passengers a two-week window after they return from their cruise holiday to transfer their future cruise deposit to an alternative sailing, providing it is of the same or a higher value.

The change can be made free of charge and will offer a small loophole for those passenger who are unsure of which date to commit to when booking a future cruise onboard.

Passengers will still be able to secure additional onboard credit when booking a cruise of four nights or more on 'Select Price holidays'.

The line is also instating a new senior loyalty and cruise sales manager onboard all eight ships from July to offer advice about future holidays and the line's loyalty scheme, the Peninsular Club.

P&O Cruises' senior vice president, Paul Ludlow, said: "The propensity to book whilst still on board is very high as immediate help and advice is on hand and the happy holiday memories are still fresh.

"These new enhancements will result in even better service, less waiting time and increased opportunities for guests to learn about new itineraries and ships. All travel agent bookings are protected and fully commissionable."

Cruise Critic members have revealed a sense of disappointment at the changes on the line's boards page, with Kruzseeka writing: "I suspect this might back-fire somewhat for reasons already aired as most people who previously paid a fcd had, to a large extent, therefore committed to another P&O cruise. Of course you can forfeit the fcd but I think most would be looking closely at P&O's itineraries with a view to 'cashing in' on their little bonus. But psychologically that connection has gone and I really do believe that will lead to customers being more receptive to considering other deals from other cruise lines. Of course some will not desert P&O but I suspect a proportion like me, without a fcd to consider, may well be less 'attached' to P&O whilst searching for our next cruise."

Florry writes: "Maybe [FCD] wasn't being utilised enough because people didn't understand the benefit. If they've had more takers for the BOB £50 deposit scheme (aka it's what our customers want) perhaps they use the administrative saving of closing the FCD scheme to open the desk for longer.

"I suppose there aren't many people who book multiple cruises a year and other cruisers may be more likely to BOB in the moment and on sea days when there isn't much to do.

"These days they are far more likely to be courting opinion from those who run high profile FB groups, and move their offerings towards solutions that attract the biggest return."

--By Kerry Spencer, Editor, U.K.