P&O Cruises and Cunard offer incentives in early booking push

P&O Cruises and Cunard offer incentives in early booking push

P&O Cruises will offer free domestic flights, coach travel or valet car parking along with 20% discounts in a three-month push on early bookings for 2012-13.

Carnival UK-owned P&O will offer the transport options to connect with departures from Southampton on bookings made between September 1 and November 30.

Sister line Cunard is offering a similar incentive, with free flights to join its ship Queen Elizabeth in the Mediterranean and free parking at 13 UK airports for fly-cruises.

Carnival UK umbrella sales arm Complete Cruise Solution (CCS) will host a webinar for agents on Tuesday at 9am giving details of the 'early booking spectacular'. It will provide ready-made marketing material to send to clients, a dedicated training module on the CCS Academy and bunting and balloons to decorate agencies and call centres.

The offer of free return flights with Flybe covers departures from Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds/Bradford to Southampton and coach transfers to the port, representing savings of up to £150.

A similar discount is offered with free flights from Gatwick or Manchester to connect to P&O Adonia cruises in the Mediterranean.

The P&O Cruises' offer on valet car parking at Southampton represents a saving of up to £311 per car based on two 35-night cruises from the port, while the deal cuts up to £124 per person off the cost of coach transfers from 46 points across the UK.

The company is also cutting up to 20% off the price of 171 cruises on all seven ships in the fleet.

The combined savings give a lead-in price of £1,099 for a 14-night cruise on newest superliner Azura on April 15 2012, based on a 20% discount of £275 per person and flights from Glasgow at £150.

A family of four travelling in the August peak next year on a nine-night Atlantic Coast cruise on Ventura could save £2,296 and pay a price of £3,196 when the cruise discount, additional 40% saving for third and fourth passengers sharing a cabin (£400 per child) and return coach transfers from Glasgow are included.

P&O Cruises managing director Carol Marlow declined to comment on booking levels and whether the promotion had been prompted by concern about the weak economic climate. She said the aim was to bring forward bookings with an improved offering.

Marlow said: "This is a fabulous deal in its own right with hassle-free options to get to the ship providing added value to the discount. We want to bring bookings forward and know we get a great response from these types of offers. It makes sense for passengers and for us."

She added that prices would rise in December with the publication of the next brochure edition. Marlow said the company would provide a "host" of support for the trade with the promotion.

Cunard president Peter Shanks said: "Value is extremely important in the current environment, both to our travel agent partners and our guests. The range of offers gives our agent partners the best proposition in the industry for 2012."


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