Cheers! The drinks are on Fred

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When it comes to deals to help sell cruises there are two popular ways to avoid cutting fares to the bone – a price promise that means early bookers will always get the best value, and all-inclusive drinks. Fred Olsen is now embracing both in a concerted attempt to get customers to book early .
Only last month, the cruise line announced it was going to trial the drinks deal on a handful of itineraries aboard Braemar next February and March.
They did such good business as a result, with those cruises selling three times as quickly as others in the brochure, that now all four ships in the fleet are getting in on the act. The first 100 bookings made before the end of September on all cruises departing from April 6 next year qualify for all-inclusive drinks. Passengers who have already booked needn’t worry about missing out – they will receive the same benefits.
And following the example set this week by Cunard and P&O – who were themselves adapting a policy which Saga Cruises have operated for years – Olsen has now introduced its own Price Pledge.
If the price of a cruise is reduced for the cabin grade booked, Fred Olsen will refund the difference
through one or more measures, from cabin upgrades, on-board spending money, or cash refunds. It’s not clear whether passengers will be able to make their own choice; the announcement says “all at Fred. Olsen’s discretion.”
Sales and marketing director Nathan Philpot says: “This is one of a range of options that we are introducing to help to restore confidence in the cruise market to encourage guests to book early. We want to offer our guests the best possible deal on their cruise with us, and by booking early with the ‘Fred. Olsen Price Pledge’, they will have the peace of mind that, should the cruise price reduce, then we will make up the difference, whilst they will be able to secure the best choice of cruise and cabins.”
THE SMALL PRINT: All-inclusive drinks will not be available on Balmoral and Black Watch’s Grand Voyages, departing in January 2014. Full ship charters will also be excluded. Champagne, “selected premium drinks,” cocktails, room service and mini bar drinks also fall outside the deal.
The price pledge does not apply to inside cabins, nor to the fares for third and fourth passengers sharing a cabin. Refunds will not be activated by bargain deals such as those requiring payment in full at the time of booking. The price pledge applies only to the cruise and not to separate package components such as flights, hotels and transfers.
►Also offering early-booking incentives is Holland America Line, like Cunard and P&O, part of Carnival Corporation. On offer are free cabin upgrades and lower deposits. Managing director Lynn Narraway said: “We have achieved a healthy growth in UK business in 2012, although we have seen a predominantly later booking pattern. We want to assure guests of the advantages of booking early.”
And Compagnie du Ponant – about to be swallowed up by Pret a Manger, as I reported earlier this week – have announced that all meals, drinks, and gratuities are to be included in their fares. In their case, room service and mini bars are included.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:45+00:00 20 July 2012|Cruise deals, Cruise news|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. Roger White 20 July 2012 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Who would have thought that inclusive booze deals would appeal to people that like cruises? About time I reckon!

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