If you missed the Winter Edition of ‘Into The Blue’, here’s our exclusive interview with Christopher Edgington, Marketing Director of Britain’s favourite cruise line P&O Cruises. P&O Cruises can trace its roots back over 175 years to the formation of the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company in 1837. The exceptional itinerary choices and service P&O cruises provide not only create memorable experiences, but are also great value for money. We wanted to get Christopher’s thoughts on the future of the brand.
Firstly, how do you like our magazine ‘Into The Blue’?
I think it is a really inspiring magazine because it represents everything that is great about cruising and at the same time demonstrates how committed Bolsover Cruise Club is to this extraordinary kind of holiday. I could not be more proud to be working with the team at Bolsover Cruise Club; indeed when i joined P&O Cruises they were my first visit!
P&O Cruises have a great heritage and history, how do you feel to be part of this as you settle?
I am quickly realising that I have so much to learn. The daily challenges are significant but as long as we focus on two key things, our customers and our agent partners, we’ll succeed!
Exciting times at the moment with the announcement of Britannia and the changes to the pricing programme; what was the reasoning behind the change?
Our pricing structure was simply wrong and our customers and agent partners told us so. After much consideration we have changed it for the better because it allows customers to find the right price based on what they want from their holiday.
Can you explain how ‘The Select Price Fare’ is different to ‘Vantage Fares’ and can you highlight the benefits of booking under this promotion?
We changed our pricing structure after talking extensively to customers and our travel agent partners. What was clear was that the added value contained in our Vantage fares was well liked, but our prices were not always competitive and loyal customers did not feel that they were rewarded for booking early. We therefore decided to keep the features of Vantage in the Select Price but reduced the price of over 200 cruises to make them more competitive thereby negating the need to discount later. Those buying the Select Price choose a specific cabin and have first priority for dining and upgrades.
The ‘Early Saver Fare’ looks like this has been aimed at people who want to pay based on price only. Can you explain the thinking behind introducing this fare?
The Early Saver is a limited availability offer for customers who are willing to sacrifice choice of cabin and dining as well the added value features that our customers tell us they like, in return for a lower cost cruise.
Can you advise what restrictions are in place if you book on an Early Saver fare?
Early Saver fares are available for a limited period and are not offered on all cruises. They allow a choice of cabin grade, but not a specific cabin and are only allocated dining time and table size after the wishes of those buying the Select Price have been accommodated. Early Savers do not receive the complimentary port transfers provided to Select Price customers, although they can charge them to their on board account. They cannot change their dining time once on board and are second priority for upgrades. Deposit and payment terms are currently the same as the Select Price.
With Britannia’s arrival, what can we expect from the new member of the fleet?
Britannia will bring the “best of the best” from our other 7 ships and add some exciting extras and new experiences that will amaze and excite our past passengers as well as persuade new cruisers to get on board. We’ll be announcing some of these features in the new year so there’s not long to wait.
Do you yourself have any plans for cruising in 2014?
Yes, I plan to get onto all of our ships next year, as well as those of our competitors, and to meet and spend time with passengers whenever possible. If any readers see me please do come and have a chat! How about a free spa treatment for anyone that does!?
On first glance, during your time so far, do you have a favourite ship?
Ask me that this time next year…
We’ve seen so much from P&O Cruises over the years, where next for Britain’s favourite cruise line?
We have so many exciting plans for P&O Cruises and I commit to making sure that I talk to our customers and agent partners as we go through these changes – I want everyone to share in our future successes. After all, I can only improve the P&O Cruises experience if I know what my key audiences are saying!