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Queen Victoria On Sale

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Queen Victoria on Sale

If you have given any thought to sailing on Cunard’s Queen Victoria in 2011,  now is the time to consider booking that trip.  Today marks the first day of Cunard Lines’ three day sale of Queen Victoria’s 2011 debut sailings in the Americas.  The sale ends August 6, 2011.

Book one of these voyages during this limited three day window and enjoy the following benefits:

1.  Savings of up to $1,200 per stateroom, based on stateroom category;

2.  On-Board Credits of up to $300 per stateroom, based on stateroom    category;

3.  Reduced Deposit

Featured sailings are available from the convenient North America departure ports of New York, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles.

There’s always the fine print and this is no less true with this promotion.

Offers are available on Queen Victoria departures between 5 January and 29 March 2011, apply to the first two guests in a stateroom and do not apply to exclusive occupancy or third-berth guests. This promotion is subject to availability, is capacity controlled and applies to select categories. Government fees and taxes of up to $318.45 are additional, per person, may be higher for Canadian residents and are subject to change. Fares include a fuel supplement of $3.85 USD per day (up to a maximum of $154) on all guests. This fuel supplement amount is subject to change even after a reservation is paid in full. This offer may not be combinable with any other promotion, savings program or public, group or past guest discount, including On-Board Credits. Offer may be withdrawn at any time without notice.

Deposits made under this promotion are immediately non-refundable and non-transferable.

Technorati Tags: cruise sale, Cunard Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Queen Victoria

May I Take Your Order?

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It is being reported in USA Today that Cunard Line is considering the introduction of a la carte, by the plate pricing for one of the dining venues on Queen Elizabeth, scheduled to make her debut in Southampton on October 11, 2010.

The Veranda, a much-loved restaurant on the original Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, will be the top of the line dining room on the new ship.  It replaces the Todd English Restaurant, which currently fills that position on both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.

One scenario under consideration, according to the report, is to charge $6 to $7 for appetizers, $16 to $18 for entrees, and $6 to $7 for desserts.  This pricing structure is very rare on main-line cruise ships, where the custom is to charge a supplement, perhaps $25, to dine in the specialty restaurant.

I reacted quite negatively when first reading this news.  It seems to me to run counter to the experience one wishes to enjoy on a sailing, where most components are prepaid and need not be a concern.

And yet, at the same time, it has been a trend in the industry recently to offer all manner of additional items and services and charge for them separately.  Even in the main dining rooms, it is common to pay for drinks, alcoholic or not, which are not on a very limited list of included beverages.

Perhaps Cunard’s rationale is that charging by the plate is merely an extension of the beverage policy.  After all, if a guest is willing to pay separately for a glass of wine or a cappuccino,  then why not the porterhouse as well?

Whatever the rationale, it’s the impact on the overall experience that gives me pause.  Perhaps it will work, and passengers will adapt without any difficulty.  It will be interesting to watch.

Technorati Tags: Cruise line, Cunard Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Queen Elizabeth, The Veranda

Cunard Announces Fuel Surcharge

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Cunard Line President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks, made the following announcement yesterday:

“Because of the continued rapid escalation of fuel prices, Cunard Line and P&O (UK) will introduce a fuel supplement of $3.85 (USD) per person per day. These brands will also implement this fuel supplement on third and fourth passengers.

The new fuel supplements will apply to all new bookings effective May 10, 2010 and will apply to all departures from November 1, 2010. The fuel supplements will not exceed $154.00 per person per voyage.

For bookings made prior to May 10, 2010, no fuel supplement will apply.

We regret having to take this action, but fuel price increases have continued, and we now find it necessary to implement a modest supplement.”

With the price of oil hovering well above the $70 or so threshold most cruise lines have set as the trigger point for fuel surcharges, this announcement is not entirely surprising.  Given the recent assurances from industry executives that no such surcharges were in the works, however, the timing may be a bit of a surprise.  Cunard’s surcharges are not particularly high, and one hopes they can be absorbed by their prospective clients without too much pain.

Technorati Tags: cruise ships, Cunard Line, fuel surcharge, Peter Shanks