In an attempt to prove what great value it offers, P&O Cruises has issued a statement listing the many things included in its holidays.
One of the items is ‘pub-priced drinks’. If you enjoy a pint, this does sound appealing, although I wonder, if you board a ship and drinks are expensive, do you consciously consume less, or just say ‘to hell with it’ and enjoy the same amount as usual?
Anyway, in the name of research, I’ve checked out some drink prices to see if P&O Cruises’ claim really does stack up, and how it compares to drinks on other lines targeting the British cruiser.
According to www.pintprice.com, the UK average for a pint of lager is £2.80, rising to a rip-off £3.20 if you happen to be in London. P&O’s price is £2.95, so the line’s claim to ‘pub prices’ is looking good there. Mind you, 500ml (just under a pint) of John Smiths bitter on Cruise & Maritime Voyages costs just £2.55, while a pint of Stella on Fred. Olsen is £2.70, so both of these lines are clearly offering sub-pub prices, too.
A glass of chardonnay on a P&O ship costs £2.85, while in my local (London) pub, it’s a whopping £4.30, so as a wine drinker, I could be onto a winner on a P&O cruise. The line has promoted its wines by the glass extensively this year with the launch of wine expert Olly Smith’s Glass House on Azura, a wine bar that has received rave reviews.
Fred. Olsen, meanwhile, charges £3.75 for a 150ml glass of chardonnay, and Cruise & Maritime £4.20 for house white – but for a huge 250ml glass.
Gin and Tonic
On Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, which sails year-round from Southampton and is targeted at Brits (with dollar pricing on board), drinkers do pay more for wine and beer, although Royal Caribbean has never claimed to be in competition with pubs. You’re better off on the G&Ts here – at $5.50 for the house brand (£3.64), it’s still more than P&O’s price of £3.15, but with a double measure. You do have to pay 15% service on Royal Caribbean’s ships, though.
Cruise & Maritime charges £3.40 for a gin and tonic, with a 40ml measure (a British pub measure is 25ml), while Fred. Olsen, in comparison, comes in at £3.10 for a 30ml measure. My pub research has come up with anything from £2.95 to £3.50 for a standard pub measure, making P&O’s claim to offer pub prices, again, pretty accurate.
What is really comes down to, I suppose, is the question, does the price of drinks affect your choice of ship? Thomson Cruises clearly thinks so. It’s offering an upgrade to all-inclusive drinks for just £49 instead of the usual £189, on cruises out of Palma on Thomson Dream or Thomson Destiny if you book before January 31, 2011. That works out at £7 a day on booze, which would be hard to beat by anybody’s standards.