How to get the best cruise price

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  #1  
Old 03-13-2013, 09:24 AM
784caroline 784caroline is offline
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Default How to get the best cruise price

Finding the best cruise price in todays market can be a real challenge. We have always been lead to believe "buy today for the price will go up tomorrow" ...but is that really still the best strategy in todays market. Although things are improving for the cruise line industry in terms of bookings, it is in many ways comparable to what we read about the housing market especially when you read more houses sold this month which leads you to believe we are comming out of this recession BUT what they dont tell you is the houses are selling for much less money. The same is true for Cruise ships...companies need to sail with the cabins full, for a good percentage of their revenue is made once you are on board by selling you tours, drinks bingo games, photographs, the casino etc. As an "Elite" captain club member with Celebrity and one who has cruised other lines a number of times, I will share with you "my" insights on how to get the best "NET" price for your $$.

There are 4 ways or places you can book a cruise. 1)Travel Agents, 2)Cruise Line Web site, 3) a group tour which can be from your college or a local group sponsoriong a tour from TV, and 4) finally while on Board the cruise line itself for a future cruise. In booking a cruise you have to first determine what type of traveller are you....an experienced cruiser who needs little help, or someone who has never cruised or cruised once/twice before and needs help..alot of help along the way.

Most Popular is to use a Travel Agent and cruise lines could not live without them. For the new cruiser or someone who needs or wants assistance every step along the way, a travel agent is essential. For the most part they will put you on the right type of ship to suite your needs (ie a party ship with alot of night activity; a ship that would cater to people your age, a ship that prides itself in food while another may focus on entertainment...each ship has its own character!! DONOT get on the wrong type of ship!!!!

My coments are more focused to the somewhat experienced cruiser but I believe these comments hold true for all. Cardinal rule... not all agents are created equal. Whenever you book a cruise, most if not all Travel agents today offer you the same price that you can get from the Crusie lines website. You need to deal with a reputable agent ...what I mean by that is, they are all your friends at time of booking but will they be there if something goes wrong.For experienced cruisers, if getting a low price is your key determinate if going on a cruise, you need to look at more than simply the price of the cruise, for practically all agents offer the same price. What you need to look for is AT TIME OF BOOKING YOU SHOULD ALWAYS ASK FOR THE ON-BOARD CREDIT amount per cabin..AND /OR are gratituties prepaid with the price. You are looking for the NET COST of the cruise for On-Board Credits is an amount that is credited to your on-board charge account to be used for tours, drinks, spa treatments or other purchases. These 2 factors as far as Net price is concerned is what distinguishes each TA price from one another! ALSO at time of booking you need to ask up front are there any agency booking fees, processing fee, a change or cancellation fee (unless you are within the cruise lines penalty period) or fees to mail out your documents. YOU SHOULD PAY NONE! Believe me look else where if you see this happening but you should always ask your agent up front. This is especially critical in today cruise market when prices have been dropping dramatically and the cruise line will NOT automatically reduce your rates UNLESS you or your agent brings it to their attention. Sometimes this is a simple process but it can be a real hassle that would require your agent to rebook the entire cruise to get the beter rate and if you are talking about 3,4,5,or more cabins in your group that can be a hassle and take time. Not saying this is good but this is the market we live in today!
  #2  
Old 03-13-2013, 10:05 AM
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billethkid billethkid is offline
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in my opinion the best and least expensive way to book a cruise is to use the individual cruise lines planners. They are knowledge specific about everything their line has to offer....and yes for comparisons one would have to make a couple of other cruise line contacts. Which with the internet is just too easy to do.

Secondly I recommend when you see a cruise that meets what you want...book it now. If the prices go up you will not be affected. And if the prices go down (most) cruise lines will adjust the price you booked downwards.

And above all remember that all cruise lines are not created equal. When shopping for the lowest fare line one cannot always expect the same amenities, food, etc as those with a higher $$ per day price.

For us it is all about quality...of the ship, the cruise line, the food service, shore excursions, cruise line policies, etc......hence we are prepared to pay a little more per day pricing. The old addage of getting what you pay for does apply.

I am not implying at all that the lower cost lines are inferior....just different. Sort of like flying...first class or business class or coach. Same plane, different offerings per seat. The flight (or cruise) accomplishes the same objective.

To each his own.

btk
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  #3  
Old 03-13-2013, 10:06 AM
capecodkev capecodkev is offline
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The best website with the best pricing is cruisecompete.com. I have used them a few times and the prices I get beat every other site by at least $150.
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