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mps69 06-23-2007 03:18 PM

Iím looking at booking a next year, Dec 2008. Iím already booked up for one this year Nov 2007. Iím wondering is it worth waiting until Iím on this years cruise and booking on board or just book it with a TA now.
What advantages and disadvantages are there in these two methods?

TrvlPro 06-23-2007 03:35 PM

The answer kinda depends on what cruiseline you're referring to. Princess and RCI both have very good programs for booking onboard and getting some extra goodies for doing so. With that said, if pricing is very attractive for early booking and there are early booking incentives you may come out better than waiting and taking the chance that the rates will climb to get the onboard booking incentives. If it's a line other than the two mentioned above froget about booking onboard, there is no up side and losing the early booking rates could be costly.

It's really hard to answer general questions with specifics as each line and even each cruise can have different promotions, advantages/disadvantages. Princess has the best onboard booking incentives of any line. They don't actually book the sailing but sell you a future cruise credit you can use toward any ship and sailing date.

You can also sometimes combine incentives. Book onboard, then see if one of the agencies that run promos like onboard credits for booking a specific sailing or block rates they buy and get better rates than the cruiseline offered for the sailing. To get the incentives combined you simply call the agent/agency that offers the pormo to verify it's combinable. Then call the cruiseline and have the booking transferred to that agent. Your onboard goodies stay and now the agency with the promo gives you more goodies. I do it regularly for clients. In fact with the bookings done onboard, they save me so much work I don't mind giving some goodies even if the company doesn't have such a promo (if the booking is sizable enough for me to eat the wine, choc covered strawberries, onboard credit or whatever). This wouldn't work on a $299. pp 4 day cruise. There is not enough in those for an agent to eat anything. If in doubt, call your agent and ask. They'll appreciate the call and opportunity.

Cheers, Neil

mps69 06-23-2007 03:56 PM

Thanks for the info Neil.
I did forget to say it would be via RCI.
I've used them a few times now.
The one I'm looking at would be trans atlantic from Lisbon to Brazil, and there would be at least 5 of us going. So we're looking to spend quite a bit of money.
One down side of waiting until Nov, when we're on the cruise, is having the choice of suites, because it's trans atlantic we'd want to be low and centred. Yes I've done trans atlantic before. So I'd be nervous we wouldn't get a large a choice, if that makes sense.

TrvlPro 06-23-2007 04:57 PM

Makes perfect sense and for best selection early is always best. On these unique itin's the cabin availability can dwindle quickly.

Another good thing, since you're going with RCI is that if the price drops, even if it does so inside of the penalty time frame they will adjust the price down for you. If it goes up your rate obviously is locked in and won't be raised.

Cheers, Neil

Dwayne 06-23-2007 08:35 PM

Neil, I just want to thank you for giving me some education about this matter. Most excellent!

Best regards,

TrvlPro 06-24-2007 12:07 PM

Thanks Dwayne!

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