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Old 08-14-2009, 01:11 PM
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With three kids in college, we look for bargains and have had success booking with vacationstogo.com
VTG saved us additional money on a recent HAL Alaska cruise and we had used them a couple years ago on a Celebrity Mexican cruise, too.
The wife & daughter booked a short Carnival cruise through Alaska Airlines, too.

Today, I had a bad experience with Alaska Airlines cruises though. We had decided to grab a special deal on Princess for a 10/3 sailing on the Sapphire to Mexico. I was ready to book the trip through VTG, but our agent is no longer there (they have 400!) and Alaska had the same price plus double mileage credit. We were in the process of purchasing the cruise online when we realized that the price was $100 higher than VTG. We went back to the previous webpage to make sure we had not made a mistake. The deal was gone - sold out! A curt customer service agent informed me that sonebody had beat us to the last special because we were too slow. It took me a long time to learn that the extra $100 is a hidden charge for transfers, that are automatically added by Alaska on Princess cruises (they blame Princess). I really should have stuck with VTG.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:19 PM
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So just tell them you don't need the transfers. Online agencies aren't always the lowest either.
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:31 PM
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Sorry, we can't get into the recommendation of specific TAs or agencies on this board. This is in deference to those who pay for advertising space on this page. (BTW, I have no affiliation with any of these companies.)

That said, we can give you some ideas as to questions to ask when shopping around. Cruise Fanatic mentioned a great one -- ask about all components of the cost before you begin the booking process. It may be possible to have one or more removed if you are not going to use it.
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:03 AM
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I was so frustrated yesterday, having the sale offer expire during our online booking process. But I was probably wrong to try and blame anybody. Still, I decided to drop the entire idea. It's not fun to tell your wife that a cruise plan has been scratched.
Early this morning, I revisited the itinerary, but cheap SEA-LAX morning flights were gone. I investigated and found that San Pedro pier is 18 mi S of LAX but only 10 mi W of Long Beach (and AS had cheap direct flights to LGB available with ideal ETA/ETDs). Using a $50 Companion Fare Coupon (from Alaska Visa card) our flights total $258 RT from Seattle.
I ended up booking the inside cabin bargain deal (M@$349) $820 for two after taxes. I had to book over the phone with Alaska to get those unwanted transfers removed, but their agent was very courteous. The service you get from others is typically a reflection of your own mood & attitude at the time: or interactions can be a choice.
The best part was when Kyoko woke up and came downstairs and discovered the itinerary laying by the printer (yes, I totally staged that). We're looking forward to our first experience with Princess Cruises. If it's anything like Celebrity or HAL, we will love it all. And maybe I'll get lucky on the craps table again!
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Old 08-15-2009, 01:33 PM
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I think Princess will please you. They're our favorite line, so far. Best wishes and so glad to hear you were able to book!
 
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