Sooo, we know where we want to go, and the itinerary should be out in a month or two, how late can you book and still get the early booking discount (it's worth about 800 bucks according to this year's brochures). I'm comparing the brochure early booking discounts to what it costs to booka cruise now for November 2005 (we'll be going in '06..or possibly August, but it's still early, eh?) and it seems like you would have gotten a better deal with the early booking discount. For airplanes it's still too early to get prices for October, so it seems odd that you go soooo early. We don't really want to book 11 months in advance. Thanks again for all of your help.
Actually Lady, most of the cruiselines have already released their early 2007 prices. The trend this year is to book EARLY. I already have bookings up to December of 2006. The advantage of early booking is, of course, the early booking prices and also gives you a better chance of getting the catagory and cabin you are interested in. Also, if you book through a local travel agent, you need not be worried about loosing any discounts because if the price does drop before your final payment, then the agent can contact the cruiseline on your behalf and have your price readjusted.
Also, by booking as early as possible it gives you more time to pay for the cruise since the final payment is usally 70-90 days before sailing. Also, if your plans do change, depending on the agency you are using, there is usually no penaties to pay for cancelling before the final payment time.
Lady, I can get Princess pricing up until October 21, 2006...so that means it should be just a couple of weeks before the November prices are released. As far as the early booking "perks" most times the prices are at the lowest, but if you book through an agent and the prices do go down after booking, then they will be able to get the price re-adjusted for you.
great great great!. We have a travel agent (I'll ask her, of course, if she's cruised before) she's not listed as a cruise specialist (I can't remember the letters for the CLIA or something?). But her name is on Priness' list. I intend to ask about travel insurance (again, the biggest vacation for hubby and I after the last several years would be to just not worry ). Do you know where I could find a list of questions to ask travel agents? By the way, I should probably point out at some point in these threads that I work as a reporter (and part time journalism teacher) so THAT'S why I ask so many questions. Who knows, maybe this'll make a great "first cruise" NPR story later on.....
Again, thanks for the help.
As for your insurance question there is alot of debate now that says you always need it. ??
Personally for me depends on when & where I am cruising to. For example our July 2006 Med/Greece cruise I have insurance. It is booked early, a costly cruise & Europe.
However, I booked B2B Caribbean cruises and knew I was going no matter what, no insurance.
Fortunatley I am young & healthy so that is not an issue in the decision making process.
As for your questions, ask away. That is why we are all here together to help each other out, right? I do hope that you & your husband do have a special anniversary cruise
I think the most important queston to ask an agent is if they have cruised the itinerary and cruise line that you are anticipating cruising on. Many agents can "book" your cruise, but you want to find a specialist that knows cruising to help you.
Idealy, they would have been on a good number of cruises on most lines and to most destinations and have detailed knowledge of your itinerary.
Many top cruise professionals are not listed in CLIA's data base, so the way to find them is by personal referrals, ask the cruise line you are interested in sailing who they would refer and then search the various cruise lines "travel agent" databases in your area.
Question I would ask a cruise professional would be;
How many cruises have you been on?
What itineraries have you done?
What is your personal favorite cruise line?
What is your favorite itinerary and why?
What cruise ines do you sell the most of and why?
These questions will reveal the agent's real expertise and market position. I am sure you can think of more.
Great questions Tom! Another thing I would ask the Agent: is how much training do you have, and do you continue with your training to keep up to date with all the changes in the cruise industry.
Then, before you decide to book with them, ask them what they are going to do for you. If they are only interested in getting the booking you will be able to tell, I always tell my clients that I am here before the booking to answer questions and I will be available to answer any questions after they book. I have even filled the "Fun Passes" or preregistration forms online for those clients who do not have a computer or who are "puter illiterate". I then print it out and will mail it to them. If prices drop after the booking I will call the cruiseline to get it readjusted for them. I also, always call before they leave on a cruise to see if they have everything they need, and follow up within a week or so after the cruise.