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Old 02-24-2005, 04:36 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
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We are thinking about going on a cruise in December 2005. Do you think it is too early to book? I don't know if it is like airfare, where you can wait last minute and get a good deal or you just buy now and hope for the best. Right now, the cruise that we want to go on is only $564 - that is for an inside stateroom. I'm assuming y'all wouldn't recommend an inside stateroom? We're trying to save a few bucks so that we can splurge on excursions, spa treatments, etc.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 02-24-2005, 04:36 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3
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We are thinking about going on a cruise in December 2005. Do you think it is too early to book? I don't know if it is like airfare, where you can wait last minute and get a good deal or you just buy now and hope for the best. Right now, the cruise that we want to go on is only $564 - that is for an inside stateroom. I'm assuming y'all wouldn't recommend an inside stateroom? We're trying to save a few bucks so that we can splurge on excursions, spa treatments, etc.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 02-24-2005, 06:09 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Valley Center, CA 92082
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In many instances, I prefer inside staterooms as they offer many advantages. Don't worry about the location of your cabin, rather worry about the ship that you select. Genarally, you should book a cruise when you have made up your mind to go. If there is strong demand for the cruise, it will sell out leaving you without a cruise. If there is weak demand and the prices drop, your travel agent can generally get you an upgrade to a better cabin, or the lower price.

What ship and itinerary are you thinking of?

Tom
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Old 02-24-2005, 07:06 PM
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We are planning to take the Sapphire Princess to the Mexican Riviera. I've been reading reviews and posts on your site and they say that they don't recommend booking cruises online. Why is that? I was planning to book online.
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Old 02-24-2005, 07:43 PM
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After 9/11, it used to be that you could expect to get a discount when you booked a cruise online. For seasoned cruisers, it made some sense. For first timers, it made none, as price usually indicates the desirability of a cruise. The lowest price generally indicates that that ship or itinerary (or both) may be less fulfilling, hence a less than satisfactory cruise experience.

If you think about it, the actual cruise fare is only a small part of the total cost of a cruise. When you lump in airfare, pre and post cruise activities and accommodations, other purchases and expenses, the base cruise fare should allow for some elasticity.

Today, most of the cruise lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, NCL etc.) have adopted a “standard price policy” across distribution channels so that you are going to pay the same price, no matter where you book it. That being the case, you should look for the highest level of service that you can find. Online agencies are notorious for offering discounts without service and seem to have lost their competitive edge.

Your best bet in the current environment is to find a local cruise professional and book it with them. They will do the do-diligence to make sure that everything works for you. They will make sure you get a better price if the price drops, or an upgrade. They can advise you of the appropriate ship and itinerary, and so on.

BTW, I do not sell cruises and have no basis, other than trying to give the best advice on the topic. You should follow every channel available to you and make a decision accordingly. Don’t just book it online, because at one time you could save some money doing so. Such is not the case now.

Whatever you decide, have a great cruise.

Tom
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Old 02-25-2005, 04:18 AM
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Tom has offered you good suggestions. The cruise market has continued to explode and all indications are that prices are only going to continue to increase. I am not sure when you are planning to go in December but if it is anytime after Dec. 15, those sailings sell quickly. Your best bet is to book early, when availability is at its highest. As long as you are working with a good travel agent (preferably a cruise specialist) they will be able to first match you and your budget to the best ship and itinerary for you, then monitor the price and make sure you are compensated (again as Tom has mentioned, either by a price match or upgrade). If you book online, there is no one who will be looking out for your interests. A travel agent can also be intrumental in making sure your travel to and from the ship is handled properly and efficiently. As you may have noticed, there are lots of first time cruiser questions on this board. A good cruise agent will be able to answer these questions and and any concerns you may have.
Nancy
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