My wife and I were going to book a cruise on E.O.T.S. in March of 2009,but have since decided to take our three sons (27,25,23) on a cruise in February of 2010 to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. I just have a few questions which I need your expertize in. Is it better to book as far in advance and should I use a TA or book through the cruise website. Will I get the discounts if my rooms go down in price before my cruise. As far as cruise lines go,are they all generally the same, or are some better than others. What is freestyle cruising and where is the best area of the ship to book a cabin. I hope I didn't ask too many questions and looking forward for suggestions.
Chuckles, what a good idea to take the "kids" and make it an anniversary celebration. You'll all have a great time.
It's best to book as far ahead as possible to get the best rooms you can. Use an experienced cruise seller, who checks the price of the cruise periodically between sale and sail. Cruise lines don't call travel agents or passengers when the price goes down. You need to use an agent who will check the price and, if the price of your category of rooms goes down, will get the cruise line to adjust the price for you.
Using an experienced travel agent also will help you choose the right cruise line for you. Cruise lines, and individual ships on each line, have a "personality" and unique characteristics. A good travel agent will find out from you what your wish list is for the perfect vacation, and will steer you in the right direction to meet your needs.
Freestyle cruising refers to Norwegian Cruise Line's dining program of eating dinner when and where you want, if you don't want to sign up for "Main" or "Late" seating for the whole cruise. All cruise lines have now adopted that system, so you have a lot of dining options on whatever cruise line you choose.
The best area of the ship again depends on your preferences and budget. There are rooms with no window, rooms with a window, rooms with a balcony, and suites. Your travel agent will explain the differences among these room types. I suspect your agent will suggest one room for you two, and a separate, perhaps nearby room for your sons.
The earlier you book, the best chance you'll have to choose the types of rooms you want in the locations you want.
If it were me, I'd buy two Next Cruise Bookings while aboard the cruise in March. One in my name and one in my wifes name. This way you keep the booking numbers in your name until you decide what ship and date you want to sail. The bookings are $100 each, and you get that back when you make your down payment, after deciding which cruise you want to take. You'll get a $100 on board credit for each booking when you are on that cruise. If you have a travel agent you can transfer the booking over to he or she anytime before final payment is due.
Hi Chuckles, welcome to Cruise-Chat. Most definitely book as early as possible. Be sure when you book that you let your travel agent know it is for an anniversary celebration. Most all cruise lines will do a little extra, like balloons on your door and a cake at dinner, plus an anniversary song that will definitely put a smile on your face. All cruise lines have their own personality, some are better than others, but they all offer a fantastic value, good to fantastic food, clean accomodations, and amazing crew/staff.
You could get a suite for all of you, but I think it would be better to get 2 separate cabins. As Sandy stated, there are many different catagories to select from. Inside being the least expensive to suites being the most.
If you do not book through an agent, you can book directly through the cruise lines. You will be able to sometimes receive a discount if the prices are reduced. You, however, will be responsible for checking the prices in the same catagory. Then you will have to call and see if they will reduce your fare. Often, they will give you an on board credit if payment has already been made. The on board credit can be used towards your automatic tips, shipboard purchases, or shipboard fees.
Best wishes for a fantastic cruise and let us know which one you select!