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Just wondering if they ever have any one days sales or specials that come out. We need to travel during school vacation weeks and their prices for 2005 are really high right now, but if they had a sales we might be able to do it.
shelby2002 - They do have sales, but most seem to be last minute or filling ships that are slow to book.
I knew, going into this I was NOT going to get a fab deal on my cruise because it is right after school gets out and I could only travel that particular week. So you have to decide if it is worth it to you to pay the standard rates. For us it definitely was. But, also realize that the sooner you book, can be better. I have seen some prices go up! Also, keep an eye open for the C & A coupons. For us it was $125 off the cabin. Better than nothing, I say.
THe ONLY way to get a break is to book ASAP when the dates your looking for hit the system.. otherwise the rise , sometimes drastically. You can always get a price adjustment if the price drops (except for a last minute Happy Hour special), but you can't get a discount for something that was offered months ago and the price has risen.
I was able to snag a deal on the Monarch during my school's spring break about three weeks before the cruise. However, these "specials" don't always happen and you may be out of luck and not have a vacation as a result. In addition, if the cruise is not leaving from a port that is driveable, any savings might be eaten up by airfare.
Here's an example, I got an offer from Princess for a 3 night coastal cruise from LA to Vancouver. While it was only $59 (+$20 in taxes), the airfare would have run me about $300. Not bad, but not great considering there are no port stops along the way. I could travel for less on the Monarch and avoid the hassle of flying back home.
MONARCH OF THE SEAS (04/04)
PRIDE OF ???????-HAWAII (01/05)
RCI's Monarch of the Seas (01/04)
Star Princess (6/03)
RCI's Rhapsody of the Seas (4/01)
Carnival's Ecstasy (6/96)
RCI's Viking Serenade (1/94)
Absoloutely the prices can go up! I was monitoring the RCCL site before & after I booked a Europe cruise on Jewel this August.. 2 weeks after I booked the price for a similar balcony cabin was $1000 (Canadian, for 2 people) more than what I paid. 2-3 more weeks, and there were no cabins left at all except for Royal or Owner's suites. I checked today, and even they're gone.
I think they hike the prices up as a particular sail starts to reach capacity and is obviously going to sell out.
As has been mentioned on this board before, keep an eye on the final payment date for a cruise you're interested in... cabins will suddenly start appearing again as people cancel before making the final commitment, perhaps at decent prices too.
Build a relationship with your travel agent. They can email you about Happy Hour promotions and others. Remember, the cheapest fare is not always the best value. Sometimes there are very short time specials to finish filling a ship and a relationship with a good service oriented TA can really pay off.
My TA is ***********. I just wondered how I could access the happy hour specials myself so I can comparison shop. In this day and age of online bookings, I think most of us feel like we are our own travel agents.
I also suggest visiting their web site daily if you are looking for a special sailing.
I booked an Alaska last week in a Guarantee category online and this week the GTYs are gone and the least expensive room is 150 more per person. And I have already gotten assigned a cat L, a decent upgrade.
RCI(37),NCL(11),Princess(1),HAL(2),Celebrity(3), Carnival(2), Eastern Cruise Lines(13),Radisson(2), Star Clippers(1),Home Lines(2), Costa(5),Others (20)
I've found that the most experienced cruisers, those that have done 15 to 50 are still using a travel agent because they appreciate the personal service. TA's get Happy Hour and other promotions quite often. They share with their clients. Maybe CQ chooses not to do that but you can sure ask. Personally for me the thousands I spend to cruise is too much of an investment to give to an impersonal website with absolutely no customer service at all. However many seem satisfied with that arrangement. Can you really tell by email how enthused about a line or ship or iten the keyboard agent is with your choices? Or is it just another order to post? Everyone has choices and priorities.
I agree I am not overly experienced in travel.... I've only been on about 10 trips (cruise and other types that involve air) Last cruise I booked straight w/RC thinking I got a great deal. I did luck out and get a $200 price drop, but then so many recommended CQ here that I thought I'd give them a shot. They priced me about $200 pp cheaper than RC, and thats before price drops/coupons.
I don't mind booking w/a TA who I can talk to, but my last experience left a sour taste in my mouth. Long story short, my TA totally screwed up my flight from missouri to hawaii and did nothing to correct it. I ended up having to do everything and it really didn't get corrected to my satisfaction. I won't use her again. I've had other TA's in the past, but frankly, most have seemed indifferent...make the sale and move on. I've never found anyone who was willing to go the extra mile for me. I end up doing all the searching anyway, so why pay more for someone who's not giving me anything I can't do myself?
I have to agree with Jemi that I end up doing the research myself and so I use *********** once I have all the information I need on the date/ship/room.. Frankly, it is the thrill of "the hunt" that I get looking for a cruise. *********** suites my needs at a great price
Sun Viking 8/83,Premier 8/86
Disney 8/01, Rhapsody 8/03, Monarch 12/03, Splendour 4/04,
Hi...I also noticed a price increase for 2005...but after looking a bit...and checking prices...I got a good deal...not through RCCL...but through ***********...during the kids April vacation week. I'm really happy with the price we got...$2992 for a family of four in a balcony D1 cabin. I usually don't book this far out...but it gives me a bit longer to save up for the balance. And I'll take a little quickie Florida vaca to sooth me til April...lol. Give them a request for a quote...as long as you know what cruiseship and date you want...you can't go wrong. Then if you have a return guest (C&A coupon) then you can apply that to the cruise. Good luck to you.
My first balcony on the Serenade - 4/16/05!!!
RCCL Majesty of the Seas - April 2004
Carnival Inspiration - June 2003
RCCL Monarch of the Seas - July 2002