Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!
We are looking to take another cruise either this coming December or January (depending on schedules) and am need of just a couple answers since we are still â€śnewbiesâ€ť in a way. We will be sailing the Voyager class again and staying once again in a Grand Oceanview Suite again along with an inside stateroom for my daughter, just like last time. I canâ€™t imagine staying in anything less or on any other class of ship. We were spoiled right out of the gate!!!
Okay, here come the couple questions:
Question 1: When we booked our cruise the first time, we used a regular travel agent. Until recently I was completely unaware of the fact that you are entitled to a reduction in cost if prices go down. I thought that while prices may go down, you are basically stuck with the price you reserved your room at, and itâ€™s just great luck for the other folks that get a lower rate. My agent never told me about this so as a result, we never bothered to look to see if prices had been reduced. Once we book, what is the best way to find out about watching prices and should our agent have been watching for us?
Question 2: Do you get better prices from one particular type of agency over another? And am I correct that when you book direct with RCCL, you are paying more than via an agency? If anyone has any agencies that they believe are wonderful and very customer service friendly, please let me know.
I'm sorry I can't answer most of your questions, but I would assume booking the Royal Family suite would be less expensive. I'm assuming when you booked your daughter in her own cabin, you had to pay the single occupancy rate, which is usually 200% of the regular double occupancy rate. Booking the Royal Family suite, you'd pay much less. You'd pay only the rate for a 3rd pax in the cabin. But the only way you will know for sure is to try contacting a TA and see what the pricing would be.
I can't answer all your questions but I have learned from past experience that the last two times I booked a cruise I got a better price dealing with RCL directly.
As far as the price lowering, some TA's will chart the prices for you and get the reduction. Howeveryou can check them yourselves and call RCL and have them lower your price.
First, you should check and compare prices. You can often find an internet cruise agency that will give you a better price than RCI. In my research for our cruises, RCI was always more expensive. We have used BUYCRUISES.COM 2 times because their prices were better, and they aplied our coupons after we booked, some internet TA's will not do that. If your cruise price changes they will help you get the change applied to your credit card even after final payment. Plus you can email then anytime you want, and I found this was easier than trying to call a land TA.
As far as the royal family suite price you can check it on the RCI website. I tried to check just now, but cannot get on, sometimes the internet just does not work well.
I am getting quotes for the Mariner for 2/05 and so far BUYCRUISES.COM is the best price.
I have no ultimate answer for you, but I have always been able to get my cruise priced with all port taxes for less using a TA than with RCI. The TA I use has always given me price reductions when I point out that the RCI pricing has changed.
Legend of the Seas RCI 3/03 New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii, Adventure of the Seas RCI 2/02 Southern Caribbean, Radiance of the Seas RCI 10/01 Vancouver to Hawaii, Millennium Celebrity 10/00 Eastern Mediterranean, Galaxy Celebrity 12/99 Southern Caribbean, Sensation Carnival 4/98 Eastern Caribbean, Majesty of the Seas RCI 1/96 Western Caribbean
make sure when you book your room, you book a gaurantee. If you book a certain room, they will not give you the lower price unless there is a room exactly like that at the time of the lower price. I just ran into this, I booked a room number ( not knowing at the time what a gaurantee was, thanks to my TA, who I will not use again)and the prices lowered, but since there is not more rooms like I booked, they won't give me credit or upgrade.
My advice would be to find a good cruise agent. Whether you go with an online agency or a specific TA is up to you and how comfortable you feel. I personally prefer to deal with a specific agent at a specific agency. I'm willing to pay a little more knowing that he is looking after my best interests. When prices go down after I've booked, he emails me or calls almost immediately to let me know and the final cost of the cruise is adjusted accordingly. This is one of the services I pay a little more for. For me, it is well worth it. Regular travel agents who don't have relationships with cruise lines may not be aware of price reductions.
As you already know, you can find out a lot of things on the Cruise Critic board. You have some experience now and will have new questions when you look for your new agent.
Thank you all for your help. I am a C&A member and do get the coupons with the magazines they mail out. Dumb question I'm sure, because I am pretty sure I know the answer, but it never hurts to ask......When you have a coupon for $75 off the stateroom, that means $75 plain and simple, right? Not $75 per night? Just asking because some of the posts I've read are misleading. Plus it seems that folks get very very excited over getting $75 off of a room that cost a couple of thousand dollars. Maybe I'm missing something and I'm always willing to learn more!
Again thank you to those that have answered my post.
Those folks that are getting excited about $75 dollars off their room for the WEEK are people like me who are extremely happy with an inside stateroom since I'm never in it anyway and I only paid between $189 and $500 per person to start with. That's almost 1/4 off the cost of the cruise for one of us. We generally pay only $1400 TOTAL for four of us for the entire week. ( yes, that includes Voyager class vessels)
xprecious-If you are apologizing to me , please don't. I'm very proud of the rates I pay. Afterall, I pay less but enjoy the same food, entertainment, ports of call and walk the same decks that you do only I jingle when I walk from all of the extra cash that I have.
My question is: Is a balcony and large room worth it? I probably get 4 cruises for what you pay for one. Just curious.
I have a wonderful TA that I would be glad to share her name. No, I have never met her. We talk on the phone and email back and forth. I have booked 5 cruises with her so far and she has always beaten the price of any other web site (including RCCL). Also, she lets us use our coupons (mine were worth $125 and $200) and lowers the price if the cruise fare goes down. I have even managed to get my parents to start using her instead of their hometown TA.
I have to say that I doubt the price of the Royal Suite would go down once you booked it. With only one on the ship, why should they? Prices will be lower in early December and then again after the New Years week.
Let me know if you are interested in my TA's name. She lives in TN.
We always get a balcony and think it is definitely worth it. The size of the room is not that important to us, but we have to have access to the outside. But even with that we use coupons and watch the prices. If the prices go down I make sure the TA knows and gets it reduced for us.
There are so many options now for booking a cruise that you really have to do your own research and find the TA and service you like the best. But make sure you ask them how they handle the price reductions and coupons before you book with one. Also check for a cancelation fee. Sometimes they are not clear about that information and people find out later that they can not do anything about it for fear of penalties they did not know about before they booked. It can be in small print somewhere that you did not notice.
Family of 14, I would definitely be interested in having you send me the contact information for your travel agent. Thank you very much. I'd much rather work with someone who's been recommended than simply working out of the yellow pages. My email is email@example.com
And DFritz.....I think I take back my apology. Your right, and after reading your second post, I can see that I really didn't owe you one.
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by fletchers5:
make sure when you book your room, you book a gaurantee.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
A guarantee will not work if they want to book two rooms that are in close proximity to one another. In addition, anyone is entitled to a lower price if it is before final payment. Except in a few instances, you can always cancel and rebook at the new lower rate, which the cruiseline is aware of and usually honors.
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)
DFritz, I have to say, I'd rather skip a cruise or two and be able to cruise in comfort (i.e., balcony or mini-suite). We've always had balcony or mini-suite cabins, and we cruised last week on the Majesty of the Seas. It was booked rather last minute, so we had to settle for a standard 122 sf oceanview cabin. It was waaaaaaaaay too small. My sister and BIL were on the same cruise and they had the same type of accomodations. It was nearly impossible to hang out and have a few drinks in either of our cabins. With the larger cabins, we can do more entertaining.
I don't agree that you don't spend that much time in your cabin, as far as my husband and I are concerned anyway. We do like to spend a considerable amount of private time on our own balcony, or just in the cabin itself. It was rather uncomfortable in the cabin we had last week. You can't really compare standing at the railing of your own private balcony to sitting on the ledge of your cabin window!!LOL
Anyway, this is just our preference. We'd rather cruise less often, but with nicer accommodations. But some people like to cruise so much, they don't care what type of accommodations they have, as long as they are on a ship.
Jersey Girl- Thank you for answering my question. I do seem to find more people that like the balcony rooms. My next question is: Who are all of those people out by the pool if everyone is in their balcony cabins? I actually would prefer to cruise more often, the heck with comfort for me. I was raised as one of six kids always crammed into the backseat of the station wagon and I had to share my bed with two other sisters. Comfort for me is my own berth and only one person at a time in the bathroom. I also calculated the number of hours I spent in my cabin each day during our last cruise and it worked out to be 5 hours and 20 minutes on average each 24 hour day and that was to sleep, shower and change clothes. I guess those inside cabins beckon me.