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Saving Money on Your Cruise - Tips & Advice Offer up your advice for saving money on cruises...from booking tips to info on shore excursions.

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  #1  
Old September 12th, 2006, 07:22 PM
bluelake bluelake is offline
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Question Cruise for timeshare exchange

We have a timeshare that allows us to exchange resort weeks for cruise time. Has anyone done this and, if so, how do you feel it works? A good deal, better to book cruise separately, etc.? Would appreciate any feedback from people who have done this...

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old September 12th, 2006, 09:16 PM
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misty57 misty57 is offline
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Default timeshare week trade

We happened to purchase a timeshare in Cuarcao when we were on a cruise several years ago . One of the "selling " points was that we could trade for a cruise. Well.... I don't know if all of the companies work the same way, but when we looked into trading, we had to tell them what exact cruise we were looking at, and had to use their TA. We couldn't use a week that we had banked, and had to pay total cost up front. The whole thing added up to only a few hundred dollar discount total from the brochure rate, and we ended up taking a better cruise for less total money on our own. I would suggest that you do price comparisons before you get any quotes ( we also had to let them know within a short time frame if we wanted the trade once we inquired). Do you use your timeshare often? Is it worth the cost and maintaince fees?
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  #3  
Old September 13th, 2006, 01:17 AM
bluelake bluelake is offline
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Default Cruise/Timeshare Exchange

We don't use our timeshare for anything but trades and the special 'getaway" offers (at least so far) since the place we bought is very close to where we live. So far we've been happy with the rates and services on land-based exchanges. It is not a points-based system and the lockoff unit gives us two weeks for exchange. I appreciate your suggestion that we really check out cruise rates via Cruise Critic listings. It looks like these listings offer more than we could get through our exchange service. Thanks for the input!
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  #4  
Old September 13th, 2006, 06:49 AM
ruth1964 ruth1964 is offline
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Default time share for a cruise..

We are doing this for the first time this year......

we own a points based system [we own in florida but can use our points for all over world, can use points for fixed weeks in the RCI system and also trade for cruises].

we had a lot of points that we needed to use either this year or 2007. Basically you tell the time share company [our case RCI] what ship/week you are looking at and then they contact RCCL for an upto date price - they convert your points accordingly - the only thing you cannot use points for is the port tax/insurance - so you need to pay for this cash along with any 'excange/booking' fee your timeshare company imposes when you book any holiday.

we opted for a december 2006 cruise, and our points were not quite enough so we borrowed from 2007 - this means that our 2007 remainder allocation will allow a short holiday or can be banked into 2008.

overall i dont think it is necessarily a better value for money system, but it does mean that you actually get to use your points for the holiday you really want rather than just a making do and using the points up. I did phone RCCL direct and see what they had charged RCI for my cruise and it was exactly the same as if I had booked it through them direct. Oh, and i used a crown and anchor voucher towards the booking, this i believe will be credited back as cash on my card against the tax/port fees that i paid - still waiting for that bit! but was told it will be closer to the actual holiday date.

we splashed out and got a JS on the voyager for the 3 of us! Booked the flights directly. So in theory our cruise has cost us flights and tax/port fees. The timeshare costs are incurred whatever we choose to do with the points.

must admit that when we bought the time share, it was always with the intention of being able to get cruises too - just never thought it would come around so quickly!

hope this helps.......
Ruth.
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  #5  
Old September 13th, 2006, 10:32 AM
jerseyjk jerseyjk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruth1964
hope this helps.......
Not sure if it helps the OP, but it helped me. I've been poking around the timeshare auction pages looking for an RCI (the timeshare company) points package, just haven't decided whether it's worthwhile or not. It's nice to know that it actually is possible to do the swap for a cruise. RCI's own info is extremely confusing.

Thanks.
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  #6  
Old September 13th, 2006, 12:08 PM
ruth1964 ruth1964 is offline
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Default for jerseyjk...

Just so you know, we bought our points at SilverLake, Kissimmee - we went for the upper end [3bed etc, sleeps 10 - approx one week for life] but realistically we will never need a unit that size - could use our points for something smaller and then be able to stay for longer and go to other places to stay, not limited to silverlake.

We live in the UK and I have had timeshare points before [messy divorce!] so understand how they work..... however the beauty with this one is that we actually own a piece of real estate in USA whereas the uk ones you dont physically own any bricks or mortar!

I appreciate that you can buy cheaper through resale agents, but for us it was not an option - too many ifs and buts........ just a point, did you know that you can just buy physical points from RCI, you dont need to actually have a home resort?

Anyway, hope this extra info helps a little.... I dont profess to know it all about points, and must say I found that the actual process of booking the cruise via RCI was a bit messy at first, till I got the direct line of their cruise department [uk number] so could then ring her up and make her do all the searching etc - some staff members were more helpful than others!
Will hopefully use the points for other things than just cruising, but who knows!!??

FINALLY, after deciding to do the week in december using the points, we then decided to go down the old fashioned route of booking a 2nd week using cash! - the logic was that we had already paid for our flights etc., the 1st week cost very little in fees, so we topped up and are now doing a back to back - not a JS 2nd week though, that was just a luxury splurge!!!

Good Luck whatever you decide!
Ruth.
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  #7  
Old September 13th, 2006, 02:26 PM
jerseyjk jerseyjk is offline
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Ruth ... thanks for all the info. It is helpful. I have never seen points offered directly by RCI with no timeshare to back it up. I have actually heard things directly opposite to that ... that RCI doesn't sell points and that all points are backed by some week somewhere. I'll do a little more research on that.

I figure it's worth it to take the plunge on the resale market. If it flops I'm only out a couple thousand plus the maintenance fees every year. The points have to be good for something worth a few hundred dollars a year in maintenance fees. I'm just looking to find enough points with a low maintenance fee. You were the first person I ever bumped into that actually used the points for something other than another timeshare.
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  #8  
Old September 13th, 2006, 04:37 PM
ruth1964 ruth1964 is offline
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Default you might need to pay a bit more!

jerseyjk

glad the info helped. just to give you an idea of how many points you might need.......

i appreciate that we probably paid more on site, commission, hype, etc!! but we bought 154,000 points....... we were given a bonus of 50,000 valid for the first year only - hence why we had a lot of points and didnt want to lose the bonus.

Our holiday is on 16 dec 06 and we got a JS for 3 and still needed to borrow from our 2007 allocation - cant remember off the top of my head but it was around a total of 300,000 points combined, leaving us with about 50000+ points for 2007, this is enough for a week somewhere hot in Europe or we can leave them to roll into 2008.

What I seemed to find is that there is no direct correlation between RCCL price and point values - for example i seem to remember pricing a similar holiday but at a slightly different time of year [similar cash prices though] and with the earlier one [october] I could nearly afford 2 balcony cabins E grade I think, where as the December one I could only afford one cabin... hence the decision to splash out a bit on the JS.

So the only difficulty is in actually trying to work out what a cash cruise is worth in points....... you are in RCI hands, and again i think they work on supply and demand. Interval International might have a similar system but require less points purchased have you looked at them?

Finally the bonus with points for cruises, is that when you look to book land based accommodation for v popular places, ie Miami then you have no chance really even if you do it at the beginning of the time window for general booking, as owners get a priority window so take up most of the allocation! With cruising although you still need to adhere to the booking window of opportunity, there are usually cabins available on majority of cruises 10 months before sailing..... hope this makes sense!!

So I would suggest that for cruising you are going to need RCI points in the 120,000+ range to be sure of getting a weeks cruise at least every other year, with a balcony cabin for 3 if you like to book in advance! Play the waiting game and you might get more cabin/nights for your points. Another option is part points and part cash, but to be honest I found that they wanted nearly all the points and nearly full cash price and that wasnt good value.

Anyway enough of my ramblings.......

Ruth.
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  #9  
Old September 13th, 2006, 09:46 PM
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suezyq50 suezyq50 is offline
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Our experience was we were better off keeping our weeks (Fairfield Glade/RCI) than trading. I am sure it all depends upon cruise line, week, length, etc. Just have to check everything out.
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Old September 14th, 2006, 12:13 PM
jerseyjk jerseyjk is offline
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Not to completely hijack this thread, but I was thinking of going a little lighter on the points ... more in the 70k to 80k range. I'm really thinking mostly of using it for weeks vacations and most of the places I'd like to go, it looked like that amount could get me a 2br for 5 people without borrowing. A few places would require either saving, borrowing or renting, but those were the exception not the rule. The cruise swap is just a bonus if we really wanted to, or for when the kids are gone.

At this point, with three kids in school, I don't think I could use up 100k+ points in a year.
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  #11  
Old September 20th, 2006, 12:22 AM
JolieMadam JolieMadam is offline
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We have often considered exchanging the timeshare for a cruise but after checking the fares with RCI, have never found any that are worth it. Have noticed that often they do not quote fares with port fees and then they sometimes conveniently forget to inform you that there is an exchange fee that has to be paid as well. There goes any savings you might think you have. We have come up with lower fares on our own and so it has never been worthwhile to do the exchange. The only way it might be a good deal is when you want to book more than one cabin.
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  #12  
Old September 22nd, 2006, 11:42 PM
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When I got home from tonight's football game, RCI had left a VM saying they have a new cruise program. I wonder what it is?!?
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  #13  
Old January 21st, 2014, 10:18 AM
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Has anyone taken advantage of the reduced fares with their reduced exchange program? I have a deposit credit of 10 that they claim could reduce my fare by $350. Has anyone done this and is there a catch? All opinions welcome!
Thank you and happy sailing!
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Old February 5th, 2014, 10:50 AM
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It is not a good $$$$ deal ...
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Old February 19th, 2014, 11:24 PM
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We booked our 2014 12 day Baltic Cruise through RCI Timeshare exchange. The cost was $1,330 per person . The rate now for the same cruise is $1,800 per person. I'd say we got a pretty good deal.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charfan9 View Post
We booked our 2014 12 day Baltic Cruise through RCI Timeshare exchange. The cost was $1,330 per person . The rate now for the same cruise is $1,800 per person. I'd say we got a pretty good deal.
Thank you! that's great to hear I did book the cruise and received an even better price for our Barcelona cruise and even booked a 2nd week at a resort there to extend our vacation! I'm so glad someone else has had a good experience doing this.
Happy Sailing!
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Old February 20th, 2014, 10:52 AM
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Water Baby,

This will be 5th cruise we have arranged through RCI, we have always gotten a huge discount, and never had any problems.
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charfan9 View Post
Water Baby,

This will be 5th cruise we have arranged through RCI, we have always gotten a huge discount, and never had any problems.
When booking through RCI do you give up OBC or do they give what NCL is giving at the time? Also, when I booked with my regular TA he always give us addl OBC. What was your experience? Thank you so much! I appreciate your expertise as I am very new with using RCI.
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Old February 24th, 2014, 07:42 PM
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I've found the value not to be quite as good as on a land based vacation. They will charge you an exchange fee so you need to reduce the discount by that much. And I think there was another fee we had to pay.
They would not allow any discounts such as the AMEX or AARP (for NCL) so that was a bummer too.

In the future we will save our weeks and share with the kids for a land vacation and then watch the on line cruise company deals. We recently got a match OBC for the NCL Dash sale and prepaid tips which came to just over $300.
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Old February 28th, 2014, 11:20 PM
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While we are very thankful to be able exchange our timeshare points for a cruise, the process involves an additional travel agent that we have had major troubles with when booking both of our points based cruises. We are with DRI which I believe only partners with one cruise line. Otherwise we deal with the travel agent.
Anyone else had this trouble with booking a cruise through a DRI or any other timeshare and have advice on how to work with them?
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