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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 April 22nd, 2009, 07:45 PM
grumpaman grumpaman is offline
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Default This tip will save you thousands of dollars

Hello friends,
I am writing to you today to inform you of what I think are fraudulent business practices being perpetrated by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and many others as well. Some months ago, my friends and I selected, and paid for a cruise. We were told by Royal Caribbean Cruise officials over the phone that purchasing the cruise early was the "wise choice" because we would lock our price in and avoid any potential increases as the cruise sail-date nears and the cruise becomes sold-out. This sounded good, but it never happened. What happened is that the cruise line dropped their prices by more than 35% from the prices we paid. Why didn't the nice Royal Caribbean Cruise specialist mention that this could happen and that we would be suckers that got hammered for higher prices. Our travel agent could do nothing for us. They were victims just like us. Royal Caribbean and her sister cruise line, Celebrity Cruise Lines have one of the most restrictive refund policies in the cruise industry. Read that as: "Haha, we don't do that!" Not only would they not refund us any of the excessive overcharge, they wouldn't even consider an upgrade to another cabin category as partial mitigation of our losses. They claimed they would have to do that for everyone who was overcharged. Wow, that sounds fair to me. Meanwhile, we were sinking without a life boat to be had or a life preserver from Royal Caribbean.

So, my suggestion, and HOT TIP for anyone wanting to book a Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruise in the next three years (while the recession is in full bloom) is to not book the cruise until after their cancellation period has expired, usually 75 days before the sail date. This way, you will almost guarantee yourself of saving at least $1000 or more off the cruise costs before their cancellation period expires. And, you will still have plenty of time to book flights, hotels, and any other travel need you may have at great savings as well.
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  #2  
Old April 22nd, 2009, 08:09 PM
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I never book way in advance. Mostly because I never know my schedule that far in advance, but also because the best deals seem to be 4 months out.
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  #3  
Old April 22nd, 2009, 08:23 PM
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I have alway received money back or an upgrade when they have lowered the price and one time it was about two weeks before the cruise. I like to book eary because I like a certain room.
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  #4  
Old April 22nd, 2009, 09:48 PM
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I have never seen our cabin category drop in price. In fact, the price seems to steadily increase. We usually book a year in advance, and am always looking for a price drop but none so far. I know I read of people getting the decreased price but then some of the deals are for new bookings only. I wonder if sometimes the problem isn't with the TA. I know I always asked ours if we could get a refund if the price dropped, and she would always say "If they let me", well I know she never watched for any price drops, and wouldn't have refunded me if she did as her commission would have decreased. One reason I'm not using a TA this time.
I kind of think of this problem as similar to seeing something at the mall go on sale after I bought it. I just try not to fret about it. Maybe I'll get a great deal next time.
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  #5  
Old April 22nd, 2009, 10:33 PM
chachi chachi is offline
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Although I hate when I see the price drop, it happens with everything; airfare, hotels, even sales at stores. They don't give you your money back because you paid more. You agreed to the price that you bought it for. It sucks, so I just don't even look anymore to check the prices once I have booked.
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  #6  
Old April 22nd, 2009, 10:45 PM
cb at sea cb at sea is offline
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We've never had a cruise fall in price either....I mean, when we book, we do it because we feel the price we agreed to pay was fair. I wouldn't have booked it if I felt the price was too high!
It's similar to a cell-phone plan...you sign a contract for a set price----if you didn't like the price, you wouldn't sign the contract!
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  #7  
Old April 22nd, 2009, 11:11 PM
G'ma G'ma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpaman View Post
Hello friends,
I am writing to you today to inform you of what I think are fraudulent business practices being perpetrated by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and many others as well. Some months ago, my friends and I selected, and paid for a cruise. We were told by Royal Caribbean Cruise officials over the phone that purchasing the cruise early was the "wise choice" because we would lock our price in and avoid any potential increases as the cruise sail-date nears and the cruise becomes sold-out. This sounded good, but it never happened. What happened is that the cruise line dropped their prices by more than 35% from the prices we paid. Why didn't the nice Royal Caribbean Cruise specialist mention that this could happen and that we would be suckers that got hammered for higher prices. Our travel agent could do nothing for us. They were victims just like us. Royal Caribbean and her sister cruise line, Celebrity Cruise Lines have one of the most restrictive refund policies in the cruise industry. Read that as: "Haha, we don't do that!" Not only would they not refund us any of the excessive overcharge, they wouldn't even consider an upgrade to another cabin category as partial mitigation of our losses. They claimed they would have to do that for everyone who was overcharged. Wow, that sounds fair to me. Meanwhile, we were sinking without a life boat to be had or a life preserver from Royal Caribbean.

So, my suggestion, and HOT TIP for anyone wanting to book a Royal Caribbean or Celebrity Cruise in the next three years (while the recession is in full bloom) is to not book the cruise until after their cancellation period has expired, usually 75 days before the sail date. This way, you will almost guarantee yourself of saving at least $1000 or more off the cruise costs before their cancellation period expires. And, you will still have plenty of time to book flights, hotels, and any other travel need you may have at great savings as well.
Welcome to Cruise Critic.

Seasoned travelers know two things for sure:

1. If you book early, you will probably get the exact cabin you want. You can avoid any price increases that may come along as the ship starts to fill up.

2. If you wait and book closer to the cruise date, you will probably save money but will probably not get exactly what you want.

This isn't some conspiracy perpetrated by the cruise lines. It simply IS.

Personally, I don't even start looking until about 6 months prior to my desired date and rarely book more than 4 months prior. From years of cruise experience, I know that the price will more than likely go down as the sailing gets closer....EXCEPT during those peak travel times like major holidays and summer time and when school is out.

There are no hard and fast rules about prices. It's all supply and demand. If the ship fills up, there won't be any discounting...and will probably be increases as there are fewer and fewer cabins available.

It's a crap shoot.
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  #8  
Old April 23rd, 2009, 01:34 AM
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Well, I have a group of 20 of us sailing in 17 days for my wedding cruise. Not even a month ago I called RCCL and managed to get $200 refund for my future in laws, my mother and a friend of ours, then $400 refund for my godfather and aunt's room. All where due to the fact they offered a residency and senior discount.

I've never had a problem with Royal honoring price drops after I've booked. So this isn't completely true. We also booked our rooms well before final payment was due.
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  #9  
Old April 23rd, 2009, 08:37 AM
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LookingForward2 LookingForward2 is offline
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Question not true...

If you scan the MANY other posts, especially on the Royal Caribbean threads, you will see that people do receive refunds every day.

I have received a refund when the price drops on every single cruise I've taken, often several hundred dollars.

There is even a program called Cruise Shark that will scan the pricing several times a day so that people can find the price drops and call to get the reduction.

I'm curious if you all spoke directly with RC and what the reason for the price drop was - possibly resident discount, etc. that you may not have qualified for?
It's not fair to say that RC overcharges people, when that's not the facts.
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  #10  
Old April 23rd, 2009, 10:25 AM
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conalita conalita is offline
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Book your cruise up to a year ahead, some you can book 2 years ahead if you want, but never, never, pay for the whole cruise until payment is due. That way if the price has dropped, re-book at the lower price. That has happened to me. If I have stayed with the original price I booked, I would usually get a nice upgrade. I think that your TA doesn't want to loose the commission. A TA is nice, and they offer incentives to book with them, but I go directly through the cruise line. I realized that I knew more than my TA, and she even quit sending the complimentary bottle of wine!
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Last edited by conalita; April 23rd, 2009 at 10:26 AM.
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  #11  
Old April 23rd, 2009, 12:02 PM
eandj eandj is offline
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Whether a cruise price drops is dependent on the cruise itself. If it's a popular one, obviously they don't need to reduce the rates to fill the ship. So some cruisers won't see a discount for their particular ship.

We have received credits for the last 3 cruises we've booked further out. The OP was mislead by the TA if told they cannot help him out. Unless ....his particular category wasn't included in the reduced price or as someone else said a State or age discount appeared that he didn't match. If the agent books enough cruises and has a relationship with the line, it's amazing what they can do to help.

Personally we like to choose the room we want and find that we get the lowest air by not waiting till the last minute. If we were happy enough with the price to book it, getting any additional discounts isn't always in our minds.

I'd advise the OP to think of happy things and enjoy the cruise. Cancel it if this issue will taint the whole experience for you.
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  #12  
Old April 23rd, 2009, 01:12 PM
ncaaref ncaaref is offline
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I've seen this same complaint on CC many times and I simply don't understand it.

Many, many months ago we booked a Sky Suite with Celebrity for a Baltics cruise this May. Like previous posters, I like to get the exact cabin I want and wouldn't book it if I didn't believe the price was reasonable.

Twice now, once prior to the cancellation date and once after, I have received a refund simply by calling Celebrity and requesting it after I've noticed the price drop. The total refund now stands at $1960.

This is another reason I like to manage my own reservations as TA's don't watch nearly as closely for price drops and do seem to want to protect their commission (can't blame 'em).

But the refund I've received to date is much more valuable than any OBC or pre-paid grats a TA would offer anyway.

Call the cruise line and don't stop until you get the answer you want.
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  #13  
Old April 23rd, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill and Connie View Post
Book your cruise up to a year ahead, some you can book 2 years ahead if you want, but never, never, pay for the whole cruise until payment is due. That way if the price has dropped, re-book at the lower price. That has happened to me. If I have stayed with the original price I booked, I would usually get a nice upgrade. I think that your TA doesn't want to loose the commission. A TA is nice, and they offer incentives to book with them, but I go directly through the cruise line. I realized that I knew more than my TA, and she even quit sending the complimentary bottle of wine!
Yes, I agree, a good TA is valuable if they work for you. My TA worked with a large company that is known for being rather difficult in regard to customer service. I was never given any incentive to book, and only got a small OBC and a photoalbum because I kind of whined about the incentives other TA's give. I would use a TA if I were booking a more complicated trip or one that I didn't feel comfortable handling, but we have cruised enough now that I am ok with handling the details for a Carribean cruise, and definitely wouldn't have them book airfare for me. I think reading posts on CC is sometimes the best way to make good choices for your cruise!
I will still watch out for price drops, but if I never get one, it wouldn't be a deal breaker for me. How does *********** work by the way?
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  #14  
Old April 23rd, 2009, 01:48 PM
debshomespun debshomespun is online now
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To the OP, the price reduction may have been a "one day only" special pricing for new bookings only. I have gotten price reductions after final payment on some of our cruises W/RC in the past. If you want a specific cabin, you should book early, and keep your eyes on the cruise. Then, if there is a discount, you can get the credit.
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  #15  
Old April 23rd, 2009, 04:00 PM
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I am sailing on RCCL in a month, and booked a year in advance. I have called at least 5 times now and received price drops every time, and upgraded my cabin twice. We have saved a total of $2000.......so yes, RCCL does honor price drops.
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  #16  
Old April 23rd, 2009, 04:46 PM
cassieroll cassieroll is offline
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We always book way in advance and always get price drops. You have to watch the price and call or email them and have them apply the price drop. They even do it if you've already paid in full.
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  #17  
Old April 23rd, 2009, 07:59 PM
Aquarius324 Aquarius324 is offline
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I booked my RCCL June cruise in December directly through them on the phone. I then read this thread and out of curiosity, I called them and inquired about a price drop. Sure enough, it had gone down from when I booked. In a matter of 5 minutes, she credited me the $320 difference. Simple and quick.
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  #18  
Old April 23rd, 2009, 08:41 PM
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We just had a price drop on the cruise we booked (with NCL). Unfortunetly, it says "for new bookings only"... I wouldn't mind to be upgraded... what do you think I should do? It's allways irritating.
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  #19  
Old April 23rd, 2009, 08:59 PM
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OP I find your post odd too, as RCL has always given me the price drops. Anyone know if they changed their policy, or this was one of the last minute tuesday new bookings only sale.

Iv gotten multiple rate reductions from RCL as have others on my cruises. Iv been on RCL as recently as a week ago last sunday.

Something we dont know in your facts that might explain why you couldnt get the rate reduction.

Last edited by firefly333; April 23rd, 2009 at 08:59 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 09:31 PM
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It seems that this is the OP first post. I smell a troll.
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