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cruisingrob21

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Everything posted by cruisingrob21

  1. Eh, if they were serious about managing the overabundance of elites, they just need to make it like starbucks, and you need to have some moving threshold that requires continued patronage and/or "expiring credits". Elites get the special recognition they/we "deserve?", and Princess drives more revenue. Perhaps something like number of cruises must be equal to or greater than passenger age to meet elite level....can you imagine?!! My kids would be elite over me! 😄
  2. In an agent letter from Gus Antorcha "Due to current guidance regarding vaccination age requirements, if your clients' booking includes children who are younger than 12 years of age, we will be transferring the booking to the comparable 2022 voyage."
  3. Thats what we are figuring - for us it works best to switch to 2022 - and hopefully protect pricing. Not sure when we can get the kids vaccinated and we don't really want them to come on a cruise without the vaccine.
  4. Thats a good question. But these itineraries are RT Seattle only - so no Alaska cruise tours will "connect" and the voyages are very similar if not the same every week. Not sure if the CDC is allowing 7+ day voyages and that may extend to individual passengers.
  5. Nope - still showing Eurodam, July 10th departure... 🤪
  6. Booking engine is open to agents...call a TA or PCC. FYI, prices are pretty high and only balcony cabins and above are available.
  7. Still have the old number and still shows our voyage. Probably figuring out the logistics of moving everyone over. Since we are a party of 4 that makes things more challenging.
  8. Only at half capacity or less probably. TA booking engine shows cabins VD and above only.
  9. Interesting, we have a July 21 RT Seattle voyage on the Eurodam - got the letter indicating that they were switching us to the NA within 30 days but have not received a new confirmation number yet. I'm guessing that means our cruise will be canceled.
  10. My experience and observations from the west half of NA. Obviously, the big ports like Vancouver, Seattle, SF, LA, SD have docks. Skagway = docked Juneau = docked (but tendering does happen due to too many ships) Ketchikan = docked (but tendering does happen due to too many ships) Victoria = docked Nanaimo = docked Experience is as follows Astoria = docked usually, but tendered once Monterey = tendered Santa Barbara = tendered Catalina = tendered Ensenada = docked Cabo San Lucas = tendered Mazatlan = docked Puerto Vallarta = docked
  11. Thats true, but I thought I read that the crews are getting the Pfizer vaccines currently. Even though the J&J is probably close to as effective as the Pfizer/Moderna (since the JnJ was tested later in the pandemic when more variants were around), I have a feeling the cruise lines want the highest efficacy vaccine they can get. I predict in 2 or 3 years COVID infections on ships will be similar to noro infections with the CDC requiring a report at a threshold.
  12. And not either of the potential HAL RT Seattle Alaska ships (NA and Wdam, subbed in for Edam and Odam), or Emerald Princess. As was mentioned, the Majestic is heading to LA and is on the Alaska route, but the Ruby isnt supposed to sail until September I thought. Well start counting, 5 weeks until those crew are officially "vaccinated" so for the Majestic that would be end of June, for a skeleton crew.
  13. Just a guess, but a "sofa" is similar to the R class ships whereby the sofa has a mattress inside that raises up and there is no change in the footprint of the sofa. A sofabed might have something more like a hide-a-bed where the bed comes out and takes a larger footprint than the sofa and usually blocks clear passage to the verandah or window. This would be on the K dam and some of the vista class cabins. I'm just guessing here, I dont know for sure.
  14. As a Portland resident, I can understand your concern. I worked downtown last summer and it was a very surreal environment, during daytime everything was very nice but at night, it was a bit of an embarrassment. Things have calmed down in both cities, but the reputations of both are tarnished and a plurality of citizens are demanding the leadership take action. I might suggest an alternative for you...when we used to live in Seattle we would take the ferries to the Olympic pennisula or San Juan Islands (or even Whidbey island) and get an AirBnB and it was really nice. Hard to beat the Pacific NW in the summer time. Alternatively, the north cascades highway (state highway 20) combined with a few other highways and towns is a beautiful route to take in the summer. Closer to Portland is the Columbia River Gorge highway (I-84) which is also beautiful.
  15. Agreed, not without a lot of risk. But I don't think Washington was part of that lawsuit, so perhaps its not an issue for them. Did you book easy air? I'll be sad not to go, but after looking at the prices in 2022 currently, I'll be happy if they move us to the same booking next year. We had the "BOGO" deal on this cruise with some friends - they unfortunately can't go next year and we didn't get to keep that promo, but still got a great price on a balcony for this year. The Norwegian Bliss actually has some pretty good prices on their August sailings from Seattle. I would imagine those are a flip of the coin whether they will sail, but its nice to see some movement anywhere in the cruise industry.
  16. I'll second that. I've had no problem in the past getting from San Pedro to LAX before noon by both a princess transfer as well as using bus and light rail, but better to be safe than sorry. There are far too many potentials to delay you from being late docking, late getting off, bad traffic and the airport is nearly 20 miles from the port. The last few times I flew out my flight was at 1pm and I made it with plenty of time to spare but there was 1 time a while back where it would have been tight to make a noon flight.
  17. Agreed. We are on July 10th on the Eurodam, which has been switched to the NA. I've heard that the Odam may be replaced with the Westerdam. They still have a lot to get in order to get these ships moving - the ships need to be crewed, crew needs to be vaccinated, provisions ordered and supply chains set up, and some ships may need some amount of wet dock work to be re-activated from warm layup. On the shore side, they will need to hire port agents, hire shoreside shop workers, get excursions lined up with vendors, and adjust schedules and dock times potentially with alaskan ports if Victoria isn't happening. Not that all of this can't be done, but combined with still a lot of CDC requirements of how food and drink will be disbursed (are buffets gone?), and this all assumes that the law sails through the House, gets Pres. Bidens signature, and then it usually takes a token amount of time to be written into the federal register. There's a lot that needs to happen, in a specific order, in the next 75 or so days for Alaska cruises to happen. It can happen, but I'm not sure it will in time for July voyages. FYI, NCL has started selling Bliss RT cruises out of Seattle again for August of 2021 and Princess has rescheduled an webinar from this week to next with "important news" - might have something to do with Alaska.
  18. You have to find the Senate version (S.593). It's currently "held at desk" - whatever that means. Looks like it made the long and arduous journey across the capital building to the House yesterday - which took 4 days (more if you count weekends). Sheesh, it could have done a booze cruise to Ensenada in that time 🙂 https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/593/all-actions?r=3&overview=closed&s=2#tabs
  19. Probably a website glitch. POLAR (agent booking system) is showing prices.
  20. You bring up some good points. But allow me to clarify... There is no such thing as a "discount" agent. Some agencies may have agency specific promos with a cruise line, but the only thing "discount" means is they aren't going to mark up the price, or are using whats called "speculative group" pricing (block pricing), and as far as their service goes, you will call and probably not speak to the same agent twice. In the past, speculative group pricing may not always be better than a "saver" fare offered by the cruise line, and if it is it won't always come with the current promotion. Given that the Princess Plus isn't really a promotion, group rates typically have to "add" that in, and its to the tune of $40 per person, per day. For a while they allowed us to add just 2 out of 3 of the perks, but it was actually a slight price increase over paying gratuities and wifi ala carte. If you drink a fare amount, then Princess Plus can make sense. Sorry, I got off topic. Any discount off current advertised rates are either a speculative group rate (which we aren't really allowed to mass advertise, its quote only), or sometimes its a captains circle discount, or, if its not the first two, the agency is marking down the price to you, and using some of their commission to make up the difference. I don't like doing this practice because then my clients have to pay my agency head office. I have full faith that my agency will be around, but I know that makes some people uneasy. What I do is I advertise the price princess is selling it for, then if the client choses to book, I pay their deposit directly on the Princess booking engine so their credit card statement will say "PRINCESS CRUISES" or whatever it says. Then I go in, and based on what my agency allows, provide additional onboard credit. Because my agency takes about a 50% cut, they only let me offer OBC equal to about 25% without special and that 25% reduces the overall "cut" of commission we both take. If I want to give more commission because the client will be cruising a lot, I'll take it out of my own pocket. I have to hold back some, obviously, because I will get taxed on it at the end of the year. Of special note is Disney Cruise line. Disney does not allow any cruise pricing discounts, period. The only way we can give value back is by on board credit. I have several friends who have booked through me for a disney cruise even though a big box retailer that sells everything gives more money back in the form of instore credit. The friends have referred me to friends and a few have booked with me. I can't compete with the big box retailers overall value (they can just give more OBC back than my agency will allow unless I forgo all of my commission) but like I mentioned before, they call me and I know their booking, I know their confirmation number, and I can help them book character interactions and other things on board whereas with the other guy, they "get to" talk to someone new each time and have to do everything else on their own. Which leads me to my next point - for friends that ask me for pricing i tell them up front I may not be able to provide the lowest price and if that's what they want they should shop online. More about that below... My point about frugal picky passengers is this. If I book a cruise that makes a very small amount of commission, and they are my friends, and I know they won't ever be really that happy, I'm jeopardizing my friendship with them in addition to taking up a lot of time. I gladly refer them to the "discount" retailers. Especially because in the past they had a habit of having me book their hotels and flights using points meaning its a hassle, takes a lot of time (because I have to book everything separately) and when there's a problem, its a lot of time on the phone to get it fixed - I made the mistake early on to say I would book all their hotels and points not realizing it was going to all be ala carte where the time required is multiplied, commissions are zero and the potential for mistakes is higher. I believe in checking the price o the cruise regularly and giving my friends and family updated pricing if its a better value for them, even if it eats into my commission. But sitting online late at night and all morning last month trying to book disneyland tickets for a family member to which I won't get much if any commission was purely a family favor. You're very generous to send a giftcard to the agent, I've had clients do that for me as well and it is appreciated. You're last paragraph is true. A discount agency will match most public rates and offer minimal service hoping you dont shop around because its how they maximize their profit - every business does this. And truth be told, shopping around is a pain in the rear. But a paltry $25 is better than you get usually vs booking directly with the cruise line - that was the point I was trying to make.
  21. Yes and no...if you want to create your own agency you can go that way and register with princess, but I'm not sure how hard or easy that is. Obviously starting a business is a big time commitment in and of itself and it may cost you more in operating expenses than it's worth especially since most cruise lines increase agency commissions based on how many bookings an agency made in the previous year. The standard is 10% but that's after taking out taxes and non commissioned fare proportion. It can take several hundred agency bookings to get up to 15%. The other option is to join a home based umbrella agency where you work as an independent contractor which is pretty common in the world of TAs. Note that many of these agencies charge upfront registration fees, continued membership fees and take a percentage of your commission. There are others that charge nothing up front but take a larger percentage of commission. They have some training but most of it is informal. They may or may not have additional fees or annual booking minimums (ie you must book x number of trips or reach a commission of $y each year or else you are out). Some companies will do a better job of training you than others. I enjoy doing the work on an informal basis because, even when I just book for myself I have good control over my bookings from the Princess booking system. My joke with my clients are that I don't always have the best prices, but I have better hold music, am available pretty much all day every day, and changing cabins, dining times etc can be done just with them sending me a text message. I can't mention my host agency on CC but they are quite big and actually do much more of their business with RCCL brands than Carnival brands, as well as lots of land resort providers. While sometimes things get very confusing help is found via an online group of other agents or a pretty quick phone call to my team leader. Learning 9 cruise line booking software is a bit tricky as some are much better than others, and some belong in the 1990s (but do their job just fine once you understand it). If you're interested in learning more, search around. Since it's more of a hobby for me that actually earns enough for me to pay for a solo cruise every other year, it's worked out well. I've also learned not to book for some very picky friends who are very frugal, and only only book short inside cabin cruises. I may only make $20 commission in their booking but it may take 6 hrs of back and forth with them and cruise line to get everything just right for them. Last thing I'll say, if you don't book with an agent you are leaving money on the table. For some people, it's worth it to book everything online thru the cruise line website, but every agency has commissions that can be turned into onboard credit.
  22. Transfers can only be made within something like 30 days of the original booking. Not sure a PVP will even allow it since the commission is either the PVPs or Princess keeps it. It's their rules...
  23. That's a lot of business that some TAs gave up, even if they were mostly inside cabins (lower commissions). But I'll say it's also a lot of work. The last large group I booked (as a home based TA under a larger agency) was 17 cabins, 4 spreadsheets, 34 invoices, and a LOT of musical chairs to get everyone booked, moved around to the cabin they wanted, and initial and final payments. And there were frequent changes almost weekly so I definitely worked for my commission. For instance, members of large groups don't always like rooms near each other - 50 year old siblings and their spouses sometimes want cabins to be as far apart as possible 🙂 What saved me time was that 3 of the cabins paid for the rest so I was able to run 3 or 4 of their credit cards to get everyone covered. Sometimes the group rates (if they aren't booked way in advance) aren't any better than published promo rates but there are additional group perks that are given regardless. Also, some agencies are only allowed a certain number of groups per month and they may have already met that limit meaning all bookings would be individual. Large groups can get free cabins after reaching certain thresholds but it's risky for agencies to do that because in the event the group has some folks cancel and the number of cabins in the group fall below the threshold, the agent will have to call the group leader and tell them they have to pay for a room that was going to be free. Usually the agency just takes the "free room" as a bonus commission to avoid that whole issue. It's still too bad you had to ultimately book with a PVP...a jr agent could have really cut their teeth on a commission like that while learning the tricks of the trade. If you do another voyage like this ask around to see if you can find someone who does it as a side job from home as those folks work under less "agency pressure" and can devote more attention to fewer bookings. I mostly book for family, friends, and friends of friends and don't advertise because I still have a regular day job. I only have 4-5 clients at any given time and do this work because it's fun.
  24. If the timing of those flights is at night it's possible to do it from the west coast, but it's hard if it's an early morning flight because it's potentially two red eye flights or there are long layovers. Domestic flight schedules are still rebuilding. To your example, the Dulles flight would work assuming leaving PDX at 8am, a 1 hr. layover in IAD. The flight thru EWR requires a red-eye from PDX to EWR which is a 25+ hr sojourn since the flight from EWR is also a redeye. Delta has a flight via ATL which is similar to the IAD flight, with a pretty short layover...on the side of "too close for comfort". Recall that Athens isn't LHR, AMS, FRA, or CDG and if you miss the flight over the pond, you've missed a day usually. The other options require a second layover in Europe and are 20+ hrs with layovers. My point is yes it can be done but options are limited until intl flights rebound. Athens can be a tough airport to get to if your home airport isn't an eastern US hub and partially just due to the time changes when flying cross country. It's easier to get to some Asian ports than eastern Europe for us.
  25. I'll add, if they have cruise on another carnival line brand, they can be made as "loyalty members" which are "0 star mariners"...meaning should get mariner pricing if it's offered. Call HAL to get that created.
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