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About Randyk47

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    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    San Antonio, TX
  • Interests
    Cruising, photography, and computers.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America, Silversea
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Anywhere the ship goes!
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:

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  1. That’s more or less the way Silversea handles its fare guarantee program. You don’t have to book on board though. Since Silversea doesn’t typically do discounted up sells so for them that’s not an issue. I think they exempt other incentives they may add to a cruise. For instance the fare guarantee would have no impact if Silversea subsequently offered free airfare.
  2. Great. Wonder how they make that work with up sells?
  3. I’ve not sure any of the premium or mass market lines have best price guarantees. That’s hard to accommodate when they doing discounted up sells. Maybe but awkward and would require a whole bunch of caveats.
  4. That was a great deal! Unfortunately with wife still working and in a leadership position our planning horizon is like a year or more. I think in 26 years of cruising the closest we’ve ever booked was 90 days out and that was a one time happening. Anyhow, yes you can sign up with some of the Internet agencies for special offers, etc. Our Internet agency actually lets you become the client of a specific agent and we’ve been booking with her for seven years now. She has us on her email list and we get both general specials and specific ones she knows we might be interested in.
  5. I’ve heard and read that. As for my friend’s travel agency here in town went from one main office and five or six satellite offices to just the main office resulting in a significant reduction in the number of agents. Before my TA friend passed away from a heart attack a couple years ago she said the agency had shifted its focus to corporate business travel support though still booked some cruises.
  6. I had a friend who was a TA with the largest brick and mortar travel agency here in town back when cruise lines started limiting what Internet based agencies could advertise. Her version of what happened was a number of brick and mortar agencies complained to the cruise lines that Internet discounters were killing their business. The “threat”, either implied or actually made, was that the complaining agencies would stop selling or pushing lines that allowed Internet discounters. Supposedly the cruise lines couldn’t or wouldn’t cut the discounters off but the compromise was to limit the advertising of discounted fares. The end result of now several years of back and forth is discounters have to be contacted either by a link, phone, or email to actually see what they can offer in the way of incentives be they cash, on-board credits, some combination of both, or whatever. Interestingly my friend said a part of the her complaint was potential cruisers would come into her agency to “pick the brain” of the agent, gather all the information on a potential cruise, use up her time, and then turn around and book with a Internet discounter. Sounds similar to why HAL, and other cruise lines, have instituted the 60-day transfer rule.
  7. The rules here are the rules here so we can’t recommend TAs or even specific PCCs for that matter. We’re so concerned not to break that rule we don’t even link to our personal trip website to our TA. If asked in private we share and we’re very pleased to do that but being able to post here takes priority. I remember when the rule wasn’t as enforced as strictly as it is nowadays and it was not good.
  8. The Protestant clergy I talked to said he was being comped. I distinctly remember the conversation as his wife hadn’t been able to join him in the first cruise of something like four or five in a row.
  9. My only concern is the ages. Club HAL supposedly cuts off the teenagers at 17 years old so maybe a “young adult” would not qualify.
  10. It might have been in a thread or maybe in an email between us but one HAL cruiser shared that despite the other cutbacks on Holland America the presence of a Catholic priest kept them cruising with the line. As I recall they had considered other lines but regular mass was extremely important and a deal breaker for them. I almost got the impression they would actually stop cruising regularly if a priest was not on board.
  11. The same is true for port visits, particularly tender ports. We got to the point where we don’t even try to take advantage of our tender priority. It’s simpler and much more pleasant to go have breakfast while a few hundred folks are trying to take advantage of their 4-5 star status. I agree all in all it’s not much of a loyalty program and indeed the number of advanced members is huge which further dilutes the supposed benefit. That said, and I haven’t researched other lines all that much, I’m not sure what would constitute a better or meaningful program. Silversea now gives us a 5% discount on all cruises and free laundry which I guess isn’t horrible. We probably won’t get there but at their equivalent of 4-5 stars they give free 7-14 day cruises. Can’t say it’s better but it is different.
  12. I’ve only dealt with cruise line in-house PCCs at Holland America, Celebrity, and Silversea. Not one of them, and with Holland America it was more than one PCC, has been willing or able to come anywhere close to matching my TA’s discounts or incentives. The typical PCC offers have run along the lines of a very small OBC, a bottle or two of wine, and maybe a “free” meal at one of the specialty restaurants. My last Holland America PCC came right out and advised I stick with my TA as they had more flexibility with their incentives. I can’t speak for what other lines’ PCCs can do. I did have a local contact who worked for a brick and mortar agency, she was a member of my pub’s trivia team, who once told me they closely monitor what cruise line in-house PCCs were offering. Her point was if they felt they were getting undermined by the PCCs they’d raise the issue. Her agency, and others nation wide, were part of the group that raised the issue of Internet based agencies advertising heavily discounted rates. It didn’t put the discounters out of business but it hampered their ability to advertise their discounts and incentives. Unfortunately and sadly my local TA friend passed away of a sudden heart attack two Christmas ago so I don’t have her as a ready source of what is going in the industry.
  13. I suppose the other alternate would be hauling along your own equipment and a laptop to provide a screen. Kind of a hassle.
  14. One of the many cutbacks over the years has been the virtual elimination of Protestant clergy. I don’t remember exactly when HAL stopped that but the last one I remember meeting was around 2011. The one I remember talking to was a “member” of the staff with his own HAL badge not a passenger volunteering to fill in. Seems to me they kind of weaned the line of Protestant clergy by stages, first stopping providing them on shorter cruises and eventually getting to providing them only for cruises with significant religious holidays like Christmas and Easter. Not sure where they are now.
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