booking your cruise

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!


Cruising for the first time? Our members will have you cruising like a pro in no time! Don't forget to read our 8000 reviews written by first timers just like you!
First Time Cruisers
You May Also Want to Read: Over 8,000 Published Cruise Reviews by First Time Cruisers

Best advice for first-time cruisers; learn how to pick a cabin, find the best cruise bargain, tips on what to pack.

Browse Cruise Critic's First Time Cruiser Resources (articles)
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 04:13 AM.
#1
michigan
257 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Which is the best way to book a cruise -- do you book your cruise on line or talk to a real person form the cruise line and book by phone.
#2
88,715 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
For me the best way to book the cruise is to book it with a TA because we can get additional benefits from them that the cruise line doesn't provide.

If you decide to just book it yourself, then either by phone or by their web site is fine.

Keith
#3
107,635 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
We have been fortunate to have a TA for over 24 years that we can call or go and see her personally.

I am not one to deal with online TA's.

I want to get to know my TA.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Cruising is a wonderful way to enjoy retirement!
Stopped counting a few years ago -- have done over 140 cruises.
#5
Crown Isle, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,723 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
We use a TA that is b&m and online. His company does nothing but cruises and are large enough to book group fares which in the case of cruise lines that permit discounting results in lower fare and with those that don't then extra perks such as OBCs, transfers, free travel insurance and alike.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

Upcoming Cruises

Hawaiian Islands - Star Princess - January 3, 2018

South Pacific & Australia - HAL Noordam - September 30, 2018

Previous Cruises:
Hawaiian Islands - Star Princess - January 4, 2017 .. Scandinavia & Russia - Regal Princess - May 26, 2016 .. Hawaiian Islands - Ruby Princess - January 9, 2016 .. British Isles - Royal Princess - Aug 25, 2015 .. Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan 24, 2015 .. Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan 17, 2015 .. Western Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan 10, 2015 .. Eastern Caribbean - Celebrity Silhouette - Jan 19, 2014 .. Western Caribbean - Celebrity Silhouette - Jan 12, 2014 .. Athens to Venice - Ruby Princess Sept. 15, 2013 .. Rome to Athens - Ruby Princess - Sept. 9, 2013 .. Southern Caribbean - Emerald Princess - Jan. 16, 2013 .. Eastern Caribbean - Emerald Princess - Jan. 6, 2013 .. Mediterranean & Adriatic - Grand Princess - Sept. 4, 2012 .. Southern Caribbean - Celebrity Constellation - Jan. 14, 2012 .. Mexican Riviera - HAL Oosterdam - Dec. 24, 2011 .. Pacific Coastal - Sapphire Princess - Sept. 18, 2011 . . Pacific Coastal - Sapphire Princess - May 14, 2011 . .Pacific Coastal - Golden Princess - May 11, 2011 .. Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess - Jan. 16, 2011 .. Western Caribbean - Crown Princess -Jan. 8, 2011 .. Mexican Riviera - Sapphire Princess - Dec. 4, 2010 .. Alaska - Diamond Princess - Sept. 4 2010 .. Alaska - Diamond Princess - Aug. 28, 2010. Pacific Coastal - Golden Princess - May 9, 2010 .. Southern Caribbean - Grand Princess - Jan. 15, 2010 .. Alaska - Sapphire Princess - Sept. 19, 2009 .. Pacific Coastal - Coral Princess - May 15, 2009 .. Panama Canal - Coral Princess - Jan 6, 2009 .. Pacific Coastal - Golden Princess - May 3, 2008 .. Hawaii - Diamond Princess -Dec.18,2007 .. Alaska - Celebrity Mercury - Aug. 10, 2007 .. Alaska - Canadian National Steamship's - SS Prince George - 13 cruises - May thru Sept, 1963 (crew member)
#6
Northern Michigan
30 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
I book online, then call closer to the sail date to check on any possible upgrages.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

9-22-13 Carnival Pride - Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, Freeport
6-8-2013 Carnival Dream - Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan, Costa Maya
4-1-2012 Carnival Glory - Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan
11-28-2011 Carnival Imagination - Key West, Cozumel
4-3-2011 Carnival Glory - Cozumel, Belize, Isla Roatan, Grand Cayman
#7
Sacramento, Ca
163 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Originally posted by lasefton
Which is the best way to book a cruise -- do you book your cruise on line or talk to a real person form the cruise line and book by phone.
Booked first and second cruises with online site. First went well. Haven't taken second yet (3 back-to-backs for 39 days!). Online guy has been fine and things seem to be Ok, even gotten some price reductions. Booked our third cruise next fall with a local TA because I want to see how not having to deal with everything works out. So far, like the idea of extra perks like transportation from Sacramento to SF and an escort and daily perks and parties, etc. When I booked online, I called and dealt with one person for everything. I think the most important thing is to pay attention and be proactive. There's a website you can sign up for to watch for price drops for cruises. Cost a little bit. Hope it works.
#9
Florida
20,315 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
We only us a TA ..
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
We've been on
Carnival: 27 voyages 184 days
Celebrity: 3 voyages 24 days
Holland: 29 voyages 661 days
Norwegian: 2 voyages 16 days
Princess: 16 voyages 154 days
Royal Carib: 5 voyages 35 days
Vantage:River 2 voyages 39 days
GRAND TOTAL: 84 Cruises 1118 days

NOT YET SAILED
Veendam Atlantic Crossing 10/17 - 49 days
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/18 - 113 days
Rotterdam Boston to Rotter 7/18 - 19 days
Prinsendam Amster to FTL 8/18 96 days
Zaandam Antarctic 12/18 - 22 days
Nieuw Statadam Carb. 1/19 - 7 days
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/19 113 days
#10
Pepsicola FL
10,340 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by lasefton
Which is the best way to book a cruise -- do you book your cruise on line or talk to a real person form the cruise line and book by phone.
purely personal preference. we book most of ours online directly, although on our last cruise we booked while still on board to take advantage of the OBC that was offered.
#11
New Mexico
4,602 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
We book only with a personal cruise consultant at HAL who takes good care of any questions and does keep in contact with us throughout the year. She seems to have a good knowledge of available sales, pre-cruise hotel group discounts, and access to the open cabin list.

Of course a TA should do the same.

Most veteran cruisers stick with one or the other.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

Photo Reviews -OR--Menus, On Locations, and More

Oosterdam - Alaska - May 2008 (7 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - May 2009 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Eastern & Southern) - Feb 2010 (14 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2010 (7 days)
Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera - April 2011 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - Sep 2011 (B2B 14 days)
Noordam - Caribbean Seafarer - Mar 2012 (11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Caribbean (Western) - Nov 2012 (7 days)
Westerdam - Caribbean (Southern) - Dec 2012 (7 days)
Zuiderdam - Alaska - May 2013 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal Sunfarer- Nov 2013 (10 days)
Westerdam - Alaska - Jul 2014 (B2B 4 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Dec 2014 Caribbean - (East-West 14 days)
Noordam - Pacific Coastal - May 2015 (5 days)
Noordam - Alaska - May 2015 (B2B 14 days)

Oosterdam - Southern Caribbean - Nov 2015
(11 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Pacific Coastal - Apr 2016 (5 days)
Nieuw Amsterdam - Alaska Inside Passage - April 2016 (B2B 14 days)
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal - Nov 2016 (10 days)
Noordam - Alaska - Jun 2017 (Northbound includes Denali) (12 days)
Veendam - Caribbean - Dec 2017 (14 days)
Zaandam - Alaska - May 2017 (14 days)

Nieuw Statendam - Caribbean - Jan 2019 (14 days)





#12
Dallas, Texas
8,109 Posts
Joined May 2003
I research online then last few cruises used personal cruise consultant at HAL , who was really good ( our travel agent retired and have not found a new one yet)
#13
Bristol CT
11,061 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Prefer to book online, but have used the other methods as well.
Last cruise, bookings opened up for all Canada/New England sailings on the same day, and all of them could be booked online except ours for some reason, so I called and booked it on the phone. Transferred it to a TA later since she had put an OBC item up on a charity auction; it was $150 OBC and I was the winning bidder at $100.
For our Alaska cruise, we used my cruise roomie's TA since we wanted a particular cabin on a particular sailing. She got into the system the moment bookings opened and was able to get it for us, so we didn't have to try to do it from our own jobs.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Cindy
WGIG#198-F --> "sea" my pictures HERE
Mustard of the Seas Utility Crewmember & Goodwill Ambassador - East Coast

My Cruises: Atlantic (Premier, a/k/a Big Red Boat), E Carib, Apr 93; Adventure (American Family), E Carib, June 94; Explorer of the Seas, E Carib, June 06; Jewel (Mustard) of the Seas, E Carib, Feb 07; Vision of the Seas (NUTZ 2), Mex Riviera, Oct 07; Caribbean Princess, E Carib, May 08; Carnival Ecstasy, W Carib, Sept 08; Serenade of the Seas (Mustard 2/NUTZ 3), Alaska, June 09; Jewel of the Seas, WB Transatlantic, Sept 10; Carnival Miracle, SE Carib, Nov 11; Jewel of the Seas (NUTZ 4), Canada/New England, Oct 12; Carnival Fantasy, Bahamas/Grand Turk, Nov 13; Adventure of the Seas, S Carib, Jan 14; Celebrity Summit, S Carib, Nov 14; Navigator of the Seas, Western Carib, Aug 15; Celebrity Summit, S Carib, Jan 16; Celebrity Silhouette, Transatlantic, Nov 16; Celebrity Infinity, South America, Feb 17

“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.” -- Isak Dinesen
Illegitimi non carborundum
#14
Florida
20,315 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
We us a TA ...
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
We've been on
Carnival: 27 voyages 184 days
Celebrity: 3 voyages 24 days
Holland: 29 voyages 661 days
Norwegian: 2 voyages 16 days
Princess: 16 voyages 154 days
Royal Carib: 5 voyages 35 days
Vantage:River 2 voyages 39 days
GRAND TOTAL: 84 Cruises 1118 days

NOT YET SAILED
Veendam Atlantic Crossing 10/17 - 49 days
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/18 - 113 days
Rotterdam Boston to Rotter 7/18 - 19 days
Prinsendam Amster to FTL 8/18 96 days
Zaandam Antarctic 12/18 - 22 days
Nieuw Statadam Carb. 1/19 - 7 days
Amsterdam World Cruise 1/19 113 days
#15
Port Orange,FL
176 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
we booked the first 3 on line....last one and the upcoming one 18 days we used a PVP(personal vacation planner) with Carnival, he is awesome and we will stick with him...if we ever use another cruise line we will call them first
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
<a href="http://www.ucruiser.com/"><img src="http://www.ucruiser.com/ticker/carnival/tickers/xkk7c1ygirmegfst.png" alt="Cruise Countdown Tickers" border="0"/></a><a href="http://www.ucruiser.com/"><img src="http://www.ucruiser.com/ticker/carnival/tickers/2xihvyv7ttghxn5p.png" alt="Cruise Countdown Tickers" border="0"/></a>
#17
Milton, Georgia
1,117 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
We booked our first with a TA and then after finding out how easy it was have done all the rest on line and no issues with any of them. One note, Always get trip insurance. You will never know what it costs to get medi-vacuated off a ship in Alaska for a gall stone issue we did. It was well into 5 figures and all paid for with the insurance plus half the trip was refunded.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

Recent Past Cruises
Golden Princess 2008
Crown Princess 2011
Fascination 2013
Ruby Princess 2013
Crystal Symphony 2016
Crown Princess 2017

Steviewonder1 LLAP!
Sent from my Rotary Dial Cell-Phone using Rusty Barbed wire and an old Car Battery!
Chance and Fortune favor the Prepared Mind. Louis Pasteur





#18
Missouri
784 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
I used a PVP with Carnival for our last cruise since there were so many family members joining us and each wanted different types of cabins but still wanted to be together for dinner. Things went very smoothly and we called him again for this cruise. Have not needed to talk to him since we booked, just do everything online. We don't have a TA anywhere near us that knows anything about cruises.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#19
Idaho
59 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
We booked over the phone with the cruise line itself. It was really smooth and the lady that handled our booking was very helpful and friendly. I have heard that booking through a TA is very beneficial. We might look in to that for our next cruise.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
01-05-2013 Carnival Liberty
#20
USA
5,484 Posts
Joined May 2012
If we are planning to drive to the embarkation point, we book it ourselves through the cruise website. Then we book our excursions through the cruise website.

If we are flying, we have our TA book the cruise and flights. Then we book our shore excursions through the cruise website.

Happy Sailing!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
You can view my wife's cruise pictures on her website Nancy's Oasis and individual cruise links below my cruise countdown.



2016 14 day Alaska Maasdam Ketchikan,Juneau,Dawes,Icy Strait Point,Anchorage,Homer,Kodiak,Hubbard,Sitka, Victoria,BC
2015 Christmas Adventure of the Seas St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Dominica, Barbados
2014 Christmas Island Princess ~ Partial Panama Canal with Columbia, Costa Rica, Grand Cayman, Aruba
2013 Christmas Adventure of the Seas ~ So.Caribbean St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Aruba, and Curacao
2012 Christmas Mariner of the Seas ~ W.Caribbean Cozumel (Tulum) Jamaica, and Grand Cayman
2012 Radiance of the Seas ~ Alaska Southbound Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Hubbard Glacier
2011 Christmas Mariner of the Seas ~ W. Caribbean Belize (Lamanai), Roatan, Costa Maya (Kohunlich), Cozumel
2011 Carnival Ecstasy ~ Western Caribbean Cozumel and Progresso (Chichen Itza)
2011 Carnival Ecstasy Owners Suite Visit from the Upsell Fairy - 916 sq ft of paradise!

2011 Carnival Conquest ~ Eastern Caribbean Nassau, Freeport, Key West
2010 Caribbean Princess ~ NE/Canada Upgrade Fairy Visit FREE PH Suite - Newport,Boston,Bar Harbor,St. John,Halifax
2009 Star Princess ~ Alaska Inside Passage Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Tracy Arm
2008 Christmas Carnival Ecstasy ~ Western Caribbean Progreso (Uxmal) Cozumel
2007 Carnival Conquest ~ Western Caribbean Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel