Does early booking get the best pricing with W-S?

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#1
Atlanta, GA
2,041 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
It appears W-S Fall 2018 itineraries coming in a couple months. Celebrity announces that the earliest prices are the lowest and we usually book over 1 year out for best price and selection, then watch for sales on upgrades.

Does W-S generally offer the lowest prices on earliest bookings? I've read that their policy will adjust for reduced prices later (e.g. maybe OBC for difference).

Any other booking strategies on W-S to get the best bang for the buck? We booked our first W-S trip in Dec. on a '7 for 7' special price and it has never been lower since then.
Thanks
#2
so cal
83 Posts
Joined May 2015
I booked our November trip in January of this year. I received a discount on the fare because I had sailed before. This was in addition to the Yacht Club discount. We also had the option to choose a free perk. I opted for the free unlimited wifi.


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#5
California
105 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
We booked our cabin on Windstar more than a year before our sailing date (11/16/17). There was recently an advertised "sale" from Windstar and it was $500 per person higher than our price. And the pick of cabins was more limited and airfares to our departure port of Tahiti had not gone down at all. For us, booking early appears to be paying off so far.
#6
so cal
83 Posts
Joined May 2015
I had a similar experience. As I mentioned, I booked in January for a November Caribbean sailing. The same cruise was shown "on sale" for$200 more than the list price at the time of my booking. All that was offered was $100 of shipboard credit. Significantly less generous than the name your perk and the other benefits from having previously sailed with Windstar.


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#7
Orleans MA
657 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
I reserve when the cruises come out. I get the 5% discount for being an alumni, I reserve with a specific credit card and get very good ship board credit. Then I watch the prices and do the math. I reserve early for Europe so we can fly business with miles and because we have no status we have to do this very early. I have never felt I was ripped off, paid too much it always works. I know when to reserve from the NE to get the best prices to the Caribbean so we have to balance that as well. Happy Sailing
#8
Orlando, FL
56 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
I agree with previous posters, I booked early for my November cruise. All of the "sales" so far are all higher than my fare and that includes any perks.
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#9
Lakeville, Minnesota
152 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
We booked our 11 nt cruise on the Wind Spirit months ago. We just saw a sale advertised and our agent called Windstar. We are getting an OBC of $600 pp. We are VERY pleased. We got our cabin choice plus enough for the drink package and laundry package.
#10
663 Posts
Joined May 2013
The recent email I received from John Delaney for the “friends and family” fares are significantly less than early booking. And also significantly less than what is advertised on the website for sale. For this season, especially in the Caribbean, booking early would not be advised, unless of course your flight differential would an issue.


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#11
Sacramento, California
944 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by Sunprince
The recent email I received from John Delaney for the “friends and family” fares are significantly less than early booking. And also significantly less than what is advertised on the website for sale. For this season, especially in the Caribbean, booking early would not be advised, unless of course your flight differential would an issue.


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I don't think we received that email. What does it take to qualify as friends and family?
#12
9 Posts
Joined Jul 2017
It seems like booking early is a good move for more popular sailings but less so for lower-demand itineraries (e.g., some of the early December Carribean ones). Prices for the popular ones tend to increase (duh) as the date comes closer but for the latter, price drops are more likely as the sailing date approaches and they try to fill cabins.

If you booked early on one of the lower-demand sailings, it can be hard to get price concessions after they start discounting, even with WS's "Price Assurance" policy. For example, WS today started offering an additional $200/pp OBC for one of their December Carribean departures. Since it's a an OBC as opposed to a price discount, they argue that the Price Assurance policy doesn't apply, and declined my request to match. Legally, they're probably on firm ground, but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth regardless. Lesson for me at least is to never book early for a December Carribean cruise again, and next time use price predictor sites out there to get a sense of whether a future cruise is likely to be high or low demand and time my booking accordingly.
#13
663 Posts
Joined May 2013
Originally posted by new_cruiser
I don't think we received that email. What does it take to qualify as friends and family?


The email was sent to yacht club members and focused on the Caribbean only.


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#14
4 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
We booked over a year out for the Yokohama to Seward passage. Six weeks after we booked, the fares on-line increased $2,000 per person, followed shortly thereafter with significant onboard credit. I figure it would be the height of chutzpah to ask for the OBC at this point.
#15
Sacramento, California
944 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by Donabq
We booked over a year out for the Yokohama to Seward passage. Six weeks after we booked, the fares on-line increased $2,000 per person, followed shortly thereafter with significant onboard credit. I figure it would be the height of chutzpah to ask for the OBC at this point.
Hi, I'm booked on the Yokohama to Seward Passage too. Perhaps you would come and join the roll call. There are just two of us on it now:
https://boards.cruisecritic.com/show....php?t=2543171

The Windstar Price Assurance policy says that if you select reimbursement for a fare going down that you get the complimentary features of the new fare and lose those of the old fare. It doesn't specifically address the above situation new complimentary features added with a fare increase as it only covers fare decreases, but it would be consistent to not get it without going to the higher fare.

I guess the fares must have gone back down (or you are booked in a suite) because with the current fares there isn't room for the current fares to be $2000 per person lower. The current range for ocean view to balcony is $1699 to $2799. I booked during a 7 for 7 special which was lower than the current price. I've been thinking about checking to see if they will give me the current on board credit with it. Chutzpah, but I'm solo so have the single supplement.
#16
4 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
Oops, apparently I wasn't awake when I posted before. We're going in the other direction (Seward-Yokohama) leaving in September. The fares on that cruise took a major jump.
#17
Sacramento, California
944 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by Donabq
Oops, apparently I wasn't awake when I posted before. We're going in the other direction (Seward-Yokohama) leaving in September. The fares on that cruise took a major jump.
Oh, that explains it. The price on the September crossing is over $2000 more than the May crossing so lots of room to move on that one. It's probably more attractive because of having more ports. I looked at it because the Alaska ports on it are rarely visited. It will be interesting to see if the price stays up there or comes down somewhat.

Meanwhile, the May Alaska cruise that I've booked b2b with the May crossing is on 7 for 7 now and I think the price is lower than the 7 for 7 fare when I booked. (Uncertainty is because I'm sailing solo so I can't directly compare the website price to my invoice price, but I think I correctly recorded the website price at the time I booked and that was $200 more.) So now, with no chutzpah needed, I've asked my TA to check on changing that one to the new fare and getting the Unexpected Shipboard Credit added.
#18
Northampton, UK
72 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Is anyone else in the same situation as we are? Since our last cruise (Star Pride, Rome to Barcelona, May 2017), we have not received a single email-offer from Windstar, no '7 for 7' deals, nothing.
We have tried signing up again on their site but ....... nothing.
#19
Minnesota
413 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
I haven't seen any lately either but you can go to their web site and see the 7 for 7 deals. I have not tried to sign up again and I do have a back to back to back booked for September 2018.
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#20
Sacramento, California
944 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
I'm not sure that they send them out every week. I was getting them, then didn't receive them for a while and then had some weeks where I got them. I hadn't signed up again. I checked my spam folder and they weren't there. I think sometimes that when they send out a mailing for another deal like the early access to the Sept sale for friends and family or unexpected ship board credit, that they don't send the 7 for 7.

I know that the new 7 for 7 deals come out on Thursday, so I do the same as Ski Mom and check the website. The 7 for 7 price on my Alaska cruise this week was around $200 lower than the one that I booked under so I contacted my TA and got the price adjusted.

I tried to get the unexpected shipboard credit too, but so far they are saying that it is only for those paying the regular fare and doesn't apply to 7 for 7. I find that strange because if you look at the cruise offers and pricing page it shows both special offers at the same time without saying you can't get the credit with the pricing shown on the page. Since the fare reduction is much larger than the shipboard credit of $400, it's not like anyone would say "I'll take the higher fare to get the creidit."

My TA is still trying to escalate that one.