Posted May 16th, 2018, 06:50 PM
When I read some of the posts I just shake my head. Many folks really do get set in their ways or believe things that are just not generally true. So the easy answer when somebody asks us the best way to book is "just do whatever makes you happy."
But having booked over 100 cruises for myself, we do offer simple advice for those with open minds and interested in saving 7-10% off of cruise line direct deals. Note I say "deals" and not prices because a deal might involve paying the same price as a cruise line direct booking, but then getting back 7-10% (or more) in OBCs, pre paid gratuities, etc. In our case, since we often book longer more expensive cruises our savings on a single booking are generally in excess of $1000 and sometimes have topped $3000!
So what do we suggest? It quite simple, Just shop around. Look at the final price on the cruise line's own web site and then check the same cruise (and cabin category) on a few reputable high volume online cruise agencies. In some cases you will need to register your e-mail with an agency to get their best offers since they are sometimes prohibited (by the cruise lines) from publicly disclosing these deals (which are only available to registered users). None of the agencies we use charge any kind of fees.
So what do you have to lose? Perhaps an hour of your time. We just booked (this week) a 30 day HAL cruise where we saved just over $1000 by doing the booking with one of our favorite cruise agencies....over what it would have cost with HAL. It is about the same with Princess bookings. For those that book Celebrity or RCI cruises it is a bit more difficult to find really great deals but they do exist.
P.S. For those that have strongly formed beliefs that they know best please ignore my post