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lulusailing

planning a 20th anniversary trip, first time ever cruising

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Hello everyone! I've been doing some extensive research to find the perfect vacation for my husband and I for our 20th wedding anniversary and I think I have found it in the form of a tall ship cruise in the Mediterranean. First let me say that this board is WONDERFUL. I've been reading through the posts and they answered many of my questions.

 

I actually need to get down to the very basics. How do most of you book this cruise? Do you use a travel agent? Where am I most likely to find the best pricing/discounts?

 

We are looking to do the 7 day cruise that includes Sicily and the Athens and probably in May or June...of 2012 (I know, that's a long time from now, but I'll need to start saving now to afford it!):D

 

I'm sure I'll be posting quite often asking questions and look forward to reading all about everyone's trip on the starclipper lines...they just look fabulous!

 

Thank you!:)

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Unlike the mainstream cruise lines, Star Clippers works direct or with a select group of travel agencies. I can't remember if located any internet base TA's as I ended up going to a brick `n mortar store.

 

Best pricing seems to be available to past passengers and people that follow or are a part of the sailing community. You will often find discounted cruise offers in most sailing magazines. I belong to BoatUS & American Sailing Assn (ASA) and both memberships get me access to discounted pricing on Star Clipper cruises.

 

Enjoy!

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We use a travel agent for these, manly because of the airline booking, international travel flying into one place, leaving from another. We go direct to the cruise line if it uses American ports.

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Last time I booked with SC directly and had them do the airfare since it was comparable to what I was finding online and when you book with them it includes the transfers. This time I booked with SC directly too, but did my own airfare. I purchased transfers through SC though, as I wanted to make sure we get the port on time (and my Spanish is no bueno!). I used to use a travel agent, but when I moved to TX I did not bother finding a new one.

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I've never used a travel agent (I'm always suspicious that I'm getting charged more!) but the last thing I want is to have a perfectly romantic, adventurous trip spoiled by poor planning! :p

 

I've been reading all the fantastic "first timer" tips on the forum and getting great ideas.

 

I do have another question; How far in advance should I book the trip? Should I wait for last minute deals? Should I book far in advance so I know I have a spot on the cruise? If I book in advance and special deals come up will the savings be passed on to me?

 

Whoops, that more than just one question:o

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I've never used a travel agent (I'm always suspicious that I'm getting charged more!) Actually, depending on the cruise line, you might pay a lot less. the last thing I want is to have a perfectly romantic, adventurous trip spoiled by poor planning! :p

 

I've been reading all the fantastic "first timer" tips on the forum and getting great ideas.

 

I do have another question; How far in advance should I book the trip? As soon as possible to get the best cabin selection. Should I wait for last minute deals? There are rarely last minute deals - there are left over cabins that no one else wants. Should I book far in advance so I know I have a spot on the cruise? You should book in advance to get the best cabin selection. If I book in advance and special deals come up will the savings be passed on to me? After you make the final payment, no deals will come your way. Any "deals" will be for new bookings only.

 

Whoops, that more than just one question:o

 

Especially with such small ships as Star Clippers, and some locations decidely "better" than others, book early. Then before final payment ask if the price has gone down.

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Fantastic! Since I'm planning on sailing May or June 2012 I will book it a year in advance. That should be plenty of time...right?;)

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I've never used a travel agent (I'm always suspicious that I'm getting charged more!) but the last thing I want is to have a perfectly romantic, adventurous trip spoiled by poor planning! :p

 

I've been reading all the fantastic "first timer" tips on the forum and getting great ideas.

 

I do have another question; How far in advance should I book the trip? Should I wait for last minute deals? Should I book far in advance so I know I have a spot on the cruise? If I book in advance and special deals come up will the savings be passed on to me?

 

Whoops, that more than just one question:o

 

Cruisers typically fall in two camps: 1) Book early to get the cabin they want. Cabin type and placement is important to them. Some people want a specific cabin number and have been known to book more than a year in advance to get it. 2) Book when they feel the price is right. Cabin type and placement isn't important because the only time they are in the cabin is to sleep.

 

We are in group 1. We shop the best price we can find but also book early enough to get the cabin type & general location we want.

 

Large, high volume travel agents have the ability to "hold" large blocks of rooms and get volume discounts from the cruise lines. They often have pricing well below what you will pay when booking direct with the cruise line. They turn back unsold cabins after final payment date and the cruise lines then offer these cabins to new bookings at deep discounts. These discounts are not available to people that have already booked and paid for their cruise.

 

Most cruise lines will pass on price reductions to you if/when you notice it and ask for it. A good travel agent will monitor price and do this for you. I don't know of any cruise line that will honor price reductions after "your" final payment date.

 

If you are the type that just wants to be on a cruise, and cabin type/placement doesn't matter to you, then wait to book after the final payment date for a given cruise. (ie: last minute but you get whatever you get because that is all that is left)

 

Star Clippers is small enough and popular enough that they don't feel the need to work with large internet Travel Agencies. I couldn't find one and had quite a few brick `n mortar travel agencies that were reluctant to book a Star Clipper cruise. Booking a Star Clipper cruise is a different animal than booking a cruise with one of the big lines.

 

Enjoy!

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hmmm, well this will be my first time sailing trip, but I think I fall in camp one. Although yes, I will only be in my cabin to sleep, I would hate to be awake all night due to bad cabin location. So that being said, what should I be asking for in cabin location? (keeping in mind that I will probably be looking for a category 2 or 3 on the star clipper)

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On the Star Clipper/Flyer in Cat 2 or 3 the best we found were 330 to 339 all about the same. The best bargain and goes really fast are the two Cat 3 328 and 331 About the same as Cat 2 but cheaper. Avoid 311 and 310 they open to the dinning room although there is a curtain. I would also pass on 322 and 325 next to dining room. We have not booked or I guess looked at the Cat 2 at the bow 302 to 309. Ask the res person at Star Clippers and they will give you their opinion. The "D" fixed double bed are just that double bed the rest are two singles that can be put together and usually are and are a little larger. The ^ have a 3 bunk on the wall which folds down. Go to their web site and they have a virtually tour.

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We booked a cat 4 - cabin 114. Good location and saves money. On this ship especially, stay away from the front or the back.

Edited by WeBeGone

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I assume that I should avoid the back because of the engine noise and the front because of the motion? Where is the kitchen located. I think I read a review from someone that complained about the noise from the kitchen.

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I assume that I should avoid the back because of the engine noise and the front because of the motion? Where is the kitchen located. I think I read a review from someone that complained about the noise from the kitchen.

 

These are true sailing vessels. They don't have the big stabilizer system you find on the mega cruise ship. You will have motion.

 

General rule of thumb for anybody that thinks they might experience motion discomfort ...

 

Lower in the ship reduces side-to-side motion, center of the ship reduces up-down (teeter-totter) motion. Bow more prone to up-down vs. stern.

 

A great set of deck plans (very readable & you can blow them up) are found at: http://www.cruisemaster-me.com/starclippers/pdf/star_clipper_dp_prices.pdf Better than the set on the Star Clipper web site.

 

I believe the kitch is located on Clipper deck between cabins 310 & 311 as well as some portion of that big void on Commodore deck.

 

Barnacle Bob gave you good advice for cabin selection.

 

Enjoy!

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I think I noticed the noise from the back of the ship maybe one time... obviously it wasn't too bad because I've booked a cabin at the back again. We're in the Category 5 (again) with the raised bed. This time we are on the Clipper deck, last time on the Commodore deck. The raised bed provides ample storage for the luggage, that's for sure! ;)

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you know, I was thinking I'd have to go to the category 2 or 3 to get a nice room but after reading the feedback it looks like almost any room would be nice.

 

Sassy what room number will you be in? (if you don't mind mentioning it)

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you know, I was thinking I'd have to go to the category 2 or 3 to get a nice room but after reading the feedback it looks like almost any room would be nice.

 

Sassy what room number will you be in? (if you don't mind mentioning it)

 

345 in the back by the owner's cabin - on SC & SF it's not like there are SO MANY to choose from anyway! I love the small ships ;)

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I'm so excited, I emailed starclipper today to get booking info (to ask when the 2012 schedule is coming out) and they said Jan. or Feb. But I was more excited to go to the mail today and find that the brochure I requested came today. I've never been so excited by a trip before. Every year I do a trip to Myrtle Beach or Florida, and I've been to England/Germany/Finland/Paris for work, but this will be the first trip my husband and I have taken together alone in 20 year! :)

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