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Booking a cruise - best way to maximize benefits and keep costs down?


b8b

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Hi All,

 

Just cruised the Baltics last month on NCL after almost 10 years of not cruising, first time for our children - they loved it! I wasn't as impressed with the food or ship, so hoping to try RCI, Princess or Celebrity next time.

 

I found what seems to be a really good deal, though the itinerary only has 3 destinations (two I've been to, unfortunately), but the price seems right so I was about to book March 15th sailing of RCI Serenade of the Seas.

 

I received a confirmed quote for the two staterooms I need:

1. Oceanview Stateroom Guarantee #GTY (Y) $489 + taxes of $70.73, total for two = $1,119.46

2. Balcony Stateroom Guarantee #GTY (X)+ taxes of $70.73, total for two = $1,479.46 USD

 

Includes these benefits:

1. Oceanview = $ 100 Onboard Spending Credit + Dinner for Two in the Specialty Restaurant (A $ 60 Value)

2. Balcony = Pre-Paid Gratuities* (or equivalent Shipboard Credit) + Dinner for Two in the Specialty Restaurant (A $ 60 Value) + A Complimentary Spa Treatment (A $ 100 Value)

 

Total is just below $2,600. However, when we went to book, they couldn't get a dining time so I would have to prepay gratuities myself ($500 deposit, pay in full in November), seems kind of like bait and switch (bummer!); thus I couldn't use the respective prepaid gratuities and cabin credit for paying the gratuities (as Royal Carribean allows), but would instead end up with $100 and $168 in onboard credit, which I would prefer to put towards the gratuities to keep my overall costs down ($2668 out of pocket including gratuities paid by credit vs. $2936 and $268 in onboard credit, which I might not use).

 

I was trying to figure out a way to book this through another agency to match or beat this or at least not be forced to pre-pay gratuities (I had never even heard of this).

 

What do I do? Am I better off just booking it? Trying to keep the one week for a family of four affordable.

 

Also open to another cruise during the same week (March 15) on RCI, NCL, Celebrity or Princess with same/similar value.

 

Thanks in advance for any and all feedback and advice!

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I notice you have recently returned to CC. Perhaps you should review the posting guidelines, as referencing travel agents/agencies is not allowed. EM

 

Oh, my apologies - I tried to edit the reference, but it wouldn't let me.

 

Perhaps we could just focus on the idea? The specific outlet I found the deal at doesn't matter as much as trying to figure out what I should do in this situation as I haven't booked my own cruise before (just let Amex do it).

 

Thanks for your patience.

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b8b - welcome back to cc. I've removed your references to agencies so your post may remain as we do not permit naming agencies in posts.

 

good luck finding the cruise that's right for you.

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