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11 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

You really need to find a good "cruise specialist" TA.

 

This OP needs one for sure . Not just an order taker by a real good Cruise Specialist very familiar with Princess .

No need to book their next cruise once onboard , just purchase Future Cruise Certificates and decide at leisure without Onboard Sales pressure.

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Alaska is expensive to begin with.

I think you made a good choice with Princess, but yes, a mini suite will be expensive. While I enjoy a mini suite, a balcony will also work. That should shave a little off.

You don't "need" a drink package. You also don't "need" specialty dining. 

With regards to excursions, yes, they can be pricey. If the one's you booked are what you want to do, then its probably worth the cost. Maybe review what you booked and decide if its a must do or not.

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You could decide how much you want to spend and then start eliminating things until you get down to that number.  Just about everything on your list can either be done without or done cheaper.

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18 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Next to World Cruises, Alaska cruises have one of the highest per diem rates and the shore excursions are also among some of the most expensive.

 

Many different cruises are available to the needs of most people. Personally we spent about 35 years with Princess, but our 2015 cruise with them will be our last. In our opinion, their standards have dropped below what we are looking for and the constant nickle and diming was ridiculous.

 

Our preference is for smaller ships, better quality meals, no kids, no casino, more space per passenger for less crowds. The mainstream lines like Princess don't offer these, so we only consider premium/luxury lines - Viking Ocean is our current preference. We also considered Oceania.

 

After you cruise, I suggest reviewing what worked for you with Princess and more importantly what didn't work. With a good TA and/or own research you should be able to find a cruise line that meets your needs. Might still be Princess, but lots of other alternatives are available.

 

With respect to the Ruby Princess. Princess developed a fairly decent class of ship, starting with the Grand Princess. However, starting with Caribbean Princess (2004) they added an additional deck of cabins (about 500 pax), but did not change the hull. These are known as Super Grands. The Ruby Princess is a Super Grand and we found them rather crowded compared to the earlier Grand Class.

Agree with much of what you say, except each traveler/cruiser needs to look at their own budget versus the cost/benefit of  various lines.  There is no question that Princess is simply a mass market cruise line with all that means.  Viking is certainly a step up...however you might find that some cruisers would prefer Princess over Viking for simply the reason that Viking does not have an onboard casino.  In simple terms there are pros and cons to each cruise line (we have cruised on 15 lines with a 16th coming up in July).  Those that spend years with a single cruise line have no good way to compare the competition.  We still like to cruise Princess...but we also like plenty of other lines (both mass market and luxury).  Because we cruise on many different lines we are always getting a fresh perspective including different menus, alternative restaurants, completely different entertainment, etc.  

 

The tendency of some folks to be "loyal" to a specific cruise line never made a lot of sense to me..since they were eliminating so many other options.    We have the same opinion regarding cruise/travel agents.   We are "loyal" to our favorite 3 agencies to the extent that they can offer us the best overall financial deal (and we are always shopping around among their competition).  On some of our longer cruises the overall price differences (when factoring in OBCs and amenities) between agencies can run into the thousands of dollars (for a single cruise).

 

Hank

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On 1/16/2019 at 9:04 AM, MCC retired said:

Not a typical total expense at all ,very excessive.

...

 

 Whomever sold OP this booking should be ashamed .

 

 

 

 

No one forced OP to buy anything - this just sounds like someone got caught up in an unthinking spending frenzy.  Just a matter of wanting every option available.  Hopefully, this touch of buyers remorse is not hitting too late, and OP will be able to adjust.

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22 hours ago, DeAnna from Oregon said:

Wow! I’m so overwhelmed by everyone’s great insight and feedback which is truly invaluable when booking a cruise for the first time. ... Thank you all so very much, what a great welcoming site, I feel like we’ve joined a whole new culture so does my husband, we were just hoping to bring the kids next time!

A few more thoughts. Looking ahead to your next cruise (cruises) ...

1. Look way ahead. Today I booked a cruise for October 2020. Which is not that far out. 12 nights. Starts in Boston (no international travel.) Ends in Fort Lauderdale. (no International travel.) 

2. Carefully consider why you want to cruise where. Alaska is a high dollar region. The Galapagos are a high dollar destination. Venice & Greek Isles can be pricey. I’ve been to all three, paid a lot, but had decided ahead that the value was there for us. Our example October 2020 cruise is much cheaper, goes to less exotic places, but we like the ship, we like the destinations along the way, and we like the multiple sea days. 

3. Watch for good packages. Our October 2020 trip intrigued me two weeks ago. I passed, price was a bit high, no perks included. Today the price per person was $150 lower, and drink package, gratuities, and OBC were all now included. And the stateroom I had wanted was still available. Easy decision. Booking made. 

 

Enjoy!

 

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57 minutes ago, GottaKnowWhen said:

A few more thoughts. Looking ahead to your next cruise (cruises) ...

1. Look way ahead. Today I booked a cruise for October 2020. Which is not that far out. 12 nights. Starts in Boston (no international travel.) Ends in Fort Lauderdale. (no International travel.) 

2. Carefully consider why you want to cruise where. Alaska is a high dollar region. The Galapagos are a high dollar destination. Venice & Greek Isles can be pricey. I’ve been to all three, paid a lot, but had decided ahead that the value was there for us. Our example October 2020 cruise is much cheaper, goes to less exotic places, but we like the ship, we like the destinations along the way, and we like the multiple sea days. 

3. Watch for good packages. Our October 2020 trip intrigued me two weeks ago. I passed, price was a bit high, no perks included. Today the price per person was $150 lower, and drink package, gratuities, and OBC were all now included. And the stateroom I had wanted was still available. Easy decision. Booking made. 

 

Enjoy!

 

You mention "no international travel" but your cruise will still require a valid Passport.  It is actually a pretty decent itinerary although we would like it better if they had the extra hours in Aruba rather than Bonaire and Curacao.  We also noticed that repo cruise (we have often done the Regal Princess from NYC to Ft Lauderdale) and have some interest.  But we would not consider booking that cruise for at least another year :).  That might also be nice if combined with a prior Canada/NE cruise.

 

Hank

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I could have been clearer! My “ no international “ is about cost of travel to from. I’ve had at least one valid U.S. passport since I was 3 years old, that’s a long time ago, and I am committed to maintaining that tradition! No passport worries.

This is clearly a repo cruise and for repo cruises  they never offer perks. Except here they did. I won’t argue with them. And I did think about the b2b  possibility, but we’ll be a month in Alaska ending in early-mid September and our time back home in between Alaska and this cruise would be too short. 

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I pay roughly $100/person/day for a Caribbean cruise for cruise fare, typically an inside room but sometimes an ocean view (window) or "interior balcony" (Central Park on Oasis class with Royal).

I book my own excursions or get around on my own in port (like going to a beach).

I don't get the booze package (although I do get the soda/pop package).

I don't eat at specialty restaurants. I have NEVER gone hungry on a cruise ship.

My typical bill on the ship at the end of the week is just my daily gratuity/service charges for the week.  Maybe the occasional room service or laundry/pressing fee if my son is with me.

I book a reasonable Airbnb or hotel the day before and use Uber for transportation to the port. Never even close to $200.

With a $10K budget, I would manage 3-4 cruises in the Caribbean.  But then again, my tastes aren't as obviously high-end as yours are. 

I'm happy being on a ship and eating normal food and not being drunk off my arse the whole week.  I use my room for sleeping and showering, so I don't need a huge room with a balcony -- I have the entire ship's pool deck for my balcony.     

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On 1/16/2019 at 4:48 AM, DeAnna from Oregon said:

Hi all, we (husband & I) are first time cruisers,  Princess Ruby Alaska September 2019, after purchasing our tickets paying for the all inclusive drink packages, paying for excursions, booking specialty restaurants, and all the other extras we are already paying nearly $10,000, is this pretty common for cruises, or is this typical cost of a cruise? We are in a mini-Suite but it seems to me that after this amount of money we should be Captains Circle, I believe that is what they term it, I’m just wondering if this is typical or not? Here is the breakdown of costs:  We spent $1500 each per excursions, $1000 on our drink packages, and $5000 for our tickets, the remaining $1000 is specialty restaurants (2), hotel and parking costs, and incidentals. Thanks again for your thoughts.


Yes, it is very typical that if you do things the most expensive possible way it ends up costing a lot.

And don't forget grats.

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On 1/16/2019 at 9:48 PM, DeAnna from Oregon said:

So, when considering cruising again and booking on the ship for next cruise, what I’m wondering is are most cruises comparable to an Alaska cruise, or is Alaska in a different type of cruise...I totally understand we don’t have to take excursions, but on a cruise let’s say to Mexico is the price around $10,000, or are there more reasonably priced excursions and cabin options...

 

DeAnna - generally (as mentioned previously), Alaskan cruises are more expensive than Caribbean/Mexican cruises. You could spend the same amount as your Alaskan cruise (in a full suite on a major cruiseline, for example), but typically you'll spend much less. The amount of ships available to choose from sailing to the Caribbean is higher, and depending on the time of year, you can find some great deals. (November - February is usually the least expensive, and luckily my favorite time of the year to cruise!) There are also plenty of websites (that can't be named here) that will allow you to search your preferred dates and ships to give you a good idea of costs - don't always just check directly with the cruiseline. Excursions are generally much less than Alaskan ones as well. There are a lot of ports where you can just head to the beach and spend hardly anything. Good luck with your searching, and I hope you have an incredible time on your Alaska cruise!

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On 1/16/2019 at 3:48 AM, DeAnna from Oregon said:

Hi all, we (husband & I) are first time cruisers,  Princess Ruby Alaska September 2019, after purchasing our tickets paying for the all inclusive drink packages, paying for excursions, booking specialty restaurants, and all the other extras we are already paying nearly $10,000, is this pretty common for cruises, or is this typical cost of a cruise? We are in a mini-Suite but it seems to me that after this amount of money we should be Captains Circle, I believe that is what they term it, I’m just wondering if this is typical or not? Here is the breakdown of costs:  We spent $1500 each per excursions, $1000 on our drink packages, and $5000 for our tickets, the remaining $1000 is specialty restaurants (2), hotel and parking costs, and incidentals. Thanks again for your thoughts.

I will be more blunt, yes you are paying too much.  About $1,000 too much for mini-Suite, drink packages are not worth the price and are usually around $300 a piece, excursions are usually high in Alaska, speciality restaurants are around $50 - $100 for two per night   Suggest you go to Norwegian Cruises, current offer is $200 OBC, Premium drink package, 3 nights Speciality restruants, $50 per port for excursions, Internet.  We are booked August 24 on Norwegian Joy with all these extras.  We are booked in the Haven deck in Courtyard Suite, most desired area on ship for just over $7,000.  Joy is a large ship 2 years old unlike the Ruby.  Can’t speak about hotels, they are expensive in Seattle.  Alaska Airlines has good flights in.  Hope this can be some help.  Since you are first time, suggest you contact Norwegian or other cruise lines, even Princess, book a cruise with amenities and then cancel this one, you get your deposit and other items back before final payment.  Airfare can be changed also, most let you rebook with credit.  Might be around some date as you have already booked.  Good luck

bruce   

Edited by Texasramblinreck

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