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Not Happy with the way pricing works


cruisethelake
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I booked obstructed ocean view for 7 night cruise to Alaska(6-7 months in advance). Now that the cruise is coming up next month, I see whole lot of fairs that are way below for full view ocean view and slightly more for balcony and Suites. I requested paid upgrade to Suite or Balcony or complementary upgrade to  full view ocean view (Since their current price is way less than what i paid for obstructed view). They are quoting astronomically high price than the current advertised price. I called up the cruise-line directly and they said to work with the travel agency with which i booked my tickets.

I kind of feel cheated. Is this how this industry work in general? 

 

Edited by cruisethelake
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3 minutes ago, cruisethelake said:

I booked obstructed ocean view for 7 night cruise to Alaska(6-7 months in advance). Now that the cruise is coming up next month, I see whole lot of fairs that are way below for full view ocean view and slightly more for balcony and Suites. I requested paid upgrade to Suite or Balcony or complementary upgrade to  full view ocean view (Since their current price is way less than what i paid for obstructed view). They are quoting astronomically high price than the current advertised price. I called up the cruise-line directly and they said to work with the travel agency with which i booked my tickets.

I kind of feel cheated. Is this how this industry work in general? 

This being the first time cruise for us, I wasn't aware of how the pricing works else i would have beaten them in their game. 

Typically, lower fares close to cruises are "for new bookings only", not re-fared cruises.

 

You could cancel your current reservation (with any penalties), and rebook under the new promotion, if that will save you some money.

 

Since you used a TA for the original booking, the cruise line will not talk to you about cancelling/rebooking, you have to work through the TA.

 

 

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Some cruise lines will honor such price drops but it's becoming rarer I think especially if you book a non-refundable fare. Carnival has a program called Early Saver and under the terms of the program they will honor all price drops up until 48 hours before cruising. If the price drop occurs before the final payment date they adjust the price, after the final payment date you receive an on board credit. There are terms and conditions of course and it is considered a non-refundable fare. Some people love it, some are neutral and some hate it. As Shmoo mentioned if you book through a TA you have to make any changes through them since they "own" the booking.

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Since you are 1 month out, well within the Penalty Period , chances are slim to none for a rate adjustment .

Depending on the cruise line , they have been known to allow you to upgrade (paid or free).

 

Contact your TA . A Good TA can sometimes work wonders with their contacts within the cruise line .

As stated , the TA is the only one able to discuss rates with the cruise line , but they do have more power 

than you would.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

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2 hours ago, cruisethelake said:

I booked obstructed ocean view for 7 night cruise to Alaska(6-7 months in advance). Now that the cruise is coming up next month, I see whole lot of fairs that are way below for full view ocean view and slightly more for balcony and Suites. I requested paid upgrade to Suite or Balcony or complementary upgrade to  full view ocean view (Since their current price is way less than what i paid for obstructed view). They are quoting astronomically high price than the current advertised price. I called up the cruise-line directly and they said to work with the travel agency with which i booked my tickets.

I kind of feel cheated. Is this how this industry work in general? 

 

 

First this is very typical, of course if the fare had gone up, no one would expect to pay the higher fare. What is important is that OP booked with a TA. Any changes to the reservation have to be made through the TA who owns the reservation, and they may choose not to do any adjustments because any adjustment impacts their commission.

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Since you are in the "first time cruisers" forum, I can certainly understand your frustration.  The explanation that seems to work best, is air fair. Most book air for the cheapest rate they can find for the seat they want. If the rate goes up, they are happy. If the rate goes down, they are sad. But since they most likely booked the cheapest ticket, they have to just go with it because of fees.

Stay strong. It is just one of those icky parts of travel, but the actual travel makes it all better.

I hope you have a wonderful trip.

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4 hours ago, zqvol said:

 

First this is very typical, of course if the fare had gone up, no one would expect to pay the higher fare. What is important is that OP booked with a TA. Any changes to the reservation have to be made through the TA who owns the reservation, and they may choose not to do any adjustments because any adjustment impacts their commission.

Yeh.. in most possibility it seems to be the case. For me, TA doesn't seems to be flexible at all. I did call the cruse-line to hear their view and as per them few things to depend on TA. 

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What is frustrating though is I don't see the cruseline having any interest in up selling their remaining inventory. They are more interested in keeping the lower category rooms filled up, as they may be thinking that an obstructed view will be difficult to fill up, that becomes available  if the customer is sold a to higher category.

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50 minutes ago, Mike981 said:

Since you are in the "first time cruisers" forum, I can certainly understand your frustration.  The explanation that seems to work best, is air fair. Most book air for the cheapest rate they can find for the seat they want. If the rate goes up, they are happy. If the rate goes down, they are sad. But since they most likely booked the cheapest ticket, they have to just go with it because of fees.

Stay strong. It is just one of those icky parts of travel, but the actual travel makes it all better.

I hope you have a wonderful trip.

Yeh .. I am with you on this @Mike981. Got the best possible airfares for this trip :). Being in the cruise game for the first time, I give it to them..if i like the experience and do decide to take a cruise in future..i am sure i will beat them in their pricing game 🙂

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10 hours ago, cruisethelake said:

What is frustrating though is I don't see the cruseline having any interest in up selling their remaining inventory. They are more interested in keeping the lower category rooms filled up, as they may be thinking that an obstructed view will be difficult to fill up, that becomes available  if the customer is sold a to higher category.

Their remaining inventory will likely sell out and they know that.  It’s getting more and more rare that a ship sails with an open cabin of any kind.  This is simply supply and demand.  I have said this before, when I book a cabin I continue to follow pricing until the 90 day mark. After that I just forget it and concentrate on pricing of such things as WiFi and meal plans since they can be changed right up until departure.  Forget it and have fun.  And welcome to Cruise Critic.

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On 7/29/2019 at 2:23 PM, cruisethelake said:

I booked under non refundable category and already paid in full, so not much to get back. Sticking with my current reservation.

What part of “non refundable” did you not understand at the time you booked?  It had to have looked like a good idea then.

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Look at it this way.  The price went down and you feel that it is only fair to you that you do not have to pay your original higher price.  Now let's assume that the tables have changed and the cruise has gone up as it often does.  Do you think it would be fair to the cruise company to demand more money from you.   Seems only fair from the cruise company's viewpoint.

 

DON

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On 7/29/2019 at 9:11 PM, cruisethelake said:

What is frustrating though is I don't see the cruseline having any interest in up selling their remaining inventory. They are more interested in keeping the lower category rooms filled up, as they may be thinking that an obstructed view will be difficult to fill up, that becomes available  if the customer is sold a to higher category.

 

The point is, the cruise line cannot touch the reservation, because you booked through a TA.  You MUST go through the TA.

 

All you can do after final payment date is possibly upgrade to a higher level cabin for no money (sometimes a higher level will be less than what you paid) or may be smaller difference in price.

 

BUT, since you booked through a TA, the changes MUST go through the TA.

 

That is how all the cruise lines work.  

 

It does not matter what the cruise line would like, it is what your TA will do for you.  If it is a larger TA, ask to talk to a supervisor or manager.  If they do not come through, then don't use them again.  A TA should be working FOR YOU.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/29/2019 at 6:15 PM, cruisethelake said:

Yeh .. I am with you on this @Mike981. Got the best possible airfares for this trip :). Being in the cruise game for the first time, I give it to them..if i like the experience and do decide to take a cruise in future..i am sure i will beat them in their pricing game 🙂

 

That's pretty much what happened to us our first time cruising last year. We did get an ok fare price for an F-class oceanview guarantee (we didn't know what guarantee really meant either LOL) and at least got placed in a much better location C-class OV. We booked via a major travel website rather than shopping around for an actual TA.

 

This year, I was no longer a noob, was able to shop TAs via a compete scenario, asked questions about upgrades, price drops, upsells, and played a little bit of chicken waiting to book and got a phenomenal deal on verandah fare in location I wanted THEN got really good upsell offer into a Neptune suite. So yea, I learned my lesson well from last year 😄 That really is part of the fun (at least to me). We did not feel ripped off last year as in terms of a vacation, it was still awesome bang-for-the-buck, but am thrilled I was more equipped to navigate the system this year.

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It's simple -

 

If you want the last-minute pricing, wait and book last-minute. Just be aware that your desired cabin category may not be available, or your desired deck/location might be full, or your desired ship and sailing may have sold well so prices may not drop close to embarkation.

 

But if you'd be happy with a ship, itinerary, date, and stateroom that others haven't found exciting enough to snap up, wait and book the last-minute sales. Enjoy the last-minute airfare to the port. 🙂

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I always had luck with the "call TA, plead dumb" and then have them pull up the quote.

 

Best case on board credit, or a refund, worst case nothing and you still have your vacation.

 

I always tend to check about 2 weeks before final payment and make adjustments.  Once the final payment date passes, they kinda got you and the rest of the rooms go on a fire sale type of deal.

Although, sometimes, even with penalty, you can cancel and re-book and still save money.

 

It is frustrating, especially when the booking happens so far out, but I book at the price I am willing to pay.  Happy with discounts, and LMAO when the price goes up...Which happens more often than not.

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54 minutes ago, Mikiejag said:

I always had luck with the "call TA, plead dumb" and then have them pull up the quote.

 

Best case on board credit, or a refund, worst case nothing and you still have your vacation.

 

I always tend to check about 2 weeks before final payment and make adjustments.  Once the final payment date passes, they kinda got you and the rest of the rooms go on a fire sale type of deal.

Although, sometimes, even with penalty, you can cancel and re-book and still save money.

 

It is frustrating, especially when the booking happens so far out, but I book at the price I am willing to pay.  Happy with discounts, and LMAO when the price goes up...Which happens more often than not.

 

We just booked an Oceania cruise 2 years out.  Would you believe that our first choice cabin category was sold out at by 8:30 AM on the day the cruise was released.  Yes - I know that people cancel and cabin categories that are now not available will become available but we wanted to make sure that we got the cruise and we did.  

 

DON

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's like booking a flight, honestly.  I can go to an airline website, enter destinations and dates and get a price today.  I can enter the exact same information to morrow and get a different price - could go higher or lower.  You're not being cheated; the prices simply reflect what the market is doing.  I tend to watch prices and track them for a while before I actually book in order to get a fee for what a good price on that particular sailing will look like.

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Although annoying you have to consider how much time you actually spend looking out the window. In the morning you are in a rush to get to breakfast, get a good spot on deck for a sea day or get off for a trip. Often by the time you get back it is dark! Yes prices change but sometimes they are selling off more unpopular cabins due to location etc so a new bargain may not be one really. Sometimes a free upgrade on board may again be to a cabin in a more dodgy location not a selected midships of choice...

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I'm curious what cruise line you are on. Some, in fact many, will allow you to pay to upgrade after final payment at whatever the going rate is. We ran into that ourselves on Celebrity for our last cruise. It was a unique itinerary so prices sky rocketed early as people wanted to reserve cabins. Then people who change their minds canceled right before final payment so then the prices plummeted. Through out TA we were offered the opportunity for a free upgrade to a higher category cabin whose price had dropped below what we paid or to pay to upgrade to any of the higher priced categories that were available. We declined as we liked our rooms and the higher categories were still priced higher than what we were willing to pay. So, what you have suggested is certainly possible with some lines/TAs.

 

Yes, the pricing scheme is frustrating, especially to new people who like to book in the 3-6 month range which seem to be when prices are highest. I've found that they are lowest about a year out. Then they slowly rise up until final payment date. After that, its' anyone's guess. Usually they don't drop lower than we paid a year out. When they do drop lower it's pretty much always for a "guarantee" category which we don't like to book because we like to pick our rooms. Any many lines offer "perks" with full price bookings that you don't get with the guarantee category. So all that goes into deciding whether or not it's worth negotiating an "upgrade" if it's available. There's no one answer that's right for everyone. Many people who like to book last minute swear by it. But I'm personally in a job where I have to reserve vacation time close to a year in advance. So late booking isn't an option for me.

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Carnival has that Early Saver rate, a non-refundable rate with penalties but one which also lets you get price drops even past final payment. It's always advertised as the lowest rate so new cruisers tend to jump on it.  Then if they need to change a passenger or cancel, they're surprised when they have to pay a penalty and/or lose their deposit.

 

Prices these days seem to just go up and up so I've pretty much quit checking prices after I've booked.

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