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Sizzlechest

Cruise booking strategy?

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My strategy is to book as early as possible and then rebook if the price goes down. I usually do the refundable rate since I think it might be more difficult (or impossible?) to do a price adjustment if I don't. I use a TA because they provide additional OBC or money back.

 

I was watching those interview videos of "Super Mario" and he says the best prices (including bonuses) are gotten by booking onboard and then transfer it to a travel agent. I looked into booking on board when I was on my last cruise and the price seemed lower, but I was being quoted the non-refundable price. When I asked about the refundable price, it was hundreds of dollars more. The gap between refundable and non-refundable was a lot higher onboard.

 

I'm not concerned with booking non-refundable tickets because my credit card includes trip cancellation insurance. My real concern is with price drops before final payment.

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You can get price adjustments with non-refundable deposits.

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Find a TA with group rates and you automatically get a refundable deposit and prices that in the vast majority of cases will be lower than the non refundable rates. 

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1 hour ago, Ourusualbeach said:

Find a TA with group rates and you automatically get a refundable deposit and prices that in the vast majority of cases will be lower than the non refundable rates. 

this is true only if you book directly into the group.   If you book on board or directly thru RCI and book a non-refundable rate and then transfer the booking to a TA and are put into a group your deposit remains as non-refundable.

 

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1 minute ago, stevea36 said:

this is true only if you book directly into the group.   If you book on board or directly thru RCI and book a non-refundable rate and then transfer the booking to a TA and are put into a group your deposit remains as non-refundable.

 

You can book a refundable rate through Royal or on board and it will transfer into the group as refundable. 

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11 minutes ago, Ourusualbeach said:

You can book a refundable rate through Royal or on board and it will transfer into the group as refundable. 

correct, but, as i stated, if you have a non-refundable and move it into a group it remains non-refundable.

 

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2 hours ago, Sizzlechest said:

My strategy is to book as early as possible and then rebook if the price goes down. I usually do the refundable rate since I think it might be more difficult (or impossible?) to do a price adjustment if I don't. I use a TA because they provide additional OBC or money back.

 

I was watching those interview videos of "Super Mario" and he says the best prices (including bonuses) are gotten by booking onboard and then transfer it to a travel agent. I looked into booking on board when I was on my last cruise and the price seemed lower, but I was being quoted the non-refundable price. When I asked about the refundable price, it was hundreds of dollars more. The gap between refundable and non-refundable was a lot higher onboard.

 

I'm not concerned with booking non-refundable tickets because my credit card includes trip cancellation insurance. My real concern is with price drops before final payment.

 

There aren't any problems with getting price drops. It doesn't matter if you have refundable or non-refundable. All you have to do is call Royal and they will take care of it. Have done it before and they are always very nice about it.

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You are doing it right, IMO. Book early with a TA and then keep an eye on the price. A good TA will do that for you as well. On our last cruise, ours got us an upgrade that included free wi-fi and drink package.

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1 hour ago, packercruising said:

You are doing it right, IMO. Book early with a TA and then keep an eye on the price. A good TA will do that for you as well. On our last cruise, ours got us an upgrade that included free wi-fi and drink package.

I think you can find a good TA that hasn't got the time to check for price drops on every cruise they book. Brick and mortar places that don't book many cruises maybe, big online agencies, probably not. Agencies get commission on how many cruises they book and that's where the free perks come from. I would rather get the perks (averages about 12% of price paid except for group rates, then you hit the mother load, and do my own monitoring of pricing.

I only book at a rate I think is fair, it could be a year out or as close as six weeks and usually it's not during "prime time" cruise season. Hence I don't see many price drops and in most cases it is less than the value of the perks I receive. If I do happen to find one, a quick e-mail to my TA and it's done.

Our cruise coming in August cost about $8800 for the two of us and we are getting $1150 in fully refundable obc.

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We tend to book early more and then wait for the sale that is going on now the WOW sale and KSF.   It is always our best sale b/c if we get a suite we get the 300 from Royal plus a big chunk from our TA and then the kids are free...can't beat that!

 

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6 hours ago, grandgeezer said:

I think you can find a good TA that hasn't got the time to check for price drops on every cruise they book. Brick and mortar places that don't book many cruises maybe, big online agencies, probably not. Agencies get commission on how many cruises they book and that's where the free perks come from. I would rather get the perks (averages about 12% of price paid except for group rates, then you hit the mother load, and do my own monitoring of pricing.

I only book at a rate I think is fair, it could be a year out or as close as six weeks and usually it's not during "prime time" cruise season. Hence I don't see many price drops and in most cases it is less than the value of the perks I receive. If I do happen to find one, a quick e-mail to my TA and it's done.

Our cruise coming in August cost about $8800 for the two of us and we are getting $1150 in fully refundable obc.

Getting that amount of OBC from a TA based on the price you paid is an unrealistic expectation  from most TA’s especially bricks and mortar TA’s.

 

If you paid $8800 total then subtracting taxes and fees as well as non commissionable cruise fare you would be left with s commissionable fare of about $8000.  At Royals maximum commission rate of 16% that would net the agency $1280 in commission and they are only keeping $130 of that.  Not sure financially how they can make that work and cover their overhead.

 

My guess would be that there is a couple hundred in OBC from Royal included in the OBC amount.  

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16 minutes ago, Ourusualbeach said:

Getting that amount of OBC from a TA based on the price you paid is an unrealistic expectation  from most TA’s especially bricks and mortar TA’s.

 

If you paid $8800 total then subtracting taxes and fees as well as non commissionable cruise fare you would be left with s commissionable fare of about $8000.  At Royals maximum commission rate of 16% that would net the agency $1280 in commission and they are only keeping $130 of that.  Not sure financially how they can make that work and cover their overhead.

 

My guess would be that there is a couple hundred in OBC from Royal included in the OBC amount.  

You would be guessing wrong. The 12% is pretty normal and it has been fully refundable every single time.

It isn’t a RCL cruise.

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1 minute ago, grandgeezer said:

You would be guessing wrong. The 12% is pretty normal and it has been fully refundable every single time.

It isn’t a RCL cruise.

Not being a RCL cruise would have been great to mention since commission structures vary greatly by cruise line and this was posted in a Royal forum so people would generally assume it was pertaining to a RCL cruise

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You can get a price drop on non-refundable rates. You just run the risk of losing whatever amenities you had at booking. I had a 300 price drop for my upcoming cruise. It was a great rate to begin with and even better after the price drop. It is now double the price.

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Last time I booked while I was on a cruise I asked for the refundable rate. The rep told me the refundable rate and the non refundable rate... The difference was over $500 pp. I was really reluctant about booking because my husband has a vacation picking order and we had rebook another cruise due to this.
I told the rep I wanted to think it over and we would come back later. As I was getting up she asked us why we wanted the refundable rate. I explained we won't know if my DH can get the time yadda yadda. She said have a seat, I have a few more questions.  I felt a sales pitch coming, but we sat down... 

She said you are positive you want to cruise but you are worried he won't get the time off correct. We said correct. She said if we book the Non-Refundable and we have to change the dates or even the ship we would only be charged $100 pp fee, as long as it was before (I believe it was 100 days or before final payment). 

At that point it was kinda a no-brainer, Lower rate and if we do have to change it's only $200... 

 

I liked it better when I could book On Board and if we had to change it was all refundable but things change...  

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We almost always book onboard to get the OBC and then transfer to our TA to get a few extra perks or OBC. Our TA gives us his lower price when we transfer to him regardless the price we book at onboard.

 

We have be able to take advantage a few price drops. 

 

We always book NRD and so far have not had to cancel any but for the $200 risk the reward has been amazing.

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1 hour ago, robandana said:

We almost always book onboard to get the OBC and then transfer to our TA to get a few extra perks or OBC. Our TA gives us his lower price when we transfer to him regardless the price we book at onboard.

 

We have be able to take advantage a few price drops. 

 

We always book NRD and so far have not had to cancel any but for the $200 risk the reward has been amazing.

We do the same thing.  Book on the ship to get the OBC, monitor price after making the reservation (received numerous price reductions), and then transfer the reservation to a TA for their additional perks (pay gratuities and additional OBC).

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