Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
jashah

New to Cruising Questions

Recommended Posts

Hi,

 

A few questions from someone new to cruising.  

 

I was about to book a 14 night Mediterranean cruise on Crystal for my family of four (kids will be 13 at time of trip) when I read about Regent.  From my research, the Mediterranean itineraries that Regent offers over the summer will work better for us.  Crystal seems to offer either 7 or 14 night options which are either too short or too long. Regent offers a 10 night option which seems perfect as it will allow time to spend in Rome before the cruise.  As we’re travelling from the West coast of Canada, flying business class at a significant discount is a huge selling point as well.

 

Questions:

1. I have not used a travel agent in years and always book directly with airlines, hotels, etc.  I enjoy researching and booking travel for what it’s worth.  Should I book directly with Regent or use an agent?  I can book through Amex Platinum which will give me a $300 on-board credit per room which would be the only reason I would use an agent rather than with Regent directly. Is it a mistake to book directly with Regent?

 

2. We are going to want to specify our flights both ways and spend a few days in Rome pre-cruise.  I understand I will have to pay the “deviation fee” for this.  How much is this and how flexible will Regent be in booking flights that I specify?

 

3. Anyone travel on Regent with kids my age? How was the experience? The kids/teen club is offered on the cruise I am looking at.

 

4. What do shore excursions cost on other luxury lines? i.e. How much am I saving by having the excursions included on Regent?

 

Thanks in advance for the answers.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can only answer question #1 - We are going on our 1st Regent cruise in the fall.  In reading this forum, I heard repeatedly to find a travel agent that specializes in luxury cruises and one that gives a credit back.  I asked around and found a friend who had a great cruise TA. We will be receiving a check back 2 weeks prior to our cruise along with on board credit.

 

I would urge you to look into Luxury Cruise Travel Agents, it was well worth it for us! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do not book directly from Regent! First look at the stickies and you’ll see if “Member Referral Credit” look through the postings. You will get a small credit off the price you pay on top of the lowest offered price from Regent. When corresponding with folks who provide their email address you might find out the TA they used to book their Regent cruise. For the record I’m not listed. The TA I use I found this way. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the perks you receive from TA. It will be much more than $400. Good luck in finding a good TA. Look for someone who posts frequently on CC with good info. 

 

Also there is a sticky with air deviation. The best part of the air deviation is that you don’t pay unless you accept the flights offered. 

 

I was on the Med itinerary during the summer. There are hang out opportunities but nothing like offered on the big ships. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree - do not book with Regent.  A luxury TA will not only only give you a percentage back on your cruise and OBC's for many cruises, they also give you the most accurate information in terms of booking a suite (which ones not to book, etc.).  

 

Regent is "almost" an adults only cruise line when school is in session (as is Crystal), but you and your children should be fine during the summer.  

 

You did not indicate what state that you live in but deviation is almost a must ($175/person).  You can book flights through Regent 270 days in advance of your cruise while passengers not deviating will get whatever fights that are left 75 days prior to the cruise.  Regent contracts with most airlines but not all.  And, the airlines have a limited number of contracted seats so booking early is a must.  

 

Suggest that you look at available flights from your "home" airport.  It is important not to have stops in the U.S., or you will be put on coach for that leg of the flight.  Airlines like British Airways, Lufthansa, SAS and others generally have a stop in Europe and then goes on to your port.  While Business Class within Europe is not wonderful (usually two seats with the middle seat blocked but you do get cocktails, food, etc.), it is a heck of a lot better than what you would get in the U.S. in Coach.

 

We had an Amex Platinum card for many years in order to get the $300 OBC.  However, we gave that up a couple of years ago in favor of Chase Sapphire that also includes trip interruption insurance up to $20,000. (but no OBC's).  

 

Some Regent excursions do have price tags (Regent Choice excursions), so, if you have OBC's you could use them for these excursions.  Most of the included excursions are worth about $150/person (and I have seen the same excursion on other cruise Iines for double that price).  To get an idea of which excursions are included in each port, go to the rssc.com website - choose a Mediterranean itinerary and check out their excursions.  This will let you see whether they are of interest or not.

 

Hope that you and your family have a great cruise on Regent!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One other thing, the Chase Sapphire gives you $300.00 in credit for travel once a year.  Also you get 3 times points for every travel dollar you spend and that adds up fast for free airline tickets (when you transfer to an airline program).  Also agree like everyone else book with a good TA that works with Regent-will worth getting the check, plus any thing Regent offers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure how they handle kids when it comes to "included" flights, you should check to find out costs, especially if it's a kid's special cruise.  Also check that you can have two kids in the cabin with you--I seem to remember that you could only have 3 in a cabin, but that could have changed.

 

And yes, find a good luxury TA.  You should be able to find one that will give you a rebate, above and beyond Amex Plat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies.  To clarify, we will be getting two rooms to accommodate the four of us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, jashah said:

Thanks for the replies.  To clarify, we will be getting two rooms to accommodate the four of us.

 

Oh, that's great, perfect!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Re the cost of excursions on other lines, the ones that are included on Regent tend to run in the range of $99 to $189 on Crystal (or at least those were the prices in 2016, which was the last time I was on Crystal).  As previously mentioned, Regent does charge extra for some excursions, though those are usually priced $100 to $150 less than equivalent excursions on Crystal.

 

There's a couple of non-cost differences regarding excursions. One, because the excursions are included, they tend to be a bit more crowded on Regent (though not nearly as crowded as on mainstream lines) unless you pay a bit extra for the "small group" version of the excursion. On the other hand, because the excursions are included, Regent seems to take more ownership of the passenger's experience on the excursion. Destination Services sees their role more as ensuring that passengers have the best possible experience than as salespeople for a profit center.

 

I haven't taken kids on a cruise, but I've observed others who have. So, for what little my view is worth on this, I suspect it depends on the kids. I've seen early teens who are comfortable around adults have a great time. I've seen kids sulking the whole time because there's no one else their age on board and no activities oriented to them.

 

Regent, unlike Crystal, does not have an area on the ship dedicated to teens. I've never seen any activities planned specifically for them, but have heard that Regent does provide kid-oriented programs on some sailings. I guess I just haven't been on those. For what it's worth, I spent 120 days on a Crystal ship in 2016, and I don't think I ever saw anyone use the teens' area, and only once or twice saw children in the younger children's area. And there were teens on the ship from time to time, but they were of the 13-going-on-40 ilk.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

You did not indicate what state that you live in but deviation is almost a must ($175/person).

The TS did say they were from the west coast of Canada so that would make their home airport YVR I assume.  I do agree deviation is a must especially with a family of 4 as you want to be able to control your flights as much as possible and ensure you can book your seat selection long in advance. 

 

TS you can book with Regent then you have time to transfer the booking to a TA. Sorry can't remember if it is 14 days or 30 days.  You do want to take advantage of booking through a good TA as it can really be a big benefit. 

 

Flying to Europe from YVR, you usually have the option of using LH or BA though this year we lucked out and are using AC from YVR to YYZ to ZHR to BCN. We had such a bad experience going through FRA last year that i wouldn't go through FRA this year so opted for the extra stop. 

 

As a fellow Canadian and west coaster if there are questions you have that i can help with please contact me at klbcruising at bctraveller dot ca. 

 

Welcome to the Regent family.  It is a super cruise line. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the comments.

 

I live in Victoria (YYJ) so my plan is to fly out of YVR on LH or BA.

 

If anyone has recommendations for a luxury cruise advisor that works with Canadians, I would be appreciative.  Otherwise, I will probably use Amex Platinum Travel or RBC Private Banking Concierge.

 

Thx!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, ronrick1943 said:

One other thing, the Chase Sapphire gives you $300.00 in credit for travel once a year.  Also you get 3 times points for every travel dollar you spend and that adds up fast for free airline tickets (when you transfer to an airline program).  Also agree like everyone else book with a good TA that works with Regent-will worth getting the check, plus any thing Regent offers.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ronrick,

We have Chase Sapphire but I am not familiar with the $300 in credit for travel.

Could you explain a bit more about how this actually works.

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did a cruise with a MATURE 16 year-old graddaughter on Regent. A fantastic 30 days (same cabin) in the Baltic then Norway/Russia. Am now struggling to decide on whether 13 year-old grandson is ready for 18 days on Regent to Iceland/Greenland.

Regent "Teen Club" was not a Wow! for grandaughter.

We're HUGE fans of Regent but think Tauck "Bridges" are better family vacations than Regent, unless the youth is sophisticated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, DeepFreeze63 said:

Did a cruise with a MATURE 16 year-old graddaughter on Regent. A fantastic 30 days (same cabin) in the Baltic then Norway/Russia. Am now struggling to decide on whether 13 year-old grandson is ready for 18 days on Regent to Iceland/Greenland.

Regent "Teen Club" was not a Wow! for grandaughter.

We're HUGE fans of Regent but think Tauck "Bridges" are better family vacations than Regent, unless the youth is sophisticated.

 

You described perfectly why some children do not care for Regent.  It simply isn't built for them to have a place for themselves to "hang out", chat, have soft drinks and perhaps some junk food - all in an environment that they are comfortable in.  

 

Your 13 year-old grandson could be ready (if he is okay without having a lot of things to do on the ship and is mature enough).  An 18 day cruise is quite long.  We aren't sure that even our adult grandsons would enjoy a Regent cruise (too boring!):classic_biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, snorkle lover said:

Ronrick,

We have Chase Sapphire but I am not familiar with the $300 in credit for travel.

Could you explain a bit more about how this actually works.

Thanks

Not Rick but, you may have Sapphire Preferred which does not hvae the travel benefit.  The Sapphire Reserve is the card that give the $300 in travel credit and you don't have to do anything.  When you pay at a travel location, when the charge posts,  within a day or less the credit appears on the account.  THe Reserve is $450/year while Preferred is $95/year but, with the travel credit you are down to $150/year and lots of other benefits like using points to book travel you get a 50% bonus and lots of other benefits making the Reserve much more valuable that the $55/year difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, jashah said:

Thanks for all the comments.

 

I live in Victoria (YYJ) so my plan is to fly out of YVR on LH or BA.

 

If anyone has recommendations for a luxury cruise advisor that works with Canadians, I would be appreciative.  Otherwise, I will probably use Amex Platinum Travel or RBC Private Banking Concierge.

 

Thx!

Rules on CC say we can’t mention travel agents by name. That’s why you have to find out in a convoluted manner. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, rallydave said:

They are what they call themselves a host agency that supports independent agents who sign up them.  Would not expect to see any perks or good service from independent people like that and doubt they are affiliated with Regent.  Just made up names to get business.

 

This seems to make things more convoluted.  Have never heard of a "host agency".  However, in our experience, an independent agency can provide perks and good service.  To my knowledge, no agency is affiliated with Regent so let's put that aside (although they do list some agents on their website).

 

Got2Cruise - many (most?) agencies work with Canadian citizens.  There are also luxury TA's in Canada that provide a percentage back on your cruise fare and OBC's (on some itineraries).  Unfortunately, the best way to find a TA is onboard a Regent ship because all of us are always willing to share information.  Try doing some Google searches - there are plenty of luxury TA's out there.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Travelcat2 said:

 

This seems to make things more convoluted.  Have never heard of a "host agency".  However, in our experience, an independent agency can provide perks and good service.  To my knowledge, no agency is affiliated with Regent so let's put that aside (although they do list some agents on their website).

 

Got2Cruise - many (most?) agencies work with Canadian citizens.  There are also luxury TA's in Canada that provide a percentage back on your cruise fare and OBC's (on some itineraries).  Unfortunately, the best way to find a TA is onboard a Regent ship because all of us are always willing to share information.  Try doing some Google searches - there are plenty of luxury TA's out there.

 

 

 

 

Not convoluted at all.  A simply google search will find what was reported.  And, I first stated that no agencies are affiliated with Regent.  

 

Just because someone never heard of something does not mean it doesn't' exist.  Have seen and heard of many independent TA's who are self-employed and rely on the host agency for support,  They work from home and  have the host agency to fall back on for services.  Doubt these would provide rebates, OBC or other types of purchase perks nor would always be available or have backup.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, rallydave said:

Not convoluted at all.  A simply google search will find what was reported.  And, I first stated that no agencies are affiliated with Regent.  

 

Just because someone never heard of something does not mean it doesn't' exist.  Have seen and heard of many independent TA's who are self-employed and rely on the host agency for support,  They work from home and  have the host agency to fall back on for services.  Doubt these would provide rebates, OBC or other types of purchase perks nor would always be available or have backup.

 

One point of confusion was your comment (bolding is mine) "Would not expect to see any perks or good service from independent people like that and doubt they are affiliated with Regent."  The sentence came across as alluding to the fact that independent "people" (TA's) are probably not affiliated with Regent but that other agencies may be.

 

Since it is not explained, one may assume that a "host" agency is like a consortium with many agencies under them!?  

 

Trying to get clarity here since the TS is new to Regent and if I did not understand your post (and I still disagree about independent TA's giving benefits since ours was independent for years prior to signing up with a consortium and they gave benefits), it is possible that they may not understand either.  And, consortium agencies can give benefits (before starting out with our TA several years ago, we used a consortium agency and we did receive benefits.)

 

The point for the TS is that we cannot give names, emails to write to in order to get TA information or even hint at a which TA to select.  So, let's make it as easy and clear as possible so that they get onto the right track.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Travelcat2 said:

 

One point of confusion was your comment (bolding is mine) "Would not expect to see any perks or good service from independent people like that and doubt they are affiliated with Regent."  The sentence came across as alluding to the fact that independent "people" (TA's) are probably not affiliated with Regent but that other agencies may be.

 

Since it is not explained, one may assume that a "host" agency is like a consortium with many agencies under them!?  

I

Trying to get clarity here since the TS is new to Regent and if I did not understand your post (and I still disagree about independent TA's giving benefits since ours was independent for years prior to signing up with a consortium and they gave benefits), it is possible that they may not understand either.  And, consortium agencies can give benefits (before starting out with our TA several years ago, we used a consortium agency and we did receive benefits.)

 

The point for the TS is that we cannot give names, emails to write to in order to get TA information or even hint at a which TA to select.  So, let's make it as easy and clear as possible so that they get onto the right track.   

Not talking about consortiums.  I'll try to explain one  more time host agencies generally provide their services to independent TA's who are self employed and purchase services from the host agency which is how the host agency makes their money.  The host agency may also provide services to the public direct.  For further help google the host agency listed by the OP.

 

As far as TA's being affiliated with Regent or any other cruise line don't believe there are any affiliated with any cruise line.  Was not trying to say or allude any agencies are affiliated with Regent or any other cruise line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update: I heard back from the “Regent” TA mentioned above.

 

She offered 600 USD on-board credit per room in addition to the 300 USD I get from Amex Platinum. This doesn’t seem like much of on offer on a cruise that costs 9000 USD per person.  Basically getting 1200 USD OBC on an invoice of 36000 USD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Keep looking for a TA.

Check a prospective TA's website for recommendations (yes, I know there will only be good ones - how many). Don't settle for less than 5% cash rebate off cruise-only  fare. OBCs above a few hundred aren't worth nearly as much as real cash!

 

But most of all, I value the TA to be very knowledgeable in the area of our interests, easily reachable, and connected enough to help when trouble arises.

Edited by DeepFreeze63
mistaken word non-cruise should have been Cruise-only

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/9/2019 at 6:36 AM, jashah said:

3. Anyone travel on Regent with kids my age? How was the experience? The kids/teen club is offered on the cruise I am looking at.

Regent is not really designed for kids. If there is a teen club offered that means they have extra specialized staff onboard just for the kids. They will organize games and get togethers. I have heard that sometimes they make cookies or with Easter, they have a Easter egg hunt.

I guess it is a nice way for the kids to meet each other. And if you are on a med cruise, they will be out with you all the time anyway. Kids club is nice onboard, just do not expect it to be like on the larger ships and you will be fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another question:

 

If I book something now and pay the deposit, am I eligible for any future discounts if they become available? Is this something I need to keep an eye on or will a TA do this for you?

 

Thx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with the Coral Expeditions Team
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...