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HOW CAN YOU GET BETTER PRICING ON HAL CRUISES


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5 hours ago, SJSULIBRARIAN said:

I think that in regard to food that HAL, Celebrity, and Princess are pretty much the same. My last cruise before Covid was on the Royal Princess and I have to say the entertainment options were far better than on HAL.

 

We were fairly disappointed with the HAL entertainment on our 2017 cruise. We took a few years off cruising and were actually quite happy with our 2021 Nieuw Amsterdam sailing. Much more focus on enrichment and the EXC talks were excellent. Also big focus on music walk, comedians, every night, etc. Mainstage left a lot to be desired but we did not feel like we were missing out because we enjoyed everything else.

It has been interesting reading the daily programs from the various lines that have restarted. Totally subjective but I did not see much on NCL/Princess/RCI/CCL that I would be interested in other than the main show. While the main shows on HAL left something to be desired I enjoyed their overall entertainment and EXC format. To each their own. 

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13 hours ago, Taters said:

There are several ways to get discounted fares on HAL.

 

First, sign up for their emails and deals via email on their web page.  In 2011 we hadn't yet cruised on Holland America, but they sent me a list of discounted cruises.  We chose a 14 night Panama Canal transit from Ft. Lauderdale in an outside cabin for $700 per person + port fees.  Score!

 

DH and I are not big gamblers and play around $25 per day in the casino.  We now get Casino rates and have taken advantage of several cruises this way.

 

And the last suggestion is to book last minute, and by that I mean after final payment.  Always log into your HAL account when surfing for cruises, and when you see an itinerary you like, take a look at it as if you are going to book, and your real price will be in Your Summary.

 

Can I ask how good the casino rates you have seen are? Maybe worth $25/day in the long run. 

 

$1400 for a panama canal transit is amazing! I would have taken that in a heartbeat

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21 hours ago, mcrcruiser said:

We are finding that HAL cruises are more expensive than either Princess or Carnival cruises to  the same locations  . Are there ways to get better prices on HAL cruises ?

Find a great travel agent.  Good ones can almost always save you 8-10 percent plus various onboard credits and freebies.

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Posted (edited)

@mcrcruiser

We have also noticed for a number of years that logging in with my husband’s account gives us considerably better pricing than my account, even though I’m the one that handles our travel arrangements. 

 

We’ll log in to both accounts, add cruises we are interested in to the “Favorites” and sometimes those sailings will get a better rate a few weeks after. We have flexibility with airline miles, so almost always book within a few months-to-few weeks window.

 

Good luck!

Edited by syesmar
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Posted (edited)

Cruise prices go up and down constantly.

 

Our experience is that the comparative prices of any ship or cruise line at a point in time absolutely does not relate to the  perceived quality of the product relative to others.   

 

As an example, pre covid over the past few years we priced last minute HAL insides/outsides of the Alaska run at $299/399.  Princess was $399,   Celebrity a little higher still.    Pricing can reflect product but it can also simply be a result of the demand/supply curve or the revenue maximization algorithm that the particular cruise line uses at that time.

Edited by iancal
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when it comes to the main show entertainment , imo  Princess ,Royal Caribbean , celebrity & Carnival do a better job . Then there is the offset  of the music walk on  HAL's newer ships  which is excellent . We will continue to search for HAL cruises but much after final payment  ;as  their prices just are too high right now  

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Posted (edited)

We believe that prices will remain higher until the FCC's are blown away or have  expired. And competition is increased.

 

It is a case of pay me now or pay me later.   From our perspective, current prices generally reflect the impact of FCC incentives and discounted gift cards.

Edited by iancal
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1 hour ago, iancal said:

We believe that prices will remain higher until the FCC's are blown away or have  expired. And competition is increased.

 

It is a case of pay me now or pay me later.   From our perspective, current prices generally reflect the impact of FCC incentives and discounted gift cards.

I think you are correct on this - remember that there is "no free lunch"!

 

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21 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I have long suggested that folks register an e-mail (you can set up a separate e-mail for just such a task) with multiple reputable high volume cruise agencies and then sign up for their special offer e-mails/news letters which is usually free.  

 

Which high volume cruise agencies do you recommend?

 

Thanks!

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10 hours ago, zgscl said:

 

Can I ask how good the casino rates you have seen are? Maybe worth $25/day in the long run. 

 

$1400 for a panama canal transit is amazing! I would have taken that in a heartbeat

We are booked on Koningsdam, 2 B2B Mexican Riviera cruises, on 11/28/2021 and 12/5/2021.  We were offered free inside cabins + $50 free play each + free cocktails while gambling for each week.  We opted for outside cabins at $199 each.  We are also getting some OBC worth $400 each week for the cabin.  I can't live this cheaply at home!

 

The best deal we've received so far was for a transatlantic from Italy to Ft. Lauderdale in late 2017 on Westerdam.  A 13 night cruise in a Signature Suite for $500 each.  We were also given some casino free play (but I don't remember how much) and free cocktails while gambling .  The offer came just a few days over 3 weeks from the cruise date, and we jumped on it.  Purchased air through Flight Ease from Fairbanks to Rome for an excellent price, then we bought mileage tickets on Alaska Airlines for 12,500 miles + $11 each, all the way from Ft. Lauderdale to Fairbanks.  

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8 minutes ago, Petrocelli said:

Which high volume cruise agencies do you recommend?

 

Thanks!

Cruise Critic rules no one can discuss travel agencies   in these forums 

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11 minutes ago, Petrocelli said:

Which high volume cruise agencies do you recommend?

 

Thanks!

Sorry but the CC rules prohibit us from recommending travel/cruise agencies.  And to be very honest, given the financial impact that the COVID shut downs have had on agencies we will have to all be more cautious about agencies.  In fact, one agency (on my short favored list) that I have used for years for bookings with certain cruise lines has suddenly become unresponsive.  Call them now and you would get a message that because of high volume they will get back to you in 3-5 business days.  That agency is no longer on my "favored" list since one of my personal criteria is that customer service needs to be same day without significant time on hold or waiting for an e-mail.

 

Hank

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Posted (edited)

Our experience in getting good pricing, besides dealing with a TA who provides good OBC's,  inside or outside of the final window is fairly basic.

 

Be flexible as to cruise line (depending on the itinerary),   understand the current pricing, ie know what a high, an average, and a good price should be on the itinerary/date that you are shopping.  Set a target buy price.

 

Be prepared to buy immediately when your price hits (if inside the final payment window) or watch pricing for further reductions if booked outside outside the window. 

 

Always have a plan B.  Be prepared to walk from the cruise if the price or cabin selection is not to your liking..  They are like buses, another cruise opportunity will soon come along.

 

 

Edited by iancal
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4 hours ago, mcrcruiser said:

Cruise Critic rules no one can discuss travel agencies   in these forums 

This even applies to describing them by the size and shape.  😉

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Since we are no longer flying  &  retired  we will simply look at cruises after final payments   .We can access  these lines here in either San Diego or San Pedro  or Long Beach which are relatively short drives  .The cruise lines are HAL ,Princess , Royal Caribbean , Carnival & occasionally   Celebrity  cruises  .

 

 We are confident that we will get great prices especially if many cabins remain unfilled in the balcony categories  😄 All I need do is look at cruises  we want ,  then mark them on my calendar to check after final payment

 

 In the mean time we are in no rush to board ships during this pandemic & our next cruise ,is Dec3 ,2022  & B2B Dec 10 ,2022  on discovery Princess ,Here we are using a lot of future cruise credits  .Then we have  a Carnival ,Panorama cruise ,April 2023  . 

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8 hours ago, mcrcruiser said:

Since we are no longer flying  &  retired  we will simply look at cruises after final payments   .We can access  these lines here in either San Diego or San Pedro  or Long Beach which are relatively short drives  .The cruise lines are HAL ,Princess , Royal Caribbean , Carnival & occasionally   Celebrity  cruises  .

 

 We are confident that we will get great prices especially if many cabins remain unfilled in the balcony categories  😄 All I need do is look at cruises  we want ,  then mark them on my calendar to check after final payment

 

 In the mean time we are in no rush to board ships during this pandemic & our next cruise ,is Dec3 ,2022  & B2B Dec 10 ,2022  on discovery Princess ,Here we are using a lot of future cruise credits  .Then we have  a Carnival ,Panorama cruise ,April 2023  . 

We do exactly the same when we are doing land trips.   When we need air we shop in advance and look at alternative airports.  Sometimes we end up with some very pleasant detours.

 

On one late booking Med cruise we had difficulty getting flights to Rome.  Instead, we picked up an inexpensive direct O/W flight to Porto, Portugal and a low cost TAP flight from Porto  to Rome.  We decided to spend 5 days driving through the Douro Valley.  It was wonderful. 

Edited by iancal
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4 hours ago, iancal said:

We do exactly the same when we are doing land trips.   When we need air we shop in advance and look at alternative airports.  Sometimes we end up with some very pleasant detours.

 

On one late booking Med cruise we had difficulty getting flights to Rome.  Instead, we picked up an inexpensive direct O/W flight to Porto, Portugal and a low cost TAP flight from Porto  to Rome.  We decided to spend 5 days driving through the Douro Valley.  It was wonderful. 

That must have been a very nice trip .We have been to  Rome twice but never Porto Portugal  .Keep traveling to  those  distant lands while you still can do them . We are  hampered because of age &  health   .However ,we can still do driving trips .We just do not fly any longer 

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2 hours ago, Petrocelli said:

Newbie question;  What does "after final payments" mean?

 

Thanks!

So this answer applies to all cruise lines.   The Final Payment period begins after the final payment is required for any cruise.  This period varies depending on the cruise line and sometimes the length of the cruise.  So while one cruise line may require final payments 60 days prior to a cruise there are some other lines that might demand final payment 6 months in advancBut e.   So why do we talk about this?   While many lines will honor price changes and even some promotions prior to that final payment period, once a cruise is paid for in full the rules often change.  Some lines will no longer adjust prices for booked folks (if pricing for new bookings drops) while with other lines it might be negotiable where folks might be able to get a nice upgrade or perhaps a generous on board credit (OBC).  

 

Final Payment Periods are a major factor for those of us who sometimes book last minute (inside the final payment period) cruises.  There are many cruisers who will book multiple cruises far in advance with the intent of cancelling many of their booking just before they are required to make the big final payment or sometimes before they get into a penalty period (where they lose some of their deposit).   At that point the cruise lines have a good idea of just how many empty berths they have on a particular cruise and may decide to sell some or all of those berths at a significant discount (last minute deals).  Cruise lines really dislike unsold berths (in economic terms this would equal opportunity lost revenue) and will often take many steps to sell those berths.  This can include some terrific deals or perhaps they will market those berths to certain restricted groups (such as the Interline rates offered to airline and other travel employees).  

 

The strategies for last minute bookings are quite different then the normal strategies used by many folks to book a cruise pretty far in advance.    I have often advised folks looking for great last minute deals that they need to open their minds in terms of flexibility and consider different cruise lines, ships, itineraries, cabin categories. etc.    And another important factor/strategy is to be prepared to make the financial commitment (generally not refundable at the last minute) with little hesitation.  I have actually done some of these bookings using multiple computers (at the same time) where one computer is used to find the cruise deals and the other computer is used to find if there are any compatible air deals.  We have sometimes booked European cruises (we live in the USA) within 10 days of the cruise and the air must be certain in order for this to work.

 

Hank

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Petrocelli said:

Newbie question;  What does "after final payments" mean?

 

Thanks!

Most cruise lines require that you pay the balance of your fares  approximately 90 days before boarding your ship  cruise .  This is the final payment date , If you were to cancel for non insurance reasons after paying the final payment there is a graduated scale of   cancellation fees by the cruise line 

 

Since we can drive   to 2 southern calif ports within  1,5 hours max  ,we can book  a cruise after the final payment if one we desire that cruise ship  , the prices we can book it for ( balcony or higher category)   & the ultimate cost including port taxes & fees   per person 

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8 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

So this answer applies to all cruise lines.   The Final Payment period begins after the final payment is required for any cruise.  This period varies depending on the cruise line and sometimes the length of the cruise.  So while one cruise line may require final payments 60 days prior to a cruise there are some other lines that might demand final payment 6 months in advancBut e.   So why do we talk about this?   While many lines will honor price changes and even some promotions prior to that final payment period, once a cruise is paid for in full the rules often change.  Some lines will no longer adjust prices for booked folks (if pricing for new bookings drops) while with other lines it might be negotiable where folks might be able to get a nice upgrade or perhaps a generous on board credit (OBC).  

 

Final Payment Periods are a major factor for those of us who sometimes book last minute (inside the final payment period) cruises.  There are many cruisers who will book multiple cruises far in advance with the intent of cancelling many of their booking just before they are required to make the big final payment or sometimes before they get into a penalty period (where they lose some of their deposit).   At that point the cruise lines have a good idea of just how many empty berths they have on a particular cruise and may decide to sell some or all of those berths at a significant discount (last minute deals).  Cruise lines really dislike unsold berths (in economic terms this would equal opportunity lost revenue) and will often take many steps to sell those berths.  This can include some terrific deals or perhaps they will market those berths to certain restricted groups (such as the Interline rates offered to airline and other travel employees).  

 

The strategies for last minute bookings are quite different then the normal strategies used by many folks to book a cruise pretty far in advance.    I have often advised folks looking for great last minute deals that they need to open their minds in terms of flexibility and consider different cruise lines, ships, itineraries, cabin categories. etc.    And another important factor/strategy is to be prepared to make the financial commitment (generally not refundable at the last minute) with little hesitation.  I have actually done some of these bookings using multiple computers (at the same time) where one computer is used to find the cruise deals and the other computer is used to find if there are any compatible air deals.  We have sometimes booked European cruises (we live in the USA) within 10 days of the cruise and the air must be certain in order for this to work.

 

Hank

 

 

 

 

Hank you covered the cruise /ai r fare search  bases thoroughly  . For a new bee tis can be overwhelming  .  BTW getting  airfares for distant cruises 10 days from cruise time is  interesting to say the least  .I never tried that one LOL .  Now it is our ages that hold us back from  those long flights & airport  challenges  with out 82 year old bodies . The spirit is  wiling but the body says otherwise . Best of travels to you & yours 

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20 minutes ago, mcrcruiser said:

That must have been a very nice trip .We have been to  Rome twice but never Porto Portugal  .Keep traveling to  those  distant lands while you still can do them . We are  hampered because of age &  health   .However ,we can still do driving trips .We just do not fly any longer 

That is exactly why since retiring we have been primarily doing extended land trips with last minute cruises interspersed. Only when we can score the right itinerary, the right ship,  at the right price.   We are physically able to do long flights and independent travel.  We just cannot carry as much as we used to!

Edited by iancal
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I use two different reputable online agencies and have always beat the HAL price.  I also notice that on many (not all) of the cruises the closer to the cruise date, the better fares have been in particular categories.  On top of that, a good bargain is often times the obstructed H and HH categories which you can generally find in good places on the ships and not where the noise areas are.  We are more interested in being on the Promenade deck anyway so we don't mind the obstructed view and it does bring in a lot of natural light to the room.  

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15 minutes ago, AKJonesy said:

I use two different reputable online agencies and have always beat the HAL price.  I also notice that on many (not all) of the cruises the closer to the cruise date,

 

I am glad you said “not all”.  My experience has been the opposite on a number of unique itineraries.  Prices continued to rise as there were fewer and fewer cabins if the ship wasn’t sold out completely. 😉 

 

Mind you, over 1/2 my days cruising were on the Prinsendam because of her unique itineraries. 😉 

 

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It can be more challenging for us.  We want a balcony cabin. 

 

We shop for air, when required.  On a number of occasions our previous on line TA was able to hold a late booking  cabin/price for a few hours until we finalized air and hit the buy button.

 

On our last Med cruise from Rome to BCN we needed one way air home to Canada.   We shopped for a combo of last minute cruise plus on way air home to Canada.   The combo of cruise, cruise air, and and cruise air routing was the deciding factor for us.

 

We also price travel  products in different country websites.  There are differences, and every once in a while the difference can be substantial.  We saved 30 plus percent by booking an Oz/NZ cruise direct by calling RCI Sydney vs the best price our on line NA could provide.   This is very unusual.  We have met  a number of Brits and Australians in our travels who always book cruises in North America because of  significant price differences.  The North American  T's and C's are better when it comes to cancelling or re-pricing prior to the final payment date.

 

 

 

Edited by iancal
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