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Best Price - now non-refundable deposit


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Hi All, Sorry if this isn't new but I just noticed on three separate bookings I made yesterday that the best price now comes with a non-refundable deposit. Thankfully I caught this and was able to switch to the HIA bookings, but wanted to warn everyone. As recently as last week all of my new best price reservations had refundable deposits. Not sure if this is sailing specific or a larger change but applied to both my 2022 & 2023 Alaska and 2023 Hawaii sailings.

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The Best Price has been non refundable deposit for some time.

 

There is a 3rd option - it’s called the Advantage Fare.  You need to call your TA/PCC/HAL to get the pricing but it’s only a bit more than the Best Price and fully refundable.  It’s a bare bones cruise - no HIA but for some of us, the value of HIA now that the crew incentive is gone  isn’t there and it’s worth doing the math to check 😉 

 

I have it on one cruise and used HIA on the other when I thought it was worthwhile.  Doing the math pays off 😉 

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37 minutes ago, kazu said:

The Best Price has been non refundable deposit for some time.

 

There is a 3rd option - it’s called the Advantage Fare.  You need to call your TA/PCC/HAL to get the pricing but it’s only a bit more than the Best Price and fully refundable.  It’s a bare bones cruise - no HIA but for some of us, the value of HIA now that the crew incentive is gone  isn’t there and it’s worth doing the math to check 😉 

 

I have it on one cruise and used HIA on the other when I thought it was worthwhile.  Doing the math pays off 😉 

Our cruise agency usually shows all the various fare options including what you refer to as the Advantage Fare.  While we look at all the options we tend to look towards that Advantage fare deal.  Our reasoning is that we get 50% off of wine packages (we can live with the so-so offerings) and take advantage of happy hours.  For that reason, the HAL drink package has never been a good deal for us.

 

Hank

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Another thing about the "Best Price" with the nonrefundable deposit is that you must buy insurance at the time of booking.  With the other fare tiers, the insurance can be added in up until final payment is due.  

 

We are insuring our trips more thoroughly than before pandemic, and I forgot about this bit and messed up and wasn't able to add the insurance we wanted.

 

The Advantage Fare that @kazumentioned works best for us in most cases.  Too bad it's not offered online.  Gotta make a call for it.

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29 minutes ago, Crew News said:

t have found that the "Advantage Fare" is approximately the amount of the required deposit more than the "Best Price". 

 

Interesting.  I haven’t seen that.  My 28 day cruise was around $200 pp more than the Best Price and I can assure you the deposit was more than that 😉 

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3 hours ago, AncientWanderer said:

Another thing about the "Best Price" with the nonrefundable deposit is that you must buy insurance at the time of booking.  With the other fare tiers, the insurance can be added in up until final payment is due.  

 

That is good to know about the insurance also. 

 

I guess my memory is faulty regarding the "best price" fares. I know I have made bookings online that had a refundable deposit and were not the HIA, but perhaps there was another promotion that I cannot recall. Come to think of it I think a couple included gratuities or several specialty dinings so that is probably the case. 

 

Thank you everyone for your help! 

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Back before the pandemic, I had informed our TA that we were looking for either a Boston to Montreal cruise or Montreal cruise and to look out for deals for us. He called one day and said he had a good price on HAL with a discount for residents of NY State. And then he said, wait I found an even better deal with a really great price, but the kicker is that not only is the fare non-refundable but must be paid at the time of the booking. We took the cruise (only waiting to first sign up for one of those AMEX get $100 dollars back when you spend $500 deals)* We also bought insurance immediately after booking.

 

* come to think of it, we put that AMEX deal on both of our connected cards and made the payment to HAL through the TA splitting it between the cards.

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I believe there may be a fourth fare as well and I'm not sure how often it appears. Our upcoming cruise in December is a "Mariner's fare?" When booking this cruise with our PCC, we were going to use the Advantage fare when he spotted it on his screen. It is actually cheaper than the Non-Refundable but was just like the Advantage fare. We, of course, have made final payment now.

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13 minutes ago, Heartgrove said:

I believe there may be a fourth fare as well and I'm not sure how often it appears. Our upcoming cruise in December is a "Mariner's fare?" When booking this cruise with our PCC, we were going to use the Advantage fare when he spotted it on his screen. It is actually cheaper than the Non-Refundable but was just like the Advantage fare. We, of course, have made final payment now.

I’m finding that when I see the Mariner fare online I only see that and the have it all fare.  For the longest time I was not seeing Mariner pricing so only the best price fare.

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Just a thought about insurance.  You do not need to buy insurance when you buy the cruise, no matter what fare you pay.  While that may or may not be true if you buy insurance from HAL it would not apply to insurance purchased from any third party company.  Many of us would not consider HAL (or similar policies sold by cruise lines) as an option since we can generally do much better with insurance sold by other companies.

 

Hank

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8 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

Just a thought about insurance.  You do not need to buy insurance when you buy the cruise, no matter what fare you pay.  While that may or may not be true if you buy insurance from HAL it would not apply to insurance purchased from any third party company.  Many of us would not consider HAL (or similar policies sold by cruise lines) as an option since we can generally do much better with insurance sold by other companies.

 

Hank

Particularly given HAL’s weak medical coverage.

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12 hours ago, Crew News said:

t have found that the "Advantage Fare" is approximately the amount of the required deposit more than the "Best Price". 

Could someone explain the difference among All Inclusive, Advantage and Best Price Fares? Does the Advanage fare include any perks or is it just a refundable price with no perks?  Also, is it possible to re-fare at the Advantage or All Inclusive price if one has already booked Best Price? 
If we don’t use the drinks package, is there any advantage to booking the AI or Advantage fare? Thanks.
 

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4 minutes ago, Suzanne123 said:

Also, is it possible to re-fare at the Advantage or All Inclusive price if one has already booked Best Price? 

It is possible but the deposit on the Best Price booking is non-refundable. You can use that deposit for future, non-refundable booking though.

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27 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

Just a thought about insurance.  You do not need to buy insurance when you buy the cruise, no matter what fare you pay.  While that may or may not be true if you buy insurance from HAL it would not apply to insurance purchased from any third party company.  Many of us would not consider HAL (or similar policies sold by cruise lines) as an option since we can generally do much better with insurance sold by other companies.

 

Hank

It depends on the insurance you purchase. Several times I have purchased 3rd party (cancel for any reason) insurance that required me to buy it within so many days of making my initial deposit for the cruise. If I had not done so, preexisting conditions would not be waived. 

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5 minutes ago, TiogaCruiser said:

It depends on the insurance you purchase. Several times I have purchased 3rd party (cancel for any reason) insurance that required me to buy it within so many days of making my initial deposit for the cruise. If I had not done so, preexisting conditions would not be waived. 

My point exactly.  "It depends" on what you buy.  Pre-existing condition waivers vary from policy to policy and if that is a concern folks need to carefully read the policy language (before purchasing) or find a decent travel insurance broker that can advise on what works best for your needs.   But there are also many folks who simply purchase whatever is offered by the cruise line without much thought.  Personally we do not like most (including HAL's) cruise line policies because the maximum amount of medical benefits are far below what we think is adequate.   I have often posted that we are not too concerned with cancellation issues since our maximum liability for a cancelled or interrupted cruise is the amount we paid for the cruise/air.  But our maximum liability for medical and evacuation is essentially unlimited.   Many folks concern themselves with covering a few thousand dollars of the cruise cost while seemingly not being too concerned about their medical liability which could potentially  top $100,000 or more.

 

 

Hank

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28 minutes ago, Suzanne123 said:

Could someone explain the difference among All Inclusive, Advantage and Best Price Fares? Does the Advanage fare include any perks or is it just a refundable price with no perks?  Also, is it possible to re-fare at the Advantage or All Inclusive price if one has already booked Best Price? 
If we don’t use the drinks package, is there any advantage to booking the AI or Advantage fare? Thanks.
 

 

The advantage fare has no perks.  It is basically like the Best Price (cruise cost only) but is refundable.

 

If you don’t use the drink package then most likely the Advantage Fare is beneficial for you.  It’s always good to check the pricing of the HIA (I don’t call it all inclusive since it doesn’t include everything) versus the Advantage Fare and do some math on the price difference.

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48 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

My point exactly.  "It depends" on what you buy.  Pre-existing condition waivers vary from policy to policy and if that is a concern folks need to carefully read the policy language (before purchasing) or find a decent travel insurance broker that can advise on what works best for your needs.   But there are also many folks who simply purchase whatever is offered by the cruise line without much thought.  Personally we do not like most (including HAL's) cruise line policies because the maximum amount of medical benefits are far below what we think is adequate.   I have often posted that we are not too concerned with cancellation issues since our maximum liability for a cancelled or interrupted cruise is the amount we paid for the cruise/air.  But our maximum liability for medical and evacuation is essentially unlimited.   Many folks concern themselves with covering a few thousand dollars of the cruise cost while seemingly not being too concerned about their medical liability which could potentially  top $100,000 or more.

 

 

Hank

You seem to paint people like they are total simpletons.  It’s very off putting.  I buy Hal’s cancel for any reason for just that reason.  When I canceled my cruise in mar 2020 I had money on my credit card within 10 days while some people were fighting for it for months and months.  I’m under no illusion that it covers medical for my needs.  I buy a separate policy that I believe covers over a million in medical.  I can’t remember as it’s been a while.  Some use credit cards for medical that they cover.  I wouldn’t put trust in that but it’s really none of my concern.

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36 minutes ago, Florida_gal_50 said:

You seem to paint people like they are total simpletons.  It’s very off putting.  I buy Hal’s cancel for any reason for just that reason.  When I canceled my cruise in mar 2020 I had money on my credit card within 10 days while some people were fighting for it for months and months.  I’m under no illusion that it covers medical for my needs.  I buy a separate policy that I believe covers over a million in medical.  I can’t remember as it’s been a while.  Some use credit cards for medical that they cover.  I wouldn’t put trust in that but it’s really none of my concern.

And you would be wise :).  But not everyone thinks about medical and many others think they are already covered by their normal medical policy (which may or may not be true).  Having spent most of my adult life in the government medical insurance world I would often hear the horror stories of those who, learned the hard way, they had little or no medical coverage outside the USA.  When they would call and ask for help we had to deliver the bad news that "we cannot cover expenses incurred outside the USA."   The leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the USA is medical expenses.  And the cry from some of these folks is "I thought I was covered."

 

Hank

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8 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

And you would be wise :).  But not everyone thinks about medical and many others think they are already covered by their normal medical policy (which may or may not be true).  Having spent most of my adult life in the government medical insurance world I would often hear the horror stories of those who, learned the hard way, they had little or no medical coverage outside the USA.  When they would call and ask for help we had to deliver the bad news that "we cannot cover expenses incurred outside the USA."   The leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the USA is medical expenses.  And the cry from some of these folks is "I thought I was covered."

 

Hank

I think it’s a good thing to mention but not when it’s rolled into the thought that these people are such fools that they get sucked into Hal’s plan.  

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We  never buy cancel for any reason insurance.   We never buy out of country medical insurance from a cruise line, travel vendor, TA, bank, or auto club (on the advice of a very experienced TA).  
 

It comes down to coverage, exclusions, and price. And dealing with an insurance provider who knows what he or she is selling….not simply reading the carriers detail sheet.

 

We view out of country medical as our greatest travel risk.  We cannot risk dealing with some CSR at the other end of the phone for whom insurance is simply an add on sale to boost deal margin and commission.

Edited by iancal
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2 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Just a thought about insurance.  You do not need to buy insurance when you buy the cruise, no matter what fare you pay.  While that may or may not be true if you buy insurance from HAL it would not apply to insurance purchased from any third party company.  Many of us would not consider HAL (or similar policies sold by cruise lines) as an option since we can generally do much better with insurance sold by other companies.

 

Hank

Does anybody other than HAL offer Cancel For Any Reason all the way up to embarkation, with no pre-existing conditions or pandemic exclusions?

Edited by IPB4IGO
Claritication
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Just now, IPB4IGO said:

Does anybody other than HAL offer Cancel For Any Reason all the way up to embarkation?

 I’d love to hear the answer to that as well.  I really like that hal covers the air portion but it doesn’t up the price of insurance to cover it.  Lately I have purchased either business class or premium economy so the tickets are not cheap and the money is refunded for that.  Good luck trying to find a random insurance company to do that.

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13 minutes ago, IPB4IGO said:

Does anybody other than HAL offer Cancel For Any Reason all the way up to embarkation, with no pre-existing conditions or pandemic exclusions?

I have no clue as we do not ever buy that type of insurance.  But many of the "Cancel for Any Reason" deals are not even real insurance but simply a waiver sold by cruise lines.  I do know that some of the other lines upon which we cruise offer various Cancel for any Reason options which generally pay off in Future Cruise Credits but do not offer cash refunds.  One interesting issue which has been previously discussed online has been what would happen to all those Future Cruise Credits if a cruise line went bankrupt.  As crazy as this sounds, in our own cruising life we have had two cruise lines (where we had bookings) go bankrupt (Regency and Renaissance).  In those cases any kind of credits were lost although payments were refunded by major credit card companies.  Credit card protection (required by Federal Law) does not cover Future Cruise Credits.

 

Hank

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