Jump to content

Booking a Cruise with Royal Caribbean


Dalton51
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello CC, 

 

  We have cruised several times over the years. Mostly with Carnival we have taken 3 RC cruises. I am just curious how a lot of you book your cruise with RC we always go through the same person with carnival. 

 

  We are looking for a different experience and are looking to book the Icon but with prices as high as they are I am wanting to make sure I get the best price I can. 

 

Thanks for the help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best way to assure the best pricing IMO is to use a live travel agent who specializes in cruises.  They have access to group based and other pricing offered by the cruise lines that is typically lower and not published on the cruise line website or directly through the reps to the general public.  In my experience this would be true with most cruise lines.

Edited by leaveitallbehind
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

After using an independent agent for the first part of our cruising lives, and seeing that the base fares were always the same as that quoted on RCCL's online site, I decided to do my own booking through the call center of RCCL, or RCI or whatever you want to call it.  The only difference used to be the perks that the independent could offer, which I could get simply by booking myself and then transferring it.  But in recent years, as with the lines themselves, the perks have almost disappeared.  That's why it's not worth it to me.  Others will say that is not true, but I still try to get quotes from the travel agencies and I don't see it.  However, for Icon, that may not hold.  I have read here that people have gotten lower base fares with travel agencies...so I'd get quotes from both If I were you.  I am my own agent as far as I am concerned.  I know how to do it now after 32 cruises, have my own internal contacts and like having control over my booking.  I watch for price reductions and get them if they're offered, but I have the time to monitor them.  Everybody should do what feels right, that's the bottom line.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 minutes ago, BecciBoo said:

After using an independent agent for the first part of our cruising lives, and seeing that the base fares were always the same as that quoted on RCCL's online site, I decided to do my own booking through the call center of RCCL, or RCI or whatever you want to call it.  The only difference used to be the perks that the independent could offer, which I could get simply by booking myself and then transferring it. I have read here that people have gotten lower base fares with travel agencies...so I'd get quotes from both If I were you. 

Correct. The base fares offered directly are the same as those provided to the TA's on individual bookings.

 

However, the TA's have access to non-published rates issued by the cruise line to TA's through their own group or blocked staterooms as well as special incentive rates offered from time to time by the cruise lines through TA's that are lower base fares than those shown on the websites or through their call center reps.  Group, or block, booking rates are at a reduced rate as a volume incentive.  They can then be sold individually by the TA using this reduced pricing.

 

At times these group bookings by nature of their composition will include some amount of OBC.  There are also TA's that will offer perks on their own from their booking commissions that are not from the cruise line.

 

We see it frequently.

Edited by leaveitallbehind
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, leaveitallbehind said:

We see it frequently.

We never have...just my experience.  BTW, I've been checking for almost 2 years on our Icon booking, nobody beats my booking for total cost from Oct. 2022

Edited by BecciBoo
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have the benefit of booking on board for the OBC and the reduced deposit of $100 pp and I consider that my exposure in case I need to cancel prior to final payment. 
 

Sometimes I use the Casino desk and compare pricing. 
 

To the Op, look for TAs that are aggressive in their OBC allowance as it softens the price shock. For instance the TA that I use gives 10% in OBC and if a balcony they sometimes offer Specialty Dining promo.  The promo excludes taxes & fees. 

Edited by nelblu
Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, BecciBoo said:

After using an independent agent for the first part of our cruising lives, and seeing that the base fares were always the same as that quoted on RCCL's online site, I decided to do my own booking through the call center of RCCL, or RCI or whatever you want to call it.  The only difference used to be the perks that the independent could offer, which I could get simply by booking myself and then transferring it.  But in recent years, as with the lines themselves, the perks have almost disappeared.  That's why it's not worth it to me.  Others will say that is not true, but I still try to get quotes from the travel agencies and I don't see it.  However, for Icon, that may not hold.  I have read here that people have gotten lower base fares with travel agencies...so I'd get quotes from both If I were you.  I am my own agent as far as I am concerned.  I know how to do it now after 32 cruises, have my own internal contacts and like having control over my booking.  I watch for price reductions and get them if they're offered, but I have the time to monitor them.  Everybody should do what feels right, that's the bottom line.

I agree with BecciBoo completely. We don't use a TA and do all our own bookings. That puts us in the minority here on CC. In fact, many here on CC become very indignant when I say we book directly and don't use a TA. Unfortunately, many feel the necessity to impart their preferences onto others. Although I have an opinion of what others do, what they do is their business. A lot of folks don't realize that using a TA creates a middleman. The TA is the customer of the cruise line NOT you as the passenger. You are a customer of the TA. That is why if any issue arises, and you booked with a TA, you must go through the TA to resolve the issue with the cruise line. The cruise line won't even talk to you. Over the years we have used a TA several times. On two occasions we had very bad experiences. One of these TA is a very large operation in Texas that specializes in cruising. That was the last time we used a TA.

 

Base cruise prices are fixed by the cruise line, even the lower group rates are fixed pricing within the industry. This is why the price is the same across the board. The ONLY thing a TA can do is give "perks" like OBC, bottle of wine, etc. For us, the extra "perks" are not worth giving up control of our booking that WE are paying for. In our experience if an issue does arise and you booked directly with the cruise line it is much better and easier to work with the cruise line directly to solve the issue. The cruise line WANTS to solve the problem and will work diligently with you to do so. Bottom line, to each his own just understand the differences. Enjoy your cruise.  

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Dalton51 said:

Hello CC, 

 

  We have cruised several times over the years. Mostly with Carnival we have taken 3 RC cruises. I am just curious how a lot of you book your cruise with RC we always go through the same person with carnival. 

 

  We are looking for a different experience and are looking to book the Icon but with prices as high as they are I am wanting to make sure I get the best price I can. 

 

Thanks for the help.

We go with that big white box superstore out of Washington state.  Their travel service dominates now, we get great rates and a cash card when we go home.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, BecciBoo said:

After using an independent agent for the first part of our cruising lives, and seeing that the base fares were always the same as that quoted on RCCL's online site, I decided to do my own booking through the call center of RCCL, or RCI or whatever you want to call it.  The only difference used to be the perks that the independent could offer, which I could get simply by booking myself and then transferring it.  But in recent years, as with the lines themselves, the perks have almost disappeared.  That's why it's not worth it to me.  Others will say that is not true, but I still try to get quotes from the travel agencies and I don't see it.  However, for Icon, that may not hold.  I have read here that people have gotten lower base fares with travel agencies...so I'd get quotes from both If I were you.  I am my own agent as far as I am concerned.  I know how to do it now after 32 cruises, have my own internal contacts and like having control over my booking.  I watch for price reductions and get them if they're offered, but I have the time to monitor them.  Everybody should do what feels right, that's the bottom line.

Yes normal fares are the same either with booking direct with the cruise or with an agent. What you're misssing is finding an agent that has group bookings and all the big online ones have many. And many of those agents will give you some pretty significant OBC as well as their group rates.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, JJK2008 said:

I agree with BecciBoo completely. We don't use a TA and do all our own bookings. That puts us in the minority here on CC. In fact, many here on CC become very indignant when I say we book directly and don't use a TA. Unfortunately, many feel the necessity to impart their preferences onto others. Although I have an opinion of what others do, what they do is their business. A lot of folks don't realize that using a TA creates a middleman. The TA is the customer of the cruise line NOT you as the passenger. You are a customer of the TA. That is why if any issue arises, and you booked with a TA, you must go through the TA to resolve the issue with the cruise line. The cruise line won't even talk to you. Over the years we have used a TA several times. On two occasions we had very bad experiences. One of these TA is a very large operation in Texas that specializes in cruising. That was the last time we used a TA.

 

Base cruise prices are fixed by the cruise line, even the lower group rates are fixed pricing within the industry. This is why the price is the same across the board. The ONLY thing a TA can do is give "perks" like OBC, bottle of wine, etc. For us, the extra "perks" are not worth giving up control of our booking that WE are paying for. In our experience if an issue does arise and you booked directly with the cruise line it is much better and easier to work with the cruise line directly to solve the issue. The cruise line WANTS to solve the problem and will work diligently with you to do so. Bottom line, to each his own just understand the differences. Enjoy your cruise.  

you're not getting group rates booking direct. You'll NEVER pay the least you could and will never get the perks a TA can give you by booking your way, but that's your choice.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, cruisinfanatic said:

What you're missing is finding an agent that has group bookings

Not missing at all...have tried many "big" agencies.  They could not save us much if any and over the years have rescinded Venue dining ticket perks and paid Grats, etc. Even bottles of wine are poor.  More power to you if you found cheaper rates than the sale pricing from RCI directly, we have not. I am pricing cruises almost every day, from all types of sources and have hardly ever found cheaper pricing. I understand how very busy people prefer to rely on agencies, but I am not one.  I have found the best way to save money on booking is to book early.  Our cruise on Icon cost us exactly $2822.76 total with an insurance policy and grats for an accessible interior.  You will not find a better price on it, ANYWHERE. I forgot to mention we had $100 obc and with our RCI credit card deal we applied another $300 so we were able to book Empire Supper Club.

 

Cruise Fare 1627.00 1627.00 0.00 0.00 3254.00
Extra Sav NRD
30% Savings NRD
Vacation Protection Plan
Gratuities
Taxes, fees, and port expenses
-25.00
-579.00
99.00
112.00
177.38
-25.00
-579.00
99.00
112.00
177.38

-50.00
-1158.00
198.00
224.00
354.76
Total Charge 1411.38 1411.38 0.00 0.00

2822.76

Edited by BecciBoo
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, cruisinfanatic said:

You'll NEVER pay the least you could and will never get the perks a TA can give you

And that is just patently untrue....Mmmmmm?  I wonder if you ARE one?  Making blanket statements is not wise.  The figures I just posted should prove that.  Go ahead, give me a quote for that cabin today..............

Edited by BecciBoo
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I book online with RC and then transfer my booking to an agent I have been working with.  He does some additional research and in almost every case has been able to move me into a group booking which has saved me money.  He also shares some of his commission as onboard credit.  I am getting $350 from my Star booking in a balcony cabin.  This is additional to $125 I received as part of the group.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, BecciBoo said:

Not missing at all...have tried many "big" agencies.  They could not save us much if any and over the years have rescinded Venue dining ticket perks and paid Grats, etc. Even bottles of wine are poor.  More power to you if you found cheaper rates than the sale pricing from RCI directly, we have not. I am pricing cruises almost every day, from all types of sources and have hardly ever found cheaper pricing. I understand how very busy people prefer to rely on agencies, but I am not one.  I have found the best way to save money on booking is to book early.  Our cruise on Icon cost us exactly $2822.76 total with an insurance policy and grats for an accessible interior.  You will not find a better price on it, ANYWHERE. I forgot to mention we had $100 obc and with our RCI credit card deal we applied another $300 so we were able to book Empire Supper Club.

 

Cruise Fare 1627.00 1627.00 0.00 0.00 3254.00
Extra Sav NRD
30% Savings NRD
Vacation Protection Plan
Gratuities
Taxes, fees, and port expenses
-25.00
-579.00
99.00
112.00
177.38
-25.00
-579.00
99.00
112.00
177.38

-50.00
-1158.00
198.00
224.00
354.76
Total Charge 1411.38 1411.38 0.00 0.00

2822.76

Back when group rates were available for the Icon interiors were typically $2300 to $2400 taxes included for a refundable deposit at group rates and included $100 OBC

Edited by Ourusualbeach
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

TAs are contractually not allowed to give discounts off the fares.  A TA may give you OBC or some other perk like a bottle of wine. If booking a group, they may give you something like pre-paid gratuities. My TA did that for us last year when we booked a group of 10. It just depends on the TA and the cruise line you are booking with. 

I've booked directly with the cruise line and have used a TA.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, sunlover12 said:

TAs are contractually not allowed to give discounts off the fares.  A TA may give you OBC or some other perk like a bottle of wine. If booking a group, they may give you something like pre-paid gratuities. My TA did that for us last year when we booked a group of 10. It just depends on the TA and the cruise line you are booking with. 

I've booked directly with the cruise line and have used a TA.  

There is a big difference between giving a discount (you are correct that TA's are not allowed to discount fares) and providing a group rate which is what is being discussed.  The group rates are offered to TA's by Royal and are generally less than posted rates, refundable vs non refundable and come with additional OBC.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

55 minutes ago, Ourusualbeach said:

There is a big difference between giving a discount (you are correct that TA's are not allowed to discount fares) and providing a group rate which is what is being discussed.  The group rates are offered to TA's by Royal and are generally less than posted rates, refundable vs non refundable and come with additional OBC.

How big does the group have to be to get a group rate?

I have booked Royal Caribbean with a large national TA and have not gotten any kind of group rate.  It's the posted rate. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, sunlover12 said:

How big does the group have to be to get a group rate?

I have booked Royal Caribbean with a large national TA and have not gotten any kind of group rate.  It's the posted rate. 

Groups is just a term.  Ifcthe traveled agency is holding space then one person can book into it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

26 minutes ago, sunlover12 said:

How big does the group have to be to get a group rate?

I have booked Royal Caribbean with a large national TA and have not gotten any kind of group rate.  It's the posted rate. 

They may not have held space for that sailing, they may not promote it as well.  I know agents who won't tell their clients about it as they want the clients to book at the higher price.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, BecciBoo said:

Not missing at all...have tried many "big" agencies.  They could not save us much if any and over the years have rescinded Venue dining ticket perks and paid Grats, etc. Even bottles of wine are poor.  More power to you if you found cheaper rates than the sale pricing from RCI directly, we have not. I am pricing cruises almost every day, from all types of sources and have hardly ever found cheaper pricing. I understand how very busy people prefer to rely on agencies, but I am not one.  I have found the best way to save money on booking is to book early.  Our cruise on Icon cost us exactly $2822.76 total with an insurance policy and grats for an accessible interior.  You will not find a better price on it, ANYWHERE. I forgot to mention we had $100 obc and with our RCI credit card deal we applied another $300 so we were able to book Empire Supper Club.

 

Cruise Fare 1627.00 1627.00 0.00 0.00 3254.00
Extra Sav NRD
30% Savings NRD
Vacation Protection Plan
Gratuities
Taxes, fees, and port expenses
-25.00
-579.00
99.00
112.00
177.38
-25.00
-579.00
99.00
112.00
177.38

-50.00
-1158.00
198.00
224.00
354.76
Total Charge 1411.38 1411.38 0.00 0.00

2822.76

We got a aft facing balcony cabin on a higher demand week (departing the Saturday after Thanksgiving) for $40 less than you and we got $100 OBC from our TA... 🙂 

 

You have control but my agent is better at controlling my booking than I could ever hope to be.

 

I think most of us that are advocates for cruise TA's will concede that not all TA's are alike.  When you find a good one they are worth their weight in gold.

 

Screenshot2024-06-11at12_11_22PM.thumb.png.68ccc160fdd1778e602a6fa53ff2d237.png

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I book on my own, as far out as I can. For Icon, I booked opening day in October 2022.  Prices have been fairly consistently rising since then due to demand.  Booking early out often gives the best price. But, it also gives you time to check prices as often as you want. If you see a price drop before final payment, you can call in to get your booking adjusted to the lower price.  If it drops after final payment, you won't get the drop, but you can check to see if the next category also dropped.  If it did, you can get into a better room for about the same price, maybe a little less, or sometimes for a little bit more.  

 

I like booking on my own so that I have control over it.  I book online and call in for any changes. I've seen postings where there was a price drop and people were trying to find other ways around their travel agent to get the lower price because their agent wasn't available. Royal Caribbean won't talk to you if you used an agent. And, if yours happens to be on their own vacation at the time of a drop, you could be out of luck on accessing that drop.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, BecciBoo said:

And that is just patently untrue....Mmmmmm?  I wonder if you ARE one?  Making blanket statements is not wise.  The figures I just posted should prove that.  Go ahead, give me a quote for that cabin today..............

No, I'm not a TA even though you may think I am. Kind of hard quoting you anything without your cruise date, LOL. As you say, the best deals are often had by booking early. Not likely there are accessible cabins left to quote anyway

Edited by cruisinfanatic
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Welcome to Cruise Critic
      • Hurricane Zone 2024
      • Cruise Insurance Q&A w/ Steve Dasseos of Tripinsurancestore.com June 2024
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Cruise Critic News & Features
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...