Cruise deals?

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Pomegranate
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Cruise deals?

Post by Pomegranate » Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:47 pm

I read a few topics about cruise selection here and looks like costco provides some fair options. Any other resources where to get even better deals. Family of 4 (2 elementary scholars), 5-7 day cruise.

westie
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by westie » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:48 am

I'd look at the vacationstogo website.

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tennisplyr
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by tennisplyr » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:52 am

We got a great deal to the Mediterranean--free drink package, gratuities, money back.

www.crucon.com
Last edited by tennisplyr on Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:16 am

Pomegranate wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:47 pm
I read a few topics about cruise selection here and looks like costco provides some fair options. Any other resources where to get even better deals. Family of 4 (2 elementary scholars), 5-7 day cruise.
A good place for any cruise related questions (and, in fact, many non-cruise travel questions) is

www.CruiseCritic.com

There is a subforum about saving money/etc.

The less specific you are in terms of "what you want/are looking for", the better some of these "specials" might be, especially if there is last minute availability.
However, the cruise lines seem to be getting better and better about filling ships, especially during prime travel dates, including in some cases with specials like free booze (not a great deal for family cruizing).

Also, whenever I've looked at the "specials" that seem to keep showing up in my inbox, they are actually almost the same as what the cruise line offers.
There is an obnoxious practice of listing "brochure rate", which apparently NO one ever pays. Hence, the "special discounted rate", which is where the real rates are. Ditto the "two for one", using the "brochure rates". I don't even know what that means, other than, er, "fake". :annoyed

Some travel agents do offer OBC (on board credit) or other rebates, usually from their own commissions, sometimes in conjunction with cruise lines.
Just make sure that IF the TA has a "special rate" that you double check if they have any fees (including to cancel) that might add on to the cruise fare or otherwise differ from what the cruise line offers.

You might also consider Travel Insurance. There is a subforum of CC about that, with much useful info.
IF you decide to inquire about that, we recommend
www.TripInsuranceStore.com
They'll help you find a policy that has what you want.

Good luck, and Enjoy!

RM
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michaeljc70
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:45 am

westie wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:48 am
I'd look at the vacationstogo website.
+1. I've bought many cruises from them. I've gotten some great last minute deals too.

When you decide on a possible cruise, you can use CruiseCompete to get offers from different travel agents. It is surprising how much they can vary for the same cruise in the same room.

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dm200
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by dm200 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:51 am

On two different Bermuda cruises, after booking - close to the departure dates - we were upgraded to a better cabin at no charge. My opinion is that it makes little sense to pay more for cabins on todays ships.

Pomegranate
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by Pomegranate » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:54 pm

Wow, there is a lot of reading. Thank you, will be doing my homework :)

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Watty
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by Watty » Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:36 pm

Pomegranate wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:47 pm
I read a few topics about cruise selection here and looks like costco provides some fair options. Any other resources where to get even better deals. Family of 4 (2 elementary scholars), 5-7 day cruise.
One thing to look into is if you need to get a passports for everyone. They may not be technically required in some situations but as I recall they are highly recommended since there can be situations where they are needed if you need to fly back for an emergency or if you miss your ships departure at some port. The cost of getting four passports will be significant if you do not already have them.

Also budget for the "tips" that are automatically added to your bill on the ship. You can reduce these but the stewards that service your room are usually from some third world country and basically paid next to nothing except for the "tips" so not paying these would not feel right to me unless there was a major problem.

One problem with most cruises is that you often don't get a of time off the ship when it is in port and a lot of that is taken up by getting off and on the ship and to where you are going. Don't expect a lot of beach time when you are on a cruise.

With kids that age I would highly suggest you also look at renting a condo near a beach in Florida for a week as an alternative as a comparison. Once you have the number for both you can decide what is the best choice for you.

JerLon
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by JerLon » Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:38 pm


rj49
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by rj49 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:55 pm

Most cruise sites just use the prices from cruise companies, so you won’t get much variation. Norwegian has great last-minute deals, The cheapest kid-friendly cruise I’ve found is the Carnival Imagination and Inspiration, which does 3-4 day cruises from Long Beach, which families love, especially with all the theme parks and beaches nearby. It’s usually around $40 per person per day, and my sister gets privacy by each parent booking a room with a teen, and then just switch cards so the teens have their own room. The stops are in upscale Catalina Island and Ensenada.

I usually just book and search through expedia, since they often have onboard credit deals and I get 10-15% back by using them through the befrugal shopping portal.

zero sum guy
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by zero sum guy » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:26 pm

As a frequent cruiser on budget Cruise lines, I prefer Norwegian as their staff and services have never disappointed me. Carnival not so much. I have been on 10 Norwegian cruises and
one unfortunate Carnival cruise. Nightly entertainment shows on Norwegian ships are fantastic and are part of your cruise ticket although once you have been on one cruise, you have seen them all.
If you prefer high quality food and service, you will have to pay more for more expensive Cruise lines. You do pay extra cash to dine at Speciality restaurants serving steak, Sushi, French or Italian foods on Norwegian ships as well as liquor, beer and wine.
If you prefer lower prices, book when school is in session. Prices are lower and you don't have to tolerate a couple of hundred of school children on your ship. Not much fun there.
Watch out for discount bookers as they add on hundreds of dollars in "promotional" fees.
Costco is very good and booking in the specific Cruise line might save you money.
Remember their promotional specials are keyed in on the higher priced level rooms and not the lower prices ones.
Cruisecritcs is a great website that provides you helpful advice on specific ships, Cruise lines, and ports that you will visit.
Good luck

Pat47
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by Pat47 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:37 pm

If you have a specific cruise in mind go to www.cruisecompete.com

You can specify what type of cabin (even the cabin number)) you want etc and within a day or two you will get offers from different agents and the prices will vary. They offer incentives like extra cash, dinners in the gourmet rooms or reduction in the gratuities.
I have booked through them successfully twice. Doesn't cost you anything as you don't have to accept an offer. Worth a shot

knightrider
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by knightrider » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:11 am

How much cheaper are last-minute deals compared to booking a month in advance via the cruise website?

ResearchMed
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:24 am

knightrider wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:11 am
How much cheaper are last-minute deals compared to booking a month in advance via the cruise website?
No guarantees

In some cases, if there are very few cabins/suites left, the prices might have been rising over time. And it may depend upon season. Holiday season, or for some lines, school holiday time, tends to fill faster than "off season".

Or there may no cabins available at all, or perhaps only wait list available, which may not clear.
(Some lines may not even have wait list; I'm not sure about that. Other lines have two wait lists, one for those who have paid the full deposit, and one for those who haven't. Guess which line clears completely first, before the other list even opens...?)

Also, the choice available might be not the among the more preferred, which might not matter to some, but might matter a lot to others (especially if the prices are not reduced).

RM
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neilpilot
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by neilpilot » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:33 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:51 am
On two different Bermuda cruises, after booking - close to the departure dates - we were upgraded to a better cabin at no charge. My opinion is that it makes little sense to pay more for cabins on todays ships.
A last minute upgrade is often given to those who overpaid for their initial accommodations, in the same fashion as an airline who upgrades a full or higher coach passenger before those who bought their coach seat at a deep discount.

tydas
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by tydas » Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:56 pm

For the most part, the best prices on cruise are when they first list the cruise, which is usually a year to two out. As the rooms on the ships fill they raise the prices. From what I have read, last minute cruise deals are rare...

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dm200
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:03 pm

tydas wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:56 pm
For the most part, the best prices on cruise are when they first list the cruise, which is usually a year to two out. As the rooms on the ships fill they raise the prices. From what I have read, last minute cruise deals are rare...
Never booked on at the last minute.

Pomegranate
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by Pomegranate » Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:12 pm

Yeah, looks like amenities plus tips make it more expensive that I thought :( Renting bungalow in FL might not be the worst idea

ResearchMed
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:24 pm

Pomegranate wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:12 pm
Yeah, looks like amenities plus tips make it more expensive that I thought :( Renting bungalow in FL might not be the worst idea
And, depending upon cruise line, unless there are freebie "beverage packages", then even soft drinks might cost extra, and alcohol almost definitely would.

Do ASK on CruiseCritic about the "extras" before you make a final decision, so you minimize the "surprises".

There are some (almost) all-inclusive lines, but those are $$$ and often not ideal for children.
Nothing "wrong"; just, not much special FOR children.

Have you considered something like Beaches?
All inclusive resort, family oriented. Might depend upon your price point.

ETA: Don't forget: With cruises, no housekeeping, no cooking, no cleanup.

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dm200
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:37 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:24 pm
Pomegranate wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:12 pm
Yeah, looks like amenities plus tips make it more expensive that I thought :( Renting bungalow in FL might not be the worst idea
And, depending upon cruise line, unless there are freebie "beverage packages", then even soft drinks might cost extra, and alcohol almost definitely would.
Do ASK on CruiseCritic about the "extras" before you make a final decision, so you minimize the "surprises".
There are some (almost) all-inclusive lines, but those are $$$ and often not ideal for children.
Nothing "wrong"; just, not much special FOR children.
Have you considered something like Beaches?
All inclusive resort, family oriented. Might depend upon your price point.
ETA: Don't forget: With cruises, no housekeeping, no cooking, no cleanup.
RM
:)

With soft drinks, as I recall on the Bermuda cruises we took - if you went to one of the regular food/beverage stations - no cost or charge, BUT if you ordered sift drinks at a bar, etc. - a significant charge plus tip expected.

michaeljc70
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:44 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:11 am
How much cheaper are last-minute deals compared to booking a month in advance via the cruise website?
It depends on how many cabins are unsold and the desirability of the cruise. Cruises overseas get discounted more I think because most people cannot get reasonably priced airfare on short notice (I typically use miles). The older the ship, it seems like the better the deals too.

I got an NCL cruise for 13 days in S America maybe 6 weeks in advance for $300 pp and they threw in free drinks for the whole cruise (that alone was worth around $800).

I also went on a NCL 11 night Mediterranean cruise I bought on Sunday and the cruise left Wed last year. That was around $700 pp.

I've gotten good deals on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean too.

zero sum guy
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by zero sum guy » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:05 pm

i did a Celebrity cruise two years ago to the Caribbean for ten days in November. For one thousand dollars a piece for two in an Oceanview cabin, I got unlimited drinks and four hundred Internet minutes. The drinks,beer and wine were not premium ones but okay for me.
You pay additional fees for the premium drink package.
Norwegian does the same thing but you must book the higher cost Oceanviews, Balcony and other suites to qualify for their packages.
Remember, hurricane season is from June until October in the Carribbean and so, your cruise can be a crap shoot.
Cruisecritics is great about ship and cruise tips, and on which shore excursions you should take.
Mediterranean cruises are all about shore excursions as there are so many ancient places and cities you need to see.

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dm200
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:27 pm

zero sum guy wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:05 pm
i did a Celebrity cruise two years ago to the Caribbean for ten days in November. For one thousand dollars a piece for two in an Oceanview cabin, I got unlimited drinks and four hundred Internet minutes. The drinks,beer and wine were not premium ones but okay for me.
You pay additional fees for the premium drink package.
Norwegian does the same thing but you must book the higher cost Oceanviews, Balcony and other suites to qualify for their packages.
Remember, hurricane season is from June until October in the Carribbean and so, your cruise can be a crap shoot.
Cruisecritics is great about ship and cruise tips, and on which shore excursions you should take.
Mediterranean cruises are all about shore excursions as there are so many ancient places and cities you need to see.
If/when we go on another cruise, I think I would book the lowest price cabins probably interior lowest deck. As far as we experienced, no matter what you pay - you get the same benefits around the rest of the ship. Not like "steerage" on Titanic. Or, perhaps what my ancestors experienced on their one way "cruise" from Europe to the US in the 1800s.

zero sum guy
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by zero sum guy » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:33 pm

Did an inside cabin. Too clausphobic for me.
Usually the drinks, internet and cruise cash bonuses are not in play when you book the inside cabins.
Also, inside cabins are in the lowest decks of the ship where you feel more of the waves.
I like to be on decks 7 and above.

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dm200
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:36 pm

zero sum guy wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:33 pm
Did an inside cabin. Too clausphobic for me.
Usually the drinks, internet and cruise cash bonuses are not in play when you book the inside cabins.
Also, inside cabins are in the lowest decks of the ship where you feel more of the waves.
I like to be on decks 7 and above.
On the ships we have taken, the inside cabins are the same size as the ones with a small window or porthole view.

"Feeling the waves" is part of the cruise "experience" (within reason) ;)

ResearchMed
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:41 pm

dm200 wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:27 pm
zero sum guy wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:05 pm
i did a Celebrity cruise two years ago to the Caribbean for ten days in November. For one thousand dollars a piece for two in an Oceanview cabin, I got unlimited drinks and four hundred Internet minutes. The drinks,beer and wine were not premium ones but okay for me.
You pay additional fees for the premium drink package.
Norwegian does the same thing but you must book the higher cost Oceanviews, Balcony and other suites to qualify for their packages.
Remember, hurricane season is from June until October in the Carribbean and so, your cruise can be a crap shoot.
Cruisecritics is great about ship and cruise tips, and on which shore excursions you should take.
Mediterranean cruises are all about shore excursions as there are so many ancient places and cities you need to see.
If/when we go on another cruise, I think I would book the lowest price cabins probably interior lowest deck. As far as we experienced, no matter what you pay - you get the same benefits around the rest of the ship. Not like "steerage" on Titanic. Or, perhaps what my ancestors experienced on their one way "cruise" from Europe to the US in the 1800s.
Almost, and it depends upon the cruise line.

Some lines have suites that get more services (e.g., nicer room service meals available) or access to some special areas such as spas/spa decks, but the general "run of the ship" is mostly the same.

One exception are lines that have a "special designated area for higher cost suites", and they may have separate pools, restaurants, or lounges right in the limited access area.
There are a variety of arrangements like this, but again, the general "run of the ship" is the same for everyone (other than the smaller restricted area).
This might be similar to some of the freebies for higher cost accommodations (like liquor packages or wifi).

Some ships have special restaurants or activities that cost extra, but that would be for everyone. (Higher category cabins/suites might get earlier access to reservations.)

The luxury lines may have no separate areas (other than private areas within one's suite, etc., of course), and may have no separate perks; I'm not sure. We haven't sailed on those.

But as dm200 mentioned, there is *not* a special "restricted lower-class" area, unless one counts the entire general run of the ship (excluding a relatively low proportion of space that might be keycard access only).

RM
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zero sum guy
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by zero sum guy » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:58 pm

There are no windows or portholes for inside cabins on Norwegian ships. That is why they charge the lowest prices.
if you like French, Juicy Steaks, Italian, Sushi or the Benihana Japanese treatments, then you pay extra for those Speciality Restaurants. For them, you should book on board, on the first day of your cruise as they book up early.

As for me, I stick away from the Buffet Restaurants, and go to the free restaurantnts, where you are served by waiters. You usually eat less and the treatment given to you by waiters or waitresses so much contributes to the quality of your cruise experiences. I love the piano bar singers, the individual music recitals and the evening music shows. Usually the music shows start at 7 and are repeated at 9 pm. You have to program your dinners to end before the start of either shows as they are so good. All except the Speciality Restaurants are part of your cruise ticket regardless the level of your cabin.

Tal-
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by Tal- » Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:01 pm

A few tips:

https://www.vacationstogo.com/ has a wonderful search engine, and it where I go to get a general feel for what trip I want to take and how much it will cost. Once you know that...

www.cruisecompete.com will help you find the best price, and they have always been lower than vacationstogo. Here, you will get quotes from half a dozen companies for specific cruises/rooms that you find. Though, note that most of their quotes are not for non-refundable fares (this is new). You may save 2%-10% from VacationstoGo using CruiseCompete. Their website is not very fancy, but they're legit.

Through cruisecompete, I found an agent that I like at Cruises-n-more. He is responsive and gets me great deals, but is not your typical travel agent - and can't help you pick your cruise or room, give you much insight, etc. He is good at getting you a discount on a trip that you plan. Note that you get a better deal through him than I do through any website, and typically within 1% of the best deal I could get through cruisecompete. Note, you may need to find the promotion you want and ask the agent to get it for you. Also note that the Cruise-N-More website is crap - I always get better deals working directly with him.

Costco is a safe option is you don't want to go through the trouble listed above, but still get a discount (or addons) relative to booking directly, or through a site like Expedia.

Cruise Critic forums are a wonderful place to research rooms, ships, promotions, etc. However, this isn't a great place to buy, and they do not allow referrals or recommendations.

Booking directly with the cruise line will almost always cost more than the above options, but some people do it for the direct control (and often, top-end service).

Hope that helps.
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smitcat
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by smitcat » Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:25 am

zero sum guy wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:33 pm
Did an inside cabin. Too clausphobic for me.
Usually the drinks, internet and cruise cash bonuses are not in play when you book the inside cabins.
Also, inside cabins are in the lowest decks of the ship where you feel more of the waves.
I like to be on decks 7 and above.
"Also, inside cabins are in the lowest decks of the ship where you feel more of the waves."
Physics tells us that the higher up you go the more you will move with each wave , similarly when you move off of the centerline you will travel a larger distance.

"Usually the drinks, internet and cruise cash bonuses are not in play when you book the inside cabins."
Not in our experience as the deal states the perks not the room - we leave again next Friday and agian it is not the case.

michaeljc70
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:58 am

One thing I found interesting and to be aware of is that some cruise lines charge you the tip (service charge) on the free drink package and some don't. On Norwegian I had to pay around $200 for the tip. On Celebrity they charged nothing.

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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by knightrider » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:10 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:44 pm
I got an NCL cruise for 13 days in S America maybe 6 weeks in advance for $300 pp and they threw in free drinks for the whole cruise (that alone was worth around $800).
That sounds like quite a deal , $300pp for 13-day cruise! I think the one we booked was around $900pp for 5-day cruise ( and one person is a 2-year old )

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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:17 am

knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:10 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:44 pm
I got an NCL cruise for 13 days in S America maybe 6 weeks in advance for $300 pp and they threw in free drinks for the whole cruise (that alone was worth around $800).
That sounds like quite a deal , $300pp for 13-day cruise! I think the one we booked was around $900pp for 5-day cruise ( and one person is a 2-year old )
Yes. I think they were really desperate. They hate to have empty rooms as they count on people gambling in the casino, doing shore excursions, buying stuff in the onboard shops, etc. even if they don't make money on the cruise fare itself.

I am taking a 13 night Mediterranean cruise next month on Celebrity (new ship). I paid around $1600 for an outside cabin per person. However, I got a $175 onboard credit (combined, not each), Class drink package (price is $59/day+tip = around $900), and free gratuities (typically around $14/day so $182). I booked this around 6 months ago, so not last minute at all. I figured I got around $1200 in freebies. If you don't drink, they usually have some other options like $$$ for excursions, dining packages or free wifi.

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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by knightrider » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:20 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:17 am
Yes. I think they were really desperate. They hate to have empty rooms as they count on people gambling in the casino, doing shore excursions, buying stuff in the onboard shops, etc. even if they don't make money on the cruise fare itself.
Did you have to call to get this deal or use an agent?

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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:31 am

knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:20 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:17 am
Yes. I think they were really desperate. They hate to have empty rooms as they count on people gambling in the casino, doing shore excursions, buying stuff in the onboard shops, etc. even if they don't make money on the cruise fare itself.
Did you have to call to get this deal or use an agent?
I use VacationsToGo. They are one of the biggest agencies if not the biggest. They have a thing called the "90 day ticker" on their website that shows cruises that haven't sold out in the next 90 days and that are discounted. Unlike some websites, they don't have the ability to book directly online so I call to book.

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dm200
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:50 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:31 am
knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:20 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:17 am
Yes. I think they were really desperate. They hate to have empty rooms as they count on people gambling in the casino, doing shore excursions, buying stuff in the onboard shops, etc. even if they don't make money on the cruise fare itself.
Did you have to call to get this deal or use an agent?
I use VacationsToGo. They are one of the biggest agencies if not the biggest. They have a thing called the "90 day ticker" on their website that shows cruises that haven't sold out in the next 90 days and that are discounted. Unlike some websites, they don't have the ability to book directly online so I call to book.
Never used them - but I get their emails. Some of their deals look very good.

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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:54 am

One thing I've noticed is if you don't mind having a cruise butt up against a holiday, those can be heavily discounted. Over holidays they can actually be way more expensive than normal. I noticed some good deals for December, but coming back very close to Xmas.

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dm200
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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:59 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:54 am
One thing I've noticed is if you don't mind having a cruise butt up against a holiday, those can be heavily discounted. Over holidays they can actually be way more expensive than normal. I noticed some good deals for December, but coming back very close to Xmas.
For scheduling reasons, sometimes there are cruises with a day added or subtracted from the normal time. We got a deal on a Bermuda cruise with one of these years ago.

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Re: Cruise deals?

Post by smitcat » Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:46 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:17 am
knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:10 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:44 pm
I got an NCL cruise for 13 days in S America maybe 6 weeks in advance for $300 pp and they threw in free drinks for the whole cruise (that alone was worth around $800).
That sounds like quite a deal , $300pp for 13-day cruise! I think the one we booked was around $900pp for 5-day cruise ( and one person is a 2-year old )
Yes. I think they were really desperate. They hate to have empty rooms as they count on people gambling in the casino, doing shore excursions, buying stuff in the onboard shops, etc. even if they don't make money on the cruise fare itself.

I am taking a 13 night Mediterranean cruise next month on Celebrity (new ship). I paid around $1600 for an outside cabin per person. However, I got a $175 onboard credit (combined, not each), Class drink package (price is $59/day+tip = around $900), and free gratuities (typically around $14/day so $182). I booked this around 6 months ago, so not last minute at all. I figured I got around $1200 in freebies. If you don't drink, they usually have some other options like $$$ for excursions, dining packages or free wifi.
Out if curiosity how do you get free gratuities?
We have always heard/read that the folks rely on the tips so how does that play out with the working folks on the cruise?

michaeljc70
Posts: 3746
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Cruise deals?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:07 pm

smitcat wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:46 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:17 am
knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:10 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:44 pm
I got an NCL cruise for 13 days in S America maybe 6 weeks in advance for $300 pp and they threw in free drinks for the whole cruise (that alone was worth around $800).
That sounds like quite a deal , $300pp for 13-day cruise! I think the one we booked was around $900pp for 5-day cruise ( and one person is a 2-year old )
Yes. I think they were really desperate. They hate to have empty rooms as they count on people gambling in the casino, doing shore excursions, buying stuff in the onboard shops, etc. even if they don't make money on the cruise fare itself.

I am taking a 13 night Mediterranean cruise next month on Celebrity (new ship). I paid around $1600 for an outside cabin per person. However, I got a $175 onboard credit (combined, not each), Class drink package (price is $59/day+tip = around $900), and free gratuities (typically around $14/day so $182). I booked this around 6 months ago, so not last minute at all. I figured I got around $1200 in freebies. If you don't drink, they usually have some other options like $$$ for excursions, dining packages or free wifi.
Out if curiosity how do you get free gratuities?
We have always heard/read that the folks rely on the tips so how does that play out with the working folks on the cruise?
When they offer promotions, it is often pick X out of these options. X is higher depending on availability (and maybe price). The typical choices I see are rooms credits, dining packages (for specialty restaurants), beverage packages and free wifi. So, they might say with an outside cabin you can pick 1 thing, balcony pick 2, suite pick 3. Sometimes they need to just push one type of room and only offer freebies on that type of room.

The cruise line pays the gratuities to the employees at whatever the standard rate is (usually in the $15/day range for non-luxury cruises). Most cruise companies just add gratuities on to your room bill nowadays. The cruise line covers that if you opt for that freebie. They actually call it something like prepaid gratuities rather than no gratuities.

smitcat
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: Cruise deals?

Post by smitcat » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:17 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:07 pm
smitcat wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:46 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:17 am
knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:10 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:44 pm
I got an NCL cruise for 13 days in S America maybe 6 weeks in advance for $300 pp and they threw in free drinks for the whole cruise (that alone was worth around $800).
That sounds like quite a deal , $300pp for 13-day cruise! I think the one we booked was around $900pp for 5-day cruise ( and one person is a 2-year old )
Yes. I think they were really desperate. They hate to have empty rooms as they count on people gambling in the casino, doing shore excursions, buying stuff in the onboard shops, etc. even if they don't make money on the cruise fare itself.

I am taking a 13 night Mediterranean cruise next month on Celebrity (new ship). I paid around $1600 for an outside cabin per person. However, I got a $175 onboard credit (combined, not each), Class drink package (price is $59/day+tip = around $900), and free gratuities (typically around $14/day so $182). I booked this around 6 months ago, so not last minute at all. I figured I got around $1200 in freebies. If you don't drink, they usually have some other options like $$$ for excursions, dining packages or free wifi.
Out if curiosity how do you get free gratuities?
We have always heard/read that the folks rely on the tips so how does that play out with the working folks on the cruise?
When they offer promotions, it is often pick X out of these options. X is higher depending on availability (and maybe price). The typical choices I see are rooms credits, dining packages (for specialty restaurants), beverage packages and free wifi. So, they might say with an outside cabin you can pick 1 thing, balcony pick 2, suite pick 3. Sometimes they need to just push one type of room and only offer freebies on that type of room.

The cruise line pays the gratuities to the employees at whatever the standard rate is (usually in the $15/day range for non-luxury cruises). Most cruise companies just add gratuities on to your room bill nowadays. The cruise line covers that if you opt for that freebie. They actually call it something like prepaid gratuities rather than no gratuities.
So I think what you are saying is your paying it anyway and its part of the marketing package.

michaeljc70
Posts: 3746
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Cruise deals?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:29 pm

smitcat wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:17 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:07 pm
smitcat wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:46 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:17 am
knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:10 am


That sounds like quite a deal , $300pp for 13-day cruise! I think the one we booked was around $900pp for 5-day cruise ( and one person is a 2-year old )
Yes. I think they were really desperate. They hate to have empty rooms as they count on people gambling in the casino, doing shore excursions, buying stuff in the onboard shops, etc. even if they don't make money on the cruise fare itself.

I am taking a 13 night Mediterranean cruise next month on Celebrity (new ship). I paid around $1600 for an outside cabin per person. However, I got a $175 onboard credit (combined, not each), Class drink package (price is $59/day+tip = around $900), and free gratuities (typically around $14/day so $182). I booked this around 6 months ago, so not last minute at all. I figured I got around $1200 in freebies. If you don't drink, they usually have some other options like $$$ for excursions, dining packages or free wifi.
Out if curiosity how do you get free gratuities?
We have always heard/read that the folks rely on the tips so how does that play out with the working folks on the cruise?
When they offer promotions, it is often pick X out of these options. X is higher depending on availability (and maybe price). The typical choices I see are rooms credits, dining packages (for specialty restaurants), beverage packages and free wifi. So, they might say with an outside cabin you can pick 1 thing, balcony pick 2, suite pick 3. Sometimes they need to just push one type of room and only offer freebies on that type of room.

The cruise line pays the gratuities to the employees at whatever the standard rate is (usually in the $15/day range for non-luxury cruises). Most cruise companies just add gratuities on to your room bill nowadays. The cruise line covers that if you opt for that freebie. They actually call it something like prepaid gratuities rather than no gratuities.
So I think what you are saying is your paying it anyway and its part of the marketing package.
I'm saying they charge your room the $200 or whatever the gratuity is, that goes to the employees, and then they credit it back to you.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 18772
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Cruise deals?

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:07 pm

smitcat wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:46 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:17 am
knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:10 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:44 pm
I got an NCL cruise for 13 days in S America maybe 6 weeks in advance for $300 pp and they threw in free drinks for the whole cruise (that alone was worth around $800).
That sounds like quite a deal , $300pp for 13-day cruise! I think the one we booked was around $900pp for 5-day cruise ( and one person is a 2-year old )
Yes. I think they were really desperate. They hate to have empty rooms as they count on people gambling in the casino, doing shore excursions, buying stuff in the onboard shops, etc. even if they don't make money on the cruise fare itself.

I am taking a 13 night Mediterranean cruise next month on Celebrity (new ship). I paid around $1600 for an outside cabin per person. However, I got a $175 onboard credit (combined, not each), Class drink package (price is $59/day+tip = around $900), and free gratuities (typically around $14/day so $182). I booked this around 6 months ago, so not last minute at all. I figured I got around $1200 in freebies. If you don't drink, they usually have some other options like $$$ for excursions, dining packages or free wifi.
Out if curiosity how do you get free gratuities?
We have always heard/read that the folks rely on the tips so how does that play out with the working folks on the cruise?
As I recall our Bermuda cruises, we paid the gratuities in cash - suggested amounts for cabin assistants, waiters and the head dining room guy.

ResearchMed
Posts: 7494
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Cruise deals?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:21 pm

dm200 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:07 pm
smitcat wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:46 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:17 am
knightrider wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:10 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:44 pm
I got an NCL cruise for 13 days in S America maybe 6 weeks in advance for $300 pp and they threw in free drinks for the whole cruise (that alone was worth around $800).
That sounds like quite a deal , $300pp for 13-day cruise! I think the one we booked was around $900pp for 5-day cruise ( and one person is a 2-year old )
Yes. I think they were really desperate. They hate to have empty rooms as they count on people gambling in the casino, doing shore excursions, buying stuff in the onboard shops, etc. even if they don't make money on the cruise fare itself.

I am taking a 13 night Mediterranean cruise next month on Celebrity (new ship). I paid around $1600 for an outside cabin per person. However, I got a $175 onboard credit (combined, not each), Class drink package (price is $59/day+tip = around $900), and free gratuities (typically around $14/day so $182). I booked this around 6 months ago, so not last minute at all. I figured I got around $1200 in freebies. If you don't drink, they usually have some other options like $$$ for excursions, dining packages or free wifi.
Out if curiosity how do you get free gratuities?
We have always heard/read that the folks rely on the tips so how does that play out with the working folks on the cruise?
As I recall our Bermuda cruises, we paid the gratuities in cash - suggested amounts for cabin assistants, waiters and the head dining room guy.
There can be "ship required" gratuities that are automatically collected and disbursed, including (presumably) to those who serve behind the scenes (kitchen staff, laundry...). Whether this type should be considered part of "regular pay" is a separate issue.
These can be paid on occasion as "perks".

"Tips", of the sort one hands to those who have provided good service, is separate.
And they can be offered in addition to the regular "gratuities" that are shared, to anyone who provides unusually good service/assistance.

On some cruise lines the "gratuities" are NOT shared with certain service providers such as Butlers or Concierge staff, and they rely upon the "tips" alone.

It can be complicated.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

michaeljc70
Posts: 3746
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Cruise deals?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:31 pm

As far as I know, no tips I've paid have gone to kitchen staff or laundry staff. I have either handed the stateroom attendant/assistant and waiter/assistant money in an envelope or it was automatically charged to my room and disbursed to them by the cruise line. Some people tip the maitre d too. I don't as it is like a restaurant manager to me and they have never really provided direct service to me. On popular cruise lines like NCL, RC and Celebrity, they charge your room so much per day for gratuities unless you specifically tell them otherwise. Most people don't hand out envelopes anymore.

As to other workers like bar staff or spa staff, they would be tipped when you buy each drink or service (also typically added on to the bill automatically now).

ResearchMed
Posts: 7494
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Cruise deals?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:41 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:31 pm
As far as I know, no tips I've paid have gone to kitchen staff or laundry staff. I have either handed the stateroom attendant/assistant and waiter/assistant money in an envelope or it was automatically charged to my room and disbursed to them by the cruise line. Some people tip the maitre d too. I don't as it is like a restaurant manager to me and they have never really provided direct service to me. On popular cruise lines like NCL, RC and Celebrity, they charge your room so much per day for gratuities unless you specifically tell them otherwise. Most people don't hand out envelopes anymore.

As to other workers like bar staff or spa staff, they would be tipped when you buy each drink or service (also typically added on to the bill automatically now).
As I mentioned, it isn't "tips" that go to the behind the scenes staff (unless one somehow decides to do that).
Those are from the "gratuities" which is a lump sum (or per day) that is automatically collected by the cruise line, for those lines that do that.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

michaeljc70
Posts: 3746
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Cruise deals?

Post by michaeljc70 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:26 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:41 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:31 pm
As far as I know, no tips I've paid have gone to kitchen staff or laundry staff. I have either handed the stateroom attendant/assistant and waiter/assistant money in an envelope or it was automatically charged to my room and disbursed to them by the cruise line. Some people tip the maitre d too. I don't as it is like a restaurant manager to me and they have never really provided direct service to me. On popular cruise lines like NCL, RC and Celebrity, they charge your room so much per day for gratuities unless you specifically tell them otherwise. Most people don't hand out envelopes anymore.

As to other workers like bar staff or spa staff, they would be tipped when you buy each drink or service (also typically added on to the bill automatically now).
As I mentioned, it isn't "tips" that go to the behind the scenes staff (unless one somehow decides to do that).
Those are from the "gratuities" which is a lump sum (or per day) that is automatically collected by the cruise line, for those lines that do that.

RM
That is interesting. Before automatic charges were common, do you think when you handed the envelopes over to the waiter, stateroom attendant, etc. they were supposed to turn that over for partial distribution to other staff? I know it is common in restaurants for waiters to share their tips with the bus boys.

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dm200
Posts: 18772
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Cruise deals?

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:39 pm

I think the waiters/waitresses in the dining room (had the same ones for the whole cruise) would (or could) get extra TIPS if they went out of their way as well.

smitcat
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: Cruise deals?

Post by smitcat » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:08 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:26 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:41 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:31 pm
As far as I know, no tips I've paid have gone to kitchen staff or laundry staff. I have either handed the stateroom attendant/assistant and waiter/assistant money in an envelope or it was automatically charged to my room and disbursed to them by the cruise line. Some people tip the maitre d too. I don't as it is like a restaurant manager to me and they have never really provided direct service to me. On popular cruise lines like NCL, RC and Celebrity, they charge your room so much per day for gratuities unless you specifically tell them otherwise. Most people don't hand out envelopes anymore.

As to other workers like bar staff or spa staff, they would be tipped when you buy each drink or service (also typically added on to the bill automatically now).
As I mentioned, it isn't "tips" that go to the behind the scenes staff (unless one somehow decides to do that).
Those are from the "gratuities" which is a lump sum (or per day) that is automatically collected by the cruise line, for those lines that do that.

RM
That is interesting. Before automatic charges were common, do you think when you handed the envelopes over to the waiter, stateroom attendant, etc. they were supposed to turn that over for partial distribution to other staff? I know it is common in restaurants for waiters to share their tips with the bus boys.
Since this earlier post I have read a bunch of this over at the cruisecritic site and other cruise sites.
There appears to be all kinds of shared tips and issues with free and prepaid gratuities dependent upon a lot of variables.
Best to research your own situation but if you get these deals from a Travel agent its possible the cruise line is not even aware of some of these packaged perks.
So there are too many variables to lump the answers into neat columns> YMMV

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