Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

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dm200
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Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by dm200 » Tue May 14, 2019 9:25 am

We are considering a cruise to Bermuda later this year or in 2020. We have taken two previous Bermuda cruises years ago.

In booking such a cruise, does it matter how the booking is done? Or, is is fine to just find the best price online for the desired cruise - either "bottom line" financially or the "quality" of what we will experience?

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by spectec » Tue May 14, 2019 9:46 am

Impossible question to answer without knowing quite a bit about your expectations, price points, etc. But the first places to go are Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor. Cruise Critic will often contain detailed reviews posted by people who have recently taken a cruise you are considering, usually grouped under "Roll Call" threads. Sometimes there is almost day-by-day detail of the poster's experiences, even including their impressions & experiences with shore excursions.

Once you select a cruise, check on Facebook groups for that cruise line. Don't just stop with the cruise line's FB page - see if there are other groups for your particular ship. Again, you'll often see recent daily posts & photos from people actually on that particular itinerary. This is valuable information.
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by RadAudit » Tue May 14, 2019 10:19 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 9:25 am
In booking such a cruise, does it matter how the booking is done?
Matter to whom? I'm sure your approach will do just fine for you.

In my case, after the research is completed, we go to a travel agent and say book it and the connecting flights, too. The price is the same to us, I think. And, they have better computers. YMMV.

PS: Have a good trip. Had a great time on our visit, 40 years ago and BC.
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by dm200 » Tue May 14, 2019 10:51 am

RadAudit wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 10:19 am
dm200 wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 9:25 am
In booking such a cruise, does it matter how the booking is done?
Matter to whom? I'm sure your approach will do just fine for you.
In my case, after the research is completed, we go to a travel agent and say book it and the connecting flights, too. The price is the same to us, I think. And, they have better computers. YMMV.
PS: Have a good trip. Had a great time on our visit, 40 years ago and BC.
In our case, we can just drive (about one to two hours or so) to the port where the cruise departs and returns. That makes it both very convenient as well as less costly.

stilllurking
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by stilllurking » Tue May 14, 2019 11:08 am

Consider checking out cruisecompete.com to see how travel agents can provide you additional perks or on board credit (OBC) to be used on the ship to pay for extras like photos, specialty dining, shore excursions, spa etc.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by delamer » Tue May 14, 2019 11:13 am

Our travel agent costs us nothing and occasionally provides perks, like onboard credits. Also, using an agent gives you an advocate in the event of any problems.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by ResearchMed » Tue May 14, 2019 11:18 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 9:25 am
We are considering a cruise to Bermuda later this year or in 2020. We have taken two previous Bermuda cruises years ago.

In booking such a cruise, does it matter how the booking is done? Or, is is fine to just find the best price online for the desired cruise - either "bottom line" financially or the "quality" of what we will experience?
If you haven't taken a cruise in some time, then definitely browse through CruiseCritic.com.
Others have mentioned some reasons, but if you browse through their TOC (table of contents), you might find other topics of interest.

Examples:
- Ports of Call (Bermuda), for activities;
- Travel insurance;
- Choosing a cabin;
- Over 55 (or Disabled cruising), in case that is relevant (can include special dietary needs, etc.);
- and much more... see if a topic clicks for you...

And of course, the cruise line overall.
Once you have purchased a cruise, you might want to join the Roll Call, either to meet others in advance (and join a Meet & Greet the first evening) or to share private excursions, which can be both less expensive and better than those through a cruise line. That can include just shared transportation to nice beaches, or sharing a sailboat, etc.

Enjoy!

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by mfswatz9 » Tue May 14, 2019 11:43 am

I just returned from a 3 week TransAtlantic cruise with Holland America (HAL). I have always just booked with HAL but I discovered in talking to other guests, they use cruisecompete.com after they decide on their cruise to link up with several travel agents who compete with each other to offer you the best perks. I was not aware of this before. Sounds like a great idea. I will use it in the future.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by anil686 » Tue May 14, 2019 11:49 am

Not to Bermuda, but I have used Costco for my previous two cruises and two coming up. They have good pricing, often good shipboard credits and may include a cash back card. Their buyer's choice or Kirkland Signature cruise deals are really good - but are typically not during peak season but if your dates are flexible - those are often outstanding values. JMO though...

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue May 14, 2019 11:52 am

anil686 wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 11:49 am
Not to Bermuda, but I have used Costco for my previous two cruises and two coming up. They have good pricing, often good shipboard credits and may include a cash back card. Their buyer's choice or Kirkland Signature cruise deals are really good - but are typically not during peak season but if your dates are flexible - those are often outstanding values. JMO though...
This ^^^

Costco buys the same package, adds stuff, and you save money. Win, win.
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by hershey102d » Tue May 14, 2019 11:53 am

We chose HAL partially because they had a smaller ship which was permitted to dock in downtown Hamilton as opposed to the wharf. A street festival was literally outside our ‘front door’.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by rj342 » Tue May 14, 2019 12:02 pm

Have only cruised a few times, those were simple cruises (no air or hotel) we previously booked direct thru Carnival, from Mobile to Cozumel etc.

Going to Alaska first time in two weeks, ended up using the local AAA office. 7 day Princess cruise with a 4 day on-land extension in Denali Natl Park. They did have some exclusives and we got good onboard credits (genl purpose and the fine dining). It was convenient having him do flights, and one night in the hotel in Vancouver, plus the fact that we waited fairly late to set it up (February for a June sail). I did some cross checking and all the pricing and 'deals' seems legit.

Will check into the Costco deals for next time we do a big one.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by ResearchMed » Tue May 14, 2019 12:03 pm

mfswatz9 wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 11:43 am
I just returned from a 3 week TransAtlantic cruise with Holland America (HAL). I have always just booked with HAL but I discovered in talking to other guests, they use cruisecompete.com after they decide on their cruise to link up with several travel agents who compete with each other to offer you the best perks. I was not aware of this before. Sounds like a great idea. I will use it in the future.
Do places like cruisecompete "work" (meaning significant savings/perks) with premium cruise lines such as Oceania?
The few times I've seen their ads and looked further, I didn't see any savings at all.

We are also "fussy" about which cabins/suites we want (specific views, etc.), so we often need to book very early, as there might be just 2, 4, or 6 of those. Not always, of course. But we DO want to select our own accommodations, to avoid being under a particularly noisy area, etc.

Thanks.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by msi » Tue May 14, 2019 12:20 pm

Don't decide just on price or thrown-in perks. If you have an issue or need to make changes to the reservation, the cruise line won't deal with you directly if you booked through a travel agent, so make sure to choose a good agent.

Alternatively, you can just book directly through the cruise line if you don't mind dealing with it yourself. The amount of onboard credit/perks will vary by agent and may be miniscule or identical compared to the cruise line's deal. Really depends on the specific cruise.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue May 14, 2019 12:27 pm

After deciding on a cruise, use CruiseCompete.com. You will get a bunch of quotes from different travel agents. None will call you (at least they never called me....you get the quotes online). I would also look on vacationstogo.com. I'm not affiliated with either, but that is how I book cruises. I've take around 20 of them. You'd be surprised at the variations in prices and freebies.

It is worth checking out Costco too if you are a member, but they only work with a small fraction of the cruise lines (though most of the major ones Americans take).

There is really very little interaction with the travel agent, so that wouldn't be a factor to me unless they were obviously awful and couldn't get the booking done in a timely manner.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by dm200 » Tue May 14, 2019 12:51 pm

We are also "fussy" about which cabins/suites we want (specific views, etc.), so we often need to book very early, as there might be just 2, 4, or 6 of those. Not always, of course. But we DO want to select our own accommodations, to avoid being under a particularly noisy area, etc
We are not at all fussy about the cabin, since we spend most of the time on the ship away from the cabin. if I want an Ocean view, I just do it from one of the decks. All cabins are fully "climate controlled" these days. Since we only take clothes/stuff for the days on the ship, we do not need a lot of space either. On our previous two Bermuda cruises, we received a 100% FREE upgrade to the next cabin class.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by GmanJeff » Tue May 14, 2019 12:55 pm

If you peruse cruisecritic.com, you'll see postings which observe that different travel agencies provide different benefits to customers. This typically takes the form of a rebate on the fare and/or a shipboard credit. Amounts vary, and cruisecritic.com does not permit discussion of specific agencies because they themselves function in that capacity and don't want to promote competition with their own services. Still, it's clear that shopping around among agents for a specific cruise may result in different prices.

A non-financial consideration can relate to the familiarity of a given agent with the line/ships you're considering. Experienced and well-informed agents may be able to help align your preferences and expectations with the ship and itinerary which will fit you best, even down to details such as helping you select a better cabin type and location for your needs and budget.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by tennisplyr » Tue May 14, 2019 12:57 pm

We just booked an Alaskan Celebrity Cruise in July through Crucon. We received a free drink package, all gratuities and a few hundred dollars of on board credit. We used them for a cruise to the Western Meditteranean last year and loved it.

www.crucon.com
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by jeff1949 » Tue May 14, 2019 4:51 pm

Here is another vote for www.cruisecompete.com after you have figured out what cruise you want. :sharebeer

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by TNL » Wed May 15, 2019 8:13 am

I have booked about 10 cruises in the last 10 years. I used to look at many, many travel websites and now I've narrowed it down to just two companies - Vacationstogo.com and Costco. I always call and get a quote from each for whatever sailing I am interested. Whichever is the better deal, that's the one I go with. There are usually very slight variations in the price, ship credit, freebies, etc. Whichever works more for what I want, is who I pick. Half the time it's VTG, half the time it's Costco. I usually cruise with Princess or Royal Caribbean. I don't ever book directly through the cruise line.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by dm200 » Wed May 15, 2019 9:43 am

I don't know all the details, but I understand that, for some cruises, if you "organize" a group of a certain number to go on a particular cruise, you can go "free".

On one of our Bermuda cruises, an estate planning attorney (that we later used) organized such a cruise. he had a weekly radio show on estate planning. The price was good AND, as part of the 'deal" he had several free estate planning group sessions on the ship. Win-win. We also got a discount from him when he did our wills, etc.

Sometimes churches and places of worship organize such groups. One, very nice thing that can be done is give the Pastor, etc. a "free" cruise - and, if he/she is willing, have some kind of religious services for the group on the ship.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by BogleFanGal » Thu May 16, 2019 7:14 pm

I've used cruisecompete as well - found my current TA that way. In my experience, results were mixed. Some agents don't bother to read your notes or pay attention to the details, so they respond with irrelevant quotes that waste your time. But it sometimes pays off and doesn't cost you a thing to use it. So why not try it?

People posting on a cruiseline's facebook page sometimes recommend travel agents they use or you can PM anyone that seems like a regular and cruises a lot.

CruiseCritic is a wonderful resource - can't recommend it highly enough. But it does have strict rules against mention of any specific agents or agencies.

CruCon mentioned by an earlier poster is hard to beat - they are a very large, established volume cruise seller and often have terrific deals...especially during holiday weekend promos. But just note that they also charge a $100/person cancellation fee, separate from the cruiseline's cancellation penalties.

If you're confident you won't cancel your booking or if you do, will simply switch to a different ship or sail date vs cancel completely, you can get some great group rate pricing and nice perks there. I value the addtl flexibility more, so I usually limit myself only to agencies that offer free cancellations but maybe charge a bit more or offer a few less goodies. Just comes down to preference.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by 123 » Thu May 16, 2019 7:48 pm

When you book a cruise can also make a difference. Often the most inexpensive cabins sell out first. Additionally some cabin prices get reduced as sailing date approach since an unsold cabin represents lost revenue. Some cruises can be booked a year or more in advance. However, just like booking a hotel room too far in advance because you have to be there on a particular date you may end up paying a higher rate. Yes, it's complicated.
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by curmudgeon » Thu May 16, 2019 11:05 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 12:03 pm
mfswatz9 wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 11:43 am
I just returned from a 3 week TransAtlantic cruise with Holland America (HAL). I have always just booked with HAL but I discovered in talking to other guests, they use cruisecompete.com after they decide on their cruise to link up with several travel agents who compete with each other to offer you the best perks. I was not aware of this before. Sounds like a great idea. I will use it in the future.
Do places like cruisecompete "work" (meaning significant savings/perks) with premium cruise lines such as Oceania?
The few times I've seen their ads and looked further, I didn't see any savings at all.

We are also "fussy" about which cabins/suites we want (specific views, etc.), so we often need to book very early, as there might be just 2, 4, or 6 of those. Not always, of course. But we DO want to select our own accommodations, to avoid being under a particularly noisy area, etc.

Thanks.

RM
There is a lot of variability and vagueness around cruise pricing, to be sure. "List Prices" are often pretty meaningless. I've noticed that only a few cruise lines seem to set one price and hold it, while most have inflated list prices and large "discounts". Cruises are one the few travel purchases that still have a significant commission structure, and also may have volume discounts and other goodies for travel agents. Some travel agents will in turn rebate or provide some additional discount (or more likely, extra onboard credit). Cruise lines do sales in lots of ways, whether sometimes in price, but often throwing in extra goodies like beverage packages or cabin upgrades.

I check prices on VacationsToGo and Costco, which both do high volumes, and I find them usually fairly similar, but with some variations. Costco sometimes offers a ~ 5% discount in the form of a costco cash card on many cruises in addition to whatever sales goodies are currently offered, but I've noticed that they don't seem to offer nearly as many choices for specific cabins when you work down to the booking details when compared to looking on the cruise line site.

We aren't super picky about specific cabins; our priority is usually more around itinerary and amenities.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by ralph124cf » Fri May 17, 2019 3:56 am

If you are retired and flexible in your dates, you can get fantastic deals at the last minute. I always recommend choosing the cruise line first, and then the trips. Remember that "all inclusive" means different things on different lines.

Ralph

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by Pomegranate » Fri May 17, 2019 6:40 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 11:52 am
anil686 wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 11:49 am
Not to Bermuda, but I have used Costco for my previous two cruises and two coming up. They have good pricing, often good shipboard credits and may include a cash back card. Their buyer's choice or Kirkland Signature cruise deals are really good - but are typically not during peak season but if your dates are flexible - those are often outstanding values. JMO though...
This ^^^

Costco buys the same package, adds stuff, and you save money. Win, win.
Had such a horrible experience with Costco. Found a cruise (for 2020) on their website, spent 20 min to choose a cabin, spent 20 min to enter all the info - BANG, we’re experience tech difficulties, pls call the agent :confused .
Ok, called the agent - I have no clue what you see on the website (keep outsourcing guys :oops: ), the cruise is sold out except for one $$$ suite.
Checked the cruise website, found 5-10 vacant cabins on each of the decks, successfully booked one and even saved maybe 1%
Ridiculous...

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by curmudgeon » Fri May 17, 2019 12:47 pm

Pomegranate wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 6:40 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 11:52 am
anil686 wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 11:49 am
Not to Bermuda, but I have used Costco for my previous two cruises and two coming up. They have good pricing, often good shipboard credits and may include a cash back card. Their buyer's choice or Kirkland Signature cruise deals are really good - but are typically not during peak season but if your dates are flexible - those are often outstanding values. JMO though...
This ^^^

Costco buys the same package, adds stuff, and you save money. Win, win.
Had such a horrible experience with Costco. Found a cruise (for 2020) on their website, spent 20 min to choose a cabin, spent 20 min to enter all the info - BANG, we’re experience tech difficulties, pls call the agent :confused .
Ok, called the agent - I have no clue what you see on the website (keep outsourcing guys :oops: ), the cruise is sold out except for one $$$ suite.
Checked the cruise website, found 5-10 vacant cabins on each of the decks, successfully booked one and even saved maybe 1%
Ridiculous...
I have seen issues like this. The integration between Costco's booking engine and the cruise lines is not perfect (of course, the cruise lines have been known to mess up their own bookings as well). I think it's definitely the case that the cruise lines don't release all their inventory to be available for discounted sales through Costco, though often additional cabins will become available on Costco a few days later. It seems a little like the airlines with their discount and "saver" mileage seats.

We've booked three cruises through Costco, and been satisfied with the price and process, but we aren't all that picky about cabin location. In our case, we tend to pick a cruise if it melds with a particular trip we are taking rather than planning the trip around the cruise, so we look for any good deals that happen to fit with the rest of our plans.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by Jazztonight » Fri May 17, 2019 2:13 pm

Hope you enjoy your cruise!

DW and I go on one to two cruises a year. We've worked with a particular cruise travel agent for years. He's gotten us very good deals, and throws in his own shipboard credit/discount on top of everything we've been able to find on our own. Also, after we pay the deposit (and until the balance is due) he (and DW) keep track of changes in what the cruise line charging or offering as perks (e.g. usually "free gratuities" or some other kind of discount or shipboard credit).

[PM me if you'd like the name of this agency.]

W have decided to stick with Princess lines (owned by Carnival)--they offer the type of cruise experience that works for us. Not too big, not too small, mostly adult-oriented as opposed to kid-centric. Have always gotten great care re our fussy diets, etc. The more you travel with one cruise line, the better the deal becomes. We'll soon be getting free laundry, more free internet minutes, etc.

You should be aware that if you own shares in the parent company of the cruise line you're on (in my case Carnival), you'll be able to get additional shipboard credits as a "Shareholder Benefit." Folks, this is pretty much "free money," and you should consider it if you like to go on cruises. It's an open secret. Years ago I bought 100 shares of CCL; it pays a nice dividend, and we have taken advantage of the shareholder benefit at least 10 times. (It's the only individual stock I own, and I only bought it for this purpose. Other large cruise lines have this deal as well.)

Finally, we booked a 111 Day World Cruise, LA to LA, leaving in January 2020. Cruisecritic.com has a "Roll Call," and we can see the first names of some of the people who will be on the cruise with us--a sort of built in community, so-to-speak. There's typically a "meet and greet," a nice way to get to meet new people.
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by student » Fri May 17, 2019 2:22 pm

A good agent will get you better deal. Since we are novices and we don't know how to find a good agent, we book directly with the cruise line.

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by Cardinalsfan » Fri May 17, 2019 2:27 pm

Have been using Costco for travel lately. Good deals and they are helpful if you need any service.
Always seems to have a Costco credit for the trip included in trip!

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by ResearchMed » Fri May 17, 2019 2:42 pm

Jazztonight wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 2:13 pm
Hope you enjoy your cruise!

DW and I go on one to two cruises a year. We've worked with a particular cruise travel agent for years. He's gotten us very good deals, and throws in his own shipboard credit/discount on top of everything we've been able to find on our own. Also, after we pay the deposit (and until the balance is due) he (and DW) keep track of changes in what the cruise line charging or offering as perks (e.g. usually "free gratuities" or some other kind of discount or shipboard credit).

[PM me if you'd like the name of this agency.]

W have decided to stick with Princess lines (owned by Carnival)--they offer the type of cruise experience that works for us. Not too big, not too small, mostly adult-oriented as opposed to kid-centric. Have always gotten great care re our fussy diets, etc. The more you travel with one cruise line, the better the deal becomes. We'll soon be getting free laundry, more free internet minutes, etc.

You should be aware that if you own shares in the parent company of the cruise line you're on (in my case Carnival), you'll be able to get additional shipboard credits as a "Shareholder Benefit." Folks, this is pretty much "free money," and you should consider it if you like to go on cruises. It's an open secret. Years ago I bought 100 shares of CCL; it pays a nice dividend, and we have taken advantage of the shareholder benefit at least 10 times. (It's the only individual stock I own, and I only bought it for this purpose. Other large cruise lines have this deal as well.)

Finally, we booked a 111 Day World Cruise, LA to LA, leaving in January 2020. Cruisecritic.com has a "Roll Call," and we can see the first names of some of the people who will be on the cruise with us--a sort of built in community, so-to-speak. There's typically a "meet and greet," a nice way to get to meet new people.
Around the World? What FUN.
That's a dream, but I don't think we could do quite that long for a variety of reasons.
(Oceania has one that is something like 180 days!)

Do you know or will you know how many are on the full 111 days?
There should be some really nice camaraderie on board...

Have a great time!

RM
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by Jazztonight » Sat May 18, 2019 5:08 pm

I think the ship--the Pacific Princess--has a capacity of 600 guests. It's a "boutique cruise ship," and this will be her final voyage, I'm told.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by ResearchMed » Sat May 18, 2019 5:10 pm

Jazztonight wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 5:08 pm
I think the ship--the Pacific Princess--has a capacity of 600 guests. It's a "boutique cruise ship," and this will be her final voyage, I'm told.
Is that the ship that is the 7th (or 8th?) of almost identical ships that have ended up at Oceania and Azamara?

RM
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by curmudgeon » Sat May 18, 2019 7:23 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 5:10 pm
Jazztonight wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 5:08 pm
I think the ship--the Pacific Princess--has a capacity of 600 guests. It's a "boutique cruise ship," and this will be her final voyage, I'm told.
Is that the ship that is the 7th (or 8th?) of almost identical ships that have ended up at Oceania and Azamara?

RM
There were eight R-class built:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissan ... es#R_Class

It looks like currently Oceania has four and Azamara three. It will be interesting to see if this one (the old R3) ends up with either of those lines.
On these R-class ships the staterooms (and especially bathrooms) are pretty small. We did a cruise with Azamara recently, and there were definitely a number of positives vs the larger ships. Our next cruise is on Oceania, but one of their newer, somewhat larger ships, which have larger cabins.

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dm200
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by dm200 » Sun May 19, 2019 2:36 pm

The difference in the price of identical cruises on different dates is quite significant. You save a lot if you can go on the less popular dates.

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Jazztonight
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by Jazztonight » Mon May 20, 2019 9:35 am

curmudgeon wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 7:23 pm
ResearchMed wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 5:10 pm
Jazztonight wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 5:08 pm
I think the ship--the Pacific Princess--has a capacity of 600 guests. It's a "boutique cruise ship," and this will be her final voyage, I'm told.
Is that the ship that is the 7th (or 8th?) of almost identical ships that have ended up at Oceania and Azamara?

RM
There were eight R-class built:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissan ... es#R_Class

It looks like currently Oceania has four and Azamara three. It will be interesting to see if this one (the old R3) ends up with either of those lines.
On these R-class ships the staterooms (and especially bathrooms) are pretty small. We did a cruise with Azamara recently, and there were definitely a number of positives vs the larger ships. Our next cruise is on Oceania, but one of their newer, somewhat larger ships, which have larger cabins.
Thanks for adding this information and link to the Wikipedia description.
"What does not destroy me, makes me stronger." Nietzsche

michaeljc70
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon May 20, 2019 11:34 am

dm200 wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:36 pm
The difference in the price of identical cruises on different dates is quite significant. You save a lot if you can go on the less popular dates.
Yes. Especially last minute. We went on a cruise in 2017 to Europe that we booked on Sunday and left on Tuesday. Very good price. Same for a S America cruise in 2017 booked a few weeks in advance ($350 for 10 nights, free drinks). Most people cannot leave for a trip out of the country with such short notice.

There also tends to be a lot less deals on newer ships.

random_walker_77
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Re: Booking a cruise - any differences in how/where?

Post by random_walker_77 » Mon May 20, 2019 10:26 pm

If you know what you want, and in the absence of a good deal through an agent, there can be a reason to book directly through the cruise line. Sometimes, if there are last minute changes, this takes out the middleman and provides more flexibility. I recall on one of our cruises, there were certain things that could only be changed through the agent and not through the cruise line directly.

On the other hand, I'd highly recommend crucon, who I found via cruisecritic. On our last cruise (several years ago), we'd booked through crucon and there was some decent incentives. Thought this was a good deal, a done deal, but a week or two later, crucon agents contacted me to indicate that a new promotion was available that had even better incentives and they just needed an approval to switch to it. As I recall, it saved me a net couple hundred dollars in free gratuities, which was a very pleasant surprise. More than anything, I was impressed that, even after booking, they were still looking out for me and were able to find an improved deal. For future cruises we'll, at a minimum, get a quote from crucon and all else being equal, go with them.

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