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Old January 3rd, 2014, 05:29 PM
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I'm always up to helping!

But Paul is correct; we just don't get the deals for groups we use to get. For example, Carnival's group rates are slightly lower than the normal rate, but they don't offer any GAP (Group Amenity Points) that can be used for onboard credit. By comparison, RCCL group rates are the same as the normal rate, but they do provide GAP points, which can be used for onboard credit.

Problem is with most of these 'group' rates is that often you can get a better rate outside of the group, such as special sales, past guest, senior, etc, and then transfer into the group in order to get any group benefits.

In other words, the focus of groups has changed; it use to be all about getting a better rate and now it's more about just getting together as a group.

We have alot of groups on the books and I have to explain all of this to all of them because of all the changes that come down over the last few years.

So, with all that said, I would advise if you're looking for a nice group cruise, then don't be as concerned with the prices as you are about the cruise line, ship, sail date, and itinerary, and then let people decide whether or not they want to go.

Besides, if it's all about finding the cheapest price, then it'll be Carnival with a few NCL cruises thrown in there. Or you're going to have to leave from an out of the way port like Galveston, where they're offering some awesome prices on the RCCL Navigator of the Seas (inside cabins from $379 in November).

If you want more upscale, then Holland's prices are tough to beat, but as we all know, they are geared more towards an older crowd. And if you're looking at something like this, then you also might want to consider some of the newer ships in the Celebrity fleet, which are wonderful, but a bit more expensive.

And if you don't mind a bit more expensive, then the Ruby Princess is another wonderful ship to consider.

And so on and so forth.

As I tell all my group leaders, if you ask everyone in your group what cruise you should book, you're going to get as many answers as there are people in the group and you'll never reach a consensus. So my best advice is always for the group leader to work with the agent to find one cruise they feel will work best for the group. Then let the group know this is the cruise you'll be doing and they can decide to go or not because at that point it becomes less about the cruise itself and more about the group getting together.

Based on my experiences with alot of groups over the last 12 years, if you offer more than one choice, whoever did not pick the one that becomes the final choice will more than likely decide not to go anyway because it wasn't the one they wanted.

JMHO.

Pete
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Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/12 yrs exp and 47 Cruises on 11 cruise lines! Favorites: Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises - Europe; Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America - 12-nights Baltics & Russia; RCCL - 14-nights Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America - 14-day Alaskan cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days Hawaii w/7-night NCL cruise; Oceania - 25 days in Asia; more than 3 months touring Europe by train. And many all-inclusive resorts!
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