We booked a QM2 cruise with Cruise Value Center and we had no problems. They delivered on everything that they said they would. Therefore, If I were you, I would not hesitate to use them. Enjoy your cruise.
With ANY online TA, don't expect much service. And yes they are most all the same. I book based on price only and need nothing more than a valid ticket. If you need more than book with an agent who can give it to you.
With ANY online booking, ALWAYS, get the cruiseline booking number and verify this YOURSELF directly with the cruiseline. Check your credit card charges as well.
I have been doing this for years and never had any problem. It can pay significantly to compare prices with several agents.
Just note that Cruise Value is known to impose cancellation and change fees if you need to cancel or change your cruise information. They are unique in this aspect, though it is becoming more common. You can save money, but you have to be more careful about what you do.
Their policy is below:
Cruise Value Center charges a $50 per person fee for changes; this fee will be in addition to the aforementioned Cruise Line charges. Notify your Cruise Specialist immediately if changes or corrections are required. $50 Service charge per person for ALL CHANGES i.e. adding/removing air/name change, etc.
$50 fee will be charged for ALL RETURNED CHECKS $50 charge will be assessed for ALL LATE PAYMENTS
Cruise Value Center will impose a $75 per person fee for cancellation plus any penalty from the cruise line (Read suppliers brochure or website for penalties). All requests to cancel a reservation must be forwarded to Cruise Value Center by letter fax, or email along with authorization to charge the Cruise Value Center cancellation fee. Client assumes full responsibility if additional cancellation fees are incurred during the processing period. In addition, the supplier in accordance with their cancellation policies may charge additional fees. Client assumes full responsibility for these cancellation fees.
Ouch, $75/pp cancellation... I should probably not book with Cruise Value. My husband is schedule to have foot surgery sometime in June, he can't get on the plane 30 days (minimum) after surgery. We won't know the date of the surgery until the middle of May. So... If I book now and have to cancel, then I am out $300.
Actually MANY online agencies charge their own cancelation fees. Cruise Value Vacations is not unique as stated above. I booked with 4 different online companies last year, for my 6 cruises and ALL had their own fees on top of the cruiseline fees.
Ouch, $75/pp cancellation... I should probably not book with Cruise Value. My husband is schedule to have foot surgery sometime in June, he can't get on the plane 30 days (minimum) after surgery. We won't know the date of the surgery until the middle of May. So... If I book now and have to cancel, then I am out $300
Be careful, you may be on the verge of a very expensive mistake!! Re-read the fine print that Paul posted; the $75 fee is Cruise Value's which is separate from the cruise line. A deposit is due immediately on booking. During that period, you will be out $300 if you cancel, or $200 if you make any change. The balance is due 3 months prior to sailing. After that, the cruise line penalty is 100% Yes, you are out the entire cost of the cruise (plus the $300 CVC fee) and there are very few exceptions!! It's standard for all cruise lines, not just HAL.
In your case, the cruise has to be paid in full by late April. The entire cruise cost is at stake if you cancel or reschedule.
Although I usually avoid insurance, I *always* buy trip insurance for cruises. It protects against all sorts of unexpected problems that might happen before or during your trip. There are several good carriers and online sellers....browse this forum for suggestions. Some of them have pre-existing medical coverage, but I'm not sure if it covers your husband's surgery since that's somewhat elective and under your control. I suggest calling tripinsurancestore.com ; I used them at the recommendation of this forum and was very impressed. Also be sure the other two people are covered especially if they are not your immediate family members. You may all have to "buy up" to a "Cancel for any reason" policy.
Apologies if you already know all this, but from your post it sounds like you may not. BTW, I just booked a July 13 HAL cruise to Alaska through Cruise Value Center. All the posts are right on...CVC and cruiseshopping are like Wal-Mart. Low prices, but don't expect Nordstrom levels of expertise or customer service. A travel agent friend tried hard but could not touch CVC's price. On the other hand, for a few hundred more, my travel agent doesn't charge a penalty fee, passes on price drops if she can, and can arrange flights, independent travel, etc. around the cruise. If you need that type of assistance, it's a modest price to pay.
Also consider whether your husband's foot will be fully recovered. There's a lot of walking onboard as well as in ports. I have the impression this is especially true in Alaska. It may dampen his enjoyment of the trip if mobility is a problem and you might consider waiting. Alaska prices will be better in late September and ports should be less crowded.
PS- I have no personal or business interest in any of this. Just "been there done that". Hope it helps. Let us know what you decide.
Two words of VERY important advice here: TRIP INSURANCE!
Find a good policy that covers all the various cancellation fees and reasons for cancellation, and factor that cost in to your plans and budget.
When I was younger and traveling solo I never paid much attention to the consequences of unforeseen circumstances. Now that I'm older (wiser?) and have responsibilities to a family of 5, I don't think I'd go anywhere uninsured if there were any uncertainties about the plan...
The only way to keep everyone happy is to delete my signature completely.
If anyone wants advice from a life-long Alaskan resident, please don't hesitate to ask.
Cruise Value Center ... has horrible customer service!
The price listed when booking online is the final price. No price adjustments available after booking online. Which means if your cruise has a price drop, Cruise Value Center will not honor it. If they do, they discourage you by imposing a $50 p\p fee.
Cruise Value Center charges a $50 per person fee for changes, if you misspell your name ouch! They will charge you for it.
Cruise Value Center will impose a $75 per person fee for cancellation plus any penalty from the cruise line.
Cruise Value Center will offer you shipboard credit at time of booking and will change it after booking, stating they made a mistake.
Even though this consolidator offers cruises at reasonable prices, I would rather spend my money on friendly, honest, caring Travel Agent.
Needless to say that we will no longer be using Cruise Value Center.
My recommendation....STAY AWAY!!!!!!!
Best of luck to anyone who uses Cruise Value Center.
Kenish is right about the walking. Your husbands foot surgery is a concern. i don't know the severity of it, but I imagine any foot surgery is going to be painful and sore. There is considerable walking, not just on the ship, but getting off the ship and walking to tour buses or around port.
My sister has a knee problem but neither she nor I thought it would be a problem for she is able to work and walk to the car, and around town.
Our ship was delayed in Vancouver and we had to wait in the convention hall of the Pan Pacific Hotel. When it was time to board it was a very
long walk through the halls and down to ship level for we had already been shuffled from one hall upstairs to another one and finally to the convention hall down stairs. This was not a problem for the rest of us but it became apparent she needed some help. We rented a wheelchair (very pricey) that you can take on board and it will be picked up from your room at the end of your cruise
Also, when we docked in Skagway our tour bus picked us up at the dock, no problem there, but we elected to see a little of the town after our tour. We inquired about our ship and was told the ship at the end of the street was our ship. After tourning the town we started walking toward the ship only to find out that was not our ship. Ours was the 3rd one down, which was about a mile from where we were. We had to get a taxi for she couldn't walk that far. Our Taxi driver told us he could not go through the gate and would have to drop us off at the gate. Two blocks to the boarding area.
I know this doesn't sound like alot to the average person, but to some one with a knee, back, foot problem it can really put a damper on the whole experience.
Thanks everyone.... Sorry for not replying for such a long time. I am an AARP volunteer to file income tax for elderly and low income clients. We are so busy with the stimulus program filing, we had to extend our hours. Truly sorry.
Ok, this is what I will do...
Get travel insurance for the cruise.
Don't purchase the cruise from Cruise Value Center
Postpone husband's foot surgery until after we come back from the cruise.
Glad it all worked out. FWIW, I booked through Cruise Value Center *before* coming across this forum. Although I'm now a bit concerned, so far CVC has done exactly what they said they would do. The booking showed up right away on HAL's website and there were no funny charges on my card. As long as things continue smoothly I am happy with them.
Have an enjoyable cruise, maybe a "reward" for surviving tax season!
I have used them 4 times, first 2 no issues, this current one is where things started going wrong. According to what I have learned, they have been bought out by a firm in MI. Now there has been several compliant of floating the final payment. Matter of fact, my final charges were on my card weeks before it showed up at the cruise line and the credit card invoice shows the agency rather than the cruise line. It took me weeks and several phone calls to get it resolved.
I am concerned because of the amount of internet traffic concerning them as of late. I have the corporate office # in MI if you need it. I ran across this forum while doing a search about complaints and felt I had to bring this up to you all. There has been a long discussion on another forum about this. I do not want to worry you, just let you know to watch you booking and be ready to insist on the final payment be made directly to the cruise line and check on it early.
I have booked 3 cruises through Vacations to Go and have been VERY happy with thier service.
Both of the agents I have dealt with were extremely friendly and helpful. Most recently I booked a cruise (9/22/08 on the Millenium) that required coordinating our reservation with the friends that are traveling with us and he made that happen very easily. The friend was clueless as to how to book a cruise and he walked her through everything. And this was on a weekend, no less! All our arrangements were made and a confirmation arrived by email in about 24 hours. I can hardly wait! We are taking the train from So Cal to Vancouver to catch the cruise, which ends up in San Diego.
Last year we took a 32 day repositioning cruise on the Pacific Princess from Australia to Hawaii. It was wonderful, and one of the best parts was that we got one of those rare super upgrades from inside to minisuite! I was beside myself when we checked in! I am certain that the way our agent set up our booking was the reason it happened. We even got an unexpected stateroom credit from Vacations to Go as a thank you for booking with them. While we were out on that cruise, I decided to take my friend and my daughter on a cruise about a week after we got back- I just called Merilee and told her what I wanted, what card to charge it to and forgot about it until we got home- and had another nice cruise with almost no effort on my part.