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  #1 (permalink)  
Old February 7th, 2002, 08:42 PM
mlbcruiser
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Default Large group booking for next year: Questions.

Though my family has cruised a lot, there are several people we know who will be parents of graduating high school seniors next year. Many of these kids have been on cruises & nice caribbean vacations in the past w/their parents & we all have T/As we would prefer to use, I'm sure. (Rule # 1: No kid can go without a parent.) I don't think it is too soon to begin planning which ship, etc., for spring break 2003. Have any of you ever done this? I am leaning towards just choosing the ship, & putting out the word that the families who are interested should just contact their T/A and arrange things themselves.I DO NOT want to be involved in trying to gather up everyone else's pymts., deposits, etc. However, I do want to save as much money as possible. Also (lots of questions here!), the prices seem to go up & down when you book so far in advance. I always book about ll mos. ahead & then watch the prices go up & down until about Sept. or even later (for spring). But I have a feeling we will not get much of a committment from most of the people involved until maybe Sept. Is that kind of late? We could be talking l0 to 15 families, easy. Any good, realistic advice would be appreciated.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old February 7th, 2002, 11:06 PM
Carole Dunham
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Default Re: Large group booking for next year: Questions.

If you do it that way you will lose the price advantage a group booking can give you. I'd talk to a few agents and have them do the work for you, including collecting deposits and final payments.

Carole
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Old February 8th, 2002, 01:27 AM
mlbcruiser
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Default Re: Large group booking for next year: Questions.

My daughter has just informed me she & her friends do NOT want to form a very large group, so it all may be a moot point. (This could change, of course. Esp. with teens!) There would still probably be about 5 families involved so this may still work out to be a "group". Thanks so much for your reply & I am still hoping to learn more before any plans really get going.
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Old February 8th, 2002, 10:51 AM
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Default Re: Large group booking for next year: Questions.

My advice is to pick one travel agent and let him/her be the group coordinator: take all the bookings, arrange the airfare, etc. The travel agent will contact everyone and arrange for payment. Sort out the cabins and set up group dining for those who want it.

Groups get better rates when they all book as an entity. And, as the group coordinator, you're eligible for a free cabin when a certain number are told.

You won't have to do any work on this, just show up. But there are benefits, as I mentioned above.

Anne Campbell
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Old February 8th, 2002, 02:26 PM
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Default Re: Large group booking for next year: Questions.

What Anne said.

I have learned a lot from the TA who is doing the CM Summit cruise this coming May.

You will certainly do better booking as a group than scattering off to individual TAs. And it will be a lot less work.

pamda
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Old February 9th, 2002, 04:07 AM
mlbcruiser
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Default Re: Large group booking for next year: Questions.

Thanks to all of you. Guess it's unanimous. Now, if we could just get the prospective families to be willing to start thinking about this NOW! -Or at least within the next couple of mos!. . . That brings a new question: What do you think is the latest we can realistically wait to book re: space avail. & a good price?
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Old February 9th, 2002, 12:33 PM
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Default Re: Large group booking for next year: Questions.

mlb ...

According to one of my resource people, NOW is not too early to start looking, especially since you are looking at a high-booking time such as spring break.

The challenge must be choosing a ship that everyone will like with an agreeable itinerary. Is that possible? Can you please everyone all the time?

A good TA will monitor prices for you as time passes, provide a few goodies along the way, handle the hassles, and get the best possible price for you at the outset.

The more business a TA does with a cruise line, the more the price shave may be.

If you hit the number of berths that qualify for a "TC" (free) berth or cabin, you can take it for yourself (and everyone will cordially hate you if you ever tell) or spread the savings throughout the group.

Does this help at all?

pamda
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Old February 10th, 2002, 03:34 AM
mlbcruiser
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Default Re: Large group booking for next year: Questions.

Yes, it does. Thanks, Pamda. I think I'll print this out & show it to my daughter - only wait til April to do it. I think she thinks I'm being anal & a nerd worrying about it this far in advance. (Or maybe she & her friends want to make sure they are all still getting along well before they decide to all go on a cruise??) When you are the parent of a teen, it isn't hard to do something that embarrasses them. Some of the people have never cruised before & I don't think they realize that if you want a certain thing, you'd better plan it far in advance for that time of year. My neighbors always plan the next year's cruise w/us almost right after we get back from one. Their daughter will be in the mix. We saw them tonight & they are the only ones we know who will really be ready to go ahead w/this. We may just choose our cruise like always so that we get something we want & have our girls tell their friends to get w/the program or risk losing out. Maybe we can find a group agent willing to let us START the process without knowing if we will end up with enough to make it a true group cruise. I am so addicted to cruising anyway, that I'm sure everyone just thinks I'm chomping at the bit when there's a true reason to do so this time.
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Old February 10th, 2002, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: Large group booking for next year: Questions.

mlb ...

I can tell you what happened with the Let's Get Lei'd cruise. As soon as the decision was taken as to itinerary, ship, dates, etc. our TA booked group space before the cruise was ever announced based on a prediction of how many people would decide to sail.

What's interesting about your proposed group is that everyone pretty well knows one another so it would be possible to have a good idea of the kind of accomodations you want at the outset.

In the case of the LGL cruise, it was largely guesswork. So, no, you are NOT being an anal nerd.

Didn't you read the part of the instruction manual that says parents are REQUIRED to embarass teens at every possible opportunity?

pamda -- CM First-Time Cruisers Editor
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Old February 10th, 2002, 11:43 PM
mlbcruiser
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Default Re: Large group booking for next year: Questions.

Well, I do my share of that. This is my third & youngest teen, so I've had a lot of practice! I told my daughter just a little while ago about your advice to get going. So maybe she will at least begin talking about it w/her pals a little more. By the time we get back from the Pride it will be time to start moving on this for sure. (Well, it's already time, but by then I will have my neighbor ready to move on it, too. We can talk about it on the Pride! I'm one of those who has already checked out next year's prices BEFORE I go talk to the ship T/A. That way I know their "deals" are usually not that great & am not tempted to book while on the ship.)

Though I know the KIDS involved, I don't know some of their parents. I know two sets quite well (but one set is currently in a bitter divorce, so that girl will probably be part of our party), & I "sort of" know 2 other sets, but don't know the parents of some of the others except to say hi. Your idea about getting an agent to block off some rooms is EXCELLENT, however. My family always gets an inside, cheaper-the-better, cabin. My neighbors always get a balcony or suite. I have NO idea what the others would like. Some are quite well off, but still might like to save some $. Maybe the T/A would have a good idea of how to handle that.

Gee, Pamda, you are a great help in lots of areas (Puerto Vallarta!). Thanks again.
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