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  #1 (permalink)  
Old June 17th, 2011, 12:37 PM
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Default Is there a rule regarding discussing whom we booked with?

I mentioned it once in passing, but I have been using vouchers to book cruises which are sold on ebay, overstock, and some other sites on auction.

Its a way to get cruises often less than half the cost, though you do have to jump thru some hoops. I posted a thread on another site, and a TA at first tried to say it was a scam and when he realized it wasnt, he wrote to all the cruiselines to complain that he couldnt do it too.

I tried to find a list of hosts on this site to private message them, but cant seem to see a list of hosts to contact privately.

It isnt for everyone, so Id like to point out the pros and cons of booking this way, so TAs on here are not feeling threatened. Iv completed 2 thru them and have 6 more booked, so Im pretty familiar with the good and the bad.

Is this a subject allowed to be openly discussed or is it hushed up like on CruiseCritic? I dont want to be banned. I read the FAQs of this site and cant find rules for what is allowed as a subject on this site.
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Old June 17th, 2011, 01:03 PM
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The rule is that there is no advertising, within posts, allowed on the site. A thread that is started that says something on the order of: "Book with Joe's Travel" will be immediately deleted.

The "rule of thumb" and it is open to interpretation of the moderators so it isn't etched in stone is: "If it is a direct answer to a direct question then the name of an agency or tour provider can be mentioned." I.E. "Does anyone know of a good agent or tour provider?"

This gets abused by agents and tour providers who register under a couple of ID's and start a thread and then answer it under another userid. We can tell when this happens.

So: If someone asks a specific question you could say that you were able to get a great deal through Overstock or Ebay. But do not provide any more specific information such as contact information or website URL or the post may get deleted.

However, I would advise anyone who does book this way to REALLY pay attention to the fine print and price compare. Current cruise line regulations do not allow any agency to sell a cruise for less than the current price the cruise line is selling it for. Also, the 50% or 70% off is very deceptive. They are talking about the "nobody ever pays" brochure price and not the current selling price.

We want to provide the free flow of information but also don't want the boards to become nothing more than a bunch of advertisements. It's a hard line to walk and sometimes legitimate information is deleted with the overt attempts at advertising.

Take care,
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Old June 17th, 2011, 01:04 PM
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flowers, you can inform anyone on this site about the vouchers and if anyone wants details on how to obtain them they can PM you.
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Old June 17th, 2011, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
It isnt for everyone, so Id like to point out the pros and cons of booking this way, so TAs on here are not feeling threatened. Iv completed 2 thru them and have 6 more booked, so Im pretty familiar with the good and the bad.
I'd like it if you can email or PM me the specifics with specific details on prices you paid, and prices of on what you have booked for the future.

That way I can do some research and compare exact sailings dates and prices available.

If in fact, it works as you say, and is less expensive, then it will make for an interesting article. AND I'd like to get a reaction from the cruise lines who have set their own flat pricing policies, which would mean they are allowing someone, aside from Travel Agents, to circumvent their own rules.

It wouldn't surprise me if they were, and it would certainly make for fun article for me to write.
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Old June 17th, 2011, 02:59 PM
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Flowers, I read most of that thread in the other site and I was not surprrised by the reaction, since that site is very open about the members that are TA's. And thank you for the PM that I had asked for.

Kuki, I think that would be a very interesting article. I hope you get to write it.
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Old June 17th, 2011, 03:14 PM
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Well...

If it is a voucher from a cruise line that was given out for some reason like compensation for a missed cruise, etc, then it has nothing to do with the cruise lines or agents.

It would be like if I took an airline voucher on an overbooked flight for $400 and then sold it on eBay for $250. It is transferrable, so I see no problem with that.

If travel agents have a problem with people selling legitimate vouchers like that then I think they doth protest too much.

I have personally never heard of other kinds of cruise vouchers that are legitimate but if you want to PM me you certainly can.
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Old June 17th, 2011, 03:28 PM
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Kuki, let us know of the OP participates and you get to write that article. WE all want to know how to save money on cruising.
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Old June 17th, 2011, 03:38 PM
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This appears to be the program in reference...

I am sorry but it is too complicated for me to figure it out - ,y eyes glaze offer with these things, but I do some people just love to get involved with stuff like this.

I just don't even know where to start.

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Old June 17th, 2011, 05:10 PM
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OK I emailed Kuki with a bit of what is offered, lots of cruiselines.

Paul is correct with the site. (I dont know how exactly they do it except I do know its group cruises, and we suspect its the free berths on the groups but Im speculating).

You are added to already formed groups, and do not get a booking number and cabin assignment until the cruiseline closes out the group, near final payment time. So, its not for people who are not totally flexible, need special cabins and service.

So, I dont know how its done, but I know how it works from a pax point of view, and I can say its not for everyone... you have no idea which offers will come up next or what ports they will sail from.

Anyway.. Ill wait for Kuki before I say more. Paul said he looked and his eyes are rolling .. so that is why I thought I could help.

I do want to say .. the reason Im bringing this up .. I keep reading on here that you cannot get discounted Carnival or RCL cruises .. and Im here to say I have.
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Old June 17th, 2011, 05:14 PM
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I got into trouble "elsewhere" because I just thought these sites were to help & advise others whilst maybe learning something yourself, I didn't know it was bad to mention good deals & Ta's, I asked why once & you would have thought I was supporting the Taliban!
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Old June 17th, 2011, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flowers View Post
OK I emailed Kuki with a bit of what is offered, lots of cruiselines.

Paul is correct with the site. (I dont know how exactly they do it except I do know its group cruises, and we suspect its the free berths on the groups but Im speculating).

You are added to already formed groups, and do not get a booking number and cabin assignment until the cruiseline closes out the group, near final payment time. So, its not for people who are not totally flexible, need special cabins and service.

So, I dont know how its done, but I know how it works from a pax point of view, and I can say its not for everyone... you have no idea which offers will come up next or what ports they will sail from.

Anyway.. Ill wait for Kuki before I say more. Paul said he looked and his eyes are rolling .. so that is why I thought I could help.

I do want to say .. the reason Im bringing this up .. I keep reading on here that you cannot get discounted Carnival or RCL cruises .. and Im here to say I have.
But you can get a discounted cruise from CCL or RCI, if the agency you have selected has group space that has secured an allotment of staterooms at a lower fare than is currently being offered..... Key is to find a TA with group space that you can be added to at a lower than current fare.
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Old June 17th, 2011, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fun2cruiz View Post
But you can get a discounted cruise from CCL or RCI, if the agency you have selected has group space that has secured an allotment of staterooms at a lower fare than is currently being offered..... Key is to find a TA with group space that you can be added to at a lower than current fare.
This is way less than half the advertised lowest fare in all cases but one. These are way less than group fares. The prices are for 2 people in a cabin, including all taxes and fees. Thats why TAs are reacting all over the place and why Im treading lightly, when they see what the prices really are. These are lower than any group prices, and in some cases do not cover the NCFs and taxes and fees.
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Old June 17th, 2011, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flowers View Post
This is way less than half the advertised lowest fare in all cases but one. These are way less than group fares. The prices are for 2 people in a cabin, including all taxes and fees. Thats why TAs are reacting all over the place and why Im treading lightly, when they see what the prices really are. These are lower than any group prices, and in some cases do not cover the NCFs and taxes and fees.
Many times a TA or agency will secure space 1 year or more in advance and at much lower fares than current group space may have.....Without knowing when the agency booked space on a ship you are not comparing apples to apples at all. Again, the key is to find a TA that has lower priced group rates and you very well may have found the source to find those TA's. Many TA's will quote a "cruise fare" (which is really all you can shop for since the NCF and taxes should be the same if booking "cruise only" w/out air) to capture the attention of a potential clients and later the client will find out that not included in that rate were the NCF, taxes and fee's !
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Old June 18th, 2011, 08:08 AM
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In this case, the group space is being sold to businesses and charities and we are the add on cabins to these groups.

My biggest caveat: YOU DO NOT GET YOUR BOOKING # UNTIL THE GROUP IS CLOSED OUT. You will only get a confirmation in pdf form with your names, and gty category, and the group cruise #. Richard, the owner, says he doesnt know why this bothers Americans, except in the U.S. anyone can be a TA and TAs are not held to the higher standards UK travel agents are held to.

IMO the best way these work is if you are totally flexible. I have friends who will only do Carnival. ..but Carnival pulled away from supporting groups for a while and we had no Carnival offers for about 8 months. These are sold as all inclusive cruises, but it was found out that NCL adds tips that are not allowed to be removed, so now you have to click to sign a disclaimer .. but for a while all NCL cruises were removed until the TA's legal dept could figure it out.

I live in TX and naturally prefer going out of the gulf, but primarily the only choices are Carnival. My next 4 booked I have to fly to, so you have to add flight costs into the equation to decide if these are a good deal for you.

You are given a price to upgrade, which is set by the cruiselines, and may be a larger amount than the difference between the actual price of what you booked and the price of a balcony you want. I had a friend cancel who was upset by the upgrade costs. Example Carnival Conquest, booked a inside, and the upgrade price to a balcony is offered by Carnival at $360 pp plus the TA charges a fee of up to $100 for their work. (the actual price difference is only around $240 pp). So, I want to emphasize if you only want a balcony, you should only book offers that you can book a balcony directly with your miles/vouchers.

So, you never know which cruiselines, categories, ports or anything else will be next added.

You can only book one cruise every 120 days. Now its all automated and it will tell you online when you can book next. . well usually. Now he has a auctioned off cruise button, where you can bid even if you are on the 120 day wait. Things change, so Iv managed to book more than my share in spite of the rules to wait between bookings.

I will give you my costs for my cruises if Kuki allows it, but really what I paid may not be what the next person paid, due to the nature of auctions. So far, I seem to have paid more than anyone else I talked to on the actual cruises. If I say I paid $250 for my cruise for 2, someone else managed to get it cheaper by finding a seller in another part of the world that had cheaper prices. We have now been put into regions, so now its harder to find that german seller at half price.

My other tip is dont buy a bunch of vouchers ahead of time, as rules change, and what you bought might be bought half price later. As Im a shopaholic, this has come back to bite me so that Im paying more for my cruises than someone who waited to buy.

If you only want balconies, this also probably isnt for you, as often only insides, or insides and OVs are offered, its hard to find a offer that includes balconys. .. and upgrades are expensive and ruin the bargain.. again imo.

This is for that cruiser who just wants to try out new cruiselines and doesnt care which cabin they are assigned. There might be a dozen offers added for Celebrity, which Iv never done, and heard is mostly older .. but Im thinking of taking the plunge if there isnt a RCL cruise offered.

Because of the no discounting rules .. you do have to jump thru a few hoops to disguise the price, and it has gotten worse (Paul's eye rolling). Now you have to take the voucher, and change it to miles, not hard to me, and the cruise prices are listed in miles now. The ebay and other site sellers are not employed by the TA, further distancing them. Just cruisers who said hey Id like to sell the vouchers. They dont have any more inside knowledge than I do.

You will be seated with others in your group, who you probably wouldnt meet until dinner time at whichever dining time you choose. You cant choose anytime dining when you book. RCL for one requires you prepay tips and they arent going to deal with this.

If Kuki says I can post my prices .. again its just my prices. I know lots of people who paid much less and seem to find better bargains at the auctions than I do.

These are great bargains and a way to experience other cruiselines cheap but only for people that are totally flexible.

My main reason for wanting to post this is several times when I feel Im biting my lip when someone says you cant get discounted cruises .. you can if you are totally flexible. If not .. this is not for you.

My main problem has been buyers remorse. I booked Carnival Conquest the end of Sept, then 2 weeks later, for the same price, Carnival Magic was offered. I begged to be changed and no sooner got changed when he offered Disney Magic the same week (albeit about double the miles, but I would still have loved to try Disney Magic out of Galveston on the cheap).

I booked Oasis for Sept 3rd .. and then he offered Allure for Sept 4th for the same price. Naturally Id rather do Allure!!! its newer. You cant really plan for what will be offered next and they arent going to switch you around from cruise to cruise to cruise, so plan on taking whichever cruise you booked.

Anyway .. its interesting and doesnt have to be your only way of booking, just a now and again extra cruise on that cruiseline you never thought you might try.
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Old June 18th, 2011, 08:49 AM
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I just saw how long my previous post was .. I apologize. It really is not a matter of suggesting this is my new TA, as if this is a regular way of booking and just another TA. Its more like a clearinghouse of extra cabins on groups.

Its in addition to your regular TA or booking agents... and takes enough explaining, that I did not want to insert it into another thread where it came up.

I also apologize for how many times I said you need to be flexible, but you need to know this going in. For sure it is not just like mentioning which TA you use, much more involved.
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