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Old February 18th, 2003, 01:43 PM
JeannieNY
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Default Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

I'm planning a cruise on Carnival (I've narrowed it down to the Inspiration or Paradise) for mid August. I'm a serious bargain hunter and the best price I seem to be able to get is $699 for Oceanview. That's not too bad, but I think I can do better, since that's everyone's price. My absolute first choice is the Carnival Legend out of NYC because that would eliminate airfare, but at a minimum of $1450 pp. it's out of the question for my family of 5. How long should I wait before I book? Do fares get cheaper as the date gets closer? Another ship I would like to try is Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, the price is higher and it involves airfare also, so I don't think that's going to be an option either. I've had a few travel agents call, and I'm ready to book, but I don't want to get on board and find out that half the people paid alot less than me--that would drive me crazy!!! I'm pretty flexible with everything, except the date--Mid august. I'm trying to keep this to no more than $1000 pp. whether we go to Fla. or NYC. Any suggestions?? Thanks!!
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Old February 18th, 2003, 02:46 PM
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Default Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

JeannieNY....don't drive yourself crazy wondering if others paid less . You will always find people who paid more or less. All you can do is shop around and if you are happy with the price then all is well. As others have wisely said here.....the cheapest price is'nt always the best deal. Depends on each individual as to what they are looking for. Good luck.

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Old February 18th, 2003, 02:50 PM
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Default Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

It is my understanding that if we go to war, the cruiselines are planning to move several ships from Europe to the Caribbean. This increased competion in the Caribbean should result in lower prices. You may wan to wait another monthe before booking.
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Old February 18th, 2003, 02:54 PM
Tarra
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Default Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

I found best prices through a travel agent. I thought I could find better on my own but they quoted me $300-400 cheaper on all I checked.

Good luck.
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Old February 18th, 2003, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

I found my cruise through an online travel agent. The promised that even if i booked now, they would price protect me and get me the best fare possible before sailing. Even if it meant giving me a ship board credit. See what they come up with.
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Old February 18th, 2003, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

We used icruise.com. They have the best prices. I haven't found anyone who could beat their price. I think they even have a guarantee.

Within 71 days of sailing, our price dropped and they got us upgraded about three categories.

Jenni
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Old February 18th, 2003, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

On Icruise - Inspiration - Ocean view in Mid-August is about $659.
Paradise - Ocean view in mid-August is $570!

Jenni
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Old February 18th, 2003, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

NO ONE agency can ALWAYS give you the best price. It pays to shop around but remember that the lowest price is not always the best price. You have to figure in service and reliability as well. That is an excellant price and I doubt you can do better expecially with it being peak season. Sounds like the rates are already dramatically reduced. What you may wish to do is go ahead and book but make sure the agency promises in writing that should the price drop outside the cruiseline penalty timeframe, that they will get you the reduced rate. If you wait the price could goe up and then those that booked early are in the cat-birds seat. NEVER worry about what someone else paid, in fact, never ask. If YOU are happy with the price you paid then let it go and remain happy. I always run into those that claim they paid $25 a day PP for their cruise and most of them are just plain full of it. <G> Life is too short to worry about the next guy, get what is a good deal for you and enjoy.
Jim

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Old February 18th, 2003, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

You know it also depends on which week you go. The summer time is usually costly and probably fills up quicker because of the break from school but by mid Aug most kids are already back in school. If you are uncomfortable with the cost then by no means book yet. You must be satisfied with what you are paying. As others said there is always someone who paid more or less. If you are willing to take the chance of last minute steals then go for it. I have been seeing some great last minute deals that are too good for us to pass but we just got off a cruise so I have to wait altho we were thinking of summer or fall. But I will tell you this, we have paid good money for all our cruises and now I want a deal so I will wait til a last minute comes in that I want.

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Old February 18th, 2003, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

The cheapest prices are cruise411.com and icruises.com. I have found that cruise411.com is usually the cheapest. On cruise.411 I found that the Aug 17 sailing of the Inspiration for an Oceanview starts at $510 and the Aug 17 sailing of the Paradise for an Oceanview starts at $582.
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Old February 19th, 2003, 03:31 AM
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Default Re: Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

Jeannie,

Nushnakka and Jim have it right on the nose. There will always be someone that pays much more than you and some that pay much less.

I, of necessity, must cruise last minute so I usually get a fantastic deal, but I don't get much of a choice of cabins and frequently I have a ship SELL OUT right on my screen (a cabin that was available 20 minutes ago is now gone)!

One online booking agent might be better for a particular cruiseline, some don't even want to talk to you, but do everything by e-mails (lightning fast, I might add).

When you get what you think is "a good deal", jump on it and enjoy.
You'll have a great time no matter what you pay.

Gary
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Old February 19th, 2003, 08:06 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

Of course we checked MANY websites for the best price when we booked our cruise. Icruise was consistently the lowest or met the lowest. They also offered a down payment feature and were easy to use and have been easy to deal with. I have foudn Cruise 411 to be difficult to use and they send annoying emails all the time.
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Old February 19th, 2003, 09:04 AM
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Default Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

Jim Bragg you are absloutely correct brother. I have found cruisers are like folks on a gambling junket. Everyone always say they won. Same with cruisers. I hear the same talk on board about the I only paid port charges people. I agree with you that most of us oops them are full of it. With 3000 people on these new superliners its my guess that we all pay a slightly different price. If ive done my homework and gotten all the credits I can prior to cruising and like my price then thats all that counts. Jeannie book what you can comfromtably afford and go have fun.
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Old February 19th, 2003, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

Not always txyall. I repeat NO AGENCY ALWAYS HAS THE BEST PRICE. The degree of service you experiance and your personal satisfaction is the leading reason many stick with the same agency and that is a good thing but, never shut yourself off from other options. I have a wonderful TA that is also a great friend but I do not always book with her. Most of the time she gets a fantastic price, other times she has told me she cannot come close to others pricing and to book with them.
Jim

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Old February 19th, 2003, 06:09 PM
coroner4u
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Default Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

we just now booked ours today for march 1 out of new orleans. we paid only 316.00 a person since we are two weeks away from cruise time.good luck. oh yeah, and it is ocean view on the riviera deck
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Old February 20th, 2003, 07:04 AM
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Default Re: Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

Good deal coroner! Happy sailing to you. I am trying to book my "land cruise" so hopefully I will start a new countdown clock.
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Old February 20th, 2003, 06:10 PM
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Default Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

Mr. Bragg:

You're correct in that you never know who might have the better price. You should always check as many sources as possible. However, regarding cruise411 and icruise, for the cruises that I've been interested, I have yet to find lower pricing elsewhere.

Jenni:

I found cruise411 extremely easy to use and have only received a bon voyage email from them. However, icruise is a good site too.
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Old February 20th, 2003, 06:33 PM
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Default Re: Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

You all must continue on those sites to get the complete price. I just checked and category 6A (lowest ocean view) on Paradise and Inspiration in mid August is $758 (Paradise) and $694 (Inspiration) when you include the port charges and taxes. These prices were identical on both icruise.com and buycruises.com to the penny. That first screen on icruise.com does NOT include the extra fees.

That being said I keep a spreadsheet of various cruises I am looking at and keep a running log of what each agency is offering them at particular times of the year. I can verify from over a year's worth of data that buycruise.com is the best pricewise for any cruise I've been tracking. But, when I'm ready to book I call my TA and ask him if he can beat their price and he says of course. And he does. So he gets my check.

Regards,
Thomas
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Old February 20th, 2003, 06:57 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

Always the critical thinker, Thomas, he's got it head on.

I do a similar thing in that I create a matrix on a pad as I'm figuring a particular ship and date.

Often don't have to go past icruise's front screen because I know exactly what the port fees are already and the govt. taxes are so I just enter the "come on" price and fill in the blanks on my matrix myself.

Just as Thomas observed, I frequently come up with IDENTICAL numbers for the same cruise, cabin, etc. Then I call my 800 online TA and get an identical number . Then I know I'm at the end of the line. I've arrived at the lowest price. Either enter the card # or move on to a different cruise. <grin>

If I buy, I jump around the room doing a little dance self- congratulating myself on being shrewder than the TAs out there. Of course, I'm sure the online TA is doing her little dance around her desk congratulating herself on outsmarting another one of those arrogant know-it-all cruisers <huge grin>.

Gary
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Old February 21st, 2003, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best dea

That's funny Gary! You and Thomas are just so with it. Me, I go to many sites and I just write info on whatever paper is laying around. I always look at several ships and I write down their itens, ship stats and the cost. Then if I need to fly into port the cost for flying vs the cost for driving. By the time I am done I have little scraps of paper with all kinds of info on it but I always can make sense of it. But I like your ideas with the matrix thing and all. These are the things we have to do to make sure we get the best ship for the price!
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Old February 21st, 2003, 07:31 AM
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Default Re: Carnival Cruising--How do I get the best deal???

nush dont feel bad i m like you a little paper type person. personally though i ve never found anyone to beat bestpricecruises.com... thats the number i usually end up giving my local TA to beat.
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