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Old May 13th, 2004, 12:07 PM
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Default How do you do all the cruises? $$ Vacation Club?

Question after just discovering this site a few days ago. wev'e just returned from our 1st cruise on the Pride. We had a great time!! Can't wait for our next one!

My question is, after reading posts, Iv'e seen many listed numerous cruises, sometimes as many as 3 a year! How do you do it? Are they are short crusies, inside cabins? Is this the only form of vacation you take?

Is anyone here taken advantage of that Carnival Vacation Club that they try to sell on board? We listened to the sales pitch and can see the advantage of it, but didn't want to take the plunge.

I can tell there are many well infomed cruisers here. Looking to learn from "master crusiers" how to get better deals for future crusies.

Thanks for any help.

Victoria
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Old May 13th, 2004, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: How do you do all the cruises? $$ Vacation Club?

Well, I'm not a master cruiser, but only had a month or so between the time I completed my cruise in January and when I booked my next cruise!

The thing I find so wonderful about cruising is the looooong savings time! To book, you only need a deposit - $250 per person for our most recent cruise, so I was able to book and know that I had 5 months to pull together the balance.

That being said, I have a small savings account that I chunk any extra money that comes our way into, if it's not already included in our income budget. Birthday checks from my Mom (yes she still sends them and I'm almost 48!), money from the classes I teach, ANYTHING extra goes into the account.

We booked an inside cabin for our last cruise, but are going with a 6A outside for the next.

It's easier for me to NOT buy something now that I'm addicted to cruising. I just say "Oh, do I *really* need that, or can I put that money in the cruise account?"

My oven is broken...do I *really * one, or.........

dorothy

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Old May 13th, 2004, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: How do you do all the cruises? $$ Vacation Club?

We stumbled into cruising about 8 years ago just after our second daughter's wedding and while daughter number 3 was still in grad school. We booked an off season last minute (5 weeks before the cruise) special that we saw in the Sunday Times travel section. Used credit card points for the airfare and did the rest as cheaply as possible.
Well, now the schools are done, the weddings are done and the hook has been sunk long ago for cruising as a favorate pastime. The room catagories seem to creep steadily upward as do the lengths of the cruises. We've done a four day, several sevens, two tens, two elevens a fourteen and another fourteen upcoming. Gram saves meticulously for each through a "christmas club" type account that is used instead for travel. Of course we have the expensive costs of housing and the truly expensive costs of raising and educating (and marrying ) three children behind us.
Through our mid forties, a vacation was either a three day weekend or a week at my Dad's vacation home. Compared to the 11 years that we had multiple kids in college and grad schools, travel is cheap as heck.
Set a goal. save for it. Seek bargains by looking online and in travel sections of the papers and by working with a good TA. Keep your needs and demands modest if that is what your resources are.
Happy cruising
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Old May 13th, 2004, 03:14 PM
snowmojim
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Default Re: How do you do all the cruises? $$ Vacation Club?

After watching friends who are just 10-15 years older than us “pull the short straw” when it comes to health, we decided that it was important to enjoy life now rather than gamble on the future. We book inside cabins and find discount airfare. I don’t think we have spent more than $1500.00 on a trip yet. Our friends are green with jealousy! We did three Carnival trips last year, and leaving on the second trip of this year tomorrow. Saving for retirement is important, but equally important is experiencing life now!
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Old May 13th, 2004, 04:33 PM
Denny
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Default Re: How do you do all the cruises? $$ Vacation Club?

I use a Christmas club, except that I use it for cruises. I have a certain amount taken from my pay check each week. I also do some odd jobs on the side. Any extra money I get goes into our "Cruise Account". With my wife and myself, one pays for the tickets and the other saves for the spending money.(Both the same amount.). Once we are equal in the dollar amount, if we want more spending money, we each put in equal amounts. (My wife has it easier as she can work all the overtime she wants.) This way we are able to afford at least one cruise a year, and sometimes two. Our next is in Sept. already booked, can't wait.
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Old May 13th, 2004, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: How do you do all the cruises? $$ Vacation Club?

Since the 80's, I've had several savings accounts at my credit union for car insurance/Christmas Club/slush fund/property taxes/regular savings, and TRAVEL. Each month, amounts from my paycheck are automatically placed into each account, so that the money is there when I need it. I save for trips a year before I book them. But - having worked as an outside TA for many years, I can take advantage of cruise/tour discounts if I do enough bookings. Holland America BY FAR has offered the best TA rates. Carnival (pre 9/11) offered booking contests for free cruises, and I did several of those. Nowadays, though, Carnival and RCI don't offer too many TA discounts. Four years ago, I did four cruises. Three years ago, I did three prior to 9/11. Two years ago, I did one. Last year, I did three. This year, I've just done a week in Cancun at the Moon Palace, ($5.00 a day...eat your heart out!) and have booked the Spirit AK for 2005. We're thinking about doing the Holiday when it moves to Mobile in October, and are holding a reservation for March 2005. But, I saved for our travel years before I worked as a sideline TA. Saving money a year in advance allowed us to book` with the money already saved, and avoid the "sweating" to make final payment.
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Old May 14th, 2004, 07:09 AM
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Default Re: How do you do all the cruises? $$ Vacation Club?

You have to watch for the low prices and/or last minute cruise deals. SIgn up with CCL to get their email. There's a 4 night cruise on the Fascination is the fall at $229 for any inside cabin (free upgrade) for past cruisers.
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Old May 14th, 2004, 01:20 PM
Happy Camper
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Default Re: How do you do all the cruises? $$ Vacation Club?

Off season, last minute, through the internet and save the points on the Carnival credit card for $200,$500 or $1000 off. Debbie
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Old May 14th, 2004, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: How do you do all the cruises? $$ Vacation Club?

I always book inside cabin - and book far enough in advance so that I can pay it off easily. I also try to save every penny I can so that I can cruise more often. The more I can do without the more often I can cruise. katie
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Old May 14th, 2004, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: How do you do all the cruises? $$ Vacation Club?

We book our cruise in advance (10 months this time)....... take the balance, divide it by the number of months until our final payment -- and then make small monthly payments to CCL. They don't seem to mind. Unless I have a very good actor for a TA and he is actually hiding the fact that just can't stand me!! YIKES!!!

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Old March 21st, 2005, 06:45 PM
djchrissocal
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Default Re: How do you do all the cruises? $$ Vacation Club?

The Carnival Vacation Club is simply a timeshare program.

Simply put, it is cheaper to call your travel agent and book a cruise than it is to buy points from the Carnival Vacation Club program and buy cruises with your points.

My first mistake was that I signed up. My second mistake was that I didn't do my homework right when I got off the ship. Had I done my homework, I would have realized that the rate I'm paying with this program is 10%-25% HIGHER than had I simply booked directly with my travel agent.

This is of course not what I was promised when I signed up. I was promised that I would get more than my money's worth in cruises alone - that I would have enough points for 4-5 cruises just like the one I was on right now. In actuality, with the points I purchased, I could barely get 3 cruises, which is just about what I could get had I just called my travel agent and paid them. I should have never trusted what I was told, only what I signed...which were 2 totally different things.

The explanation from the Carnival Vacation Club people was that I'm getting a great deal on cruises AND my membership comes with so much more...which is what I'm paying for. "The "so much more" is companion airfare tickets, cheap resort stays, discount hotel rates. Upon examination, those deals aren't too good either, since you have to book through the Vacation Club and therefore cannot shop around for the best deal.

My advice: DON'T DO IT.

In addition to the crappy value and the fact that you're tying your money up, the attitude from the Carnival Vacation Club people...the regulars and the supervisors...is "look in your contract, you agreed to it, you could have cancelled within 3 days of your return". I wish I had.

Chris
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