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Old December 27th, 2007, 05:03 PM
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Default Better to book early or late?

My first cruise was last May. We booked in February and we got what I thought was a pretty good deal. But my question is, Is it better to book as early as possible (6 mos?) to get a great deal or is it better to book about a month ahead to get the last minute deals that I've heard that they may offer. What was the earlier or latest that you booked. Also is it better to book through the Carnival website or go through a travel agent? Thanks for your replies!
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Old December 27th, 2007, 06:28 PM
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The best time to book is when you find a deal that you feel is a great deal.
There's no sure thing anymore as to whether those deals are offered far out, or closer to sailing.

You should certainly check the price dealing directly through Carnival, and use that price as a base, then start contacting travel agents, and asking them for quotes.

You can no longer get a travel agents best price just by surfing their web sites. Carnival does not allow them to advertise lower prices... BUT, they are allowed to offer cheaper prices if you contact them directly.

It takes a bit more effort now to find out what the best price is, but it's generally worth the time for what you can save.
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Old December 27th, 2007, 08:09 PM
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I like to book early so I can get the cabin I want.

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Old December 27th, 2007, 08:43 PM
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I like to book early, but I also like to get in on a deal when they post the ships/dates for cheaper prices or upgrades. The upgrades are the better deal because you get to move up to a better cabin for the same price as a cabin.

I booked my next cruise (after February's Conquest) two months ago because the Canadian dollar was high and I didn't want to risk it dropping too soon.
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Old December 29th, 2007, 07:30 PM
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I book early and through my Personal Vacation Planner at Carnival and she is worth her weight in gold! Whenever a better deal comes up, she contacts me and switches me to that instead and so I save money! Like my Alaska cruise I've booked recently. I booked it, then about two weeks later she called me to tell me it went on sale and as a result we've saved $60 USD each. Not bad. In addition to the upgrades and great cabins she finds (this one on the Spirit which I actually couldn't find listed online) I'd say the PVP is a good way to go. Great personal service.
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Old December 29th, 2007, 11:34 PM
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what is your PVP name and number? mine never calls me with any good like that!
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Old December 30th, 2007, 12:09 AM
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we always booke early we get a good price and we get a good cabin
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Old December 30th, 2007, 12:33 AM
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I'm not sure whether I'm allowed or not to post it here so I'll message you =)
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Old December 30th, 2007, 09:50 AM
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I usually book early, and if I see that the price has dropped I call my travel agent/cruise line and they will match the price. Or sometines you can get a better cabin for the same price.They can't match the price If you have paid in full already. So when I book a cruise I just pay the downpayment, and they will notify me when I have to pay the rest of the cruise, which is about 2 months before the sailing. This counts for all cruise lines btw
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Old December 30th, 2007, 10:29 AM
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Default My 02 cents

IF YOU ARE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR TRAVEL DATES, IF YOU CAN TRAVEL AT A MOMENT'S NOTICE AND IF YOU HAVE NO PARTICULAR ITINERARY IN MIND............then book last-minute. ( sorry about the yelling )

For the last 4-5 years or so, we have ALWAYS booked last-minute at dirt-cheap prices. We have paid as low as $30 each daily and the maximum we have ever paid these last few years is $50 each daily. Those rates include port charges and govt taxes/fees but do not include air travel, speaking of air travel, keep in mind that this can be a deal killer as last-minute airfares seem to be harder and harder to come by these days, although I must say that when a deal comes together, such as 11-day Hawaiian Islands and Fanning Island cruise including return airfare from LAX, port charges, taxes and fees only cost us $618 each in Dec 2006.
I can only say that between 2006 and 2007 we did 10 cruises like this and 3 of them were cruises that were 3 weeks in duration each.

Also, there is absolutely no guarantee that you will be able to find last-minute deals on ANY sailing. I think the most important considerations are the ability to travel at a moment's notice, being flexible about the travel itineraries and not focused on say just one sailing and also the availability of cheap airfares if you need to fly to/from your cruise.

Just my take on the subject.

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Old December 30th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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The only thing I find hard about last minute for me is airfare. Since we all know they are capacity controlled and generally the more seats are sold the higher you pay. Just keep that in mind. If you live near the port or somewhere with a high frequency of non-stop service (esp on low cost carriers) then I'd say take advantage of those last minute bargains! The Captain has the right idea if he can do $30-50/day =)
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