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Old August 31st, 2010, 05:30 PM
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Default Cruising on a budget

We will be booking our first cruise soon. We want to take Carnival Miracle Sept 19 2011 for 8 days.. Inside cabin for a family of 4, but money is tight and this may be our only time to do this.. We want to keep our costs down, and someone mentioned to us that if we can book in with a group rate, its a tiny bit cheaper?? Since we don't know anyone else who would want to cruise this same time with us, how can we get into someone elses group rate? Is this even possible? fyi ..we don't have a TA yet, so are open to TA recommendations..

Maureen from PEI, Canada
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Old August 31st, 2010, 07:15 PM
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You can call a few agents, or look online for large agencies, and ask if they have group space available. You could also check our group cruise forum,on the home page, and get the name of the agency that handles our Cruisemates groups....Not sure how the Canada. U.S dollar effects you, if you book here, but worth the look.

You may explore the groups offered, if the Miracle does not pan out...
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 12:22 PM
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Once you are booked there are alot of tips on keeping your cost down while on board.
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 04:10 PM
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A group rate will not necessarily get you a lower rate. What the cruiselines do is give groups added ammenities, not a lower rate. Each sailing is assigned a certain number of ammenity points, and the group gets to decide how those points get used, for free gifts, an OBC or maybe a free cocktail party to name a few.

One way a group rate could be lower is the TC credit. A minimum to make a group is usually 8 cabins/16 berths. (2 berths to every cabin) The 17th berth is the Tour Conductor credit, which is a freebee. Depending on the type of group, the TC credit can be spread out over the whole group to lower the fare, or it could actually go to someone in the group. So when you are searching for a group, find out if they are sharing the TC credit for the whole group, or not.
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Old September 10th, 2010, 12:55 PM
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Once booked, keep your costs down by researching the ports you will visit and finding things to do that do not have to be booked through a cruise line excursion desk. You can find many suggestions on what to do in port on this site.

Minimize alcohol and soft drink consumption to save a LOT of money.

If you must have pictures from the ship's photo shop, choose carefully and don't buy the first day. Wait until near the end of the cruise and choose just the ones you want. They are quite expensive, but at the very least your boarding picture would be a good bet, since it shows the date and the name of the ship.

Board as early as possible and have lunch on board rather than eating on the way to the ship and enjoy breakfast on board the last day.
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