We’ve always booked our cruises through a travel agent. But over the past several months, reading the discussions here at Cruisemates, it seems as though better prices are to be found with online sites.
So I decided to investigate the possibility of booking our future cruises online. First, I’ve read here that the cruise lines always charge the maximum amount for their cruises, so I began by checking RCCL’s web site to obtain a baseline price for a particular cruise, sailing in 2 weeks.
Next, I obtained price quotes for this same cruise from Travelocity and Expedia. To my great surprise, the prices quoted by all 3 web sites were – are you ready for this?! – exactly the same.
So now, as you might expect, I’m a little confused. And while this may not be an abnormal condition for me, I’d like to have it remedied soon!
So my question for you guys: where can I find the discounted prices discussed here? And I am perfectly willing to wait until 2 weeks prior to the cruise to book a category guarantee.
Dean, try doing the same exercise on a cruise that is 2 months out, and 6 months out, and 1 year out. I'll bet you find the TA's and online sites much cheaper. The reason being the agencies can book group cabins at discounted rates and pass this savings on to you. The cruiselines will charge maximum rate until it gets close to sailing time when they discount heavily to sell the remainging cabins.
It doesn't surprise me to see the same price for last minute bookings.
Dean.. rather than just checking online data bases, which I believe are sometimes simply hooked into the cruise line web sites, try calling some of the toll free #s, or e-mail and ask for a quote.
BTW,.. just because an ageny offers online access doesn't mean they aren't a "brick and mortar" agentcy , with real TAs answering the phones, and selling cruises in their areas.
If an agent is quoting the same price as the cruise line web site, then I simply move on. BTW.. I haven't found that either Travelocity or Expedia to offer particularily good buys on cruises.
I must agree with Kuki. I have encountered the same pricing or a few dollars cheaper. The only place that I found better was Buycruises.com. We are searching for a price for the Brilliance for Dec 26 and they have so far the best price. Good luck finding the perfect cruise and price!
__________________ Disney Dream for our 30th wedding anniversary
I was thinking about cruising on Millie for Thanksgiving next year, so I E-d my TA yesterday and asked for a quote. Then today, after reading this thread, went to every website I can remember.
Celebrity, travelociy, expedia, orbitz and planningcruises were all identical.
Coming in a little cheaper were, in descending order, icruise.com, bestpricecruises.com and buycruises.com. Cruise411 had no 2c class (the one my agent quoted), cruisemagic doesn't offer Celebrity.
My TA came in the absolute lowest without me giving her a price to beat or her knowing I was going all over online. By $200.
So no, I don't at all believe that the internet saves you money on cruises, except for perhaps last-minute deals or specials that particular agency has. And besides the big ones (listed identical), I don't think there's any blanket statement about which site is cheapest. After looking around a LOT and practice pricing cruises, I've found that some sites have better deals on some lines, some have better deals than others on different sailings, but in the end, you need to give that mouse a REAL workout to figure out what's cheaper.
And by that time, you'll have missed the early booking discount! <grin>
I think there is a bit of confusion here, as Kuki has pointed out. All these on line sites are indeed Travel Agents.... that is what they are and what they do. Buying directly from the Cruise Line will ALWAYS cost you more... pure and simple. Beyond that, there is something called Value and service. Generally, you'll get the most of that (value) from an OnLine/Brick and Mortar Agency. Value, by the way, may not be the "cheapest" price... cheap is cheap... what a horrid word. If you "flit" from pillar to post, just to save a few dollars, chances are you'll never establish a "bond" with a good t/a and you'll never get the "real deals" that good t/a's get from time to time and pass on to their "A" list customers. A cruise is NOT a commodity, in the sense that an airline seat is... a cruise is a major purchase for anyone and clever purchasers understand how to get the most value for their $$$ and that the best value may not necessarily be the "cheapest" price.