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  #1 (permalink)  
Old July 26th, 2001, 10:57 AM
Two Js
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Default Questions from two first-timers

Hello. We are in our fifties and have never been on a cruise. We don't know much about cruises, but we're going to take one on the Golden Princess to enjoy what we expect to be a great vacation. Hopefully you can answer these questions for us:

1. Where can we get the best prices for this trip?

2. Is a package deal (cruise and plane) the best way to go, or
is it better and/or cheaper to get them separately?

3. Do you recommend that we make these arrangements
directly with the ship, through a travel agent, or online? If
online, who do you recommend?

4. Where on the ship is the best place for our cabin to be
located, considering we're traveling with economy in mind?

We might be getting up there in years, but we're brand-new
with this type of travel. All help will be very much appreciated.

Thank you!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old July 26th, 2001, 01:00 PM
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Admiral
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 5,238
Default Re: Questions from two first-timers

Well if you think your fifties is "getting up in years", take this:

SLAP! SLAP !!!

Now that I have your attention <big grin> ...

1. My recommendation is a travel agent, but it might be an on-line travel agent. The important thing, if you're not experienced cruisers, is to have somebody to talk to if you get anxious. Of course you can always come here. A smaller agency is, in my opinion, better than the giants because the service is more personalized. There are some great deals out there on auction sites, etc. but I don't recommend them unless the cruiser is experienced.

2. Package deals tend to be a little bit cheaper, but the air routing can be brutal. Also, you don't have the option of a pre- or post-cruise day or so at the port if that interests you. The good news is, the ship probably won't leave without you if you book your air through the cruise line and you will be shepherded around by a cruise line employee.

3. I buy my air tickets through CheapTickets.com -- they always seem to have the best prices or maybe I've just been lucky.

4. The least expensive cabins tend to be inside (no window) near the bow or the stern on a lower deck. Everyone is equal once you're on deck, so if you're not claustrophobic, it's the bargain choice.

Drop by the First Cruisers area here ... there's lots of information.

And you WILL have a great vacation.

pamda -- CruiseMates First Time Cruisers Editor and fiftyish
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old July 26th, 2001, 03:54 PM
Mailman055
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Default Re: Questions from two first-timers

Here is my take on your questions :
1. Where can we get the best prices for this trip?
---These boards sometimes frown on recommending specific places to go for pricing, but by reading these boards (and others) there are many agency advertisements displayed. I would start by calling them to get an idea of he current pricing - then you will know the best price when you hear it. If you email me I will send you names of the couple of places that I have used.

2. Is a package deal (cruise and plane) the best way to go, or
is it better and/or cheaper to get them separately?
---Like Pamda mentioned, sometimes a package can be cheaper, but you may get stuck with terrible flights. The cruise lines buy the flights in bulk and while they will get you there..the way they get you there may be alot less than desireable. I would recommend that you make your own flight arrangements and think about going out a day early. This way you can be on the ship early and not "miss" some of the first day that you are paying for. If you do go out a day early (and possibly come back a day late) take a look at Hotwire.com. I recently got 2 tickets for $100 less than the price of 1 ticket from sites like Travelocity, Expedia, Cheaptickets and Orbitz. There is a bit of gambling involved...you have to pay before you know the exact flight times and airline...but if you are flexible the prices are very good.

3. Do you recommend that we make these arrangements
directly with the ship, through a travel agent, or online? If
online, who do you recommend?
---same as above....

4. Where on the ship is the best place for our cabin to be
located, considering we're traveling with economy in mind?
---Pamda explained this one well also, but don't rule out other cabins. While you may not want a full suite...sometimes balcony staterooms or inside staterooms towards the middle of the ship (you will feel alot less movement in the middle) are not that much more expensive than the cheapest come-on rates.

TheMailman
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Old September 4th, 2001, 10:20 PM
Marsha Ann
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Default Re: Questions from two first-timers

We are first-time cruisers also, same decade. We're going on the Celebrity Century on 9/29, Western Carribbean. I went to a small, recommended travel agent in my neighborhood. I knew we wanted the Western Carribbean, she suggested Celebrity. Through the internet and phone, I was actually able to get a better airfare than the travel agent, although she did get us an absolutely terrific price for the cruise.

I'm gratelful to all of you at Cruisemates.com for all the excellent information/advice. I really feel that I know something about the shore excursions, and the ship.

However, I do have a couple of questions that I haven't seen mentioned. First, what do you do with your money/papers, credit card, etc. if both of you are swimming/snorkeling? And, second, do island vendors readilly take traveler's checks, or credit cards, or would cash be better? Thanks for the help in advance.
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