Hi everyone! My mother and I are planning a cruise for Jan. '04 and of course I've got a question or two.
Is it advisable to arrive the day before the ship sails, or do most people arrive the day of?
I've had good experiences with travelocity for other travel, such as plane tickets and hotels, but was wondering if it may be best to book directly with the cruise line? Anyone here use travelocity for cruising?
I'd suggest finding a good cruise travel agent, they really make booking a cruise the way to go, especially if you run into any problems, you know who to call, its worth it to me. As for going down a day early, always better if you can arrange it, more rested the day of the cruise!
As Donna stated look into finding a good travel agent, sit down with them and ask questions, tell them what you want, your likes and dislikes and they will find the perfect cruise for you, and most of the time they can match or better most on-line offers. As for flying in the day before, we always do. It depends upon where you are flying from. We live in New England and like to cruise in the winter months so its the smart thing for us to do. I like it because it gives you a chance to relax a bit unwind and get into the cruise groove.
Donna and Lisa have expressed one point of view, and for many people, that is the best choice. Personally, I like to devote many hours researching where I want to go and what ship to go on -- it's a huge pleasure to me. After deciding where, when and how, last time I checked Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, the cruise line site, two other online cruise agencies and the AAA agency locally. Expedia and Travelocity had the lowest prices including all taxes/fees (barely), so I booked through them and had a wonderful cruise -- exactly what I wanted. I also booked my flight and a hotel room for the night before the cruise. (After being the last one on board another cruise due to airline delays -- on a flight arranged by the cruise line -- I swore I would always allow plenty of time in the future).
For someone who isn't sure of what they want or don't have the time/inclination to do research, then a travel agency is definitely the way to go. In any event, check around for pricing.
Our 1st cruise in 99 we booked thru a local travel agency which sat down with us and arranged everything. It was nice! I think the 1st time you may want to do that. Ask all the questions you can. Write them down and bring the list with you!
Our last cruise we booked via orbitz.com. Their prices were OK and we didn't research alot and just booked early. No problems whatsoever and if I had a question I just called their 800 number and they were very polite and knowledgable.
Our next cruise (March 2004) I booked by doing ALOT of research. Called about 5 local TA's, looked on orbitz, expedia, travelocity, cruiseonly, cruisequick, you name it I looked for prices ...but we ended up with bestpricecruise.com as they beat any price I found online and with the local TA's.
I think it's what you feel most comfortable with. I think now that I've gone on 2 cruises already I feel more comfortable researching on my own. If it's your first one you may want to get the personalized attention!
i'd suggest finding a good cruise travel agent, they really make booking a cruise the way to go, especially if you run into any problems, you know who to call, its worth it to me. As for going down a day early, always better if you can arrange it, more rested the day of the cruise!
Probably the most common misconception about cruising is that different companies offer different prices. CRUISE LINES ALWAYS DETERMINE THE LOWEST AVAILABLE PRICE and no agency is allowed to sell it for less.
The "deals" you end up seeing will always have to do with onboard credit, reduced deposit, that sort of thing. If they are really offering a lower price, there is a catch. If they are offering you a higher price, it's going in their pocket. That being said, almost every agency advertises the cheapest cabin, based on 2 passengers, and NOT including taxes or port fees.
So for the most part, you can book it wherever you want, with a TA or on Travelocity. However, there are lots of details that will be overlooked: dining times, discounts, deposits, airport transfers, etc. Many of these things cannot be done online, which is where the travel agent comes in.
If you would just prefer to book online, the best search engine I've seen is on CruiseWise.*edited to remove commercial link* It allows you to enter all that info and walks you through it, step by step. Great for first-timers!
Oh, and I would DEFINITELY get there a day early. MANY people miss their cruises and it's a lot of work to get back on.
Hope this helps!
Last edited by Trip; September 11th, 2012 at 03:32 PM.