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John61 January 5th, 2014 06:28 AM

Cruising Learner
 
Hi All

Gent single 61, I like to get away quite regularly on holiday, work to live, just had a month in Australia and love it.
I am now thinking of going on a cruise, 1st one, and would like some advice from similar travellers.
Any advice appreciated.

storybookcruises.com January 5th, 2014 02:08 PM

Hi, John!

Welcome to Cruise Mates. Lots of wonderful people here with great information, so you've come to the right place.

I have several single clients who love to cruise and always say how much fun it is as a single person to go on a cruise than doing other types of vacations by themselves. So I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time.

First, make sure you find a reputable agent, preferably a Cruise Specialist, who can help you with all your plans and answer all your questions.

Next, you need to decide what type of cruise you're looking for and which cruise line will meet your requirements, budget, and lifestyle.

I'm about your age (63) and prefer a more relaxed and sedate cruise with great food and not alot of kids, so we much prefer Celebrity or Holland America. But for those who are a bit more active, they may prefer some of the many other cruise lines.

Keep in mind that often a single has to pay twice the fare as a single, but sometimes single specials are offered to lower that rate. Your agent can help find those.

Here's a little information to consider; the cruise rate you see advertised is actually made up of two fares - the cruise fare and the NCF's or port fees as they're called. When travel single, the cruise line will often double the cruise fare - this is called a 200% single supplement. Sometimes they will offer a special that will lower this to 150% or even 125%. In the past, we use to get this as low as 100%, but that doesn't happen very often anymore. Now here's the thing; the port fees should only be charged once for a single, but several cruise lines charge more than that and often up to double, which is just their way of making more profit off a single cruiser because they don't have to pay that much for a single.

For example, I just had a single gentleman (age 59) wanting to do an NCL cruise. They are one of the cruise lines who charge double the port fees. When I asked him why NCL he said he found the rate was cheaper than others. I actually found him a Holland America cruise that was only $18 more because of the difference in port fees (HAL was only charging 175% for the port fees). After doing research on the issue, he was ecstatic about finding something that was much better suited for him that he had not previously considered.

So it can sometimes really pay to look beyond the advertised rate because those are based on double occupancy and sometimes can be misleading for singles.

Good luck with your search and I hope you find the perfect cruise.

But one word of warning; once you go on a cruise, you're going to be hooked and will want to go again and again!

Pete

Donna January 5th, 2014 04:33 PM

Welcome,
Any idea where you want to cruise and what port to start/end it?? Like Pete mentioned, there is so much to choose from. What kind of activities do you enjoy? Do you want to see certain ports?? It helps to narrow down what cruise you would enjoy best....Feel free to ask all your questions, you found the right place.

bonnyprincecharlie January 6th, 2014 05:02 AM

NCL money maker
 
Here's a little information to consider; the cruise rate you see advertised is actually made up of two fares - the cruise fare and the NCF's or port fees as they're called. When travel single, the cruise line will often double the cruise fare - this is called a 200% single supplement. Sometimes they will offer a special that will lower this to 150% or even 125%. In the past, we use to get this as low as 100%, but that doesn't happen very often anymore. Now here's the thing; the port fees should only be charged once for a single, but several cruise lines charge more than that and often up to double, which is just their way of making more profit off a single cruiser because they don't have to pay that much for a single.

I had recently been on a NCL relocation cruise from Boston to Tampa, I was wondering after I read this item if I had been charged double for the port fees and how would I find out. I had booked this cruise through V2G. As you know I have contacted you concerning future cruises because I see you have some really good insights concerning cruising.

storybookcruises.com January 6th, 2014 07:09 PM

There's no way you would know based on the confirmation the cruise line or your agent provides you. They can see it on their confirmation and tell you, but you can't see it on yours.

However, you can go to the cruise line's website, check out the price for one person and then check out the price for two people. (The price you'll be looking at will include the NCF's but not taxes.) If you see the difference is quite a bit, then chances are they're only charging it once. If there's a minimal difference, then chance are they are charging more.

I know for a fact that NCL charges double the NCF's. However, here's a little trick they play; if you book one of the new single cabins, like on the Epic, you'll only pay the NCF's once. But if you book any other cabin as a single on the Epic, you'll pay double the NCF's!

As I mentioned, NCF's are basically the total of the port fees. Ports charge those fees based on the number of people on the ship, not the number of berths and not double for a single person in a double cabin. So when the cruise line charges more than once for the NCF's, it's just their way of taking advantage of the situation to make extra profit. And that, my friends, is wrong!

And since we're on the subject of NCF's, years ago they were not included in the advertised rates. So people would see a rate for a cruise and think it was really great - until, of course, they went to book it and then the cruise line would add the NCF's and the taxes. Finally, after all the complaints, Congress took action and now requires all advertisement and quotes to include the NCF's in the total price.

However, nothing was in the law about what could or could not be included in the NCF's. Remember, NCF stands for non-commissionable fare.

So, as was the case last year, cruise lines will increase the NCF's even though the ports have not increased their fees. And none of the cruise lines will tell anyone what makes up those NCF's or how they came about the figures. When asked, they'll tell you it's an 'average' amount. Funny thing is, two ships from two different cruise lines going to the same ports will sometimes have a different NCF figure.

As with charging double the NCF's for singles when they should not be, often increasing the NCF's is just their way to increase the cost of the cruise without increase the amount of commission they pay to travel agents. And that, my friends, is also wrong.

But hey, they do it because they can get away with it.

Pete

CruiseAddict99 January 7th, 2014 10:29 AM

I have never been on a cruise. My wife has been on a few with her ex husband, but I have never had the ability or opportunity to go on a cruise. So I have decided that this year is going to be different. I began searching for information related to cruises and came across this post. I really appreciate all of you taking the time to share the awesome stuff you have posted here. I have learned so much. This will certainly make my hunt for the right cruise line, the right agent, and the right location. You guys saved me a ton of time and energy.

storybookcruises.com January 7th, 2014 12:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CruiseAddict99 (Post 1492616)
I have never been on a cruise. My wife has been on a few with her ex husband, but I have never had the ability or opportunity to go on a cruise. So I have decided that this year is going to be different. I began searching for information related to cruises and came across this post. I really appreciate all of you taking the time to share the awesome stuff you have posted here. I have learned so much. This will certainly make my hunt for the right cruise line, the right agent, and the right location. You guys saved me a ton of time and energy.

That's what everyone is here for, so jump right in and ask your questions - it'll definitely save you alot of hassle, time, and research. Lots of great people here with extremely helpful information.

But as I warned John, once you've cruised, you're going to be hooked and will want to do it again!

But doing research beforehand is so very important to help you finding the perfect cruise that will suit your needs while fitting into your budget and lifestyle.

With that said, keep in mind that opinions are like bellybuttons because everyone has one. And what one person loves another will hate. So it's equally important to find a good reputable cruise specialist that you feel comfortable with who can help you find the perfect cruise for you.

But there's nothing like your first cruise - it's something wonderful and special, so enjoy everything about it.

Pete

Paul Motter January 7th, 2014 01:14 PM

If you are looking for someone to share the cost of a double occupancy stateroom, I suggest you look at our "seeking cruise companions" message forum.

First time single cruisers need to know about singles supplements (of course). After that, it is just a matter of deciding where you want to go in the world.

Come back and tell us more and we will be happy to help.


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