Is there any way to find out rates for the Zaandam Alaska cruises online? Their site goes in a frustrating loop and I can't find even a ball-park figure. Basically, My decision seems to be between Zaandam and Celebrity Mercury, but I can't compare fares and I am too IMPATIENT to wait for the brochure.
In addition, is the Zaandam Alaska Cruisetour a better way to go than a straight cruise?
Third question - I read so many wonderful things about the Zaandam Alaska cruises. Why did it score so poorly on the ship poll? Should that concern me?
The rates online are loose guidelines, the brochure is basically inaccurate because there are so many specials. You would want to call HAL direct or use a Travel Agent, both ways will give you the most accurate rates. If you are a Mariner mention that. If you are AAA go through AAA they have HUGE buying power.
I priced around before going to AAA. EVERYONE had the same price including online and direct . However Holland America is a AAA prefered supplier, which means there could be additional on board credits, more discounts and prefered upgrade opportunities on certain sailings. . They have their own designated line into HAL which means less of a wait time in the call center q to get the info you need and want!
I'm not saying they are the end all be all, You should always do your homework and never assume one distribution is better than another. This poster wanted answers quick so I gave a solution that work perfect for me.
Hmmm, I take it you're new to surfing on the computer. There are so many sites out there that you can get prices for cruises..such as Icruise .com, Vactions to go, 7 Blue Seas, Expedia,Travelocity, Orbitz just type in any of the names in a search engine and you should be able to compare cruises prices ect. Good Luck in your searching....Rick
I agree with you about all the sites online to go to, but it's important for everyone not to think that online is the only distribution available to them. Dateline, PrimeTime and many others have done full segments on cost comparisions and many times a travel agent can beat the online price. It's also important to keep in mind regarding booking any form of travel (much less all consumer purchases) if it seems to good to be true, it probably is!
The Travelocity site is fairly easy to use and it shows the cabins that are available for sale. I do believe you can get a better price from a TA that does large volume business with the cruise lines.
I think your confused on how a storefront agency works, The rate that I got online, direct and through AAA was the same rate. How AAA or any other storefront agency earns their money is through the cruiseline and the commission percentage they have negotiated through HAL. Overheard costs are then paid from the money earned by commissions. That is why many agencies started charging for airline tickets or stopped saleing them altogether because the commissions from airlines were slashed.
I will give you this true life example there are 6 couples going on the Prisendam May 31, 2 couples booked online for an outside gtd. they have be upgraded to cat. e. The couple who booked throught AAA has been upgraded to Cat SS. All couples are Mariners with the same amount of cruises. So, if I'm paying the same rate no matter who I book with, I'm going to the source that could get me upgraded to a balcony!
"The rate that I got online, direct and through AAA was the same rate."
I haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about. Sometimes, especially on very popular itineraries the rate the cruise line gives you is the same as your storefront travel agent, but seldom the same as the online agencies I've mentioned in previous post. The operative word here is "seldom" not NEVER.
When you speak of online be more specific. What online site, what ship, what dates. Your example is purely anecdotal.
I have listed some rates on icruise.com just pulled down:
6/7 $772.15 Outside Large any deck!
6/14 $732.15 Inside Large
6/21 $679.15 Inside Large - $846.15 Outside Large
These were taken directly from the icruise.com site and INCLUDE ALL PORT CHARGES AND GOVERNMENT FEES. These don't include any Mariner discounts as I don't know whether or not the original poster is a past cruiser with HAL.
I'm well aware that storefront agencies pay their fixed costs from
their commissions (GAWD !! this is Business 101). The online agencies experience much smaller fixed costs and can therefore all other things being equal sell at a lower price. Some online agencies purchase huge blocks of cabins and frequently sell them below the cruiselines quoted price to get rid of them.
Wouldn't think of using AAA, but others do. I stick with icruise, bestpricecruises, crucon, cruisesonly, and cruisequick. Most of these online agencies are aimed at the experienced cruiser that knows what cruiseline, what ship, what itinerary they want and don't need their hand held or a free cup of coffee.
You'll find my opinion about this issue is almost universally held by the posters of all cruise lines that use this board as well as cruise critic.
Universally held is a pretty BIG assumption. Especially since I'm disagreeing with you and I've got 35+ cruises under my belt. If I wanted to could really flood the thread with people in the industry that would DISAGREE with you. Appreciate you explained your bold face type because I was really gearing up for my response to being yelled at!
Hey Folks..... Hmm I think were getting off track here..... I believe the person who posted originaly just wanted some advice on where he could compare prices and maybe even read reviews for the ships he's looking at ..I'm sure once he found out the spectrum of prices and read some reviews he would decide on whether to use a online site or a TA to book to book his cruise.....Happy sailing to all Rick
My partner and I did Celebrity's Infininty last year to Alaska. We got a great rate through an on line agency www.cruisetravel.com. About $1,000 each for a Deluxe Balcony cabin. We have been on 30 or so sailings and like Celebrity a bit more than HAL. HAL has an older crowd, 60 plus, less nightlife, etc. Pied Piper offers Gay Group sailings that are well priced and fun.
I'm sorry, I should have said universally held excluding the HAL threads.....
Some people are just so resistant to change they refuse to notice the storefront agencies closing in droves, or the hundreds of thousands of posts on this site and cruise critic site indicating the ease with which "most" online sites "most" of the time being able to beat the cruiseline's website pricing.
I can't logicallyargue with that kind of resistance. <wide grin>
Nor can I argue with someone who has tunnel vision on online sites. First off, you didn't read my post very carefully. I suggested checking pricing for all distribution.
Now, I want to see how right you were ......this is where the smile is coming onto my face....because I am finding great joy in proving you wrong....
All cruises are based on June 14th -outside gtd. 1689.00 price paid
Cruiseonly- June 14 Prisendam not listed option
Bestpricescruises.com was 1878.00 for an outside gtd and taxes were 93.22
**this is MORE than paid using AAA and booking direct, also govt taxes were 90.22 booking direct or with AAA
Travelocity was 1879.00 which was MORE
Expedia was 1879.00 which was MORE
Cruisequick- I asked for double occupancy, but booked me in a single room-HH category. I sent email for clarification and they withdrew the quote, then quoted me a rate $105.00 MORE than I paid at AAA
All sites are showing wrong port times for Ketchikan which has changed dramatically.
from 12-12 to 3-10
I quit the research at this point. Keep in mind these were site ideas you provided.
Could it be that so many people just assume the rate will be less because it occurred once or twice prior for others....this is called the hook!
As I said about 3 times before one distribution system isn't better than another. It doesn't matter if you are 1st time cruiser or well-traveled. It pays to research ALL avenues don't assume what worked best for you at one time will work again. It doesn't mean that I'm resistant to change by using AAA, in this case it saved me A LOT money
Which shows how savy I am and how resistant you are to try something diffrent than the online sites.
Incidentally, CAPS designate yelling bold type indicates emphasis.
What's the beef? AAA is an online site! I thought we were comparing the pricing of cruiseline websites and storefront travel agencies to online sites?
Congratulations, you got a deal on the somewhat "anecdotal" Prisendam. Did you purchase the cruise at the same time
you researched the numbers on the other sites (and you still purchased from an online site)?
My numbers had: (this evening)
Best 1,968.22 (large outside "H", not a guarantee)
icruise 1,703.22 (large outside "C", not a guarantee)
AAA 2,368.00 (with $100 pp called AAA added value?)
I bounced around the online sites and used 4 HAL ships (couldn't use the same dates for all 4 ships because all online sites didn't have availability on all 4 ships, but dates match for pricing the individual ships).
Zuiderdam 10/4 Caribbean (all inside, how I cruise, sorry)
Veendam 10/18 Caribbean
Zaandam 10/18 Caribbean
Volendam 10/25 Caribbean
AAA's ONLY listing on my screen for HAL Western Caribbean in the entire month of October was the Veendam 10/18 505.60 Maybe you have some secret code to access their cruise pricing, I'm not a member of AAA so I wouldn't know. This really surprised even me, however.
I must concede HAL's website pricing is much closer to the online site's pricing than I anticipated. This is generally (notice I didn't say "universally") not the case with other cruiseline website pricing.<grin>
I might make a few calls to different storefront agencies tomorrow, but I hesitate to waste people's time on such a non-productive(for them) endeavor.
I would have run these quote requests by cruisequick also, but I don't like to "waste" my quote opportunities. They only allow so many quotes per month and only 12 without purchasing before you are permanently banned from receiving their quotes. They are only interested in the serious cruiser that knows what cruiseline, what itinerary, what ship, what date, and cabin and wants the lowest number they can come up with.
I would be the first to admit online pricing is not for everyone. If I were to plan a cruise in Europe or the Far East, even I might avail myself of a storefront agent. But for standard US cruises, the message boards allow one to glean all the information they need. My experience with storefront agencies is going into a room with 15 desks and puters, 3 people on duty that know less about cruising than I do and are using slower puters. They usually do their best to get you out of there as quickly as possible the minute you even mention the "internet".
By the way, when you mentioned "the hook" I only thought of HAL's misleading tipping policy tag line still used on some of the websites to promote HAL's product. A shame and a sham.
Gary- I'm still smiling, cause your just not getting it!
I booked my cruise in a AAA office-as you would call it- a store front office! I walked in sat with a travel agent, she called HAL and I had a cruise on the Prisendam booked and paid in full. Not sure what you meant by your comment on the Prisendam.....
That was my original point to this whole post which you kept lambasting me on.
That online distribution isn't the only source for the best price, the more you kept insisting it was, the more I had to point out to you it wasn't always true. Especially if you are looking for a specific ship and date. Yes, I did purchase the cruise directly through AAA within 12 hours of all other research and the online rate at HAL and AAA was much higher than going into the storefront office. I just went back in to get the rates for your benefit, so you might consider "listening" to other views.
Can't really add to this much more....you either are open to other possibilities are not.
Keep in mind if we were both booking this cruise at the same time each doing are own thing...you would have paid much more money...if you've got money to blow, that's cool, I'll use mine for massages, wine and various souveniers.
I am going to throw in my 2 cents. I have never found AAA to be cheaper. I have received quotes by calling them numerous times and I have always found better rates.
Same for my sister in law, she went to an AAA office (storefront) and they were higher than what I found for her. I am not talking last minute deals or email only sites.
I don't think any one agency is always the cheapest price. I can get quotes on 2 different cruises and one agency is the lowest for one cruise, but the other agency is lower for the other cruise. Another thing I found was a site had one good price, but after talking to an agent, the price got even better. I found my brother a great price on a popular site and he called them to transfer his cruise booking from the cruise line to the TA. She got him a better price than what was published and also a 2 category upgrade.
As a valued Mariner AND AAA member (according to the note included with them from the HAL sales dept. , I was upgraded from a gtd. outside to a Category A (verandah) the price I paid is still cheaper than anything online or direct.
So in this case, AAA worked for me and if I had blindly followed others advice that AAA is always more expensive. I would have paid more and whose to say whether or not I would have received such a phenomenal upgrade!
CAA is definitely not the best for cruises unless it's a group of its own.....they just want to sell you something. Of course that can be said of any Agency unless it does a lot of cruise bookings. You're better off going with a local Agency whose Counselors have actually cruised...and that's important!
No matter where you book it's always a good idea to do some reading and get some questions answered before you part with any money.
Re TA's charging a fee to find a flight if you don't use flights suggested by the Cruise Line - can't see anything wrong with that - it's time consuming and the Agency doesn't get a dime for doing it.
HAL advertising DOES NOT SAY no tipping required!
The wording is TIPPING NOT REQUIRED............THAT MEANS IT IS AT YOUR DISCRETION, AS TIPPING SHOULD BE!
You will not be hounded for a tip (as happens on most other Lines) and your on-board account will not be debited for about CA$14.00 per person per day. I believe HAL pays its Waitstaff a reasonable wage, nevertheless, your tip is greatly appreciated and in my experience, well deserved. Envelopes, when you require them are available at the Front Desk!
Ezinvt - your post May 28'03 - How did you make out?
Just talked with some long time friends who travelled on the Ryndam and took Tour #29.
They left Toronto on June 13 for Vancouver and returned on June 29 having included an overnight stay in Seattle enroute to Toronto - HAL's air was used and they included the meal plan, two or three tours and the overnight in Seattle - - a Cat."C:" cabin - Total Cost CA$15,380.22.
First time cruisers, it was very apparent that they had a wonderful time and can't wait to cruise again. Great to hear from a couple who've been hooked on Globus bus tours for the past 10 years. They used their favorite TC appaarently she's the greatest. Oh - something else - they received CA$100.00 per person on board cruise credit.