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Trip September 21st, 2011 10:54 AM

Book it Dano!
So, you booked your cruise,and now you need a hotel. How do you go about the booking process? Are you comfortable with booking with Priceline or Hotline, etc? Have you gotten great deals doing this, or did you make a boo boo? Do you call a 1-800 number or call the hotel directly? Use the Entertainment Book or have you found any other coupon deals? What specifically are *you* looking for in a hotel, other than a good price?

When you pre or post cruise, is it strictly for convenience, or do you,like me enjoy the city, rent a car and get out there?

So, now that maybe you are out and about, any favorite places, to dine or shop, you can share?

Mike M September 21st, 2011 11:09 AM

I am a Priceline advocate. I have always booked a good hotel at a very reasonable price using them. The ONLY time I didn't was the very first time I used it and really had no idea what I was doing. I bid about the same amount as the website price for the room. After that I "learned" how to bid.

In Miami or Fort Lauderdale I have never paid more than $100 for a hotel near the ports. I have used Priceline a lot in the last ten years for hotels all over the world. The $85/night in Hong Kong, at the Sheraton, was wonderful because the going rate was almost $400. It allowed us to enjoy four days of pre-cruise fun.

I almost always fly in early for a cruise. If it is Miami or FLL I will just come in the day before and not do too much. Other port areas, especially outside the U.S., I will fly in a few days before to explore the embarkation city.

Take care,

Lakers Fan September 21st, 2011 11:10 AM

I made the mistake of booking a hotel through an online service ,never again .

Trip September 21st, 2011 11:13 AM

Henry, lets hear what happened, might be something we can learn from:)

Lakers Fan September 21st, 2011 11:34 AM

I've posted this previously on another thread . We needed a pre and post cruise hotel and booked through a service similiar to Priceline .We received an e-mail confirmation of our reservation . When we arrived at the hotel we were told that they did not have a reservation for us .We showed them what we had and they had no record of it .They said we could get a room and pay for it and get the money back from the company we dealt with. The amount they wanted for the room was twice the amount we expected to be paying . We had no choice ,we took the room but said we will find something else for after the cruise .We did call the online company and got a "run around." Five weeks after returning home we did get the refund but it took numerous phone calls and letters.

Trip September 21st, 2011 11:54 AM

Well, that sure was a bad experience. When I have booked, via a Priceline etc, I usually call and confirm with the hotel. I have done quite well with them. The one time I felt I made a boo boo, was getting The Sheraton, by the airport. The reason being it was not in our desired area, but, the hotel and bedding,were great.

Last year or so, I booked with another, not so well known site,and for the life of me I cannot remember the name.:(

Sistersolo September 21st, 2011 02:50 PM

Doesn't anyone besides me use their TA to book hotels as well as the cruise? My TA is fantastic. She now knows exactly what kind of places I prefer, and has gotten me some very good deals. She has associations TAs and TA groups in other countries that have proved to be valuable in getting recommendations.

In Rome we stayed in a small hotel a block off the Via Veneto; quiet, clean, comfortable. We had been encouraged off the ship in Citavecchia an hour earlier than we expected, but the car (also arranged by the TA) was already there waiting for us; but we got to the hotel at 10:30 a.m. Like most places, check-out there was at 11 and check-in normally not till 2 or so. The concierge was trying to explain this to a gentleman when we arrived, and getting a hard time in response. The gentleman was not at all happy to just leave his luggage, as we expected to do, and go wander around the area till lunchtime. Once he finally left, and we stepped up, I think the poor concierge was expecting to have to go through it all again. We assured him we just wanted to leave our luggage, and handed over the confirmation sheet, which had the logos of both our TA and the local association on it. He punched a few keys on his computer, muttered to himself a bit, and then handed over a key with a whispered, "Please don't let HIM know."

Lakers Fan September 21st, 2011 08:53 PM

I don't have a regular TA .I had one who was fantastic but he retired in 2000 .I haven't been able to find a really good one since and every time I book I change hoping to find someone really terrific.

LisaK September 22nd, 2011 10:06 AM

Sistersolo- i am with you on this one! Our TA knows what we want, what hotels we should or should not consider and she gets us a good rate on top of it

Moiraine September 22nd, 2011 10:59 AM

I like myself.

Trvlr37 September 23rd, 2011 02:42 PM

Of course booking through a TA is good. I wanted to add that it's a good idea before every trip, no matter who you book with, to call the airline, hotel, car rental, etc. a few days before your trip and verify all the information (date, time, preferences, etc.). Airlines particularly seem to change things from when you booked it and don't notify everyone. Also, let the hotel know if you will be a late check-in (if arriving after 6:00 p.m.) so they don't give up your room (thinking you are a no-show). I've heard horror stories of people with reservations who arrived late and their rooms were given away. Eespecially if your flight/travel is delayed, notify the hotel and car rental agencies! A simple phone call could save you a lot of trouble at your destination.

green_rd September 24th, 2011 10:15 AM

I usually do a lot of on-line research. Kayak is my first tool of choice. After find a property (or properties) of interest I check out the hotel's direct site to see if they have any "exclusive" deals.

We did HotWire once on a trip to Boston and NYC. Got the Hilton in Boston (near the Pru and Hynes) for a very good price. In NYC we got a substandard independent hotel. Not very clean, tiny rooms. It did not live up to the definition of 3 stars (that is what it was billed as)

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