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Old February 6th, 2014, 11:31 AM
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We've done Carnival (hated) and Disney (loved - sailed the Dream in August) and we are now considering a 7 night on the Epic over Spring Break. Will we be happy with our choice? Disney is extremely expensive for that week and I found a deal with $300 onboard credit. We are a family of four. My sons are 12 and 8, if that makes a difference.
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Old February 6th, 2014, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mayesq View Post
We've done Carnival (hated) and Disney (loved - sailed the Dream in August) and we are now considering a 7 night on the Epic over Spring Break. Will we be happy with our choice? Disney is extremely expensive for that week and I found a deal with $300 onboard credit. We are a family of four. My sons are 12 and 8, if that makes a difference.
We recently sailed on the Epic and loved it. Your kids will probably love the huge slides, ropes course, climbing wall. Read up on the children's programming for the age group your kids are in. The Epic is a big ship and there will lots of people, and lots of kids due to spring break, so hopefully crowds will not bother you. I suspect you may be in a suite based on the OBC you mentioned. If so, no one, IMO, has better suite perks than NCL.

I can try to answer specific questions, if you have any.
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Old February 6th, 2014, 12:33 PM
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That's the good thing about cruising - trying them all to see which ones are best for you! And in the end, it's always about what you make of it that matters. So give it a try and have a great time - don't worry about what others think.

Just make sure you book it through your agent and not through the cruise line!

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Old February 6th, 2014, 02:55 PM
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Why not through the cruise line?

The credit was with booking through an online cruise travel agency.

Also, are you able to book excursions online once you are paid in full?
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Old February 6th, 2014, 03:02 PM
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You will be able to book your excursions before final payment. Just keep checking because they may not have all excursions posted until closer to final payment.


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Mike
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Old February 6th, 2014, 07:54 PM
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I have sailed the Epic twice and really enjoyed our time onboard...your kids will love the pool deck for sure,and also the Blue Man Group.


If you decide to opt for some alternative [pay] dining, that, along with your entertaiment options for times and days, will open up like 45 days before you cruise....not sure if I am remembering the time frame correctly. At that point you select where and when you want to eat and be entertained. You also pay at this point too...days and times most likely can be changed onboard if you change your mind.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by mayesq View Post
Why not through the cruise line?

The credit was with booking through an online cruise travel agency.

Also, are you able to book excursions online once you are paid in full?
With NCL you can generally make reservations for excursions, entertainment, dinner, etc. beginning around 45 days out. Once you are booked, register on MYNCL from the NCL website and there you can view excursions and entertainment options and eventually make the reservations, print E Docs, etc.

If you know exactly what you want as far as booking a cruise, are sure you are getting the best deal, choosing the best cabin, etc. then book directly with the cruise line. Many people recommend using a TA who specializes in cruises, either a bricks and mortar one, or a web based one where perhaps you can get some guidance, and generally end up with more credits and perks than you would have gotten by booking it yourself with the cruise line. I like to do my own research and then look for the best deal, usually booking through a TA, but many people do not have the time or the interest to do that.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayesq View Post
Why not through the cruise line?

The credit was with booking through an online cruise travel agency.

Also, are you able to book excursions online once you are paid in full?
Think of it this way, if you have a problem and booked with the cruise line, who do you think they represent? If you book with an agent and have any problems, they represent you and they have contact information not available to you, so they can often get things taken care of quicker and easier, not to mention with a whole lot less hassle and worry for you. Not only that, but if you are considering more than one cruise line, then you have to contact each of them and do all the research and comparisons yourself - lots of work and lots of misunderstanding.

There was a report put out that when booking directly through the cruise line or an online agency that stated more than 95% of the time you're talking to someone who; 1) works in a call center, 2) is not a certified travel agent, 3) has worked for the company for less than 6 months, and 4) has never been on a cruise or to any of the ports of call. So their sole purpose is to sell you something.

An agent is not there to sell you anything. Their job is to provide you with as much information as you need so you can make an informed decision on what's right for you based on your requirements, lifestyle, and budget.

As for the price and incentives, anything offered by the cruise line will be offered by the agent and sometimes more. Plus, should the price go down on your cruise, do you really expect the cruise line to contact you to let you know about it?

Bottom line is that when you're working with an agent, you're usually working with a small business person who work hard to make sure you have a good experience because they want your repeat business as well as your referrals. Large business is more interested in dealing with quantity, not quality.

As for shore excursions, I'm definitely not a proponent of excursions offered through the cruise line. Often they are more expensive, more regimented, and more crowded. We much prefer independent companies, like Shore Trips. While the price may be the same, it's always alot more fun, alot less regimented, and much less crowded. We've been dealing with them for years and have sold thousands of excursions through them with no problems. There are several other very competent companies available from which to choose; all much better than what the cruise lines offer.

Pete
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Old March 1st, 2014, 07:12 AM
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You and the kids are going to love this ship – the water park is amazing, with loads of slides and water activities, and they also have some good kids’ clubs and kids’ playrooms on board. The eating options are extensive and the entertainment at night is first-class. It will be crowded, however, but if you are looking for a fun-filled week rather than a quiet and sedate cruise then this will suit you well.
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Old March 1st, 2014, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cruise planner View Post
Think of it this way, if you have a problem and booked with the cruise line, who do you think they represent? If you book with an agent and have any problems, they represent you and they have contact information not available to you, so they can often get things taken care of quicker and easier, not to mention with a whole lot less hassle and worry for you. Not only that, but if you are considering more than one cruise line, then you have to contact each of them and do all the research and comparisons yourself - lots of work and lots of misunderstanding.

There was a report put out that when booking directly through the cruise line or an online agency that stated more than 95% of the time you're talking to someone who; 1) works in a call center, 2) is not a certified travel agent, 3) has worked for the company for less than 6 months, and 4) has never been on a cruise or to any of the ports of call. So their sole purpose is to sell you something.

An agent is not there to sell you anything. Their job is to provide you with as much information as you need so you can make an informed decision on what's right for you based on your requirements, lifestyle, and budget.

As for the price and incentives, anything offered by the cruise line will be offered by the agent and sometimes more. Plus, should the price go down on your cruise, do you really expect the cruise line to contact you to let you know about it?

Bottom line is that when you're working with an agent, you're usually working with a small business person who work hard to make sure you have a good experience because they want your repeat business as well as your referrals. Large business is more interested in dealing with quantity, not quality.

As for shore excursions, I'm definitely not a proponent of excursions offered through the cruise line. Often they are more expensive, more regimented, and more crowded. We much prefer independent companies, like Shore Trips. While the price may be the same, it's always alot more fun, alot less regimented, and much less crowded. We've been dealing with them for years and have sold thousands of excursions through them with no problems. There are several other very competent companies available from which to choose; all much better than what the cruise lines offer.

Pete
What do you mean by an online agency? We recently booked a cruise thru an agency we found on line but were transfered to an independent agent who they claim is a cruise specialist.She did get a price for the cruise that was cheaper then advetised and some on board credit and a free excursion.Would this fall in catogory of an online service?
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Old March 1st, 2014, 04:58 PM
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I normally refer to booking through an online agency as booking directly on their website online and not working specifically with an agent. But often when a person does get involved, they aren't licensed travel agents. (Not unusual for them to say they are when in reality they aren't.) However, one thing you really need to be cautious of is when they're selling a cruise for less than what they cruise line is selling it for; it's quite possible they could be discounting, which is something that is not allowed by the cruise line. If they're caught discounting, they could lose their credentials to sell for that cruise line and obviously not someone you want to do business with. Might save you some money but could end up costing you alot in the end. And if they say they're going to charge your credit card, run the other way! They should be serving as an agent for the cruise line and therefore they should be having the cruise line charge your credit card. Doing business any other way is just asking for trouble.

But when you call the number of the website or fill out the information and they pass you along to someone else, personally I have a problem with that. You should be able to call the number and get the agent you're dealing with in person. It should be their number and their email address listed on the website; not a corporate number or corporate email. I much prefer to do business with a small business person and not a corporation. That small business person is going to go out of their way to assist you as they want your repeat business and your referral; they deal in quality not quantity.

Pete
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