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erin6494 August 9th, 2001 07:10 PM

What are the advantages in booking early?
Just curious on everyone's opinion... I got a flyer from my TA with an ad for Golden sailings and shipboard credits. We have been booked on the 11-24 sailing for 3 months and TA e-mailed me that we are not eligible for the credit since we are already booked. If the prices of the fall cruises keep dropping and other perks are attached, what was the point in booking early? It is starting to seem as if we should have waited for the last minute and taken advantage of these opportunities.

I am not a complainer and know we will have a great time no matter what, but it seems a bit unfair.

Any opinions or other experiences with this situation?


Donna August 9th, 2001 07:19 PM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?
Hi Erin,
Your travel agent should get you a credit when the price does drop, but some people book up to and over a year in advance, and the advantage to that is you get a much better cabin selection. You may of already got some special deal, which would prevent you from taking advantage of another special, seems that happens a lot when I get ads in the mail :-( Glad you are happy with what you have, just go and have a wonderful time.

Tuesday Chat Host

Kuki August 9th, 2001 11:10 PM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?
In my opinion, when u book early the TA should guarantee you benefit from any price reductions which occur. Your TA is telling u the promo is for new bookings only. U are outside of the penalty time for cancelling.... As long as the new advertised price with credits is now higher than u are paying, simply cancel and rebook. Voila, a new booking. If your TA isnt co operative, find one who is.
Most good TAs will monitor prices for the clients as the sailing date nears, and pass on reductions.


Jenn August 10th, 2001 08:51 AM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?

My husband and I are booked on a cruise in October 2001. I booked our cruise in July 2001. I heard yesterday that Princess is offering the Southern Cruise in September for $1000 for a suite. That is the price of an inside cabin. So, I called her and asked if there are any upgrades or discounts on my trip, she said, "no, not right now.". She told me that she checks every week for my and if there are any specials or upgrades those are passed along to me. So, I believe your TA should be doing the same. Good Luck.


Michael Sinn August 10th, 2001 10:57 AM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?
I think you meant Grand Princess has Mini Suites for $999 or so. No ships doing Southern till Oct (Dawn)
I agree with Kuki it could be as simple as cancel and rebook to take advantage of the savings. If agent wont do it....Find someone who will. Im sure if your agent pushs them Princess will change rate without rebooking.


Mary Sunshine August 10th, 2001 12:22 PM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?
Personally, I don't believe the prices are any better that far out. This is an enticement to get passengers to begin their bookings. My husband and I waited until last month to book an Alaskan cruise we are taking in four weeks. The price earlier this year was $1799. We got ours for $999, and that includes port charges! My belief is that the odds for "last minute" fares are far better because the cruise lines would much rather fill up with something than nothing at all. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Talliho August 10th, 2001 06:01 PM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?
This is a different line, but I booked an Oct. 2001 Hawaii cruise with Celebrity last March at Category 2 (just below Suite) and final payment was due last Friday. I watch the website (thankfully Celeb posts prices and available cabins) and message boards and knew last Friday prices had gone down, called my TA and got about a $300 reduction in price. Then watched the boards this week since upgrades would be due to come through, heard a couple nice ones and website showed a price for Suites only $100 more than I'd paid, called my TA to see if I could get upgrade to Sky Suite (2nd level of Suites) for $100 and, while no Sky Suites were available, DID get an upgrade to the first Suite level AND a $400 refund! I'm just tickled! Anyway, for best price you need to do some work yourself, granted your TA can and should be on the look-out for you, but with all the resources available to us especially on-line, we can do a lot ourselves to find the best deals and when to try for a better offer. Granted, there are bookings/specials/etc that won't allow for this, in which case I vote cancel and re-book if you can. I've done both year-ahead and month-ahead bookings, have had some great free surprise upgrades, and of course on the last minute bookings you'll most likely only get what you pay for. I work with a cruise-specialty TA which helps too. Well, that's my success story and opinion. I wish everyone the best cruising deal they can find. Happy cruising!!

jenny August 10th, 2001 07:43 PM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?
How was your trip with yur mom? Any tips for "Sun" travelers?

norm August 10th, 2001 08:35 PM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?

To answer your original question as to the advantages of booking early, there are two.

>> 1. You "lock in" your choice of itinerary and sailing date. The most popular cruises do "sell out" relatively early in the booking process.

>> 2. You have a better chance of an upgrade, especially if you book a guaranteed category rather than a specific cabin.

The disadvantage is that you might miss out on promotional offers within a few months of sailing -- which usually are very generous if the bookings are light. By way of example, the "Love Boat Savers" (early booking) fare on my last cruise ("Scandanavia and Western Europe" for twelve nights aboard MV Royal Princess) was $2990 but the promotional fare was $1445 -- a 50% savings!

Bear in mind, though, that popular itineraries might not offer any promotional discounts and, further, that the lowest available fare might actually go up as the less expensive categories of cabins fill up.

If your vacation plans are fairly flexible, it's best to wait and take advantage of the discounts. If your schedule is constrained (for example, if you have to cruise during school vacation because you have school-aged children), it's much safer to book early.


Michael Sinn August 11th, 2001 11:17 AM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?
This was my 2nd time on Sun Princess she is looking very good. My first Cruise on her was May 11 1996. When she did her first voyage in Alaska. ( Inside passage) The service,Food was very good. Loved the Fish each night. Meats were also very good. Entertainment was good to very good. Soda Program was nice and could get refills anywhere on ship but room service. Princess needs to work on the service part of the Soda Program. Seems like my soda request was put on the side while a waiter was working on other orders. And they seemed to smile less when they saw the soda card. Only 3 people smiled each time i gave them my soda card. Plaza Bar Bartenders were the best. And one Bartender in Horizon Court was also very friendly. That is where i got my refills. Any questions please feel free to ask. We had a Inside Cat L on Plaza Deck the room was not real big but enough for 2 people.(My Mom and me) We booked late and not much on the ship to get but Insides. Mom had a great time.

Carole Dunham August 11th, 2001 08:03 PM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?
I book early most of the time. I booked the May 19, 2002 sailing of Pacific Princess with my long time travel agent who is AmEx affiliated. I book a long time in advance because I like to do that. My TA is very good about checking rates weekly to find out if they're dropping or not and she passes savings on to me. On this particular sailing I am told there will be fare reductions through AmEx and she knows they will affect this particular sailing. Since it is early, we don't know by how much but evidently AmEx is great about special rates when a ship is leaving the fleet. I booked a particular category of cabin since their location is perfect, not that a 20,000 ton ship has a whole lot of horrible locations, and there are only 16 of those cabins onboard. Everything she has told me that is going to happen on a cruise has happened and I trust her to come through for me this time too. Besides which, it's fun to think of all that time you have to wait. At my age, time marches by in quick step, LOL.


gimmeabreak August 15th, 2001 02:26 PM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?
We booked a cruise-tour early, 8-9 months in advance, via a TA (group booking) and paid on time per their schedule. We invited friends to come along and they booked the same tour through the same TA a few months after we did. When it came time for Princess to do their upgrades, guess what? Our friends got a better upgrade than we did. How fair is that?

Bill August 17th, 2001 02:03 PM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?
I think you hit the nail right on the head with the answer to the origonal question.
First get on the cruise you want , in the room or category you want, when you want it. Getting price adjustments ,upgrades
etc. may or may not come along later. If they do, fine. If they
do not, you are still going where and when you wanted at a reasonable price.

Cynthia August 28th, 2001 09:21 PM

Re: What are the advantages in booking early?
Got this e-mail today regarding the mini-suites; does not include southern part.

on Grand or Golden Princess: LOWEST PRICES EVER!
19 Fall sailings to choose from! - 7 day East or West Carib from Ft. Lauderdale
Choose most dates from 9/9-12/16 (incl. Thanksgiving on Grand Princess)
344 sq. ft. cabin/balcony! GRAND CLASS FLAGSHIPS! GREAT Itineraries!

I have over 125 days with Princess. We usually always booked a year early and then watched all the promotions; when I called asking about a reduction in price, I was always told there was no availability for our date, but I would continue to see the promotions. When I first started sailing with them, I got upgrades. Then I went years with no upgrades; seemed as if they had me so why bother. My last 3 cruises have been with someone else. I really see no advantage of booking early, especially when there are so many cruises available now. Surely if you can't get one cruise, you can get another just as good. Wait for the promotions.

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