I've seen many people write that they noticed a drop in prices and contacted their TA. Their TA was then able to get them a discounted price or an upgrade. How do you find out if the price of your cruise has dropped since you booked it?
First, you have to know what the going price is before the price drop, at a place such as Travelocity or Orbitz. They lower their prices when Princess lowers theirs. So check at one of those travel search engines.
But, if you are within your final payment, most cruiselines do not give the reduction. They reduce prices after final payment because they have empty space on the ship and are trying to sell it. They can't afford to go back and give everyone the same price now that they are offering to try to fill the ship at the last minute.
You can call your TA about it, or the cruiseline. Sometimes they will give in or give you an upgrade but not the money back. But don't count on it.
Check cruise line web site,if price is lower than you are paying call and they will lower your amount.We have done this up to a week before sailing with no problem.If you book on your own you can do it or if you use a ta have ta do it. TOM
You said that you've been able to get a price reduction up to a week before your sailing? How could that be if your final payment is due months before? Were you given an upgrade after your final payment? I can't imagine they would give you a refund!
We also have an excellent TA who informed us of a fare reduction about a week before our final payment was due. We ended up paying less for a higher category - so she had to cancel our original booking and rebook us!
I have been battling with my TA and Princess directly this week on a drop in price on the Carribean Princess. Princess dropped prices the day after our final payment was due by around $150. per person. They will not refund since they call this a "flash promotion" due to low bookings and our final payment was already paid. I have spoken directly to Princess customer service on this and the only thing that they will offer me is an upgrade, which we declined because we really like the cabin we selected. I was hoping for at least ship board credit, but no luck.
OK, you go to the store, or a car dealer, or whatever, with the intent to buy. You see what you want, but you're not sure about the price. Should you wait, hoping for a lower price, and risk losing out, or buy now? Decisions, decisions...Once you've made up your mind and made your deal, it's done, though. Save your whining if you think you lost out, and chalk it up to experience. I can't think of very many businesses that regularly go back and offer discounts to everyone who purchased an item when the put the remnants of their stock on sale. And certainly, nobody would put up with paying more if the price went up, would they?
I booked and paid in full on the Star Princess Mediterranean route for May 4 only on 2/24 through a TA. Just yesterday (2/26) I noticed that Princess has started a "Flash Promo" and the cost of my original booking has decreased by almost $700 total!!!
I had my TA call Princess but was given the "only new bookings" line. This would be understandable if I had booked months ago, but two days prior??? Unsatisfied, I called Princess customer relations myself and calmly but firmly reiterated my disappointment. I ended up getting an upgrade from Category L (inside) to a Guarantee Category EE (outside unobstructed) *and* $200 shipboard credit.
It's obvious to me that it's easier for Princess to blow off travel agents ("c'mon, you know the rules...new bookings only...") than an actual customer live on the phone. They say that if you book through a TA you have to get the TA to call and make changes, but it's just not true. I credit my TA for trying, though. And she actually recommended that I push for the EE category as well as the category guarantee. The Princess representative was fairly helpful without getting impatient with me. I came away satisfied that I was getting something rather than nothing, just for trying.
So the moral of my story is that persistence pays. Be nice on the phone but express your disappointment without losing your cool. And don't blame your TA.
It's the cruiseline's policy. It is common that right after final payment, they will drop the prices, especially if the cruise is not selling as briskly as they had planned.
Dirtdoog - personally, I don't want my TA badgering Princess about a policy I was fully aware of when I booked. Sometimes, the TA can help if you push it, but then the cruiselines look at it as the TA as "calling in a favor". They obviously can't do it for every client, as it happens all the time. It may be that they did take into account that if you had booked 2 days later, you would have taken advantage of the reduced prices. But, I don't think they will be as generous with people booked longer in advance.
The bottom line is: The policy is that price drops inside final payment that are listed as "new bookings only" probably won't result in drops for the rest of us. Nor should they. Just because we haven't actually cruised yet doesn't matter. Suppose you bought tickets 6 months in advance for a broadway show for $125 per ticket. Great front row center seats. One week before the performance, some tickets right next to you are returned and they are now being offered at ticket discounters for $60. Should your price drop also? I wouldn't expect it to. Prices lower to get rid of existing inventory.
The reason why price drops are honored outside final payment is because clients could easily cancel their original booking and rebook at the lower price with no penalty. It makes no sense for the cruiseline not to lower prices outside the final payment.
Good for the posters who asked to get their prices lowered( but perhaps just got upgrades.) I do not CARE that the cruiselines " are just trying to make a profit" I care about my own money. I earn it, and I would try to get the best bang for my buck. I don't have spare cash to be "nice" with.
It's a buyers market, and ripping customers off ( even if you are doing it "ethically" by putting it in the fine print) just leaves a bad taste in their mouths, and makes them more likely to try another cruise line that has a more flexible policy to their pricing structure. I agree that prices are entitled to be dropped, but in some stores( here anyways) if an item goes on sale right after you buy it the store will give you the difference( bring in your receipt).Not everyone takes advantage of this , but for those who are viligant the saving obviously matter.
Quite frankly it burns my butt that you can book a cruise a year in advance and there is nothing to stop your buddy booking the cruise a week or two ahead of sail date and they get 500 or more dollars off!Meanwhile the cruise line has had your deposit of serveral hundred dollars in their bank account earning them interest!
I agree completely with you regarding the TA-to-cruiseline relationship. But *some* TA's really do have better connections to the cruiselines and are able to get more for their clients, don't you think?
At any rate, as soon as I saw the price drop my first reflex was to call my TA, who was very forthright about the "new bookings" rule. Without providing me with any hope for any kind of refund or upgrade, she offered to contact Princess for me without any kind of reluctance. That's when she got stonewalled by Princess. I know that she actually did call because Princess had notes about her call associated with my booking by the time I called.
The fact is that there are reasons that people book far in advance and reasons why people don't. I don't think anyone blames Princess for dropping prices in the last few weeks before a cruise in order to fill a ship, and I expect that people who book far in advance know and understand that this will happen. But people who book months in advance probably feel that the certainty of having plans made and peace of mind are worth the extra money. Certainly it's not worth risking losing a particular booking over a few months' wait and a few hundred dollars.
But people on the border always feel more hurt. There should be some sort of price protection within a week or something. Probably most people buy a cruise and never look back. The internet has changed this to some degree. But I still think it is a minority of people who actually know about a price drop when it happens. That's where the "well if I give you a [refund, credit, upgrade, whatever], then I'd have to give it to everyone" type of argument fails. It is well within Princess's ability to satisfy a handful of persistent customers, and I'm sure they are very well prepared whenever these price drops occur. Most people read the fine print and say "Aw shucks, new bookings only" or take the word of a TA that nothing can be done or even multiple levels of CSRs. For other people, persistence really does pay.
You are right about it being a buyer's market. That's why a savvy buyer who has the inclination and nerve to wait right before a cruise can jump in and get a great price. Good for them. How can you bear a grudge against any company that drops a price to make more money. On a flight that has 100 people on it, there are probably 40-50 different prices being paid. Should the airline lower all the tickets that paid more than the lowest fare. I don't think so.
I booked 4 months ahead and have had 1 nice price drop after a month which is nice. I booked ahead to get the cruise I want and the cabin I want. If the price drops more and I don't get another drop that's too bad for me. Nobody forced me to pay what I originally paid.
Caribbean Princess May 15
I think it's perfectly fine if people feel the need to check into it. If they are turned down, it would be nice if they handle it gracefully. Unfortunately, many people get downright nasty with both their TAs and cruiselines regarding this issue if they are not offered anything. These are the people I just don't have tolerance for when I hear their complaints. What is the cruiseline going to do? Give all of their passengers that discounted fares? Cruiselines wouldn't be in business very long.
With DirtDoog, 2 days sure made a difference. I would bet when booking that close to final payment, in the future they will just wait those couple of days. I know I would!
The problem with cruise lines is really different than many other purchases. Their marketing directs us to "book early for the best prices"... then their yield management programs kick in and lower prices below "early booking prices" as they get closer to sailing.
I still don't find a problem with it. They can't drop all fares to the prices offered 1 month before cruising when they are merely trying to fill empty cabins. At that point, the cruiseline is just trying to charge enough to get people onboard and hope they will spend big bucks on alcohol, casino and other extras. They certainly aren't making any money off the cabin and the food.
Princess has probably one of the most liberal upgrade systems out there, from what I've heard. They normally upgrade people into the better cabins and then slash the prices on the lower end cabins. I started a poll about suites, and about 2/3 of those who sailed in suites were upgraded into them...1/3 paid for them. Almost everyone I spoke with on my last Grand cruise had been upgraded...many times from oceanview to balcony. Some were regular Princess customers, others were newbies. Many newbies who cruise on other lines are surprised by the amount of upgrades Princess gives.
Late booking discounts are NOTHING new. I have been doing it for over 15 years. IT is common for fire sales after final payment to fill undersold ships. People taking advantage of these are getting "left overs" and need to be flexable with ships, dates, cabins. That is the way business is- with your early booking you agreed to your price, got your preferred cabin, chose you preferred air, got your exact ship. There can sometimes be a price for that and certainly a gamble. I am extremely flexable a lot of people are not. Information is rapid and extensive. I would NEVER leave it up to a TA to search for rate drops- do it your self, easily via several online agencies. There sometimes can be a lot of action shortly before final payment with returned blocked space. Be agressive in your search. It is clearly disclosed about final payments and penalities of cancelations. If a lot of space still shows up before final payment decide if you want to cancel and wait for the fire sales- if not be happy with your deal.