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Old July 19th, 2007, 09:46 PM
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Default TIPS WANTED FOR BOOK: Booking Flights, Hotels & Car Ren

Please reply to this thread with your tips for booking flights, hotels and car rentals - before AND after the cruise. This can include about parking at ports, whether it's best to stay near the port or airport, debark & flight times, making alternate arrangements if the cruise return to port is
delayed due to weather, etc.

By replying to this thread with your tips, you are giving your approval to have your tips included in the CruiseMates book of cruise tips. without expecting any financial payment or copies of the book in return. If you want your name included with your tip, please provide your first name and last initial with the tip (i.e. Mark C.); otherwise I will put " - Anonymous" after the tip.

Thank you for your tips!

Michelle
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Old July 20th, 2007, 09:30 AM
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I leave my arrangements in the very capable hands of my travel agent. I don't have the time or the patience to surf the web or sit on the phone looking for deals, rates and schedules. LisaK
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: TIPS WANTED FOR BOOK: Booking Flights, Hotels & Car

Michelle,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Please reply to this thread with your tips for booking flights, hotels and car rentals - before AND after the cruise. This can include about parking at ports, whether it's best to stay near the port or airport, debark & flight times, making alternate arrangements if the cruise return to port is
delayed due to weather, etc.

By replying to this thread with your tips, you are giving your approval to have your tips included in the CruiseMates book of cruise tips. without expecting any financial payment or copies of the book in return. If you want your name included with your tip, please provide your first name and last initial with the tip (i.e. Mark C.); otherwise I will put " - Anonymous" after the tip.

Thank you for your tips!
Here goes...

>> 1. Before booking flights, have your travel agent get the latest permitted arrival and the earliest permitted departure for passengers who wish to use the cruise line's transfer service. NEVER book flights that arrive on embarkation day or that depart on disembarkation day that do not conform to these times, even if not using the cruise line's transfer service to get to and from the pier.

>> 2. Many cruise lines offer transfer tours that begin at the pier and end at the airport for passengers whose flights depart sufficiently late in the day. Many of these tours are very worthwhile, but their earliest permitted times of departure are invariably later than the earliest permitted departure for the regular transfer service. Thus, it's necessary to plan ahead if one wishes to take any of these tours.

>> 3. Consider the cruise line's precruise or postcruise packages carefully when planning to go to the port of embarkation a day or two early before booking on your own. These packages usually get the hotel at the "prepaid" rate, which is a substantial discount from standard rates, and they also include the transfer between the hotel and the pier. Thus, they may be very good deals -- especially if the destination city is some distance from the port, as is common in Europe. The cruise line usually also offers tours of various attractions in the destination city, conducted in English, that operate from the package hotels.

>> 4. Most of the major hotel chains now offer prepaid nonrefundable room rates that are 40% to 50% less than standard rates. These rates typically require three weeks of advance purchase. Also, rooms offered at these rates may be limited, so plan ahead.

Norm.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 04:54 PM
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One trick that has worked many times for our group is that when we land at either mia or fll we take the rent a car shuttle to where they give you the cars but we get off that bus and get on the shuttle bus to the piers that they all provide. Costs nothing, nobody has ever asked us anything and it gets there really fast. No taxi fares!

We book our airfares using www.farechase.yahoo.com and its usually the best prices.
We bring our own cans of soda and have never been questioned.

We have found that travel agents do not have the customers best interests at heart and half the time are not that savvy on things. There is no big deal to go online and check out the best prices for a cruise you are interested in, call each one and play each agency off the other. I usually call Cruises-n-more, Cruises Only, Expedia, and Travelocity, but Cruises-n-more generaly beats the others with a little bargaining. I work with Jim.
I also call the cruise line and get a baseline price to use as a starting point to go down from. We always use American Express or Visa, never Checks or any other payment methods.
We are traveling Sea Princess from Southhampton on 8/18/07 for under $1500 a person for 14 days around the Mediteranean and getting alot of shipboard credit on top of that.
Also... WE give a deposit that is refundable for 4 years for any future cruise while on board the ship and get alot of shipboard credit.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 07:25 PM
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Someone told me on my last cruise to try www.sidestep.com for fares. It will list hundreds of them for you and you can narrow down the list by customizing it further.

Always (if possible) come into the area where you're sailing the day before you cruise.

Do all your research about everything thoroughly and ahead of time so you'll know going in how things should go and you'll be a lot more relaxed.
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