I have been on 2 cruises and will soon be planning an Alaskan cruise. What is the best method of affordable cruising? Travel agent, cruise line itself, orbitz, etc. What is your advice and where should I begin? Thank you SO much in advance!!
ALSO, can you recommend a great cruise line for the Alaska cruise?
The company pays the T/A so the price is the same. I have done both, and wouldn't you know that when I booked without an agent, "RCI" screwed up the booking (double booked the cabin and tried to overcharge me). Just one person's experience but since I am getting a third party to help me that is NOT affiliated with the cruise line and doesn't cost me anything, so I'll keep my T/A!
A good starting point is to go to different web sites and see what appeals to you. Roundtrip from Seattle or Vancouver versus Northbound or Southbound to Seward (Anchorage). The "deals" will be at the beginning or end of the season (May-Sept) due to increased chance of poor weather and reduced visibility on excursions.
I've found that I save money when I book it myself, especially on airfare. I have done both also. It seems a little more personal. Book your cruise at least a year in advance and your airline tickets shortly after that. The airlines won't let you book more than 330 days in advance. Also look for coupons and get aditional savings. Sometimes the closer it is to sailing date the higher the price. Enjoy.
I book directly with RCCL and handle everything myself including applying any discounts that may come up and right before final payment I will transfer it to a TA that gives me a credit of some kind to use onboard. I print my own set sail pass and docs come right to my home. I love having complete control over my reservation online and I feel that I look for any discounts that may apply better than any TA would as they have many more clients then just me. RCCL does not discount to TA's so the price will always be the same or more than RCCL. If you are not experienced on where you want to be on a ship or not sure of other things you may want to use a TA in the beginning until you learn the ropes. To save money on cruising always book as early as possible at year or more away from sailing date as prices usually go up as the sail date gets closer unless you like an interior as sometimes you can get one of these at a good deal close to sailing date but balconys and suites usually go fast so book early if you want one so you are not disappointed. By booking early you get a good rate and you are locked in and if the price drops they will honor that also.
Explorer 10/07 B to
Explorer 10/07 B
No sorry, No perks dealing with RCCL on phone or online BUT if the price drops, you call RCCL directly and they honor the lower price. If dealing with a TA you have to hope they find a price drop and call RCCL on your behalf. I flat out told a TA I wanted a casino credit. Not interested in bottles of wine or gifts. So I received 100.00 which I was ok with. I'm not going to transfer a booking to a TA for nothing and I do wait until a few weeks before last payment to be sure I have it exactly the way I want it so I do all the work myself, get a little from the TA and they get a commission. If you do your reservation online and notice a better cabin you can just change it yourself but if you deal with a TA you have to call him/her and hope its still available by the time you get a hold of the TA. If you book WHILE ONBOARD for a 9 night you get 200.00 onboard credit from RCCL but you have to be on a ship to get that. RCCL just started a new program that's really good. Now if you are onboard you can give them 100.00 non refundable deposit without having to book a specific cruise. When you do eventually decide on the cruise you want they apply the 100.00 deposit to it and you still get the 200.00 onboard credit! After your first RCCL cruise you can sign up for Crown and Anchor and then you will get savings certicates off certain cruises so be sure you sign up for that and it's free! If you book with a TA and have some kind of problem and call RCCL they will tell you to deal with your TA, they really won't do too much for you but if you are booked with them they will help resolve your problems. There are great TA's out there and do a wonderful job for people who really do not know how to or want to book their own cruises but if you know how to do it yourself, I think it's a better thing to do.
Explorer 10/07 B to
Explorer 10/07 B
I have used different T/A's over the years but the reason I STAYED with this one is I don't have to ask him to check for lower prices. He checks them routinely and definitely right before the final payment. Since I cruise 2 or 3 times a year this has saved me BIG BUCKS. So definitely a good interview question when deciding who to book with, Robbie
Definately book your own airline tickets, don't go through the cruise line. You might find cheaper rates & better flight times. Flying out a day early also is good. With the weather nowadays, you just never know!
Try various websites for them, each website will probably quote a slightly difference price or flight times. One flight might show up on one site, but not another.
The ones I hunt are the travel section at Yahoo.com, Orbitz, Travelocity, AOL travel. I usually do the best on Yahoo.com