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Old April 18th, 2010, 09:06 PM
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Question Group Rates- Help?

Hello and thanks for helping!

I decided to plan a family cruise for next spring on RCI. I want to cruise to the Eastern Caribbean in either April, May, or June 2011 for 7 nights. I have heard that April is less expensive as long as you don't go during school vacation week and May isn't too bad (the beginning anyway). I know in June the prices go up due to summer vacations and such. Our issues are trying to mesh everyone's schedule and financial situation into one cohesive plan. It's not easy. Can someone give me some idea of what we can expect for perks for a group cruise? I know about 8 cabins will get 1 freebie, but are there shipboard credits/room upgrades or anything that I should be looking for? We are scrimping and saving for this so we want to make everything count. We are currently looking at a $699pp price for an inside cabin for 2 adults and 2 kids. I know it will be tight, but I'd rather spend money and time doing other things than having a great room that I don't intend on being in very much. We are looking to have about 8 cabins total and were told to book a year in advance but it seems rates are still quite high and I want to make sure we don't overpay or book too soon or too late. Does RCI honor lower prices if the prices fall before you sail? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We are looking to cruise on Freedom of the Seas as that one seems to go to the destinations we are looking for. It will be my 40th birthday so I'd like to make it one to remember! Thanks for any and all advice...I have been scouring these boards since discovering them!

Melissa
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Old April 18th, 2010, 09:33 PM
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You can use your TC (Tour Credits) for an extra cabin, cocktail parties, lower pricing on all cabins or other amenities.

Now comes the hard part. Handling a group of this size is not something you want to do yourself. Get a travel agent who specializes in groups. They have the knowhow and connections to get the most out of your group. They also handle getting the payments from everyone and arranging their cabin preferences.

Take care,
Mike
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Old April 18th, 2010, 10:07 PM
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There are so many issues with a group. As Mike said, you are much better working with a TA who really does know what she/he is doing.

First you need to see if there any any GAP points available for the cruise you are interested it. RCL is particularly tight with them and they stop rather early. Another reason you want to pull your group early. If there are enough groups out on a particular sailing there won't be any GAPS left.

Also remember that the free birth is only the base price not the taxes and port charges. Also, the free berth is in the category that has the most booked. If you have 4 insides and 3 balconies you will get an inside.

Anyway, there is a lot of work involved and you would be much better off passing it over to a good TA.
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Dec. 13 - Windstar sailing yacht. Wonderful!!


Just completed - Celebrity Reflection, Nov. 22 (learning to sail solo) followed by Independence of the Seas Nov. 30.


Celebrity Constellation - March 17 followed by Celebrity Reflection - March 22 (done)




44 cruises - too many to list however cruiselines are in no particular order:

Azamara
Uniworld
RCL
Princess
NCL
HAL
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Celebrity
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Yes, I'm a Royal Chump and proud of it.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 10:25 PM
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Thank you! I did forget to mention that I was absolutely going to use a Travel Agent! I will, can, and have booked any and all reservations for hotels, airfares, cars, trains, busses, etc, etc in my past....but I am not that experienced with cruising (not to mention Group Cruising) to do that myself. I shall leave that to the professionals!

Melissa
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Old April 19th, 2010, 12:31 PM
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Melissa, you may want to tell your travel agent to look at adjoining rooms, and also the inside cabins across the hall from you. That way u can keep your group together. Also, with that many rooms u will be sure to get some sort of discount; if u don't then the travel agent has not helped you. I sailed Voyager of the Seas last summer and we had 15 in our group. Each cabin got a $100 credit; plus a discount on our cabins. A month prior to sailing the price of our cabin dropped; along with the price of our airfare. We ended up getting $1680 back on our credit card. Good Luck, I am in the process of booking a cruise for 11 next year.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AF1 View Post
Melissa, you may want to tell your travel agent to look at adjoining rooms, and also the inside cabins across the hall from you. That way u can keep your group together. Also, with that many rooms u will be sure to get some sort of discount; if u don't then the travel agent has not helped you. I sailed Voyager of the Seas last summer and we had 15 in our group. Each cabin got a $100 credit; plus a discount on our cabins. A month prior to sailing the price of our cabin dropped; along with the price of our airfare. We ended up getting $1680 back on our credit card. Good Luck, I am in the process of booking a cruise for 11 next year.

Some of what you are saying is mis-information. If there are enough GAP points you may be able to get the OBC. There is no discounting with RCL. If you were put into a group you would get the prevailing rate for the group and any GAP points. Yes, RCL is very good at giving any rate reductions even in groups. As the cabins are not assigned until they are actually booked you can't ask for location.
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Dec. 13 - Windstar sailing yacht. Wonderful!!


Just completed - Celebrity Reflection, Nov. 22 (learning to sail solo) followed by Independence of the Seas Nov. 30.


Celebrity Constellation - March 17 followed by Celebrity Reflection - March 22 (done)




44 cruises - too many to list however cruiselines are in no particular order:

Azamara
Uniworld
RCL
Princess
NCL
HAL
Cunard
Celebrity
and some unknown tub

Yes, I'm a Royal Chump and proud of it.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 08:04 PM
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What are GAP points? What is the difference between onboard credits versus discounts versus upgrades? Can you get all 3? I thought it was all so easy and it just gets a bit more confusing by the day! Thanks to all who have helped me!

Also how soon should I book in advance? They just posted the May 2011 rates for a few ships other than the biggies (Allure/Oasis) and I don't want to book now since I think the rates will drop in a few months, but I don't want to to wait too long either because I have to give my group time to come up with the money, pick a date, and request and be granted time off from work.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 08:44 PM
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There are a couple of issues. GAP points are provided by the cruiseline. You can "purchase" things with them for the people sailing. Depending on how many you have you could purchase an OBC of up to $100 per cabin or various other more tricket type things. Most people prefer the OBC.

Now to get the GAP points you need to have a group of 8 cabins booked. If you are booking a group with a TA she/he should be able to hold the cabins so that as each couple decide to book they just call her/him and give their deposit and they are good to go. With RCL the TA can usually hold the group for 3/6 months before they are recalled. This way the price is locked in at now prices. Prices will not go up but they can go down. The GAP points are given based on how many bookings/groups are being held on a sailing. The sooner your TA takes your group space the better chance you have of getting more GAP points.

RCL does not give upgrades. If they have any to give it goes to their D+ members first and down from there. (As a rule). When you book a group you should be sure you are booking the categories you will be satisfied with and under no circumstances depend on receiving any kind of upgrade.

As far as discounting, RCL does not allow discounting. You will get the same price with whatever TA you book with. Some of the bigger online agencies will give paid gratuities or such but if you are trying to do a group especially a family group, you are far better to deal with a brick and morter office where you can get one on one service with the same person.

Don't ever count on the prices going down. Depending on the ship, time of year etc they may only go up. Usually when they are released you get your best price. However if they do go down later you can ask for the rate reduction and, although there are exceptions you will get them.
__________________
Dec. 13 - Windstar sailing yacht. Wonderful!!


Just completed - Celebrity Reflection, Nov. 22 (learning to sail solo) followed by Independence of the Seas Nov. 30.


Celebrity Constellation - March 17 followed by Celebrity Reflection - March 22 (done)




44 cruises - too many to list however cruiselines are in no particular order:

Azamara
Uniworld
RCL
Princess
NCL
HAL
Cunard
Celebrity
and some unknown tub

Yes, I'm a Royal Chump and proud of it.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 01:29 AM
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I have a couple a quick questions as I am in the process of booking a group reservation as well. If anyone can answer these few questions that would be great.

1. I am getting conflicting reports on the deposit amount. $500 per stateroom regardless of how many are in each stateroom vs $250 per person.

2. If I book rooms and at the time of paying my deposit and I provide 2 names and then later want to add on to the room(provided the room fits more than 2) will the 3rd 4th person rate be at the price I originally booked the room or will I have to pay the current 3rd, 4th person rate if it has gone up since my original booking?

3. I was told by the RCCL group department that when you book with a group you do not qualify for guarantee pricing. Is this true? If so that sucks! Why would it matter?

Thank you so much ahead of time to anyone who can answer my questions.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmylilangels View Post
I have a couple a quick questions as I am in the process of booking a group reservation as well. If anyone can answer these few questions that would be great.

1. I am getting conflicting reports on the deposit amount. $500 per stateroom regardless of how many are in each stateroom vs $250 per person.

2. If I book rooms and at the time of paying my deposit and I provide 2 names and then later want to add on to the room(provided the room fits more than 2) will the 3rd 4th person rate be at the price I originally booked the room or will I have to pay the current 3rd, 4th person rate if it has gone up since my original booking?

3. I was told by the RCCL group department that when you book with a group you do not qualify for guarantee pricing. Is this true? If so that sucks! Why would it matter?

Thank you so much ahead of time to anyone who can answer my questions.
Third question first - there are no guarantees allowed in a group. It matters a lot. When you book a group you book a certain number of cabins within a category and a a certain price. You have an advantage as the price will not rise even if the cabin is selling for more at the time you actually put someone in it. That's what is assigned. Guarantees are not assigned categories and sell for much less as a rule.

It depends on when you want to add the 3rd or 4th. First of all, if you had any in your group you may get the original pricing but if your group was all doubles you will only get the prevailing rate as you weren't holding any 3rd and 4th. If you are adding them after your recall date then it will be the prevailing rate of course.


It is usually $250 per person. That counts for 3rd and 4th as well.

That's why you need to work with a good TA.
__________________
Dec. 13 - Windstar sailing yacht. Wonderful!!


Just completed - Celebrity Reflection, Nov. 22 (learning to sail solo) followed by Independence of the Seas Nov. 30.


Celebrity Constellation - March 17 followed by Celebrity Reflection - March 22 (done)




44 cruises - too many to list however cruiselines are in no particular order:

Azamara
Uniworld
RCL
Princess
NCL
HAL
Cunard
Celebrity
and some unknown tub

Yes, I'm a Royal Chump and proud of it.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by felix_the_cat View Post
Third question first - there are no guarantees allowed in a group. It matters a lot. When you book a group you book a certain number of cabins within a category and a a certain price. You have an advantage as the price will not rise even if the cabin is selling for more at the time you actually put someone in it. That's what is assigned. Guarantees are not assigned categories and sell for much less as a rule.

It depends on when you want to add the 3rd or 4th. First of all, if you had any in your group you may get the original pricing but if your group was all doubles you will only get the prevailing rate as you weren't holding any 3rd and 4th. If you are adding them after your recall date then it will be the prevailing rate of course.


It is usually $250 per person. That counts for 3rd and 4th as well.

That's why you need to work with a good TA.
I'm sorry I asked question #3 wrong. I was told if the rate drops groups do not qualify to get the rate adjusted. Is this true? Thanks so much for your quick response BTW
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Old April 20th, 2010, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by luvmylilangels View Post
I'm sorry I asked question #3 wrong. I was told if the rate drops groups do not qualify to get the rate adjusted. Is this true? Thanks so much for your quick response BTW
You were given erroneous information. However what they may have been trying to tell you - if you have a booked cabin and it has a rate reduction and the people in the cabin qualify for that rate reduction they will get it. However if it is a cabin that has not been assigned and is just being held in the group waiting for someone to book it then no, it won't qualify for any kind of reduction.

And your welcome
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Dec. 13 - Windstar sailing yacht. Wonderful!!


Just completed - Celebrity Reflection, Nov. 22 (learning to sail solo) followed by Independence of the Seas Nov. 30.


Celebrity Constellation - March 17 followed by Celebrity Reflection - March 22 (done)




44 cruises - too many to list however cruiselines are in no particular order:

Azamara
Uniworld
RCL
Princess
NCL
HAL
Cunard
Celebrity
and some unknown tub

Yes, I'm a Royal Chump and proud of it.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 09:43 AM
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Here are a couple of good articles on Group Cruises from our main site. I have never heard of GAP points but I think they are the same as TC (Tour Conductor) credits.

Group Cruise - how to organize a group cruise and sail free.

Organize Your Own Group Cruise and Cruise Free

Take care,
Mike
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  #14 (permalink)  
Old April 20th, 2010, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
Here are a couple of good articles on Group Cruises from our main site. I have never heard of GAP points but I think they are the same as TC (Tour Conductor) credits.

Group Cruise - how to organize a group cruise and sail free.

Organize Your Own Group Cruise and Cruise Free

Take care,
Mike
No Mike, they aren't the same. TC is for the 16th head in the bed. GAP points are assigned when the group is booked and a list of things you can "buy" with them. Usually the GAP points stay with the group even if it falls under the necessary beds for the TC.

This is where the OBC's can come into play.
__________________
Dec. 13 - Windstar sailing yacht. Wonderful!!


Just completed - Celebrity Reflection, Nov. 22 (learning to sail solo) followed by Independence of the Seas Nov. 30.


Celebrity Constellation - March 17 followed by Celebrity Reflection - March 22 (done)




44 cruises - too many to list however cruiselines are in no particular order:

Azamara
Uniworld
RCL
Princess
NCL
HAL
Cunard
Celebrity
and some unknown tub

Yes, I'm a Royal Chump and proud of it.
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Old April 20th, 2010, 10:44 AM
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Thanks Felix once again. You have been a great help!
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