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Booking Cruises--Website Recommendations

Discussion in 'Vacation Travel Information' started by Fern Modena, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. Fern Modena

    Fern Modena TUG Lifetime Member

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    Ok, I'll start this. Here is a list of the places I go to when I'm checking cruise prices:

    Cruise Shopping
    Cruise Vacation Center

    This is especially good for cruises in the next 90 days, but also has dates further out.
    Vacations to Go

    Use this site to request agent bids on a cruise you are considering:
    Cruise Compete

    If I want to see what cabins are available on a specific cruise I use
    Expedia You pretend to make a booking and when you get to cabin selection it will show you what is available

    I belong to a pay website called Cruise Stateroom . It has various price points ($11.95 a year, or you can do 3 months, etc). You can compare cabin configurations, locations, etc. on most ships here. Its a convenience I feel is worth paying for.

    The above is my "short list," and the ones I use.

    I've not used Crucon yet, but they send out mailers with great prices, and I may book with them one day.

    I have gotten some interesting flyers from Zoe's Cruises in Sacramento, but while they have good prices, if you want more info they are slow to respond to you.

    How about we keep this going with others posting their favorite cruise websites?

    Fern
     
  2. PR1NCESSD1ANE

    PR1NCESSD1ANE Guest

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    www.cruisecritic.com is a great site to visit to get advice and opinions from other cruisers. It's a very active message board with lots of information.
     
  3. camachinist

    camachinist TUG Member

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    We usually just book a future cruise deposit booking while on board and then transfer it to the most competitive agency later. It's a good way to double dip on cabin credits.

    I've used icruise, bestpricecruises, and Travelocity in the past with good success. Occasionally, dealing with Princess direct on last minute bookings can prove more cost-effective. Signing up for cruise line and agency notifications can be fruitful, and has been for us. That's where most of our $50/day pp cruises have come from.

    I joined CruiseCritic about six years ago and agree that it's like the FlyerTalk of cruising. My postings there during the Norway tragedy were memorable, as the ship and her crew had special meaning to me. If I were an occasional cruiser, it would be the absolute first stop in my research.

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2005
  4. Jaybee

    Jaybee TUG Member

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  5. dougp26364

    dougp26364 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I've found that the best price can vary from one online TA to another depending on what cruiseline you're interested in. I haven't found one online TA that has the best prices, every time for every cruise line.

    That said, I've had really good service using http://www.cruisequick.com . They are a little different and definately NOT for everyone. To begin with, you have to know what you want. They a deep discounters and don't give out advice or try to sell you on one line over another. They simply take your order and give you the best price possible.

    This is not to say you don't get any service at all from them. We've had them link reservation #'s for us so that all parties could dine at the same table. They will assist you with special requests and are very attentive to any E-mail they receive.

    The one main difference is that they are an E-mail only agency. They do not accept phone calls to service your account. If you have trouble at the pier you can reach them by phone to straighten out any misunderstanding but, for normal matters handled before the sail date, it's all E-mail.

    Personally, I prefer this. I don't have to play phone tag with a TA to get a question answered or problem addressed. They have always been very quick to respond to any E-mail sent on any day of the week, including Sunday. Plus, I have a written record of all correspondence so there is no misunderstandings.

    Their site tells you right up front that it's not for everybody but, if you have some experience with cruising, it can be a great site and more often than not offers some of the lowest fares if you request a custom quote.
     
  6. vettebuf

    vettebuf TUG Member

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    I book through www.buycruises.com after I check the prices on some of the other sites that have been mentioned. I've booked the last 4 cruises with them. They have a friendly staff and I've had no problems.
     
  7. MULTIZ321

    MULTIZ321 TUG Member

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    Cruise Info Site

    I read that http://www.cruise-addicts.com/
    has a highly rated message board for luxury cruise travel.

    I've never personally used it but some friends told me they use it in addition
    to cruisecritic.com


    Richard
     
  8. Jan

    Jan TUG Member

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    In searching for our Meditterranean Cruise for 2006 the first 2 that Fern mentioned and BuyCruises all came up with the same price and were the cheapest. Cruise Tender didn't have ours listed for next year. I did go with cruise shopping aka South Beach Cruises as they gave the best perks for our group. Jan
     
  9. Amy

    Amy TUG Member

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    I have had similar good experiences with Cruise Quick -- found them to offer best prices (by at least $200-$300 per cabin) on two cruises.
     
  10. imjustme

    imjustme TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Another cruise agent

    I've used Online Vacation Center for our last two cruises. I used the same agent each time and am pleased with the way she has handled any questions. They had the lowest price around for a cruise with Celebrity in April, and their price for our next cruise with Oceania Cruises was the best price I found in that it includes airfare. My only gripe with them is that they charge a $99 adminstration fee per person. Do all the cruise agencies charge this high a fee? They are the first internet agency I've ever used so don't have anything to compare the fees with.

    Jean
     
  11. Fern Modena

    Fern Modena TUG Lifetime Member

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    None of the agencies I've mentioned charge a service fee.

    Fern
     
  12. Amy

    Amy TUG Member

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    That sounds high. I think Expedia and/or Travelocity charges around $15 pp fee; I don't think I've seen higher fees. Many other TAs charge no fees, Cruise Quick is one of them. I don't think these admin fees are refundable, which is silly; I would not book with an agency that charged an admin fee since there are many others out there who does not. Note that some TAs also charge for a fee if you cancel the cruise, even if it is during the cruise line's penalty free cancellation period -- so read the fine print! There are many TAs who charges no services fees whatsoever for changes, cancellations, bookings, etc.
     
  13. imjustme

    imjustme TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I have really been dumb

    not to check with other cruise agencies before going with Online Vacation Center, but their prices seemed so good compared to my local ta. I always read the fine print, so I knew the fee was non-refundable, but I just assumed all these .com bookers charged some kind of fee. I had booked air several times on Expedia and knew about their $15 fee, but assumed (there's that word again--really gotta learn not to "assume" anything from now on) the fee for a cruise would be more. Thanks for enlightening me--you all have saved me future $. I swear, there's NOTHING you can't learn on tug!
     
  14. riverside

    riverside TUG Member

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    One I would personally not recommend is icruise. We had terrible customer service from them. They ended up getting things all screwed up and then when we called to tell them their exact comment was "what do you expect us to do about it?" They also used a $50 coupon we sent them and kept the money for themselves and did not pass the savings on to me. Besides that they didn't link the reservations from 3 cabins we booked so we ended up with different tables at dinner. We did get it straightened out on the ship but it was a mess that shouldn't have happened. Their customer service is terrible.
     
  15. kapear

    kapear TUG Member

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    Kim's Kruises

    We've used kimskruises.com several times. Her rates have always been the lowest on the cruises we were looking at.
     
  16. vegasgal47

    vegasgal47 Guest

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  17. lovearuba

    lovearuba TUG Member

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    cruises

    I've had luck with vacationoutlet.com :)
     
  18. jjking42

    jjking42 TUG Member

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    nice thread anyone try AAA for a cruise

    nice thread anyone try AAA for a cruise
     
  19. ati2d

    ati2d Guest

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    Try Skyauction. They have some good "Buy It Now" fares:
    http://book.skyauction.com/
    http://www.skyauction.com/action/search/cat|40
     
  20. Tania

    Tania TUG Member

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  21. riverside

    riverside TUG Member

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    I had terrible luck with icruise.com. They like you to think they are a big company when in reality they are a very small operation. They have A
    ZERO customer service. Very rude and refuse to help. Other family members booked through them too and also had problems.
     
  22. taffy19

    taffy19 TUG Member

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    I found this link but do not know if it is any good. :eek:
     
  23. Sandy VDH

    Sandy VDH TUG Review Crew: Elite TUG Member

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    Give your local TA a chance

    Shopping online has some advantages but also some disadvantages. [A live travel agent is] available to discuss options and deal with problems should they arise. Many online agencies do not have the customer service that you would expect. If things go wrong, or you need special attention and services you are less likely to get good assistance.

    In the future as cruise lines change their pricing policies, and begin to enforce them, you will find that is less variation in the pricing. The cruise lines want to get to a consistent pricing model.

    Sandy Lovell

    Sandy: I have edited your post to remove some information which, unfortunately, seems to violate the advertising prohibition on the boards.

    Tom
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2005
  24. Jerry

    Jerry TUG Member

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    Yes, they can be good if you find something they are promoting, but if you have a specific cruise in mind and go to them probably not the best agency to use. They will buy a block of 50-100 or more cabins from a given cruise ship line and get a deep discount for that volumn purchase. They will then promote that sailing though their offices, mailings, and web site to their members at attractive prices because of the big discount they got when purchasing the large block of cabins. If that particular cruise fits your needs it could be offered at a much better price than you will find anywhere else, because of the huge discount they received for purchasing the large block of cabins they booked in the first place.

    On the other hand if you come to them for a price on one particular cruise that you selected for a rate on one or two cabins there overhead is too high to be comeptative with other agencies that specialize in that nitch in the cruise marketplace. AAA can therefore be good or bad to use depending on what you are looking for. If they have a packagage deal that is exactally what you are looking for chances are the price will be better than you can find by booking the same trip yourself..

    Jerry
     
  25. pedro47

    pedro47 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Excellent information from this thread on booking cruises!
     

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