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Got home and had a message from my Mom to call her back...could I keep her dogs while her and her girlfriend go on a cruise out of Norfolk. Called her back and she asked me if I didn't think an 11-day cruise for under $2,000 was a good deal. I told her I really didn't know since it's been a few years since I took a cruise. But when she said she was giving them her Hilton Head week for $500 off the cruise price, then my ears really perked up. I asked if she was going through RCI and she was. Basically, her and her girlfriend were going to pay just under $2000 each plus my Mom's timeshare. Fortunately, her friend was on the road and she had to wait until tomorrow to confirm everything. I think that was the gods looking down and smiling upon them. I begged her not to do anything for 24 hours. It didn't take that long. I asked her if she had researched prices and she said she had. She obviously hadn't. I asked her what deck and type of cabin they were booking for her. She didn't know. I asked her if the just under $2,000 was for both of them or each. It was going to be for each of them plus her Hilton Head timeshare with a maintenance fee of $480. The RCI person said she was getting $500 off the total cruise price. On top of this, in order to get her $500 off, there was going to be an exchange fee of $189. At this point, my head was about to blow apart. Mind you, my mother was more than willing to go through with this and thought it sounded like a good deal. She was also anxious because she had to wait until tomorrow for her girlfriend in order to confirm everything because, afterall, this great deal could slip through her hands if she didn't jump on it fast.
To make a short story long (sorry), I went first to skyauction. I called her and told her that not only could she keep her Hilton Head week, but I could get the same exact cruise for them on the upper-most deck and save them over $1600. Of course, although she's called me "the Vacation Queen" for several years, she was still leary about it because it's online. I checked some other sites and the telephone rings. She had called the RCI person back and haggled with them because of the price I found. She was concerned about having the vacation insurance RCI was offerring and I wasn't sure about it through Skyauction. She said, that they told her she wouldn't have to give up her week and the price was now down to $1,400 each. I went back onto Skyauction, found where they offer the same vacation insurance. With the insurance, all port fees, taxes, booking charges, etc. for a deck above what RCI was offerring the total cost was $1117.50 p/p. Still a savings of $282.50 p/p ($565 total).
I've read it on TUG before that it is not practical to exchange your timeshare week through RCI for cruises.
I don't know how or why I found TUG back in 2003, but it's changed so much for me and my vacation experiences. "KNOWLEDGE IS POWER"! The folks with knowlege are the ones able to get deals. Deals are there because the folks without the knowledge (like my Mom) are the ones ready and more than willing to pay the full price and then some.
Thank goodness for the knowledge I have gained here. It has allowed my family to vacation more and better.
Thanks for allowing me to give my testimonial!
DO NOT DO A CRUISE EXCHANGE THROUGH RCI--YOU WILL SIMPLY GIVE UP YOUR WEEK, PAY AN EXCHANGE FEE, AND PAY TOP DOLLAR FOR THE CRUISE IN EXCHANGE FOR A FEW BUCKS RCI SAYS THEY WILL GIVE OFF YOUR CRUISE