Best Time To Book Summer Cruise

Nov 13th, 2009, 04:12 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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Best Time To Book Summer Cruise

We are hoping to take our children and Grandchildren on a Caribbean Cruise on RCL this summer in July....Unllike airlines tickets when I think buying early is a plus, I am seeing now only full rates for 5 and 7 day cruises. Where are those bargains I am hearing so much about? We know we are going in July, so how close to the date will there be any bargains out there? I guess my question is, when do the cruise lines start offering reduced rates on cabins? I think we can wait a few months before, , but one family has to fly from New York to Florida. Any tips or suggestions for snagging these bargains I am hearing about? Thanks!!
MyBailey is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 05:50 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Are you fixed on the number of vacation days??? Your "cheapest" opportunities would be for you to block out 10++-- days of time, getting your air firmed up, with lower rates. In a 10 day timeframe, you should have probably 10 cruises+++ you can consider. KEY is to be flexable. Late book, when the rates are suitable for you.

If, you have to have a certain cruise, certain cabin, triple/quad cabins, exact days etc, this won't work too well. It's way too early for an significant discounting.
BudgetQueen is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 07:33 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
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RCL has recently stated its position that it will no longer discount heavily at all. They say they are willing to sail with fewer cabins filled than discount heavily to fill them. So if you are sticking with RCL, you might not see huge discounts.

Typically, you get the best deals by booking in the so-called "wave" season starting in January or by waiting to the last minute. Since you have to make travel arrangements, I just don't think it's advisable to wait.

If you really want a cut-rate cruise, expand your search and plan to book soon. Book a guarantee, and you are likely to get an upgrade as the cruise date approaches, but you might not get cabins all together in that case. When you book a specific cabin (even far ahead at a discount), you are generally NOT offered an opportunity to upgrade.
doug_stallings is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 07:50 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 651
There's no one right answer here, but some things to consider:

1. Up to 75 days from sailing on RCL 7-night sailings, you can cancel and rebook without penalty. Book now and you get the widest choice of cabins. If you book diretly with the line you can then transfer the booking to the agency offering the best deal later. (On RCL that usually equals the most onboard credit--suggest you check www.cruisecompete.com as everyone else on this board seems to do for the best offer). Transferring a booking is very easy and you still keep the same cabins, booking numbers, etc. Plus agencies really like it as it saves them time.

2. Final payments are due 70 days from sailing. Once you've made your final payment, your rate is locked in and your unlikely to be able to take advantage of further price reductions. So it's inside 70 days that lines make their deepest cuts as they only affect new cabins sold--not every cabin on the ship.

3. If it were only one couple going, I'd wait until about 6 weeks out to book. But as it sounds like you have a pretty complex trip going, I would lean toward booking early with the line then transferring to an agency with a) a good offer and b) a guarantee they'll honor price drops until final payment. No, you probably won't grab the absolute lowest cruise rate, but you'll get the cabins you want near each other; you'll save some money on airfare; and you'll save your own sanity. Coordinating a trip for an extended family tends to be about 10 times as hard as people who have never done it think it is. You're in for some headaches regardless--don't make it worse than it has to be to maybe save a few bucks.

4. Doug is correct about the announcement RCL made. However, I personally don't believe for a second that RCL is telling the truth. There has always been one rule in the cruise business that is more important than all of the others: fill every cabin on the ship. You need people onboard to gamble, buy drinks, buy shore excursions, spa treatments, etc. Empty cabins don't save the line money, they just generate less revenue. The lower cruise rates are in general, the more important onboard revenue becomes. RCL can no more change this rule of the cruise business than it can alter the laws of gravity. If the market warrants price cuts, we'll see big price cuts.

I hope this info. is helpful, and I'm wrong about the challenges of coordination. I hope the trip comes together easily and that you and your family have a wonderful time.
triathlete is offline  
Nov 17th, 2009, 10:12 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 460
When you book ask if they will meet a lower price if one becomes available. If they say no, go somewhere else, to someone who will.
We have recently be seeing fares of $199 for 7 days so shop around.!
bonniejns is offline  
Nov 17th, 2009, 11:44 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
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The prices flactuate all the time - I usually put a deposit, and then call them asking to adjust my bill.

For bargains, try websites like Travelzoo, Expedia. They may reduce the price close to the sailing date, in this case the flight can get expensive. Check if the NY family can take Amtrak down to FL.
Dayenu is offline  
Nov 17th, 2009, 01:59 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 309
Book ASAP and don't expect any bargains during busy summer time, especially if you need cabins for 3-4 people. Then watch prices to either get reduction or switch to a different cruise, if it offers a better deal.
spurs is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2009, 03:19 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I agree with spurs book asap and check often to see if the there is a price reduction. There are a limited number of cabins that accommodate 3 - 4 people and I would think it would be better to have cabins near each other instead of spread out across the ship.
BarbaraS is offline  

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