booking a cruise

Old Nov 24th, 2003, 02:54 PM
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booking a cruise

we are a couple in out mid 50's and thinking about going on our first cruise. would it be better to go thru a travel agent, AAA vacation planner, the cruiseline itself or use the internet. any info would be apprreciated.
thanking you in advance
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Old Nov 24th, 2003, 04:50 PM
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You will be able to find lots of info at cruisecritic.com

We have booked through an on-line agency and directly through the cruise line. The cruise line always offered the same price as the on-line sites. I hear people talk about getting better prices from different agents, but we have never found that. I think it may be because we always book the cheapest cabin guarantee (which means you don't choose your cabin number, just a category like interior or ocean view, etc. and the actual cabin is assigned later.) We don't have any problem with having an inside. A balcony would be nice, but the price difference is usually the price of another cruise and we would rather cruise twice. We also book our own air. Depending on where you live you may be able to drive to the port.

Our most recent cruises have been booked through an auction site called skyauction.com. If you use them just be careful. Make sure you understand the rules before you bid. There is an add-on above the bid price for taxes, etc., but they tell you what that is.

Surf around at cruiscritic and you will find lots of good info from frequent cruisers.
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Old Nov 25th, 2003, 04:29 AM
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I have NEVER seen any bargains through AAA. If you are looking for price- then educate yourself about cruises and go with an online cruise only agency. Very very easy to do, IF you don't need hand holding. I also second the post about booking your own air- usually cheaper and you make the choices- just add in your transfer costs. Narrow down your interests- and if you can make a choice on ship and date- also consider www.cruisemates.com on their bargain finder site- agents will contact you with their best deal.
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Old Nov 25th, 2003, 06:43 AM
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Alsob:

As it's your first cruise, you may want to use a cruise planner.

However, there is a great deal of information available online. CruiseCritic is a great place to start to get a feel for the line and the itinerary you want.

I like to use Travelocity to nail down the ship and itinerary and the approximate price--though I never end up booking through Travelocity. Note that when you go is a huge factor in pricing. By avoiding the summer and holidays (i.e., when kids are out of school) you can easily save 50%.

Once you're armed with a ship and a sail date, shop around! Paying less doesn't mean getting less--you just have to find the best deal.

www.CruiseCompete.com is a good place to start--you get multiple quotes from competing agencies. Look on the boards for other low-priced agencies as well.

Don't be too concerned about booking with someone you've found online--99% of the time you'll be just fine. Do use a credit card, though, and check with the cruise line to make sure payment has been received (the agent will be able to tell you when the line has it).

Celebrity, Princess, and Holland America would all be good choices for you.

Cheers!



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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 12:35 PM
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I have found the best prices at: www.costco.com. It is a buying club like Sams and they are very reliable. They can also help you with any questions you may have. Bon voyage.
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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 02:11 PM
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AND to add to all the good advise - fly a day early and an afternoon flight after.

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Old Dec 1st, 2003, 05:39 PM
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I've booked three cruises w/travelocity and have had good results each time. I would not hesitate to use them again.
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