cruise compete quotes - what to do next

Old Dec 13th, 2007, 06:29 AM
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cruise compete quotes - what to do next

Now have 4 quotes for Alaska cruise. I am usally a believer in the you-get-what-you-pay-for concept, but 4 quotes vary by $1000 (2 cabins/1 week cruise). Is there anything else I have to be wary of? Can I just make sure that they are actually selling the same thing and pick the lowest one? (Princess cruiseline if that matters)
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 07:33 AM
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Each cruise line has a different "flavor" - and you need to decide what flavor of cruise you want. Price may well NOT be your decision point. I would recommend you go over to cruisecritic.com and read the information specifically on all the cruises you are looking at. There will be TONS of information on people's experience with your specific options. Also, decide - do you want a traditional cruise, or a free form cruise (as far as dining) - that should also elimate a choice or 2. Decide where you want to leave from, and if you're going South or North, or vice versa (I really liked leaving from Vancouver and going North) - and then doing a land tour on the train to Denali - but again, that was my taste.... I don't know if there is a bad option - we sailed Celebrity and loved it, and I'm sure all the others are good too - it just depends on what you want, and they are different.....
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 08:03 AM
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Thanks Debi. I have already done all of that and decided on a specific date on a specific Princess cruise. Quotes I am getting are all for that cruise, but they vary a great deal.

This is new to me because last cruise was in Feb on Celebrity which discounts very little and also since it was Presidents Day week/school vacation there were not really any deals out there.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 09:29 AM
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Hi Gail,

As long as you are comparing apples to apples, you should be OK (i.e., make sure all quotes include the port charges and taxes, the extra fuel surcharge that has been added on to 2008 cruises etc, the same category cabin etc). Also, do a search to ensure that the 4 quotes are from agencies that have good reputations (try Tripadvisor for that).

I am also going to Alaska on Princess next summer (July 21 northbound on the Coral). I was going to book through Princess, but ended up using Delta Skymiles. Delta gave me bonus miles, and for the same price as I could get at Princess, they gave me a better cabin category.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 09:53 AM
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Gail - I always use Cruise-connections.com. This isn't an ad for them but they advertise guaranteed lowest price. We recently booked a Western Mediterranian Cruise for next summer. I was very happy with the price but then I keep checking websites. When I checked Cruise.com I found they had lowered the price (same date, same category). When I called the agent they met the price and I didn't have to cancel and rebook as I had already paid the deposit. It was a $325 saving per person. So - I would try the companies I mentioned to get a quote. All I can tell you is that the company I deal with has been excellent over the years.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 02:44 PM
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Gail, as others have said, are you comparing exact cabin categories including fees and taxes? That can make quite a difference.

I would take one last step also, check out the same cruise with cruisequick.com. Everytime I've used cruisecompete, I further check the lowest price against cruisequick, and twice they've been lower and included extras like photos, wine, and free admission to premium dining room.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 03:07 PM
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Thanks again. I emailed the lowest price quote agency and asked them specific questions about what is included and when I call them in the AM I will find out about specific cabins - low price might mean I am next to the casino or under a dance floor. Will also check mentioned on-line agents.
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Old Dec 13th, 2007, 07:52 PM
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69:

The "lowest advertised price"? That's hysterical.

Just about every cruise line ) prohibits the advertising of discounts, though all allow (or wink at) discounts or onboard credits offered one-on-one. So all advertised prices are required to be the same. (Of course, you sometimes have to go to the final booking screen to see all the add-on costs...)

The real deals are to be had from getting one-on-one quotes from sites like CruiseCompete or going through the work of contacting multiple discount agencies directly and asking each for a quote...

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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 06:04 AM
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You are doing the right thing by calling the agency to find out EXACTLY what you are getting.

I asked for quotes with cruisecompete for a 14 day b to b Alaska cruise and received one quote $1000 less..come to find out it was for 7 days.

SOmetimes cruisecompete will quote other cabins that you didn't request to throw out a low quote.

$1000 is a big difference in price. Please let us know how this works out.
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 07:02 AM
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Robin - I discovered how right you are - see my saga below (happy ending, though)

Cruise is Coral Princess Whittier-Vancouver in June. Asked for quotes on 2 balcony cabins and also to check price for 2 mini-suites with balcony.

Received 7 quotes - at first they seemed very different, but I made myself a chart and added/subtracted things like on-board credits, etc and discovered total for 2 cabins differed by only about $500 for all. Except for one - where price was over $1000 difference. Emailed them back and forth - and only when I checked exact cabin configuration on Princess website did I discover they were trying to sell me one of the very few NON-BALCONY mini-suites as a balcony cabin. Stopped dealing with them immediately.

Ended up booking with cruiseadventuretravel.com based on price and their responsiveness by email and phone. Price was $1000 less than that quoted on Princes website. This was a surprise to me as previous cruises have been on NCL and Celebrity, which I have heard do not really discount.

I am sitting here near Boston looking out at a foot of snow - seems strange to be booking Alaska.
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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Triathlete If you are referring to my post I did not say "Lowest advertised price". I say they advertise that they will have the lowest price. If you find a lower price after going to their website and pricing out the specific cruise and category etc they will match it. I recommended them because I have used them for at least 10 of our cruises and they have always had our table arrangements no problem, documents in time - no problem etc. Prior to finding them (recommended by someone on a previous cruise who had paid lesss than we did for the same category) I did have problems at one time or another with last minute documents, no dining arranged etc etc. There are many good companies out there but the companies that have the most clout with the cruise lines by booking blocks of cabins etc can usually do better. I just found that I could trust this company with pricing and reliable service.
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 10:02 AM
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I filled out whatever was needed on CruiseCompete with notes what cabin I need, being very specific - not the cabin number, but those letters, you know, like JJ for example.

What I got back was a standard reply: inside starts from $123, outside starts for $456.

One of the replies had a return contact info with e-mail. E-mailed some Florida agency, got back... you've guessed it, the same standard reply.

In dealing with the travel agencies, how can one be sure s/he is getting the desired cabin, not some "guarantee"?
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 10:43 AM
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Faina - most of the on agencies like the ones I mentioned you can actually choose you cabin. For instance when you go to their website and choose the particular cruise you want. Then it comes up with prices for each category that they have available on that cruise. Then click on check availabilty and it asks a few questions - like number of passengers, etc. Don't choose the one that asks if you want airfare though (that requires a phone call) then just continue and it will come up with every category available and the price including port charges etc. Then choose select and it will show the cabins available and you can choose which one you want. At that point you can click on the ships layout etc so you can see where each cabin is. You don't have to give any personal info to get to this section. Sometimes if the specific cabins they have are booked they will put a choice for guarantee. If you are interested at that point I would try other websites to double check the pricing. Then, if you are happy with the price I always call the agency instead of actually booking it online. If you have personal contact its easier if in the case I mentioned a cheaper price comes available later you can go back to the agent.
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 10:55 AM
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Well, Traveller69, no offense, but... I went to cruise-connections and checked, some cabins are still available for the same class I reserved for our next cruise Princess SF RT June 6 to Alaska.

Guess what: the price is exactly the same as on Princess' website, down to the penny!! With one difference: Princess gives me $75 cabin credit, cruise-connections doesn't.

I didn't do too bad on my own, right
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 12:05 PM
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Hi Faina - no offense taken. I was answering your question on how you know you will get the cabin you want and not a guarantee. Just so you know I wasn't saying that All cruises are cheaper through the agents which is why you have to shop each time. If a cruise is selling well the line doesn't allot so many cabins to the agents but on the other hand if it isn't doing well they will give a few more out for block bookings. For instance when we did the Antarctic cruise it was sold out a year ahead so of course no discounted rates there! We are doing a back to back Baltic and Western Med cruise next summer. The Baltic was the same price as the cruise line but the the Western Med was deeply discounted. You did well and enjoy the cruise. It will be very nice cruising from San Francisco and return. Wave to us in Victoria as you cruise by but I would imagine your ship will visit there so enjoy that as well!!
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 12:28 PM
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GTG June 7 in Victoria, anyone?
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Old Dec 14th, 2007, 12:56 PM
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Faina - keep in touch. If I am in Victoria then I'll meet your ship!!!
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Old Dec 15th, 2007, 06:59 AM
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Gail - You can also transfer a booking. We booked a cruise directly with Princess once and then transferred the booking to Cruisequick. I don't know if all agencies allow this but it is something to keep in mind.

Cruise Value Center has very low rates and we just booked with Best Price cruises for a terrific rate and a deeply discounted deposit.

You will love Alaska. We're going back for the second time. ..can't wait!
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Old Dec 15th, 2007, 11:51 AM
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Good advice from Robin72. Princess is one of the cruise lines which still allow discounts by travel agents, so the booking can be transferred to TA who offers discount. If you need one, you can contact my agent Alex at [email protected]. He works for Cruise Value Center that was mentioned by Robin. Onboard credit or whatever perks Princess offers will be honored by TA, and on top of that you may get price reduction.
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Old Dec 15th, 2007, 05:52 PM
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69:

Mea culpa, I misread.

However, in my experience no one agency always has or can match the lowest price. Depends on the particular agency's relationsip with the cruise line (no agency has top commissions & overrides with every line) and who's holding group space on the particular sailing you want among other factors.

While I wouldn't discourage anyone from checking with the agency you recommend, it's always best to shop around. As CruiseCompete provides multiple quotes in one easy step, it should always be part of the process.
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