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Booking cruises online

Alberta
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15 posts
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Booking cruises online

We plan to book a cruise to Alaska for June 2008 and I'm wondering if it is safe to do so online. Travelocity.ca is who I would likely book through or is there another company better. Also how soon should I be booking. Thanks.

Ontario, Canada
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4,664 posts
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1. Re: Booking cruises online

I would try a local TA and see what they can offer price wise then if you have a problem you have a person you can go to.

Book NOW!

Rio
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2. Re: Booking cruises online

Booking on line with a reputable agency is safe. Use common sense and the sources available online to ascertain whether the outfit is reputable.

To choose your cruise use an online travel agency with a good search engine. I like vacationstogo. It allows you to search by region, date, cruiseline, ship, ports visited and departing from, length of cruise, or any combination of the foregoing...and has good pricing. You will usually be able to find the absolute best price by using a service like cruisecompete.com - it allows hundreds of agents to make you an offer on the cruise and cabin category of your choice. Your local agent probably won't be able to match that price, but it wouldn't hurt to ask. All other things being equal, it's best to deal with a local.

Be forewarned. Fierce competition fostered by internet booking has changed the nature of the travel agent industry. Thin margins have forced agencies to cut corners. Despite hype, service is often shoddy and in a word, unprofessional. That is why you might choose to go with a local agent if his price is close to what you can get online.

When booking with any agent pay particular attention to whether the agent charges a cancellation fee (apart from that charged by the cruiseline). Sometimes the cancellation fee will be disguised as a non-refundable booking fee. It is usually not disclosed until you make a downpayment so before doing so, clarify your rights to a complete refund if you transfer or cancel your booking. You should also clarify your rights to benefit from any price reduction occurring after you book. The usual practice is for agents to pass along all discounts allowed by the cruiseline, but clarify this.

Since you can usually benefit from price reductions offered after booking it doesn't make a lot of sense to wait - although sometimes last minute price reductions are not offered to those already booked. Since it's practically impossible to predict if price reductions will occur and/or whether they will be offered only to new bookings I'd recommend that you book asap. If you snooze , you may lose, if not the cruise itself, the cabin of your choice.

Good luck.

Castle Rock...
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493 posts
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3. Re: Booking cruises online

I have had good luck with cruise compete. Like Darmadad said, you do need to be careful and be sure what you want and verify prices, cabin type etc. After I get the bids from cruise compete I follow up with the TA and either talk or email and get a feel for the TA as most of them have brick and mortar agencies with an internet department like car dealers do.

The first cruise I went through a PVP but since I have done everything online. So just shop and be careful.

United States
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1,817 posts
230 reviews
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4. Re: Booking cruises online

We look at the online deals and then call to book. Sometimes they tell you about special offers that you dont see online. We have booked with cruisesonly.com and directly with RCL.

United States
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5. Re: Booking cruises online

By the way, when we booked with RCL we were able to get a cabin that was not available to cruisesonly, so sometimes you may get a better deal directly with the cruise line.

Union City...
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6. Re: Booking cruises online

Has anyone used ecruises.com or cruisevalue.com? Both are offering free travel insurance but I am not familiar with them.

Thanks.

Washington, DC
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7. Re: Booking cruises online

I have heard of them but I would never book such online. Travel in general, especially a cruise and/or travel insurance, is too much of a investment in time, money and so on to trust to some website. Trust a travel agent to do the work, so you don't have to worry or feel stressed. They have expertise you can access that you cannot get from a static website. or Google or so on. Whatever service fees they charge, if any, is more than worth the peace of mind. Seriously.

Saint Peters
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8. Re: Booking cruises online

We only book online. Never a problem. Usually use icruise.com or book through southwest.com. Icruise many times offers free items, such as free shore excursion or free wine. Southwest does not charge any booking fee. Although sometimes prices are close, you have to do your homework. Check many web sites and compare. Call the cruise line direct, talk to them to see if they have any better deals and certainly check with your local travel agent. Compare all prices and go with the best deal. Certainly, Travelocity is a very reputable company and would be perfectly safe to book online.

Rio
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1,500 posts
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9. Re: Booking cruises online

SierraNevada,

There is no FREE anything. While it is true that some consortiums of TAs can offer better pricing on certain items, generally speaking, if someone is offering you FREE travel insurance, or prepaid gratuities, or a shipboard credit, you can rest assured it is built into their sales price. For example, if a perks package is offered containing a shipboard credit of 100, the cruise price will be 100 more - all other things being equal.

If the Cruise Value Co about which you inquired is Cruise Value Co of East Brunswick , NJ, I did use them once and had a horrible experience with them. It had to do with a bait and switch type of promotion involving a so called discount coupon. The issue became discount off what price....turned out to be a jacked up price as far as I could tell. I reported the situation to the NJ Attny Gen who I believe followed up on my complaint.

It is the nature of the beast today. The internet has caused competition to be fierce. There are not sufficient profit margins for TAs to hire sufficient competent staff. It is getting to be like buying an eticket on an airline. Some agents already have such a process. To book at best internet price, you fill out a form online before you ever get to speak to an agent. Service from those that offer the lowest price will seldom be decent. It's a trade off.

Chicago, Illinois
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283 posts
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10. Re: Booking cruises online

I booked and have already taken my alaskan cruise with Cruiseonly.com and had no problems and also excellent service and price.

best bet shop around online, try cruise line directly and also check a local TA. I have found in the past that good research usually pays off with finding a good deal.

Also if you book soon check with your booking agent to see what their price guarentee policy is, so that if the price drops you will be eligible for the lower fare.

Alaska was a great cruise very hard not to enjoy.