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preparing to book a cruise, was thinking of using expedia for the incremental OBC offer they have. Will I still be able to view it on RCL cruise planner?


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Question is in the title, but to clarify, we want to be able to select dining reservations and purchase drinks, wifi, ect.  Will all of that stuff link up with RCCL even if we buy through Expedia?  Doesnt seem to be asking for our RCCL account info, so was not sure how it would make the connection.

As best I can tell, expedia and RCCL are the same price for the cruise, but Expedia has an additional $200 OBC for cruises over 2k and $300 for over 3k.  Thats pretty significant...

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Make sure you check around. I know that there is a travel agent sponsor of this blog but there are lots of offers out there - and if you book through a wholesaler, just make sure you trust their customer service team. (For example, what if you notice a price drop? Will Expedia help you with repricing your cruise? I’ve never used them, so I’m not dogging them, I just don’t know).

 

I recently booked what I would consider a last minute deal through Costco and am getting a big cash card from them after I sail - to me that’s better than OBC as I will be poor when I get back and need groceries 😂

 

To directly answer your question, I took the Royal confirmation number provided to me by Costco and linked it to my pre-existing Royal account profile. It was easy peasy and I’ve been able to view anything I need to take care of in cruise planner. But I do know if I needed to change cabins or make modifications to my reservation I’d be at the mercy of costco’s phone agents. 

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Be wary of booking a cruise on large sites like Expedia for the lack of customer service they provide when it comes to altering/managing/changing your booking.

I freely admit I'm biased with having a travel agent sponsor on this site, but I've heard quite a few stories about Expedia (and other large site booking engines).

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12 hours ago, Constantino said:

Question is in the title, but to clarify, we want to be able to select dining reservations and purchase drinks, wifi, ect.  Will all of that stuff link up with RCCL even if we buy through Expedia?  Doesnt seem to be asking for our RCCL account info, so was not sure how it would make the connection.

As best I can tell, expedia and RCCL are the same price for the cruise, but Expedia has an additional $200 OBC for cruises over 2k and $300 for over 3k.  Thats pretty significant...

We booked through Expedia Cruise Center after reading a lot of information on this blog and Matt's videos on Youtube about using a travel agent rather than booking with the cruise line directly.

Our agent at Expedia has been great and got us a great deal.  We were able to use the cruise planner once she sent back the conformation from RCCL

We have booked some excursions, Ultimate Dining Package, and Deluxe Drink Package on the cruise planner.  So you have access the same as if you booked directly with the cruise line.

Also, when you inquire with Expedia they will direct your inquiry to someone near you not a call center somewhere overseas.  That was my experience here in Canada and I was directed to a Local Expedia Cruise Center and have had many conversations and emails with my local agent.

 

Edited by KenCP
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I booked with a big box wholesale retailer once. After booking which was okay, wait times on hold for additional requests were typically over 90 minutes.   Not a pleasant experience when my FCC didn’t get applied properly.  Over 3 hours mostly on hold, escalating to supervisor and holding more.  All for a $90 gift card.  My time is more valuable than what I wasted on hold.  Never again.  

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We've booked through Expedia multiple times.  To answer your original question your potential credit is probably going to show up in two forms.  There may be a cruise line credit which will immediately show in your account.  These are typically credits offered by the cruise line and are available wherever you book from.  That amount is usually pretty small but will be available to you prior to cruise as you book excursions, drink packages, etc.  The second credit(s) are usually travel incentives either from a credit card company or expedia as the travel agent.  These are not available until the second day of your cruise.  So you can not use them for advance purchases but can use them after you board.  For example you could purchase something the first day even though the credit doesn't show up yet.  It would net itself out through the time of your cruise.

Word of caution many times to receive the promotional credits you have to complete a redemption form on the expedia booking site prior to boarding.  You can submit before your cruise but I'm afraid if you didn't do in advance you probably not get those credits.

I like expedia as I find the site more user friendly than using the direct cruise line website.  Also I'm a control freak in that I like booking all of our travel connections myself.  As mentioned above I would not recommend them if you want the support of a travel agent behind you.  I've called there customer service a couple of times and they have followed through on my requests as needed.  However they do not watch for price drops, additional benefits, etc that a travel agent might do for you.

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On 3/26/2019 at 9:45 PM, pepperandchips said:

Make sure you check around. I know that there is a travel agent sponsor of this blog but there are lots of offers out there - and if you book through a wholesaler, just make sure you trust their customer service team. (For example, what if you notice a price drop? Will Expedia help you with repricing your cruise? I’ve never used them, so I’m not dogging them, I just don’t know).

 

I recently booked what I would consider a last minute deal through Costco and am getting a big cash card from them after I sail - to me that’s better than OBC as I will be poor when I get back and need groceries 😂

 

To directly answer your question, I took the Royal confirmation number provided to me by Costco and linked it to my pre-existing Royal account profile. It was easy peasy and I’ve been able to view anything I need to take care of in cruise planner. But I do know if I needed to change cabins or make modifications to my reservation I’d be at the mercy of costco’s phone agents. 

Ive booked 15 cruises through costco.  Never had an issue.  They used to offer OBC which didnt show up on your account  until you were literally on the cruise which I didnt like because you couldnt use it in your cruise planner ahead of time.  Now as you mention they offer a costco cash card which for those of us who shop there its as good as cash back off your cruise.

They also have a callback feature on their customer service line so you do not have to wait 40 mins but they will just call you back.

Ive waited days for EMAIL responses to cruise inquiries with smaller travel agencies, only to find out the inquiry required call in's or more emails.

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I've used Expedia and never had an issue. To take the bump out of the road, the issue lies with the  C.S. rep you speak with and not the company as a whole. I've had two bad experiences with MEI C.S. reps and one good one. It takes a little work on your part as well as the C.S. rep to know that both are a perfect fit in which your C.S. rep will know without even asking you what are your wants and needs on your next cruise. As many have expressed on here, there is only one particular C.S. rep they would stick with no matter what the name of the Company they are associated with as it's all about the "personal service" which I totally agree with.

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To be fair, very few travel agents will sift through prices to see if there has been a price change on your cruise.  That job is going to be on you - every time.  The agent will be made aware of periodic pricing offers that come from the cruise line and they MAY check to see if those offers affect your booking but they simply do not have time to go through each and every one of their bookings on a regular basis to check for price variability no matter how good or committed they are.

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5 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

To be fair, very few travel agents will sift through prices to see if there has been a price change on your cruise.  That job is going to be on you - every time.  The agent will be made aware of periodic pricing offers that come from the cruise line and they MAY check to see if those offers affect your booking but they simply do not have time to go through each and every one of their bookings on a regular basis to check for price variability no matter how good or committed they are.

Well I was with Costco and just happen to find that my cruise was now offering an instant $200 off and $200 OBC. I called Costco and they called RCCL it cost me $1 literally to get that deal. That's when I asked for a supervisor and asked if they watched my cruise for any discounts. Matt has been saying how much he likes MEI and so I signed up with MEI, I asked my TA Kathy Geiger if she monitors for discounts or specials? She said when a cruise line puts out a new offer or special she literally goes through EVERY client on that cruise and checks if she can get them a better deal. That's why I changed my booking with Costco to Kathy Geiger at MEI Travel. I talked to her and explained what I'm looking for in a TA she seemed to understand and replies right away, takes my call every time I have called. So I'm willing to give up $500 Costco cash card if I don't have to keep monitoring for deals. I'll see how it goes and if I find out this isn't the case next cruise will be with another TA.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So for those using Costco, what is your usual gift card amount you receive for the cruise. I can’t see where they tell me the amount. New to Costco and wanted to explore their travel benefits. Also, do they require the same $250 deposits? With the new NRD, booking on board with $100 deposit seems to be beneficial in case of rescheduling or canceling. I was told last time on board that if we reschedule the deposit is lost or if we change a person in the room. Any thoughts appreciated.

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So for those using Costco, what is your usual gift card amount you receive for the cruise. I can’t see where they tell me the amount. New to Costco and wanted to explore their travel benefits. Also, do they require the same $250 deposits? With the new NRD, booking on board with $100 deposit seems to be beneficial in case of rescheduling or canceling. I was told last time on board that if we reschedule the deposit is lost or if we change a person in the room. Any thoughts appreciated.

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3 hours ago, Kathleen said:

So for those using Costco, what is your usual gift card amount you receive for the cruise. I can’t see where they tell me the amount. New to Costco and wanted to explore their travel benefits. Also, do they require the same $250 deposits? With the new NRD, booking on board with $100 deposit seems to be beneficial in case of rescheduling or canceling. I was told last time on board that if we reschedule the deposit is lost or if we change a person in the room. Any thoughts appreciated.

I used Costco once.  Gift card amounts varies with total price of cruise.  Applying a C&A balcony discount took my gift card from $100 to $45 because it dropped me below the threshold for $100 gift cards.  I had to call them a number of times to deal with small changes and issues.  What I found frustrating was the long wait times and "instead of waiting on hold for 38 minutes, we'll you back when it's your turn".  Sunday morning at 8am I didn't have any wait time though.  I tried Costco on a last minute booking where I thought I wouldn't have a lot of need for a TA and I figured I'd try it just to try it.  I doubt I'd use Costco again because I like dealing with a named travel agent who I can reach by email or phone call.  

Deposits are standard, no different compared to Royal's website.  

NRD in the US is generally subject to a fee for a change in ship or sail date.  Upgrading a cabin or adding a person shouldn't include a fee with NRD.  

When you book at NextCruise on board they often have the reduced deposits offer but you also get 30 days to change ship or sail date without fees.  After 30 days it's standard NRD terms.  

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On 3/27/2019 at 9:25 AM, Matt said:

Be wary of booking a cruise on large sites like Expedia for the lack of customer service they provide when it comes to altering/managing/changing your booking.

I freely admit I'm biased with having a travel agent sponsor on this site, but I've heard quite a few stories about Expedia (and other large site booking engines).

While people can book directly on the Expedia website, I suggest reaching out to an agent at a local storefront. This way you have both the advantage of a personal consultant/agent as well as the often lower prices a large company with buying power can offer.

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