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DeAnna K.

How do I save money on bookings?

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I know you can keep looking at cruise fares and call and get the lower price. But how to do I know it is lower? I keep getting confused with all the discounts and things. I did not use a travel agent this time. This was the first cruise I booked and I now have travel agents for all the rest of my cruises. 

Just wondering the easiest way for me to keep an eye on it. 

Thanks in advance, 

DeAnna

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If the booking was made under 60 days ago and it's not past final payment due date you can possibly transfer it to a travel agent.

The only way to check for price drops is to go through the motion of booking the same cabin type and seeing how the price looks at the very end of a new booking.  Make sure you pay attention to cabin category such as a 4D balcony and price compare it to the current price of a 4D balcony (or whatever category you have booked now). 

Once you are past final payment due date (typically 90 days prior to sailing for a 7 night cruise) you can no longer take advantage of price drops.  

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I just booked a cruise for next summer and needed to book through RCL (due to some gift certificates I purchased). 

I was doing it on the website initially and seeing some conflicting information on cabin availability...so I ended up calling Royal.  The price I got by calling was over $500 less than what the Website was showing me for the same cabin categories.  The guy kept saying..."Oh, here is a savings we can get you, oh, here is another...."  He even said that you don't usually see all of those stackable discounts together.  Moral of the story is...if I hadn't called I would have never known about those other discounts as they weren't showing for me on the website.  I will definitely be calling from now on (if I am not already using a travel agent).

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7 hours ago, DeAnna K. said:

But how to do I know it is lower? 

With or without a travel agent, your best bet is to come up with a system to track your prices.  With every price drop, I have have a file where I note the price I got it at, that way, the next time a sale rolls around, I always compare it to my most recent price adjustment.  If I see something lower, I contact my agent.

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We have booked our RCCL cruises directly with the cruise line itself.  But in reading this and similar posts, seems like better deals and perks might be had by using a Travel Agent.  I will plead ignorance by reporting I have no experience with Travel Agents.  What advice can you all share about finding a good one for future RCCL adventures?  We do have AAA and they do have Travel Agents but I am pretty sure not all Travel Agents are created equal.

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@CNA Jacksonville  Its not that the TA will get you the best price initially, however some offer something like a small amount of onboard credit.  Where I found their real value comes in, is the checking for price reductions as time goes by for your cruise.  Sometimes the TA has a block of rooms reserved from Royal at a discount rate, and if they do, awesome!  But in the case of the non block of rooms, they can reprice your cruise.

So say you book initially and your TA got you a price that was 1000 dollars.  You put down your refundable deposit and are all excited.  3 months later your TA working hard for you sees that your 1000 dollar cruise is now 800 dollars, and they get your cruise repriced at the lower rate.  You just saved 200 dollars without lifting a finger.  

Cruise planner extras are a little different.  Say you buy a drink package, and it comes out to be 60 dollars per person per day.  You buy it because you're comfortable with that price.  Well, you have an awesome TA who has been tracking cruise planner sales for you as well, and they tell you to check the cruise planner because there's a sale.  Well you do as your awesome TA says, and that 60 dollar beverage package is now a 42 dollar beverage package, so you cancel your 60 dollar one and repurchase the 42 dollar one and a few days later the refund arrives for your 60 dollar one.  Your amazing TA has saved you yet more money.

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5 hours ago, CNA Jacksonville said:

We have booked our RCCL cruises directly with the cruise line itself.  But in reading this and similar posts, seems like better deals and perks might be had by using a Travel Agent.  I will plead ignorance by reporting I have no experience with Travel Agents.  What advice can you all share about finding a good one for future RCCL adventures?  We do have AAA and they do have Travel Agents but I am pretty sure not all Travel Agents are created equal.

I have said this several different threads on this board, but I would say give one a try with 1 cruise to see what you think.  BUT I always recommend that you treat this like you would finding a contractor to work on your house.  Get on the phone and ask the agent what they do for their clients, what else they mat be able to provide, etc.  This is hopefully the start of a relationship with a person that can handle all your vacation needs so you can relax and just vacation.  Make sure to ask about price reductions are they done automatically or do you have to let them know.  Ask if there are fees with the agency as some do charge a fee just to quote and book for you.  Make sure you feel comfortable with the agent you are working with.

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I was able to transfer my symphony cruise that I booked in March to MEI about a month ago. RC sent me a denial letter but my T/A (Sharla) not only got mine transferred but also the couple we’re sailing with. Got an email this morning she found a Seekers Sale and got our cabin reduced by $108. 
 

I had always booked through RC before on the phone. To check prices, I’d always just call. We’re planning a Mediterranean cruise in the next year or so and I’m not doing that myself. So I thought I’d try MEI by booking a 3 night Mariner and moving my Symphony. So far I’ve been very pleased. Looking forward to what Black Friday holds! 😁

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1. Book as far out as you reasonably can be assured you can do the trip.  I usually book 12-18 months out when there is a BOGO50 or 30% off sale running.  This not only gives you the opportunity to book at an advantageous rate when it becomes available, it also gives you a lot more time to take advantage of an additional price drop if one happens.  If you're booking something like a suite, you need to be a little more conservative about this so you don't get hit with a non-refundable deposit, but still... the further out you can plan, the better.

2. Periodically make a repeat "mock booking" of the same category of cabin. If you see a significant price drop, call-in and ask if it makes sense to re-price your cruise.  There are a lot of factors that go into both your original price and your re-booked price (various discounts, OBC, etc).  You may lose some discounts, but gain enough on the lower fare to make it worth it.  The nice thing is that the person on the phone can make an A/B comparison quickly and tell you what your final gain/loss would be for doing so... and it's a pretty easy decision at that point.

3. Don't drive yourself nuts looking to shave something like $50 off of a week-long cruise, unless cruise OCD is a hobby.  I've had a couple of big drops in the last decade ($1200), but those were pretty rare, and becoming even less so as ships routinely fill to capacity and have staggered upgrade programs like RoyalUP that generate more profit than just discounting a cabin.

 

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4 hours ago, SpeedNoodles said:

and ME! I have 5 cruise spreadsheets for various purposes, lol.

Me too!!! I personally love spreadsheets and have one for the entire cruise with different sheet names.  The cruise price tracker sheet has rows with formulas, and I checked the prices daily and inputted them.  It populates the difference in price from the first day I booked.  It's a lot of work, and may not be for everyone, but it works for me.  I just made final payment, so no more checking ☺️

I've seen prices increase by $525 after I booked 😮

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9 hours ago, mk-ultra said:

1. Book as far out as you reasonably can be assured you can do the trip.  I usually book 12-18 months out when there is a BOGO50 or 30% off sale running.  This not only gives you the opportunity to book at an advantageous rate when it becomes available, it also gives you a lot more time to take advantage of an additional price drop if one happens.  If you're booking something like a suite, you need to be a little more conservative about this so you don't get hit with a non-refundable deposit, but still... the further out you can plan, the better.

This is what we do - book early and always book as refundable when booking so early and will switch to non-refundable when we book flights if the cost is less (which most times it is not).  We started cruising March Break and end of summer (and the odd one thrown in for DH and I end of the year) so we know our dates so it's not so hard to do.  

I'm a spreadsheet person....so I do mock bookings a few times a week, if not daily (but I have yet to see the current sale change on a weekend - and most times, the price from Friday sticks around until Tuesday with the new "sale" on Wednesday).  For some/most cruises, the price has gone up so much that I stop bothering to check and may just check for the fun of it once every couple weeks.  I often mark the current prices of interested rooms in my spreadsheet, but really, the only one that matters is your current booking to what you are looking at. (Or if considering Royal up, then you may want to know the going rate of the next rooms).  

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Thank you for all the help. Now I need to just find a TA I can work with and go from there. I am hoping I can find one I can see in person as I am a very visual person and like to see what they are talking about instead of just hearing them over the phone.

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47 minutes ago, DeAnna K. said:

Thank you for all the help. Now I need to just find a TA I can work with and go from there. I am hoping I can find one I can see in person as I am a very visual person and like to see what they are talking about instead of just hearing them over the phone.

Stay away from Travel Leaders in MN.  They charge a booking fee (lived it, learned it).

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