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Celebrity offers Private Journeys, too


JLMoran
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You've probably heard @Matt talk about Royal's Private Journeys option for booking a customized shore excursion. Well, it turns out Celebrity offers this as well! Found out about it while trying to find a shore excursion the family would enjoy on our day in Akureyri, only to learn that the ship-offered options are extremely limited and the third-party options are equally constrained because of our weird port times (11 AM to 5 PM).

It's very good to get the same peace of mind with a Private Journey as any other excursion booked through the cruise line. They'll wait for us if we're late, they handle transportation, and the best part I learned is that they will happily book the same custom excursion for as many as 12 people as four, while adjusting the per-person price downward by a nice amount when a larger group allows for that. I was worried they'd just charge a flat-rate price per person no matter the size of the group, but my rep gave the pricing for all group sizes from 4 up to 12 people.

Took advantage of this to book a third-party whale-watching excursion that has some modest risk of not getting back until very close to all-aboard time, depending on water conditions. And since that doesn't leave until 1 PM, I was also able to combine that with a 90-minute walking tour of downtown Akureyri as the lead-in, so we're maximizing our short time in the port. And there were 8 people in my roll call also interested in this trip when I posted about it, so I was able to get a full group of 12 and save myself about $250 on the cost of just my 4 tickets. ??

I'm not worried about missing out on souvenir shopping, we'll have done that in Reykjavik the day before. ?

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11 hours ago, kontraxed said:

Where do you find out details about the Private Journeys?

It’s actually not immediately obvious; you’d think it would be part of the Shore Excursions section of the Cruise Planner, but you won’t find it there. Only place you’ll find a link is on the home page of the Cruise Planner, and all that really gives you is some basic info that’s similar to what’s on the page I linked earlier. There is also a form there, which you can fill out to request further information.

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I had a great experience with private journeys on Royal Caribbean and also discovered the link in the cruise planner as well for an upcoming Celebrity cruise.

We had a group of 11 that were visiting Roatan for the first time and got a 15 passenger A/C van with English speaking driver and tour guide.  They went at our pace and we had a five hour tour that included Iguana farm, monkey and sloth sanctuary and a glass bottom boat tour.  They also made stop at a chocolate store and local craft market and provided narration along the route.  They saved us time by diverting to a different monkey and sloth location that had less of a wait time.  They were able to give us additional time at some places and move along quicker when we had enough time at a location.  We were able to combine multiple excursions for what ended up being a better price and a single private excursion than booking multiple excursions it would've take to see all of these things.  I would definitely consider this again.  It was such a hit with my group that they said I could plan their excursions in the future.  

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  • 1 month later...

OK, I just got a very unexpected surprise bonus from booking with Private Journeys...

After seeing @Matt's blog post about the Cruise Planner sale going on right now with Royal, I decided I should check out the Cruise Planner on Celebrity and see if they were also doing a sale. And wouldn't you know it, so they were!

Among the sales were excursions, so I was looking through what they had. And even though I was already all set with my private journey in Akureyri, I still was curious about what discounts they were offering on the excursions I'd seen so far. And new to the list was...

A whale watching excursion! ?

I was cursing and snarling, until I saw the price. $159 per adult.

Hang on a second... (frantically dig up my notes on the private journey)

The group of 12 that I'd booked was only $135 per person. And was both the same whale watching trip and the private 90-minute walking tour of Akureyri beforehand.

I honestly was not expecting this. I was ready to tell my entire group that we should cancel, book the regular excursion, and I'd return everyone's money. Instead, I just got to email them all and tell them that Private Journeys actually made it possible for us to come out ahead vs. the regular excursion! ?

 

Oh, and while I was scouting all the other sales being offered (no discounts on the drink packages -- BOO!), I spotted a killer 40% discount on the 4-device unlimited internet package. I hadn't planned on getting this at all because it's been pretty pricey; I've seen a steady $770-ish for a 4-device plan from day one, almost $14 per device per day. But the current sale price brought that same package down to $513, or just over $9 per device per day. That changed my mind, especially after my wife reminded me the kids will probably go nuts if they can't use their devices on sea days, especially if there are few or no other older teens on this cruise. The discounts weren't nearly as big for smaller packages -- only 20% off for a 2-device package, and 10% off 1-device -- making this an even better value proposition and a genuine call-out to families sailing on this trip.

Yes, I know that when we're all the way up north the satellite service is probably going to be really spotty. But we've got three sea days before we get to Greenland, along with the evenings of our days in Halifax and Sydney, so I'm betting the kids will get their bandwidth's worth. Plus, it'll let my older daughter keep in touch with her boyfriend through the whole trip. ?

Oh... and I guess this means I could take a stab at some kind of blogging while I'm out there... maybe...

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