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Booking Early Definitely Can Be Cheaper


ChessE4
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Just a quick note since I booked a 2022 cruise recently.  When I checked my invoice for a similar cruise in 2017, also for an ocean view stateroom amidship, I found the price in 2017 to be $200 more per person for the two of us.  The difference can be explained mostly by when I booked:  In 2017, I booked just 5 months in advance while my recent booking was over 2 years in advance.  The first trip had 50% off the 2nd person and the recent sale was 60% off.  OBC was the same for each ($50).  For newbies, this is a little evidence in support of the veterans who urge booking in advance when you are able.  PS.  I selected refundable deposit and used a travel agent.

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Absolutely agree! Best advice is to book early when possible! Best availability/choice of cabins at generally the lowest price. We have always been able to get the refundable deposit too which makes it an easier decision to book further out (we've had to cancel 2 cruises within the last few years ?).

We have always tried to book at least one year in advance. The subsequent price adjustments we've made always seem to occur shortly after booking and outside the 1-year time frame. We have yet to see a lower price on any of our cruises within 10 months or so of sail date. Our last cruise on Allure actually doubled in price within 6-9 months of the sail date!

I think we also sometimes get hung up on the current sale numbers (discount % off, etc.). What newer cruisers may not realize is that the underlying cabin rate is constantly changing, so 30% off, BOGO 50%, etc. is not the same savings today as it was likely 12 months ago. As Matt mentioned many times before, it's all about supply and demand... the closer you get to sail date, the fewer cabins are available in that category and the price generally rises.

 

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1/ We'll be sailing next week. I took at look at the "next cruise," and all I see is an OBC for $100 (6-9 nights).  We won't know which cruise we'll be taking, and if we decide not to go at all, we lose our deposit.  Is that correct?

2/ Also for refundable deposits (I never knew how they worked) ... when I book on RCI's website, I choose the refundable deposit and pay the extra amount (example: $275).  The $275 is extra on top of my cruise fare.  Is that correct? 

3/ Is the only purpose of the refundable deposit so I can get get money back if the price drops.  

Thanks!

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13 minutes ago, raahc said:

1/ We'll be sailing next week. I took at look at the "next cruise," and all I see is an OBC for $100 (6-9 nights).  We won't know which cruise we'll be taking, and if we decide not to go at all, we lose our deposit.  Is that correct?

2/ Also for refundable deposits (I never knew how they worked) ... when I book on RCI's website, I choose the refundable deposit and pay the extra amount (example: $275).  The $275 is extra on top of my cruise fare.  Is that correct? 

3/ Is the only purpose of the refundable deposit so I can get get money back if the price drops.  

Thanks!

Regarding (1), when you book on the ship through Next Cruise you can still elect to book with a refundable deposit, but you need to be clear that is what you want. Otherwise, you will probably be quoted the lowest price, which involves nonrefundable deposits. Other members can share their latest experiences.

(2) I haven't actually booked a cruise on Royal's website, so I'm not sure how the prices are displayed at the end of the booking process.  I book with a travel agent, and I specify refundable deposit unless we are close to the payment deadline.  We have never needed to cancel a cruise, but absent travel insurance (with different carriers providing different cancellation reasons), if you cancel early you get everything back (refundable deposit is all you've spent so far).  With nonrefundable deposit, you lose it when you cancel (absent any insurance benefits).  For us, the fare difference between refundable or nonrefundable deposits hasn't been very much, and certainly not $275.  But we are booking ocean view or balcony rooms, not suites.

Many cancellations occur after final payment date, which is why travel insurance is important.  Royal tries to sell their policy (through AON) by including a "cancel for any reason benefit", albeit with future cruise credit up to 75% of your fare, if my recollection is correct.  Without travel insurance, the cancellation penalty varies based on when you cancel and the length of the cruise (it's in the cruise contract or other literature).

Regarding (3), repricing a booked cruise with the same room because of a drop in the fare isn't a cancellation.  It is handled differently, as explained in other threads.  Some members are real pros on repricing.   The purpose of a refundable deposit is, well, to get your deposit back.  It's more important when you are booking well in advance and realize life may change your plans.  When you are locked and loaded to go on a specific vacation within a year, it may not be necessary (apply the $$ you save with a lower fare to travel insurance).

Other members have different thoughts, but that is my approach.

I hope you enjoy your upcoming cruise, and the ones after that.....

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@ChessE4

I've only booked through a TA as well.  Our price did drop once, but I was told I had a non-refundable deposit, so they couldn't do anything unless I forfeited my current perks, which wasn't worth it.  

I only found out the cost of a refundable deposit by doing a test reservation on RC's website.  I entered all our personal info, and that's where I saw the option, along with the extra cost (we always book ocean view balcony).

We always get trip cancellation, interruption and medical insurance. 

Thanks so much for explaining everything!

 

 

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The purpose of a refundable deposit is that if you decided to not take the cruise, want to change ships, days, whatever, you can cancel or change without penalty, up until final payment date.  If you booked a cruise, and you are in a country that allows it (USA, Canada, I think Australia), you can reprice the cruise as many times as you like up until final payment date, regardless of whether you booked with a refundable or nonrefundable deposit.  Yes, the fee you see on the last page is in addition to your cruise fare.  I suggest booking through a travel agent, or transferring the booking to a travel agent after you've booked it, so that if you have any trouble or need to make any changes they can take care of it for you instead of trying to navigate the process yourself.

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18 hours ago, SpeedNoodles said:

The purpose of a refundable deposit is that if you decided to not take the cruise, want to change ships, days, whatever, you can cancel or change without penalty, up until final payment date.  If you booked a cruise, and you are in a country that allows it (USA, Canada, I think Australia), you can reprice the cruise as many times as you like up until final payment date, regardless of whether you booked with a refundable or nonrefundable deposit.  Yes, the fee you see on the last page is in addition to your cruise fare.  I suggest booking through a travel agent, or transferring the booking to a travel agent after you've booked it, so that if you have any trouble or need to make any changes they can take care of it for you instead of trying to navigate the process yourself.

Thanks so much for explaining it all ?

 

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