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Booking early really is best


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I know it's pretty common knowledge among cruisers.  But to anyone new to cruising or just to confirm for those who've heard it before...book early to get the best price!! 

 

We booked within days of Royal Caribbean releasing our October 2016 cruise. So well over a year out from our cruise.   Our travel agent has checked EVERY sale that has come out since and not one has been able to give us a better deal than our original booking.  Even with higher percentages off, and even with OBC added, we still have a better deal.

 

So while of course I'm still hoping there's that one magical sale that will save us some money before final payment....I'm really glad we booked as early as we did since prices seem to only go up from there!

 

Happy Cruising :)

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Guest toodle68

I was looking at some cruises in 2017 and the only available cabins were on deck two.. I find it hard to believe that 3 different cruises were all booked that far out and wondered if they only release other decks later.. ?

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Yes, that's right!  Another reason we booked early is because we had scoped out a specific room we wanted on Freedom last time we cruised.  We were able to get that specific room by booking early!

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You are correct if you need to plan far into advance. I have found that close to the final payment date the deals can be better. Or just after the final payment date. Most of the cruises I have book have been after the final payment date and the price has been better that at release. But in order to make this work you need to be flexible with times and travel. Most people have fixed vacations so these late bookings would not work.  

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Totally agree as well. That's why I have five booked through 2018. For us in North Anerica, those no risk. The only disadvantage is coughing up the deposit.

 

I want to book Oasis in mid May 2018 for a family getaway for my sons graduation from college. What is the earliest i can do that? The website only shows dates in 2018 through April.

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Book another cruise of the same length in 2018 that's available and then transfer when your sailing becomes available.

 

Thanks. That is a good idea.  Are there any fees associated with changing to a later date and would I need to use any OBC I get by booking on the July sailing so as not to lose it?

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Thanks. That is a good idea.  Are there any fees associated with changing to a later date and would I need to use any OBC I get by booking on the July sailing so as not to lose it?

No fees. Just realize that the deposit amount is not refundable if you take the OBC on your current cruise.

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Also be aware that you could (and probably would) lose any other "booking incentives" that apply to the original onboard booking if those incentives are no long being offered at the time that you move your booking to another date.

 

When you move a booking you will only get the booking incentives/promos that are in effect at the time that you rebook...so if you were offered any special OBC, drinks or internet or dining discount packages as part of your original booking and that promo has ended by the time you switch to a new sail date, you would not longer qualify for them.  Of course, there might be some NEW promo that's going on that is even better than the one you originally booked under !  They are always making these changes so you never know what they're going to be offering !

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A few words should be used with caution; always, anytime, never, everyone..... because even if 1,000,000 agree it only takes 1 to prove the statement wrong. For most passengers booking early results in a better deal, but booking late or last minute can in some cases provide a much lower price.

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A few words should be used with caution; always, anytime, never, everyone..... because even if 1,000,000 agree it only takes 1 to prove the statement wrong. For most passengers booking early results in a better deal, but booking late or last minute can in some cases provide a much lower price.

You are not wrong, but speaking in generalizations, booking early tends to net a better deal on a more consistent basis.  No question there are still last minute deals, but I would never recommend relying on that, especially if there is a particular sailing or stateroom category you are interested in.

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I agree with you Matt, if you need to travel at a set time, to a set place, ship, and room..... book early as it opens and check for price drops. But if you can travel on short notice and are open to ports and ships, last minute works great.  

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Guest toodle68

We are planning to cruise Oct 2017. We have another cruise coming up in Jan 2017 and wondered if booking early beats booking during the Jan cruise?   I read the discussion on booking the next cruise on board and it seems like the benefits are not as great as they used to be?  

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On board booking benefits are not all that significant (except for reduced deposit).

 

Are you booking under US rules or another countries? If US why not book now and then cancel and book onboard if the onboard deal is better when the time comes ?

 

Cruises typically increase in price over time ... for example my Nov 2016 cruise was booked in Mar 2015, as of today it is 50% higher than when I booked it ... no sale they can offer gets anywhere close to that price .... maybe after final payment if they do a discount deal (Which they say they don't do anymore) it will get back down to being close but I haven't seen it on my last couple.

 

My Nov 2017 cruise is only up $150 so far from when I booked it in Apr 2016, but that's already more than any booking bonus OBC offer .... although I am hopeful a sale might give me a savings on this between now and taking it, I doubt it.

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Speaking of price increases, I was stunned when I went to check the price (Grand Suite) of my Navigator 2016 Christmas + New Year's cruise.

 

The original base per person cost of this cruise (cruise only) was $5454.  Today's per person cost is $10,505.  That's nearly a 100 increase !  Holy cow !

 

Now, I paid less than $5454 PP with my Club Royale discount (It came out to $3071 PP) and anyone purchasing today would get the 60% off second person price, which comes to $7353.50 PP but that's still a huge price increase.

 

Booking early was definitely the right thing to do here !

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Guest toodle68

US..

 

So in regards to the deposit..  I can book a cruise today and if I find a deal better at a later date, I can cancel the original booking and transfer? the deposit to the new booking?   I can do that online or have to call CS?

 

I assume if I ever cancel outright, that the deposit is lost..?  or does it remain in the account and can be used on a later cruise?

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Yes.  If you cancel outright, you would lose your deposit b/c you were given that same amount as OBC for the cruise you were on when you booked the future cruise.

 

If you transfer the cruise to another date or another ship completely, then you transfer the down payment without any penalty.  BUT, as we have stated, you would lose any other promos that were offered as part of the original deal.  Sometimes that's a bad thing and sometimes that's a good thing (if the current promo is better than the original one was).

 

If you booked under the current 60% off second guest and then decided to transfer later and the promo deal at the time you transfer is buy one get one half off, then you will have traded a 30% discount for a 25% discount...as an example.

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Guest toodle68

Thanks.. so the ideal approach is to book early, monitor the price and cancel / rebook if a better deal comes along etc..  now I understand why people monitor the price even after they have booked..

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Yep,  under US rules the deposit is full refundable up until final payment so they really cant stop you from "cancelling" your old cruise and getting a refund and then "rebooking" the new cruise at the new price and putting the same deposit down again. Sometimes they get prickly on it but usually they just fold and reprice it rather than making you go through the extra steps.

 

Doing the book on board makes it a little more complicated but still doable.

 

The last time I tried it, I was told the only option was to take an on board credit on my current cruise equal to the amount of my deposit. Therefore the deposit was no longer refundable since I had already "spent it". Matt (and others) have reported that the old second option of getting the OBC on the future cruise should still be available in which case it is refundable since you haven't used the OBC yet.

 

In your situation you should be ok since you are planning to book now and put down a refundable deposit, then book again onboard if the onboard "package" is better than your existing booking and then cancel your original booking and get your original deposit back.

 

I have not had the experience of trying to do a reprice on an onboard booking since they changed it all up so I am not sure how that would then work if you wanted to reprice again in the future ... since you would have a reduced deposit deal in place you might have to pay the balance of the deposit in the future ...

 

Oddly what started as a simple post seems very complicated now ...

 

Sorry :(

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Book Early; Reprice Often!

There is NO WAY to "reprice" when your category is sold out.  It is pure economics....a product price is dropped when the product does not sell.   The best choices are always sold at the earliest price.  Everybody else will be SOL.  

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There is a site called royalonboardsales.com that gives you the run down on what promotion is running right now if you book your cruise on board the ship, how much deposit, OBC you can earn, etc. Look at that site it is updated when new promotions go in to effect.

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No fees. Just realize that the deposit amount is not refundable if you take the OBC on your current cruise.

Not refundable at rebooking or only If I cancel.

 

Example:

I book a cruise onboard putting down a 300 deposit. My wife goes hog wild in the spa and spends that 300. When I go to change the cruise to the later dates I need will I lose that 300 deposit/spent OBC or will it still apply to the cost of my later cruise.

 

Thanks for clearing this up for me

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wsyrob,

 

When the last update to the program was done there were two options:

 

1. Put down a minimal deposit (say $100) towards the future cruise and receive $100 OBC to be used on your current cruise. Since the OBC was now spent the deposit was now non-refundable. You could still move it to another cruise but you could not get the $100 back and since the OBC was already applied to the cruise you took there is no OBC on the future cruise to impact by changing.

 

2. Put down a minimal deposit (same $100) towards the future cruise and receive $100 OBC to be used on that future cruise. Since the OBC is in the future the deposit was still refundable. You can move the cruise to a different date and still keep the OBC.Caveat I believe there is "officially" one change with no penalty but that after that RCI has the right to reduce the OBC amount to be the lesser amount that you would have earned by making an "open" booking to be applied later rather than a specific booking on a future ship.

 

When I looked at it last time I was onboard (Thanksgiving 15) the NextCruise staff was absolutely insistent that option 2 did not exist and that only option 1 was available now. I believe Matt indicated he had a different experience after then so I am thinking I just had misinformed staff but with RCI you never know.

 

Hope that clarifies ?

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Thanks jticarruthers

 

Option 1 would work for me so long as any deposit would carry forward and apply towards the cost of the future cruise. That's a free spa spending spree for my wife this summer.

 

I imagine the cost of the cruise I change the booking to may be less expensive since I will do it next spring at the earliest possible chance.

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  • 2 weeks later...

While many get the best deals based upon their own requirements by booking early, I will say again it is not the best deal. Today I booked  5 NIGHT NHA TRANG & CHAN MAY CRUISE 21 June 2016 from Hong Kong  on the Voyager of the Seas. Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony D3 the total cost for 2 people was US$1830.88  with port taxes, which is $915 dollars per person. The cruise did not hit this low price until while under the 90 day window, so booking early would have cost more.

 

I understand last minute cruise do not work for most but if you can work this way the pricing can be great.

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Is the "no-discounting after 90 days rule" a US thing or worldwide? I know on the US side the "last minute" deal is no longer what it was for RCI, wondering if it is a different booking rule on the asian side ?

 

I book as a US Client on the US Site. But it is my understanding the no future discount is at 30 days not 90 days. This is the 3nd cruise in the last year that I booked under 90 days. While the discounts may not be as deep as in the past they are still good.

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  • 1 month later...

Yes...book early! Here is some proof on our 3 pending cruises.

 

If we were to book the exact same cabin today the total cost for 2 guests on:

 

Nov 13, 2016 on Liberty would cost an additional $1765.

May 13, 2017 on Harmony would cost an additional $2209.

Nov 24, 2017 on Navigator would cost an additional $1651.

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I agree with you Wilson, I have a four day on Enchantment in February that has gone up $300, a 7 day Alaskan on Explorer in May that has gone over $1000 and a 8 day Freedom that I only booked 4 weeks ago that has gone up over $100. I am waiting for the WOW sale to see if I can do better on the May and December cruises.

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