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NextCruise or Costco Travel


JNS123
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We booked our first cruise last May through Costco Travel, and since we booked a room on the more expensive side, we received a 1200 dollar Costco gift card. I personally think booking through Costco is better than NextCruise since we use Costco very often and can purchase a wider array of items, but what is your opinion? Thanks. 

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2 hours ago, JNS123 said:

We booked our first cruise last May through Costco Travel, and since we booked a room on the more expensive side, we received a 1200 dollar Costco gift card. I personally think booking through Costco is better than NextCruise since we use Costco very often and can purchase a wider array of items, but what is your opinion? Thanks. 

If you want particular perks, then Costco will be the way to go. With NextCruise you only get to pay a reduce deposit and get a little OBC; the max of $600 requires a lengthy stay and a suite. The only negative about Costco is they don't participate in RoyalUP........well also that they will have control over your booking and may not always be available to assist.

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I like to do my own bookings so that I am fully in control of my reservations. I monitor the prices and anytime there is a drop, I call and get the lesser price…pre-final payment date. Sometime the lower price only lasts for a short time and I’m quick to take advantage. I have saved lots on re-pricing! Sometimes I have done it multiple times for the same reservation. 

Whenever I make a reservation onboard with Next, the price is exactly the same as I find online. The benefit is the lesser deposit and some OBC. But, the reservation is mine. I also qualify for RoyalUp. 

As I understand it, Costco is your travel agent and they control the reservation. You can’t call Royal direct and get a re-price when the cost drops. Only your travel agent can. If you have a good traditional agent (like the one associated with this blog) they will do the monitoring and grab the lower price. Or, if they aren’t as quick…you can call and have them do it.
I have heard many stories of the ‘Big Box’ travel agents being less than diligent about servicing an existing reservation. They are more interested in new bookings. They may not be as easy to contact as a traditional agent and Royal will not let you make any adjustments even though you are the paying customer. 

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9 hours ago, Mike n Ky said:

Booking thru Next my September 2023 JS Allure cruise was $300 less than with Costco. My Next booking netted me 150 in onboard credit and a 200 down. Not sure what kind of gift card I would get from Costco had I booked with them. I do know my TA takes over the booking immediately after I completed it.

The value of the Costco card depends on the price of the cruise. I have 3 cruises coming up and I booked 2 thru Costco and 1 thru a TA.  I did the TA trip and gambled that the ship might be less crowded and maybe we would be able to Royal Up.  It didn't happen, the ship is full. As you might be aware, Costco doesn't participate in Royal Up.

Anyway, here are my examples from Costco. 

I booked the Quantum OTS to Alaska in June 2023.  Balcony room was $3,257.  I got a $190 shop card and since I used my Costco Visa, got another 5% off ($163).  So, $353 in total discount.

Booked another cruise, (HAL) out of Amsterdam next Aug.  Balcony room was $3,966.  I got a $310 shop card and since I used my Costco Visa, got another 5% off ($198). So $508 in savings.  With the HAL cruise, I also got pre-paid gratuities, $100 onboard credit, $100 excursion credit, WiFi for 2, deluxe drinks package (beer, wine, liquor, but not the top shelf stuff - but the stuff I normally drink). The HAL promotional add-ons are about $1,600 worth of stuff.

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16 hours ago, JNS123 said:

We booked our first cruise last May through Costco Travel, and since we booked a room on the more expensive side, we received a 1200 dollar Costco gift card. I personally think booking through Costco is better than NextCruise since we use Costco very often and can purchase a wider array of items, but what is your opinion? Thanks. 

These are not exclusive issues.  When you book onboard through NextCruise, you get the benefits of reduced deposit, onboard credits etc.  After it is booked, you can then have it assigned to Costco travel (or any travel agent for that matter), and then you will get all the potential Costco travel perks.  Best of both worlds.

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15 hours ago, Mike n Ky said:

Booking thru Next my September 2023 JS Allure cruise was $300 less than with Costco. My Next booking netted me 150 in onboard credit and a 200 down. Not sure what kind of gift card I would get from Costco had I booked with them. I do know my TA takes over the booking immediately after I completed it.

For me I am getting a large Gift Card, I get % back for having the higher costco membership, and I get a % back on my CC that is thru Costco.  I think I determined it was over $1000 I was saving booking thru Costco.  So while the cruise itself was the same price with just a little onboard credit, the GC and cash back was too good to pass up.  We are booking two cabins so RoyalUp was never something we could do anyways since we wouldn't guaranteed to be near each other if we did RoyalUp.  So the one negatives to Costco didn't matter to us.

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not sure if they still have this system in place - but they introduced a google form based service request feature.  you enter all your details and what you want done.  in my experience they have been pretty good about responding within a reasonable amount of time.  much better than waiting on hold for 45-60 minutes.  i used it for repricing a couple times and linking dinner seating between parties.  boats are going to be pretty full for a while, so while the option of royal up seems nice, i prefer cash in hand, as i shop their for groceries/produce regularly.

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On 10/17/2022 at 7:09 PM, JNS123 said:

We booked our first cruise last May through Costco Travel, and since we booked a room on the more expensive side, we received a 1200 dollar Costco gift card. I personally think booking through Costco is better than NextCruise since we use Costco very often and can purchase a wider array of items, but what is your opinion? Thanks. 

Just so you are aware, it's not an either/or situation. We now book regularly through Next Cruise or elect for their "Book Later" option to take advantage of the OBC and the reduced deposit.  Remember, Next Cruise does not offer cruise fare discounts... just OBC and reduced deposit. The cruise fare is the prevailing rate at that time. If you book a cruise through Next Cruise while you're onboard, by default Next Cruise will assign the reservation to the current travel agency on file for that sailing (if there is one otherwise it stays with Royal).

You can of course always request to leave it with Royal for now if you are not sure about leaving with your current agency (just check the timeframe for transferring later to a travel agency). Our friend chose to do that on a past sailing because she was not happy with her travel agency at that time. Since we have been booking with Costco Travel, they just assign it to them automatically since they are the agency on file.

We still get the Costco perks including the gift card, the 2% cash back in our annual rebate check, etc. As mentioned above, you cannot participate in the RoyalUp program if you book through Costco Travel.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/18/2022 at 4:13 PM, IzzyB said:

For me I am getting a large Gift Card, I get % back for having the higher costco membership, and I get a % back on my CC that is thru Costco.  I think I determined it was over $1000 I was saving booking thru Costco.  So while the cruise itself was the same price with just a little onboard credit, the GC and cash back was too good to pass up.  We are booking two cabins so RoyalUp was never something we could do anyways since we wouldn't guaranteed to be near each other if we did RoyalUp.  So the one negatives to Costco didn't matter to us.

We have just booked our first RC with Costco (all of our other cruises have been DCL, so we are feeling like fish out of water) - wondering if you know if we can book specialty restaurants ahead of time if they came as a perk of our Costco booking?  If not - do we have to wait until we get onboard?  Thanks so much!

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On 11/13/2022 at 2:53 PM, Dr. Facilier said:

We have just booked our first RC with Costco (all of our other cruises have been DCL, so we are feeling like fish out of water) - wondering if you know if we can book specialty restaurants ahead of time if they came as a perk of our Costco booking?  If not - do we have to wait until we get onboard?  Thanks so much!

Not sure we didn't get that perk, I am sure deals rotate around.  We did use our OB credit when booking activities.

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28 minutes ago, BB1 said:

Does anyone know if you can book it onboard and tranfer it to American Airlines travel agency?

A direct booking before final payment that isn't paid in full can be transfered to any agency within 30 days.  Just make sure to tell NextCruise not to assign it to a agency you may have booked the cruise you are on to the agency you booked that cruise with.  

If you booked your current cruise with XYZ agency by default a NextCruise booking goes to them unless you tell NextCruise otherwise.  

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On 10/18/2022 at 9:22 PM, brian_md said:

not sure if they still have this system in place - but they introduced a google form based service request feature.  you enter all your details and what you want done.  in my experience they have been pretty good about responding within a reasonable amount of time.  much better than waiting on hold for 45-60 minutes.  i used it for repricing a couple times and linking dinner seating between parties.  boats are going to be pretty full for a while, so while the option of royal up seems nice, i prefer cash in hand, as i shop their for groceries/produce regularly.

I used the form based service to change cabins.  I booked 4 balcony cabins on the Quantum for an Alaska trip.  High up on the ship. Decks 10-12.  Then I read that the overhang blocks out sunlight on the upper balcony cabins and they can be cold.  I went to Costco Travel, filled out the online forms, and put in a request to move to decks 7-8.  Got all 4 cabins moved and it was done in about 24 hours. 

I know that you do not get the personal service that you might get from a TA, but as one other poster stated - cash in hand (or should I say Shop Card in hand).  The Shop Card reward, plus the %% off with the Credit Card make it hard to pass up. 

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