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Suites - how do you get one reasonably priced?


tallpaul86
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Hey guys, I asked this question on Cruise Critic and found the conversation interesting enough (once you look past the elite responses!) and figured I'd ask the question here to get your takes on this

Apart from the obvious responses like work harder/get better job etc, and the fact one persons reasonable is another's excessive extravagance makes this highly subjective at best however this is more insight than anything else

I've looked at Suites on various cruise lines and I'm just trying to figure out how people actually afford these!!!

Take, for example, Navigator of the Seas Royal Suite on Deck 10 - the largest and only room of its kind on the entire ship (me and the missus had a quick peak on disembarkation and were in awe at its sheer size!!).  So to stay in that room on board Navigator (bearing in mind it's not the technological smorgasbord that the Quantum or Oasis class ships are - and neither is it the newest generation of ship in currently in the fleet) yet to stay in the Royal Suite for 14 nights cost £19,444 (circa $25,047 at time of writing this) for 2 people on 12 May 2017

That is the same money as a entry level Ford Mustang V6 Fastback!!!  I mean surely people aren't handing money over like that?  Either cruising in a Suite stateroom is the prerogative of the global 1% wealthy population exclusively OR you are a high loyalty level member that has qualified for the largest discounts the cruise line is willing to offer.  There must be ways of "blagging" yourself a cheeky discount on a suite stateroom?

I'm only a lowly Gold level CAS Member at the moment and the purpose of his thread is not to start a flame war against RCCL's Loyalty or lack thereof (there's plenty other threads on Cruise Critic that have done that for me!) however it is something I've always been curious about - yes I would love to experience one however struggling to realise why a 14 night holiday will cost the same as a owning a brand new sports car today!!

Anyone got any insider or even pro tips on how to sniff out a good suite deal?

The above prices were correct at time of writing of August 16th 2016

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Look at this other thready I just posted this on, there is some discussion of Suites and suite pricing.

Royal Caribbean raises VOOM packages!!

There are a ton of other suites available besides the Royal Family suite, Junior Suite, Grand Suite, Owners suite and many others on the Oasis and Quantum class, what I read, most other people say that they get the big suites is that it is not so much the suite (The room itself) as it is the amenities associated with the suite, see link below.

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/royalsuiteclass/star/

The strange thing is that if you try and get one of the big suites, actually try and book one, is that they are always sold out, especially the Family sized ones, and especially during the American school breaks.

I have 4 future cruises booked, 3 of them are in Grand Suites and 1 is a Star Loft Suites (On Allure), and my main purpose of reserving these is so I get the "Suite Perks", the amenities, I had to book these really far in advance (At least a year) because before when I would try and get a suite they were always sold out.

So yes, someone is getting,  them but I can't tell you who or what demographic it is...

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Most are pretty close, Spring break (March), Easter (Usually just short cruises, usually only a long weekend ),Summer Break (June, July, August), Fall Break (Mid October)Thanksgiving (Late November), Christmas and New years.

These should hold relatively true for Colleges also.

I think @Matt might have a blog or podcast talking about the cheapest time (Tips) to book an inexpensive RCCL cruise and he list off every date (Month) except the ones I list above.

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Hey @tallpaul86. I have long wondered the same thing as you. But from the awesome (unpretentious) people here on this site I have learned a few things that hopefully will land me one of these at least once ? If you continue reading through that entire thread that @tiny260 posted above you will see what I mean.

And you are brace for posting that question on CC ?

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       The highest on the suite scale we have stayed was one time on Adventure out of San Juan and that was a Grand Suite.  We normally stay in a Jr. Suite for several reasons.   One being the room is larger with a walk in closet,  bathtub shower instead of the small tube shower that you have to get out of to turn around,  and double points.  You have to look at the perks and decide which ones are important enough to pay the extra price.  Free drinks during happy hour in suite lounge?  I dont drink anymore so that doesnt mean anything to me.  I will have an occasional virgin margarita in the Diamond Lounge but you have to be in a Grand Suite or above to get in the suite lounge to get the free happy hour.  Getting on or off the ship quicker ?  Is it that important to save an hour?  Something like the big suites are another matter.  How much room does two people need in one room?  How much time will you actually spend in that room?  Large families I would understand. I believe some are quasi business trips  to maybe impress clients and some are people with so much money we little people wouldnt even start to understand.

Wow sorry I got long winded.  Back to the question.  The one time in the Grand Suite I would check daily (retired and have time on my hands) and finally found a time to upgrade from a Jr. Suite to the Grand Suite when the price wasnt much different than the Jr. Suite.   From what I have been reading on hear that doesnt happen much anymore.

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16 hours ago, tallpaul86 said:

Hey guys, I asked this question on Cruise Critic and found the conversation interesting enough (once you look past the elite responses!) and figured I'd ask the question here to get your takes on this

Apart from the obvious responses like work harder/get better job etc, and the fact one persons reasonable is another's excessive extravagance makes this highly subjective at best however this is more insight than anything else

I've looked at Suites on various cruise lines and I'm just trying to figure out how people actually afford these!!!

Take, for example, Navigator of the Seas Royal Suite on Deck 10 - the largest and only room of its kind on the entire ship (me and the missus had a quick peak on disembarkation and were in awe at its sheer size!!).  So to stay in that room on board Navigator (bearing in mind it's not the technological smorgasbord that the Quantum or Oasis class ships are - and neither is it the newest generation of ship in currently in the fleet) yet to stay in the Royal Suite for 14 nights cost £19,444 (circa $25,047 at time of writing this) for 2 people on 12 May 2017

That is the same money as a entry level Ford Mustang V6 Fastback!!!  I mean surely people aren't handing money over like that?  Either cruising in a Suite stateroom is the prerogative of the global 1% wealthy population exclusively OR you are a high loyalty level member that has qualified for the largest discounts the cruise line is willing to offer.  There must be ways of "blagging" yourself a cheeky discount on a suite stateroom?

I'm only a lowly Gold level CAS Member at the moment and the purpose of his thread is not to start a flame war against RCCL's Loyalty or lack thereof (there's plenty other threads on Cruise Critic that have done that for me!) however it is something I've always been curious about - yes I would love to experience one however struggling to realise why a 14 night holiday will cost the same as a owning a brand new sports car today!!

Anyone got any insider or even pro tips on how to sniff out a good suite deal?

The above prices were correct at time of writing of August 16th 2016

The best suite discounts are offered through the casino Royale program. If you are willing to gamble a significant amount of money you will receive hefty discounts (often amounting to 50% off even the lowest advertised fares). Many of the folks on this forum are CR members and stay in suites w/ these discounts. I can give you an example since I am a CR member. I sailed on Harmony of the seas Thanksgiving 2017 with my wife and two children for 7 days in a crown loft suite. I received my casino rate and used a certificate and the fare came to $9000.00 + tax, port fees and gratuities. Keep in mind this was a holiday sailing on the newest RC ship. We got to talking with our neighbors in the loft next door who had the same set up (2 adults and 2 young kids) and they mentioned paying $26,000.00 for the same room. The casino rate worked out well for us on that trip and the loft was amazing. 

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2 minutes ago, tonyfsu21 said:

The best suite discounts are offered through the casino Royale program. If you are willing to gamble a significant amount of money you will receive hefty discounts (often amounting to 50% off even the lowest advertised fares). Many of the folks on this forum are CR members and stay in suites w/ these discounts. I can give you an example since I am a CR member. I sailed on Harmony of the seas Thanksgiving 2017 with my wife and two children for 7 days in a crown loft suite. I received my casino rate and used a certificate and the fare came to $9000.00 + tax, port fees and gratuities. Keep in mind this was a holiday sailing on the newest RC ship. We got to talking with our neighbors in the loft next door who had the same set up (2 adults and 2 young kids) and they mentioned paying $26,000.00 for the same room. The casino rate worked out well for us on that trip and the loft was amazing. 

Seems to be a possibly expensive way to go about it - when you say gamble a significant amount, isn’t that just paying for it in advance then?

Lady luck tends to smile at me from a great height - normally whilst waiting for the lifeboat to land on me!!

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3 hours ago, Matt said:

First and foremost, suites are a splurge.  They rarely are a value, but you can find good pricing on them from time to time.  Again, a "good price" is a relative term.

Totally agree with this statement. I chose to splurge on one for an upcoming Anthem sailing later this year as a surprise to my wife, but only because the sale at that time meant the price increase was only a few hundred more total than I was paying for a balcony at that time. I think the only other time I'll even consider splurging for a suite is the cruise I plan to book in 2020 (not necessarily on Royal, as I have a couple rather specific itineraries in mind, and Royal doesn't have as good offerings), when it's my 50th birthday and I might treat myself to a real suite, or maybe just a Jr. Suite. Will depend on final itinerary and what kind of budget I think I need to set aside for excursions, as those itineraries will be quite port intensive.

If I were a bigger gambler, I'd try and go for the Casino Royale route, but there's no way I'm gambling the kind of money I've learned is required to really move up the ranks in that program and get the best discounts. Plus, there was another thread here not long ago indicating that suites were no longer going to be a well-discounted with casino rates.

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52 minutes ago, tallpaul86 said:

isn’t that just paying for it in advance then?

No truer words have ever been spoken !

Basically, this plan only works for those of us who were going to be gambling anyway.  I would certainly never suggest this as an option for getting a room discount if you were not already going to be gambling.

From your OP it appears that you are not booking with North American rules so I'm not sure how the "book a room and hope for the best to snag a good upgrade" scenario would really work for you.  Also, recent changes have made it mandatory for a non-refundable deposit on all full suites so booking early and hoping to find a better deal later is no longer an option for suites dwellers.  The best piece of advice I can offer is book early but again, with the non-refundable only option, you will have to be very sure that you are going to take that cruise.

I would also recommend that if you are considering jumping up to a full suite, you try it first on one of the older and less expensive ships, first.  The full suites on the big new ships are very costly even if you DO get a nice casino rate....and those rates are continually going UP, not down.  As I've said on a number of different threads, the cost of our first 2 BR Aqua Theater Suite was (and this was not even a year ago...Feb 2017) less than half the cost of the same exact room that we booked for Feb 2019. I don't think they've reached their price saturation threshold yet.

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2 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Also, recent changes have made it mandatory for a non-refundable deposit on all full suites

Interestingly I have never seen this on the Australia / New Zealand website. I can normally book / cancel as I like. If I cancel it is only to rebook the same room at a cheaper price, no mention of any non refundable deposit.

 

 

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1 minute ago, F1guynz said:

Interestingly I have never seen this on the Australia / New Zealand website. I can normally book / cancel as I like. If I cancel it is only to rebook the same room at a cheaper price, no mention of any non refundable deposit.

The non-refundable part applies if you try to change your room selection. So let's say you book a Jr Suite using non-refundable deposit. If a Grand Suite suddenly dropped in price and was only a couple of hundred more per person than your Jr Suite, you'd have to forfeit your deposit on the JS to change rooms and get the larger GS.

IIRC, this actually happened to @Sabrinaklai with one of her Anthem bookings.

For normal cancel/rebook just to take advantage of a price drop or new sale on the same room, there's no problem even with a non-refundable deposit.

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5 hours ago, JLMoran said:

The non-refundable part applies if you try to change your room selection. So let's say you book a Jr Suite using non-refundable deposit. If a Grand Suite suddenly dropped in price and was only a couple of hundred more per person than your Jr Suite, you'd have to forfeit your deposit on the JS to change rooms and get the larger GS.

IIRC, this actually happened to @Sabrinaklai with one of her Anthem bookings.

For normal cancel/rebook just to take advantage of a price drop or new sale on the same room, there's no problem even with a non-refundable deposit.

No, that only happened because we went from 2 balcony cabins to 1 suite.  So we had to forfeit the deposit (I mean lose $100pp change fee and get the rest as a FCC) on one of those rooms.  In retrospect, I messed up.  What I should have done at the time was to book it with a refundable deposit because I kind of had a feeling I would be switching anyway.  

In response to @F1guynz, I think some countries do have different rules.  Once you book, you cannot change or you will forfeit everything.  That happened to @Paul&Karen on Anthem and there have been some posts on CC about people from Europe experiencing the same rules.

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2 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Totally agree with this statement. I chose to splurge on one for an upcoming Anthem sailing later this year as a surprise to my wife, but only because the sale at that time meant the price increase was only a few hundred more total than I was paying for a balcony at that time. I think the only other time I'll even consider splurging for a suite is the cruise I plan to book in 2020 (not necessarily on Royal, as I have a couple rather specific itineraries in mind, and Royal doesn't have as good offerings), when it's my 50th birthday and I might treat myself to a real suite, or maybe just a Jr. Suite. Will depend on final itinerary and what kind of budget I think I need to set aside for excursions, as those itineraries will be quite port intensive.

Joe, you can splurge sooner on the full suite experience.  Check for the 45-60 day price drop on suites.  It happens all time.  I've tracked it for "fun".  Just usually not on the star class ones.

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That seems to be the main difference between US bookings and, say for example, UK bookings

Price drops (and subsequent amendments of bookings taking advantage of price drops) simply doesn't happen over here

Granted I book my first 2 cruises through Royal direct however the 3rd cruise I did in September 2017 was through a travel agent and there were no notifications of any price drops...  It is essentially the price you see is locked in and that is it

Either that or I've totally misinterpreted what these infamous price drops are!!

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18 minutes ago, tallpaul86 said:

That seems to be the main difference between US bookings and, say for example, UK bookings

Price drops (and subsequent amendments of bookings taking advantage of price drops) simply doesn't happen over here

Granted I book my first 2 cruises through Royal direct however the 3rd cruise I did in September 2017 was through a travel agent and there were no notifications of any price drops...  It is essentially the price you see is locked in and that is it

Either that or I've totally misinterpreted what these infamous price drops are!!

Nope. I don't think you misinterpreted. If you are outside of NA, what you see is what you get for some countries. And FWIW, TA or no TA, I always have to monitor my own price drops. I have yet to find a TA that will notify me. But some others here have really good TAs that do monitor their bookings for them. Being pretty OCD myself, I would rather do it. ?

If you don't mind booking more last minute, there are usually decent price drops on suites at about the 45-60 day prior to sailing window. Down side of waiting until then to book is airfare possibly costing more and not as much choice for the location of your cabin.

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7 hours ago, tallpaul86 said:

That seems to be the main difference between US bookings and, say for example, UK bookings

Price drops (and subsequent amendments of bookings taking advantage of price drops) simply doesn't happen over here

Granted I book my first 2 cruises through Royal direct however the 3rd cruise I did in September 2017 was through a travel agent and there were no notifications of any price drops...  It is essentially the price you see is locked in and that is it

Either that or I've totally misinterpreted what these infamous price drops are!!

yip us jocks are shafted lol

i use Cruise118 as a TA pretty good and will price match and throw in 6 bottles of red to help ease the pain of the fact the money in your bank account has vanished. 

i also use the Topcashback site as RC is listed on it, so i check price with RC by going through topcashback site, work out how much i would be repaid by going through topcashback( usually about £100 ) then get cruise118 to match best price on screen then give me the £100 i would have received as cash payback as a further reduction. With price match and cashback discount i saved about £200 doing this 

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20 hours ago, F1guynz said:

Interestingly I have never seen this on the Australia / New Zealand website. I can normally book / cancel as I like. If I cancel it is only to rebook the same room at a cheaper price, no mention of any non refundable deposit.

 

 

Hopefully it will stay like that for you guys.  Non-refundable only for suites is a huge PITA

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I used to ponder some of these same questions, but as I have been blessed to travel more and more, I have learned that is no shortage of people who do not think twice about plunking down $10000, $20000 even mor for even 7 night itineraries. Seven seas world cruise can cost up to $60000 per passenger for its lowest category of stateroom and it fills up in a few days. I've been on the gaming floor at Caesars in Vegas and watched $5000, $10000 buy ins on the craps table on a regular basis and it's gone in the matter of minutes. These are things I will never be able to afford, but I do keep my eyes open for deals and splurge for a GS on older ships when the opportunity presents itself. We often can get a GS on Radiance Class, Voyager class or Freedom class ships for similar cost as a balcony state room on the newer ships.

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5 hours ago, FloatMe said:

We often can get a GS on Radiance Class, Voyager class or Freedom class ships for similar cost as a balcony state room on the newer ships.

This is a good option plus on the smaller ships as there are less suites so the concierge lounge is a much more relaxing experience. Also as  the concierge has less people to attend to it is much easier to get to know them better. That is not to say the service is poor on bigger ships, it is just that there are far more demands on a Concierge's time with more guests to attend to.

I also find the suites on older ships feel larger than the new ones (In our case Ovation). Maybe it is just because the layout is more open. Having the wall separating the living area and the bedroom in our GS on Ovation made it feel more cramped to us.

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I think the answer is simply what is "reasonable" for some, isn't for others. I will never think spending $10,000 or more for a vacation is reasonable..I don't even think $5000 is..but that is based on my income and based on what I enjoy doing with my extra cash after the government takes its 50% from me in taxes.

 

Not to mention..I would MUCH rather do 5 $1000 vacations...than 1 $5000...vacation...I can afford either..but would always pick more over less.....

 

Not sure about deals on them. I mean if your flexible I am sure you could find some deals for sure. But for me, even if it was a deal, for the little time I spend in my room(whether its a cruise vacation or not) I cant see spending it. I would like one day to try a JS...just so I could have balcony and get some perks and extra points towards my c&a status but that's not happened yet.

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