Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tips for Cruises

1. Sign up for the "membership". Most cruise lines have a program to reward you the more times you sail with them. From what I have heard Royal Caribbean's has the most perks. We are part of their Crown and Anchor Society and it's great. They give us a coupon book for onboard purchases and a free gift plus much more. The more cruises the better it is. Definitely worth signing up for.
2. Check cruise rates daily (VERY IMPORTANT). When you book through a cruise line the prices change constantly but if you due your due diligence it can be very rewarding. Just check daily and if the price drops below what you paid call immediately and they will refund you the difference. On one cruise we took I thought we already had the best possible price then it dropped for about 4 hours a week later. I called and we saved around $90. Well, worth a call. This will not happen if you book through a third party. I have heard horror stories from people booking through websites promising great deals. Usually they scam you because they don't charge all of the port fees and then when you check in you are charged.
3. Remember to factor in flights with cost. Sometimes you can find a super cheap cruise but  it leaves out of a port thats extremely expensive to fly into. When finding the best price cruise use both the flight cost and cruise cost. When booking our next vacation it was the same cost to do a 7 night Caribbean as a 5 night because of the airfare costing more to get to the 5 night location.
4. Room Location- We have always stayed in an interior room. We don't mind it and are rarely in our room. I can't picture myself staring out a window all day and there are so many perfect spots on the ships to go find a lounge chair and stare at the water. I would however love to try a balcony next. It would be great with kids so you could have a moment of respite while they are sleeping and just leave the door open. Financially this has not been an option and be prepared that they usually cost at least 50% more. If you are on the bottom floor beware! We were in "steerage" once and above the anchor that dropped at 4am. It was loud. We got the cruise for so cheap we really couldn't complain but still annoying.
5. Enjoy!!!!!!! Try foods you normally wouldn't, participate in fun things and remember you will never see these people again. Have fun!!!!

I am very displeased that I have to edit section 2 after booking our cruise with Carnival. There policy is different and they only award credit to those who purchased at early saver rate. For any other rate they will "upgrade" you if possible but I wouldn't hold your breath. They upgrade they offered me when they dropped the price $100 was a room worse than the one I had and told me it would be best to not upgrade. They claim Royal Caribbean is changing their policy too but I would double check before booking.

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