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Saturday, August 13, 2011

“TOP TIPS” TO GET THE BEST CRUISE DEALS


Kerry and Nancylee Stange with Xpertise
 Cruise Travel enjoying fine wine & cheese
at C&C's Wine Bar in St. John's Antigua
BOOK YOUR CRUISE AS FAR IN ADVANCE AS POSSIBLE. In the “old” days, hopeful passengers would show up at the port, suitcase in hand, thirty minutes before sailing time in hopes of negotiating a last-minute bargain.  Sometimes they did get a great deal, but those days are over, and the tide has turned.

The best values, added benefits, additional amenities, accommodations and availability are offered ten to eighteen months before the cruise, not the week of the cruise.  Many cruise lines offer “early booking savings” and may even upgrade those who do booked early.  This isn’t rocket science.  Supply and demand drives the cruise fare pricing for any giving sailing date. As a ship’s sailing date nears being fully booked, fares will increase for those people who book closer to the sailing date.

YOU MAY QUALIFY FOR SPECIAL RATES OR DISCOUNTS. Many cruise lines will offer senior citizen rates (over fifty-five), active/retired military discounts and resident rates.  From time to time cruise lines like to say “thank you” to those who belong to or have careers with organizations.  Firefighters, police and teachers will have special pricing as a way to show appreciation for all they do for the community.  In many cases, online internet cruise booking websites fail to ask if you fall into any of these categories for special offers.

Celebrity Cruises Captain's Club
ARE YOU A FREQUENT CRUISER? Ask about any past passenger discounts. Most of the cruise lines have their own past passenger clubs.  Celebrity has their Captains Club, NCL a Latitudes Club, Royal Caribbean a Crown & Anchor Club, Crystal has their Crystal Society and so on.  Each cruise line offers their own rewards for being a repeat passenger.  These may be offered in the form of discounted rates, category upgrades, onboard amenities and/or welcome back parties. 

BOOK YOUR NEXT CRUISE WHILE ON YOUR CURRENT ONE. Cruise lines know that the best time to sell a cruise is when their passengers are having a wonderful time on their current cruise, and will offer extra special savings to passengers that deposit and/or reserve a future cruise while still onboard.  Depending on the program and length of your future cruise, you may receive onboard credits worth over a hundred dollars per person, a discounted rate and/or category upgrades.

Most important, you can have your travel agent back home manage your new reservation by communicating your preference with the Future Cruise Consultant onboard.  Chances are good that your agent back home will be thankful and offer you a gift or additional benefit for your thoughtfulness and continued business.

INVEST IN THE STOCK MARKET…CAUTIOUSLY, OF COURSE. Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Lines, being publicly held companies, offer up to two hundred dollars of onboard spending credits to their shareholders that own a minimum of one hundred shares of either company.  If you cruise enough, you can actually make back the cost spent on buying their stock.

THERE ARE MANY CRUISE LINES AND SHIPS OUT THERE, BUT NOT EVERY ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU. Our best suggestion would be to develop a relationship with a knowledgeable cruise travel professional. This would be someone with experience that you can trust and feel confident knowing that they are working in your best interest and for the most value on your vacation investment.  Working with someone you know and trust is far better than chasing a bargain on a computer any day. 

ARE YOU CONSIDERING BOOKING A CRUISE ONLINE? More times than not, people realize that if it’s too good to be true, it usually is.  Watch out for appealing internet rates that are designed to “hook you in” and in most cases include hidden service fees, cancellation fees, penalty fees for name changes and may even include costs for sending your documents to your home.  If you believe that you’ve found something fabulous online, please contact us at Xpertise Cruise Travel as we can almost always match it while providing you with the personalized service that you deserve.

THE VALUE OF XPERTISE CRUISE TRAVEL. With so many cruise travel options out there, it can be overwhelming, and we work as your lifestyle, preferences and value interpreter. Using our Xpertise, we identify amazing experiences that exceed your every desire, but not your budget. With our services, you can be confident that your cruise vacation will be perfectly planned, hassle free and filled with moments that you’ll never forget.



Have an Xcellent cruise. We hope to see you onboard soon!



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