Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another reason to book early

I've given reasons for booking early for a cruise vacation in the past - best choice of cabin accomodations (category and location), best pricing etc. - but with the cost of fuel and the supplements being added on by cruise lines and the raising of prices by airlines plus their cutting schedules, another reason to book early is the cost of getting to the port of embarkation.

Once you are booked on a cruise, the fuel supplement surcharge is locked in also. The lines are raising the supplement charged around June 20th so this week you still save a few dollars ($14 pp on a typical 7 night cruise). $14 is $14 which is a couple of drinks, a photo or whatever.

Also, if air is needed, grab those tickets early. I just checked our flights for Seattle for our conference cruise in Sept. We bought the tickets a couple of months ago at $341 each. Today those same flights were $497. That's a combined savings to us of over $300.

Even locking in the cruise line air may not be a bad idea when making your initial reservation. You've locked in a price so you know the worse case scenario for that cost and in most cases you've also locked in transfers to/from the ship. If or when you find a better deal on air yourself, you can always cancel the air portion of the booking and purchase the other air and separate transfers if necessary (many times in that case a cab might be a savings.

Also, if the flights get cancelled and you have cruise line air reserved, they will scramble to find other flights before they are ticketed and those will probably cost them more, not you. We also had flights booked for a special cruise Nov 30th doing S. Caribbean from San Juan. I booked non-stop r/t from Ft. Lauderdale. Then I get an e-mail from the airline saying my flights have been cancelled and this is my new itinerary.

Ft. Lauderdale to Dallas, a two hour layover and then fly to San Juan (over Ft. Lauderdale mind you) turing this into a 10 hour trip. They are no longer offering non-stop from FLL to SJU with their cutbacks. Needless to say I called the airline and complained about this and was prepared to find other flights on a different airline. Prices were up substantially for the dates needed but did get the airline to book us on r/t non-stop from Miami for the same price we paid. Those tickets were also more than we paid originally. We would have and have done the same for clients but this time it was actually for us personally

So again, booking your cruise vacation early has many advantages and of course using a cruise specialist (like us) who is going to look out for your best interests before and after booking.

A different subject but stay tuned as we are working on a contest combining our website and this BLOG. Details will be announced soon.

Great day and smooth seas to all.

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