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Old 07-15-2017, 01:43 PM   #61
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No, never been stuck without a room or not able to stay somewhere because all rooms were booked. We do basic research on this. As an example, for our past few years in SE Asia we make certain that we have solid hotel arrangements and we avoid local travel/air routes at Chinese New Year because of the crowds and the escalating prices. In some areas it feels like have the country is on the road.

The only advice we would give is go with the flow. Watch the locals, eat where they eat. People are very friendly and willing to assist if you approach them in the right manner. We may find a hotel or b&B on a booking engine however we always try to contact/book them directly. You also need to be flexible. We often change our plans slightly if we snag a good deal on air, hotel, cruise, whatever.

The benefit is being able to extend your stay in place you enjoy, cut short in places that do nothing for you, AND to be able to take advantage of last minute pricing on transportation and lodging. It was a challenge at first, not so much any more.
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Old 07-15-2017, 01:56 PM   #62
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No, never been stuck without a room or not able to stay somewhere because all rooms were booked. We do basic research on this. As an example, for our past few years in SE Asia we make certain that we have solid hotel arrangements and we avoid local travel/air routes at Chinese New Year because of the crowds and the escalating prices. In some areas it feels like have the country is on the road.

The only advice we would give is go with the flow. Watch the locals, eat where they eat. People are very friendly and willing to assist if you approach them in the right manner. We may find a hotel or b&B on a booking engine however we always try to contact/book them directly. You also need to be flexible. We often change our plans slightly if we snag a good deal on air, hotel, cruise, whatever.

The benefit is being able to extend your stay in place you enjoy, cut short in places that do nothing for you, AND to be able to take advantage of last minute pricing on transportation and lodging. It was a challenge at first, not so much any more.
I was looking for some short cruise in SE Asia from Japan. I was not successful. I only want max 7 days. My brother said one way to avoid getting sick in SE Asia is to stay on a cruise.
One windsurfing teacher told me he got sick by eating something in ThaiLand, a Jack in the box or American fast food place , he was on oxygen on the fly back and he's a young man. So of course, I'm nervous about this whole area.
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Old 07-15-2017, 04:32 PM   #63
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We spent three winters, from 2-3 months each time, in SE Asia. Mostly Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and a little Cambodia. We were never sick. We ate in local spots, night markets were some of our favourite spots. Street food as well. I cannot imagine travelling to SE Asia and only eating cruise line food. We have done numerous cruises. compared to the local dishes, cruise line food is boring, boring, boring. And it soon starts to taste all the same.

Our experiences changed the way we eat at home. Much more fresh food. Almost no prepared foods, etc. Cannot wait to go back in January.
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Old 07-15-2017, 04:45 PM   #64
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. I cannot imagine traveling to SE Asia and only eating cruise line food. We have done numerous cruises. compared to the local dishes, cruise line food is boring, boring, boring. And it soon starts to taste all the same.
Our experiences changed the way we eat at home. Much more fresh food. Almost no prepared foods, etc. Cannot wait to go back in January.
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We were on a 32 day South America cruise, and, IMO, the seasonings are dumbed down for middle America tastes (Meat and potatoes)
If we ever go on another cruise, we will bring a traveling seasoning pack with us https://www.worldmarket.com/category...c%3AGooglePLA%
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:07 PM   #65
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My husband got sick in Cancun, 5 stars resort, it was the ice that got him. I don't want to repeat that. He is also older. What didn't kill him them might finish him off. It's not the spices I worry about.
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Old 07-15-2017, 05:22 PM   #66
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Our travel experience is that you have just as much chance of getting a problem meal in the US or Canada as you have anywhere else. Clearly you have to be cautious but not to the extreme.

The one and only time we felt less than perfect, not sick though, was when we ate at a US style restaurant in Phuket. Too much meat, too much everything. We reverted back to local street food, curries in local family restaurants etc. Our Ausie friends have done the same for years with no issues whatsoever.

Same for Europe, same for South and Central America.
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Old 07-16-2017, 03:39 AM   #67
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I have also had great luck with street food in Asia, Europe, Central America and the Caribbean. The only time I got sick from food was from a high end seafood restaurant in Mexico. Mexican ceviche off a street cart was no problem.
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Old 07-16-2017, 08:41 AM   #68
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I think the food issue is often the individual place/preparer that is the cause of the sickness.
While in lineup in budapest, we watched a food vendor, there were 2 workers.

One wore gloves making the food and took them off to do cash or other stuff, the other worker didn't wear gloves and did cash, moved boxes, made food, scratched her head, etc..
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:04 AM   #69
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I think the food issue is often the individual place/preparer that is the cause of the sickness.
While in lineup in budapest, we watched a food vendor, there were 2 workers.

One wore gloves making the food and took them off to do cash or other stuff, the other worker didn't wear gloves and did cash, moved boxes, made food, scratched her head, etc..
Hooray for Immune Conditioning when young....
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Old 07-16-2017, 12:29 PM   #70
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I think we've had pretty good luck too with street food, night markets, and local holes in the walls too. No emergency rushes to find a WC but the rare gurgliness in the tummy though. We also did a ceviche too; off of a cart in Cartagena, Colombia. The missus was saying "I don't know..." but eventually gave in and had a few bites after I kept on saying "This is fricken delicious!"

The missus did get sick once from non-bottled water (they just filled up a big water container/dispenser) provided by a tour in Grand Cayman. I think I got sick from eating a salad from a nice hotel in Phuket (it was the only place I ate that morning). However, my buddy got knocked out for a few days after what we think were the ice cubes in a drink from a hole in the wall in Bangkok. So, while you can miss a lot of great local eats by avoiding the street food and holes in the walls you kind of have to make your own decision to partake or not as there is risk.
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Old 07-16-2017, 12:37 PM   #71
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1963, hitchhiking atop a swaying truck through the Turkish mountains...the load was covered with a tarp and secured by ropes....two of us lay in our sleeping bags on top of the load with one arm each wedged under a rope so that we didn't slide off.

Hit a small village just as dawn was approaching......I had to GO.....like NOW....leapt off the truck and......

Had this on and off until we hit Quetta on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border......went into a Chinese run cafe, and had egg & chips.....cured!
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Pricing Observations So Far
Old 07-30-2017, 11:08 AM   #72
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Pricing Observations So Far

I've been going to the VacationsToGo site periodically and looking at this example princess cruise, and have a few observations.

The price jumps around a bit. As we can see from the graph, the price went down at about 60 days out from sailing, then back up for quite a few days. I finally looked again today and it's back down.

The other observation that I made from going to the Princess site is that they're not showing all available rooms (not too surprising, but I confirmed it). 50 days before sailing, there were 145 specific rooms to pick from on the official cruise line web site. Today, ten days later, 50 of those rooms are no longer shown as available, but there are now 44 additional rooms that were not shown as available when I looked 10 days ago. So the net number of rooms shown as available on the web site has held almost unchanged at the 140 level for the last 10 days.
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Old 07-31-2017, 09:07 AM   #73
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To be even close to accurate you would have to chart the different types of available cabins, ie suites, balcony, outside, inside, etc. They sell at different rates.

One thing that cruise lines do with too much inventory, insiide and outside final payment window, is play the cabin guarantee game. You get the category but the cruise line asigns the cabin. One reason for doing this outside the final payment window is to reduce or eliminate the number of re-prices, ie customers asking for the lower repriced fare.

We have booked outside the final payment window, then cancelled and rebooked with a lower priced balcony gty. Saved $200. each and got a better cabin than we originally selected. We have also cancelled a booking make outside the final payment window and then rebooked inside the final payment window when prices were slashed. We were aware that there was a fair amount of unsold inventory left so we took a chance.

Prices inside the final payment window can change very quickly. We have seen changes from the morning to the night. And the price fluctuations can be quite large. It is a crap shoot. This is why we book immediately if our price hits on a target ship/itinerary.
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Old 07-31-2017, 11:49 AM   #74
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We always book a balcony cabin, usually balcony gty. We have found our sweet spot for pricing to be from final payment date (anywhere from 60-75 days out depending on cruise line/itinerary) to 45/50 days out.
When the price jumped up and seemed to be "stuck" at $1,465, I thought we missed the best point to jump-in.

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To be even close to accurate you would have to chart the different types of available cabins, ie suites, balcony, outside, inside, etc. They sell at different rates.
Yes, they vary considerably. The price I'm tracking is cheapest balcony as reported by VTG.

Thanks for the insight on the logic of their pricing....some things I hadn't thought of. In order to count the available cabins, I've been hitting the "select my own cabin" button, but there's another button, with a lower price, for "we'll assign your cabin".

As to doing the cancel and re-book trick, that's a good idea, if they let you get away with it. When I've seen price drops, I've always been boxed-in with rules (only available to new bookings, and I'd get penalized for cancellation).
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Old 08-01-2017, 06:10 PM   #75
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Several years ago we decided on a late booking Med cruise. 14 days.

Three cruise lines had extremely similar itineraries. Princess, HAL, and Celebrity.

We watched all three. When our price hit, we booked. All the same sailing date (within 48 hours). All balcony cabins. We booked Celebrity. At the time we booked it was 30 percent less expensive than HAL AND we were able to select our cabin vs a gty, and just under 40 percent less expensive than Princess.

But....this was at a a certain point in time. Next week those prices could have been reversed. We did this three times in the Med for ourselves, and once for my sister.

We have not been able to figure it out other than supply/demand and the cruise line's algorithm for yield management. So we just establish a buy price and wait. Sometimes we win, other times it is no sale.

We do the exact same for air fare. Two months ago DW saw a great offer for airfare for Jan-March. So this is what finalized our winter vacation. The return city of this open jaw fare was from a country that was on our bucket list.
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Old 08-02-2017, 08:58 AM   #76
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Several years ago we decided on a late booking Med cruise. 14 days.
Cool that your price came in at 14 days out. Thanks for the update.
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Old 08-02-2017, 12:59 PM   #77
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They were all 14 day cruises. We booked anywhere from 30-50 days out. That has generally been the 'sweet' spot for us. But it changes all the time. Some of the cruise lines pulled ships from the Med, the economy has been better, the GBP and Euro are attractive vis a vis the USD so it seems to me that there are fewer attractive offers inside the final payment window.
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Old 08-02-2017, 06:51 PM   #78
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Oh, ok. I misunderstood, re:14 days. But at about 40 days, right now is the center of your range.

Based on the availability of so many cabins, I can't imagine the price jumping up significantly. But I also can't imagine it will drop too much either.

In the one I'm considering, since they are moving the ship for the season (re-positioning as opposed to just a trans-Atlantic back and forth), they probably need to staff the ship with a full complement, no matter the passenger load. So shouldn't be that much marginal expense to have a few additional passengers. But when it comes to pricing, logic is out the window.
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Old 08-03-2017, 10:27 AM   #79
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I have had the impression, though it could be totally incorrect, that prices can go down for a short period when sales have slowed. The load ratio may be OK, it is that sales are down for a certain number of days or so. The price goes down for a day or so, then up.

We used to find that Celebrity Tuesday specials were exellent. RCI has them also. One benefit is that if you do a google search these specials are often loaded on a Sunday. That gives you lots of time to shop for air or make a buy decision. The prices come official on Tueday and last for a day. We have teed up our on line TA several times to hit the buy button on a Tuesday AM.

Princess just mailed us some last minute specials. Not sure if they are advertised as such. We signed up for them. You need to indicate what itineraries you are interested in. Some of the sailings are as far out as Oct and early Dec. I think early Dec. Caribbean balcony cabins were going for about $100 per day for 14 day cruise. But early Dec. is always a low price time...inbetween Thanksgiving and Christmas. People are paying off bills, thinking about Christmas.
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Old 08-04-2017, 02:25 PM   #80
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I signed up for the Princess specials emails. They make you think that the emails are the only way to find out about these deals, but for me at least, when the email comes, it shows the price of a few deals, and then gives a link and go back to the web site for those and more.
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