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Old 08-25-2017, 05:11 PM   #81
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Here's the pricing data I've collected on the trans atlantic cruise.

The yellow, pink and dark blue data came from the Princess site, and the light blue came from VTG (vacationstogo).

We can see the available room count (dark blue) drop down below 25 now that we're 14 days out. I'm not certain all rooms are "released" though; they might have blocked-off some rooms as not to be offered. In other words, I'm not sure that we're really going to have a ship with nearly every room occupied.

The VTG price (light blue) was in the $1.7K range and dropped to the $1.3K range. In the last few days it popped up into $1.5K and back down.

The Princess site showed an interesting price movement: at around 40 days out, cheaper rooms became available. This might align with some cancellations driven by a cancellation pricing policy, but I didn't dig into that.

I think it's time to book it!
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Old 08-26-2017, 01:33 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by sengsational View Post
Here's the pricing data I've collected on the trans atlantic cruise.

The yellow, pink and dark blue data came from the Princess site, and the light blue came from VTG (vacationstogo)....
Very nice analysis! Thank you for sharing. I expect this to be a useful data point for me in the near future.

Does the cheapest prices from the Princess site and from VTG differ by anything (room credits, etc.)? If not, I do not see any reason to book from the Princess site directly.

I have used VTG several times with no issues; but, occasionally, especially for solo travel, a cruise line site has a much better deal. Other times, VTG is much better.
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Old 08-26-2017, 02:48 PM   #83
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Thank you, CC. There was a smallish credit on VTG...$60 per cabin or something. Kind of a rounding error.

The prices from both sites neglect to add-in $230 in taxes and port fees, and of course they don't add the $182 in automatic "tips".

The Princess prices I quoted were for "pick your own room". They did have a "we'll assign you a room" for 6% less (+ or -). The reason I mention that is because when I booked with VTG, they gave me two quotes. One for a room "to be assigned", and the other for a specific cabin. The price for the specific cabin from VTG was exactly the same as the Princess site (except for they threw in a $150 on-board credit). But the difference was $500, times two, so not worth it just to know which cabin I'd be getting.

I took the TBA cabin because rooms were scarce and the ones they had left were "good". Also, according to Jean-Luc, they don't do wholesale shuffling of passengers (ie assigning me a crummy room and giving someone else and upgrade). I'm "Platinum" on Princess, so I don't think they'll mess me up.

Here's another data point: Princess site says "This sail date is SOLD OUT" today. Still shows on VTG, though. If I hadn't booked, I'd be freaking out about now, 13 days before sailing.
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Old 08-26-2017, 03:52 PM   #84
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Soooo, you want a good price for a cruise.... hope a hurricane forms in the Gulf when you are out sailing...

Harvey just started to form on Tuesday.... but the port of Galveston is closed... and might be for another day or two... so if you were scheduled to arrive back today you are going to New Orleans to pick up food and continue to sail... the people waiting to get on will get a shorter trip... but a refund of the days they miss...


Wonder when they will let them in? It is not too bad now for wind etc, but it is flooding in Galveston where the ships dock.... I would hate to have my car parked in some of those garages or lots down there... maybe nothing bad at that location, but who knows....
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Old 08-26-2017, 06:48 PM   #85
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Regarding Cruises and last-minute booking....

I see that Carnival has a 6-day from Charleston SC to Bermuda in September. This is of interest to us -- it would be our first Cruise and it would be to the Island of our Honeymoon those many years ago.
And it departs Chuck-town on our Anniversary, no less !!

We can "play chicken" with the Pricing. To summarize the strategy......

1-- best to go thru Carnival website directly ?? Not a Travel Agency ??
How close to sailing day should you wait to book it ??
Any Discounts for Carnival Shareholders ?? (DW has holdings -- I'll check into this.)

2-- Best Cabin Locations are exterior, near the center of the ship ?? Interior Cabins is not preferred on a 6 day cruise ?? Too far fore or aft is a no go ??

3-- Jacket for Dinner on the ship ?? Just one night or all Dinners ??

Never been on a Cruise before, these are my Novice questions.
We have a personal relationship with Ann Kent, an independent travel agent for Avoya.Travel. You can Google her. We use VacationsToGo.com to research future cruises, however.
We book cruises when the deals are ridiculously inexpensive--like Ft. Lauderdale to Rome for $80 a day (for both of us.)
We prefer to be on as high a deck as possible but don't care if it's inside or outside. I am.not going to pay $500 more for window when all that's out there is water.
Dinners are much formal now. On a 7 night cruise, 2 dress up nights are normal. I just carry a sport coat. Otherwise dinners are business casual for me. The wife dresses.a little nicer, however.
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Old 08-28-2017, 10:34 AM   #86
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We're otherwise engaged, but we noticed this one, (VTG's #27216), on the HAL Westerdam, (82K GT), leaving Civitavecchia for Ft. Lauderdale on October 26:

Inside cabins available for a base price of $492 US.
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Old 08-30-2017, 03:10 PM   #87
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Locked Out at T-10

The VTG site is showing interior going for nearly twice it's historical low, but they do not show any balconies available. And that's after the price shot up by over 60% over it's historical low.

So with this cruise as an example, you can see that if you wait too long, you're out of luck.

Some generalizations we might look for in the future would be to watch the room count on the cruise ship site. This isn't an easy task (I had to write a scraper). But one could probably live with just a "feel" for how the room availability was going; certain decks started disappearing from the results, then, in the end, whole chunks of the ship (aft went first, I think). Once there's a noticeable decline, you're probably getting on thin ice. But the VTG site (and probably other resellers), lagged, so the room cruise line room availability can be used as a leading indicator.

The graph shows that trouble starts at 17 days before sailing, when the room count plummeted and there was a price disturbance. Three days later, the cruise ship site quit offering rooms. And 4 days beyond that (at T-10), the reseller quit offering rooms.
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Old 09-03-2017, 10:54 AM   #88
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The best price I've gotten is for my next cruise -- Japan outside cabin $799 + $150 room credit single occupancy. But I had to be flexible going a week later than I initially chose. Took a little work by the Princess Cruise Planner I've used for years.

The ONLY last minute one I've been on was a west coast repositioning cruise, otherwise last minute air fare from SFO negates savings
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Old 09-07-2017, 02:44 PM   #89
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I went back to the Princess site and saw there was availability again, albeit at a very high price...$3079 for a balcony. But they only have a "contact a travel agent" button, so there's no way to see what category is being sold.
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Old 09-08-2017, 04:06 AM   #90
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Vtg is showing $1400 for a balcony...the DAY BEFORE SAILING!
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:32 AM   #91
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I didn't read all of the prior comments so this may have been addressed already. DW still w*rks, and is a teacher. Our vacations are confined to summertime and Christmas week. We live very close to NYC, so there are a few cruises that leave from NYC year-round.
MAYBE, when DW retires, we'd take advantage of any last minute opportunities on one of those cruises. But I have little interest in, say, an inside cabin on Deck 4, which is what might be the only last minute deal available. And my "little" interest is completely negated by DW, who would have ZERO interest in such a cabin. .
Once again, YMMV.
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Old 09-08-2017, 07:29 AM   #92
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We only book balcony cabins and we invariably book inside the final payment window. For us, the sweat spot is usually 30 to 40 days out though we have had some great deals as close as 3 days out.

You need to be patient. We often travel on shoulder season when we have a better chance of getting the right itinerary, right ship, right cabin and right price.

We do not live near a port however some of our best offers have been while we we travelling within easy distance of the port. Realize the challenge of not having a flexible vacation time. The final note would be that the best time to take advantage of late booking travel is when the economy is not doing well. It is basically a supply and demand equation. We had our best deals in Europe when their economy, and ours, was in the toilet. Lots of unsold inventory that had to be moved.
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Old 09-08-2017, 07:51 AM   #93
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Find it enthralling to observe the different perspectives here. As with so many things, very Gaussian, with people at opposite ends of the curve.

We, (although we have taken cruises and may well take them again), don't "Cruise"; we generally go from A to B either at the end of, or the start of, a trip. Being on the/a ship is not the vacation, it's transportation; we can sleep anywhere, and find the inside cabins nice and dark...and restful.

Therefore we usually grab the cheapest available cabin.

But we do love those on the other end of the curve, since their expenditures are probably making our deals more accessible.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:26 AM   #94
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How do you find the number of cabins booked/available? I just started looking at a cruise the leaves on Jan 13, 2018 and the price has jumped. I just started looking at it on Monday!
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:12 AM   #95
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About a month ago I booked a 9 day RCCL cruise out of Galveston - heading for Cozumel, Costa Maya, Puerto Limon, Costa Rica and Colon, Panama....sailing in November 2018.

I have never even considered booking this far in advance. We usually book about 3-4 weeks out. An acquaintance from my town (who cruises often) alerted me to what she thought was a great deal ($606 plus all those other taxes & fees). I have been checking the prices a couple times a week. Price hasn't budged, but there is still plenty of time, lol.

It will be interesting to watch. I have enjoyed reading this thread. Thanks for all the information.
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Old 09-15-2017, 07:39 AM   #96
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Our advice for cruise fare is the same for air fare and AI's.

Understand the various product offerings. Understand the pricing. What constitutes a good price and a very good price. Decide on your strike price for this bargain.

When your price hits...buy. Don't think about it overnight. Think about before and be ready to hit the buy button. These three product prices can change in an instant and the change can be substantial either way. You may not get the lowest price...but neither will you end up vacationing in your back yard. And be flexible.

The last time we bought last minute was an AI. The price came down to $850. I called my spouse, who was out having coffee with a friend, and confirmed that she had no plans for the week. Hit the buy button. She came home an hour or so later and wanted to see the details. We looked it up...price had gone up to $1100. Still a very good price but not as good as $850. My guess was the air component of the AI ticked over to a higher price.

We typically buy our cruises from an on line TA who rebates anywhere from 6-10 percent of the commissionable fare back to us in the form of OBC's (on board credits). Sometimes we send our desired cruise out to tender on cruisecompete.com. You list the ship, date, cabin and then TA's bid for the business. The one challenge is that invariable there are a few low ballers. When you contact them their low price is seldom available or it does not include port taxes. We only care about the bottom line price, net of OBC's.
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Old 09-15-2017, 11:45 AM   #97
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Understand the various product offerings. Understand the pricing. What constitutes a good price and a very good price. Decide on your strike price for this bargain.

When your price hits...buy. Don't think about it overnight. Think about before and be ready to hit the buy button. These three product prices can change in an instant and the change can be substantial either way. You may not get the lowest price...but neither will you end up vacationing in your back yard. And be flexible.
Great advice and basically what we do for cruises. We'll get the bottom price maybe half the time, and the other times we'll get within $2-6/nt of the lowest price. And there have been many times when the great prices were for 1-2 cabins only, or for a short period of time like 24-48 hours.

We've even bought cruises where we don't pay attention beforehand to the islands they are sailing to (since the cruise IS the destination for your run of the mill Caribbean sailing where you've already visited most of the islands before).
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Old 09-15-2017, 05:54 PM   #98
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We have missed out on more than one attractive cruise offer by procrastinating or sleeping on it. OTOH, we a have reaped a few additional price decreases by doing the same. Total crap shoot. Have a back up plan and everything is just fine.
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Old 09-16-2017, 04:38 AM   #99
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Two things:

1) Why use a travel agent? We did that exactly once. We knew what we wanted, told the TA exactly that, and she came up with the complete opposite; smoking instead of non-smoking, "party boat" instead of a relaxing cruise, etc.

Any time I've traveled, even for business, I always do all my own research anyway. That's just my style. Why pay someone to do what I'm going to do anyway?

2) What's this crap about "per day" pricing? I view this as somewhat dishonest. Like the car salesman who always wants to talk about monthly payments. I need to know the TOTAL cost. I'm also Leary of on-board credits. They often can't be used on the things we're likely to buy on board (which isn't much) so they have zero value to us.

I noticed that Vacations To Go has returned to showing the cruise price by default, although they do give the option for per-night. I suspect I'm not the only one who prefers that.
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Old 09-16-2017, 04:49 AM   #100
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What's this crap about "per day" pricing? I view this as somewhat dishonest.
Simply the total cost divided by the number of cruise days.
I have a friend who lives in Florida and loves to cruise. They take many every year. He has a simple rule never to pay more than $80 a night and since he's close to so many sailing ports he can normally do that.
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