Answering questions from readers is one of the best parts of my “job” (if you want to call it that) and we get some good ones. Some are very specific like “What direction does the sofa face in my cabin, toward the front or back of the ship?” and others are painfully vague like “I want to go on a cruise, what ya got?” Here are some that come up from time to time and were asked recently.
What is the best deal on a Carnival cruise? (This is one of those somewhat vague questions.)
The least expensive option is to go with the Early Saver Fare, guaranteed by the cruise line to be the lowest price. That is kind of like a restricted fare airline ticket. The deposit is non refundable and no changes can be made to the booking without paying the cruise line a $50 administration fee per change. The Non-refundable deposit is not as strict as it sound though and should not scare you off. If you were to cancel before final payment, you would get a credit of that amount to use towards another sailing within 2 years, minus a $50 per person administrative fee per person to the cruise line.
This is also, by the way, one of the best values available on any cruise line, not just Carnival. They really got it right with this fare which is always the lowest, even lower than senior, military or resident rates. I like this one a lot because we know it is the lowest fare and always will be. I know people who have had their fare’s lowered many times on the same booking with the Early Saver Fare.
Key: Don’t book it if you typically change plans a lot. Moving from one sailing to another, canceling and rebooking, changing things of one sort or another all rack up fees on this fare.
Can I pay by check?
You can but you don’t want to. Paying with a debit or credit card is a much better idea. If you should have to cancel for some reason and are due a refund, it will go back to the card you used normally within a few days. If you paid by check it could take weeks to get your money back. Also, if you do pay by check, make sure that check is made out to the cruise line, not the travel agency, and that it is a cashiers check or money order. The cruise line does not want your personal check.
What can I do to get a free upgrade? My friends get free upgrades all the time and I want one too!
Frankly? Nobody really gets “upgraded” for free, just for the heck of it. What often happens is that the price drops and instead of passing the lower price along your friends are getting a “free” upgrade. It’s a nasty little trick a lot of travel agents, probably most travel agents do. If they don’t give you money back they get to keep all their commission. If they give you money back it lowers their commission. They “give” you the free upgrade, look like heroes, and laugh about it all the way to the bank. Sometimes those savings could be huge. Like the price went down more than it would for you to PAY to upgrade huge.
If the price comes down come agents give you the choice and let you make the decision. They figure it’s your money, who are they to decide how you spend it? Yes, lowering your price cuts their commission but it all works out in the long run. Those agents figure if they treat you right, you’ll come back. It’s not a bad idea to discuss “what if” scenarios with your agent up front.
My credit card was declined? I don’t understand how that could happen; I have lots of money in the bank!
There are several common reasons for this, all pretty good ones too:
- You may have a security feature on your account that blocks charges from out of town, as though it they are trying to protect you from unauthorized charges on your card if it was stolen. A quick call to the bank to authorize a charge from your cruise line usually fixes this.
- You may have a daily charge limit on your account, also a security precaution, that can be raised temporarily to allow your cruise payment to be processed or we can break the payment up and make smaller payments over a few days time if your payment is not due today.
- We have the wrong number. Just one number off on either the credit card number or expiration date will cause the card to be declined. You can click here to resubmit the charge after double checking your card number.
- There is a problem with the card center processing all charges, not just yours. This rarely happens and when it does we usually know it because no one’s charges are going through. This does not appear to be the case today but you never know.
Do you have questions about cruise vacations? Send them to Chris@ChrisCruises.net for quick, frank answers.