The December holidays are past us, it’s a new year and the relatives are all back where they came from. The holiday decorations are put away and there’s not a lot to distract us from the cold Winter weather. Naturally, for many, thoughts turn to cruise vacations. Warm tropical climates sound really good after fighting icy roads and snow drifts and Spring is far away. It’s what the cruise industry refers to as “wave season” and a whole lot of cruise bookings are made starting around the first of the year. In preparation, here’s what you need to know to sail through buying a cruise and come out with the best possible value .
As sellers, the cruise lines have not missed a beat, moving on with expansion plans with new ships, updated facilities , and onboard programs aimed to provide everything vacationers are looking for. All this at a time when economic woes have caused other vacation options to cut back or shut down.
As buyers, we need to look beyond simply the lowest price and concentrate on what we get for that price. There are several ways to insure we get the best value like calculating the cost per person per night, surfing the websites of the cruise lines, subscribing to newsletters and blogs of competent travel sources or doing what you are right now; keeping up on the latest information.
The difference is substantial and can make or break a vacation.
First, let’s start with the Internet Cruise Broker. That would be one of the many online companies that offers unbelievably low prices on a cruise. In most all cases those are unbelievable prices because they are not accurate or do not fully represent what is being offered.
The first misleading expense is hidden fees. We call these Buried Fees because you have to dig to find them. They are there for all to see but you will find them most commonly toward the end of their “Terms of Service” , far after the boring text turned off the reader. Most all of these fees are not necessary and simply something that Internet Cruise Broker has levied upon each buyer, should they fall into the trap.
One that can add up quickly are “change fees” where you may be charged $50 or $100 for name spelling corrections. In the past, the cruise lines DID charge this fee but have been dropping it more and more except for special pricing like Carnival Cruise Line‘s Early Saver Fare. In that case, buyers pay the lowest possible fare, guaranteed by the cruise line, and in turn have restrictions they agree to up front to get that fare. This is not what I am talking about. Those are OK because the cruise line is very up-front about it and nothing is hidden.
If you do see a buried fee it should be a red flag to pay special attention to the details before buying. Processing Fees are another one that runs up the price of the cruise and is often charged by Internet Cruise Brokers. But if you can get past all the potential or actual junk fees charged the low price may still be a good one.
Reason enough to buy from your Internet Cruise Broker?
No way! One of the biggest areas where Internet Cruise Brokers fail is what happens after the sale.
More on that tomorrow!
- Choosing the right cruise line- a good source to turn to (chriscruises.net)
- Choosing the right cruise line- Finding a bargain (chriscruises.net)
- Choosing the right cruise line- skipping to the end (chriscruises.net)
- Cruise giant adds air plan for one-stop shopping (chriscruises.net)