Thursday, April 29, 2010

Princess Pre/Post Hotel - or NOT

Was chatting with a friend today who is doing a similar repositioning cruise as we are, but she is leaving the day prior. This will be her first cruise, she is sailing with friends who have sailed many times. But this is where everything they are doing differs from what we are doing.

She booked air travel thru Princess from Vancouver, paid 3 times what we did. However we are flying out of Seattle and flying into Long Beach, must closer to the hotel than LAX.

She booked Princess Hotel and is staying at a 3.5 star hotel close to the airport for $150 each (but this does include transfers to the hotel and pier) so total of $300. We booked a 3.5 star hotel Hyatt Long Beach for $60 total thru Priceline. Taxi to hotel is $30, or shuttle for a little less, taxi to pier $25, total $55 for transportation. Her hotel is not near anything, where as our hotel we can easily walk to restaurants, Starbucks, wine store and tourist attractions.

She booked cruise directly thru a local travel adgent and paid 100% more than we did, mind you we did book closer to the sailing date (one month prior).


Hers, air $320, hotel $300, transfers included, total $620

Mine, air $120, hotel $60, transfers $80, total $260

Now people think I am nuts, isn't it just easier to go with the cruise line, well yes, but it will cost you. So for a little work and a lot more flexibility, as cruise lines determine your flight itinerary for you, you don't have any say of the routing or times.

Hotel options are very limited and are almost always at 100% more than what you would pay if you booked directly, not to mention what you would pay thru a discount website like

Many people comment "well if your plane is late and you booked thru the cruiseline the cruiseline will hold the ship", that is not true, trust me no ship is going to wait and delay their sailing for a few people. But one thing they will do is provide you with transportation to the next port; however with good insurance this will also be covered by your insurance plan.

Cruiseline transfers, well I hate them! I am not going to mince words, I hate them. They always cost about the same cost for one person as they do for a shared shuttle ride. Nothing is worse that loading onto a bus and waiting for it to fill up, then to pull up to the pier and then unload all the luggage while everyone pushes to get off and get into line. Not the way I want to start my vacation. Now there are exceptions to the transfers, definitely compare prices on transfers when dealing with European ports.

In the end I always try to stay away from using a middleman, and that is what the cruise lines do, they pay for the hotel room, and then they add their fee and charge you more. Personally I would rather have that money in my pocket.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No More Crusining - RIGHT

After the two cruises in January both Bernie and I decided that we would put cruise travel on hold for the year.

However with a week's vacation coming up in May we both started surfing checking out cruises that could fit in. Unfortunately it appeared that many of the repositioning cruises from California to Vancouver happened the week prior. Oh well, another reason not to cruise.

Until the price dropped on a five day leaving Los Angeles in May. The price was just too good to pass up $322 (coming from my lovely husband Bernie).... I still wanted to wait, still wasn't sure if we should book something, we had made the promise, remember. Bernie was in shock, I never turn down a cruise. But I will admit, my experience with booking this itinerary told me the price may come down again.

Guess what it did come down again. A few days later as I surfed our favorite online agency for cruising I saw the price had come down to $279 so I booked. A week later the price had dropped again to $236, but I was happy with the price I got.

So the cruise is booked LA to Vancouver, then come home for one day and then sail a one day Vancouver to Seattle for $50. So this would enable us to drive down to Seattle park the car, fly one way to Los Angeles and then sail back to Seattle and pick up the car.

We got one way flights to Los Angeles with Jet Blue and a hotel is booked for Long Beach the night before thru ended up getting the Hyatt Regency Long Beach for $60.

So total 2 cruises, Stock On Board Credit of $50 for each sailing, 2 cruise credits (enabling us to get $25 each on board credit for all future cruises - because this will be cruise 19 and 20), all for$329 each, plus the $50 credit, so really the cost is $279 for six days.