Monday, August 31, 2009

Getting a Great Cruise Deal Online

The other day Dennis, a friend of mine mentioned he was thinking about taking a Mediterrannean cruise and asked me how to find a good cruise deal online. I leave finding cruises up to Kathy, so I asked her to email him some advice.

I thought her email was pretty good, and might be useful to other people as well, so I'm posting it here as a blog posting.

Here it is:


Dennis

I hear you want to go to the Med .. fabulous .. I want to go back myself!!

Here is how I decide ...

I go to
www.vacationstogo.com
that site gives me a list of what cruises are around the time I want to cruise and how long, where they are going and the price that they can sell it to you for.

I have some favorite cruise lines so if they are within an acceptable range (cheapest is not always best ) then I go to the website for the cruise lines and see what they advertise it at. While there I check on all of the "deals" they all have a page for specials.

When I decide on one or two or however many cruises that I am interested in and know the approximate range I should pay .. I email our travel agent (cruise specialist) Judy and get her to quote it. Often she has a group going on that sailing and offers a good price and on board credits etc.

Alternately .. you can go to
www.cruisecompete.com and request a quote. They put it out to a lot of online travel agents and you get several quotes in email. The caveat is of course that you don't know the agency that you are dealing with.

I will tell you that before we cruised with Judy and then started using her for bookings I used vacations to go two or three times (Including the Orient) and had no problems whatsoever.

If you have any other questions ..let me know.

kathy

And that concludes my blog for today!

Bill

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Alaska Here We Come!

One week to go until the Alaska cruise and I am getting ancy to go!

The whole thing got started with a brochure from Princess offering 2 for the price of one balcony fares on Alaska cruises. I have wanted to go to Alaska for years, but Mr. “It is 70 degrees out I am freezing” was not too keen on the idea. However, true to motto “Happy Wife.. Happy Life” he agreed.

So here are the typical steps
1) Book Cruise
2) Join Cruise Critic roll call for this sailing.
3) Gab for months on-line in anticipation of meeting everyone.

The Cruise Critic roll calls are wonderful. You get to know something about fellow passengers before you leave. You get lots of good ideas for excursions and tips about the ports and do’s and don’ts no matter where you are going. I learn a lot from people that have already been on cruises in the areas. Usually a “meet and greet” is scheduled early in the cruise to meet face to face and sometimes it works out so well you form friendships that go beyond the one cruise.

I often think that planning for a cruise is about 1/3 the fun of a cruise. It makes the time go faster and helps to build the anticipation. I learn a bit about all of the places that we are going, if it is a foreign country I try to learn some necessary words and of course I shop for the appropriate clothes depending on the cruise line and the climate that we are guessing in advance should be typical of the time frame.

So, it is a week before the cruise. I have printed all of the cruise documents that we will need from Princess’s website. I have done the banking and have some cash for incidentals and shopping in ports. I have had the dry cleaning done. I have lists of what I absolutely cannot do without. I have gotten a cat sitter. I am finishing up any deadlines at work. I have discussed details of getting to the port and parking with the other couple going to Seattle with us. And I will think of at least 5 more things to NEED to do before we leave
.


More to come .. Kathy

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cruising to Alaska on the Star Princess

Well, we are off on another cruise in about 10 days or so. This time it's to Alaska. I prefer warmer climates myself, but Kathy has been wanting to cruise to Alaska for quite some time, so off we go.

I am really going to try to get some good videos on this trip. They are so easy to throw onto YouTube and once they are on YouTube it's easy to put the YouTube code on one of your web pages that I can't pass it up.

More than anything else, this particular blog entry is to test the blog and see if everything is working. We shall see shortly when I try to publish it.

The Star Princess is from what I hear similar to the Sapphire Princess, which is a cruise ship that we enjoy cruisng on. Been to China and the Mexican Riviera on it.

Thats it for now... Bill