Tuesday, October 15, 2013

National Cruise Vacation Week Time!

I have not written here in quite a while.  So much has been happening lately I just haven't kept up!  I do apologize for that.  But, something I have to put out there ... National Cruise Vacation Week is coming up!  National Cruise Vacation Week runs from October 20, 2013, through October 27, 2013.  This is the time of the year that cruise lines bring out some great incentives for cruise reservations.  It is actually one of the biggest cruise booking weeks there is because of this.  Some cruisers wait for this time to reserve their vacations.

Here is a rundown of some of the Cruise Lines offerings:

AmaWaterways:  Additional $200 on board credit per stateroom on select 2013 and 2014 itineraries, combinable with other offers where applicable, including selected sailings featuring up to $1,500 per stateroom saving sand complementary upgrades.

Avalon:  Save up to $1,300 per couple on select 2014 Europe River Cruises.

Azamara:  Up to $500 on board credit per stateroom on Europe 2014 voyages.

Carnival:  Up to $200 off Fun Select rates per stateroom and up to $200 on board credit per stateroom.  Best available upgrades and 50% reduced deposits on select sailings through December 31, 2014.

Celebrity:  Up to $250 on board credit on all sailing 5 nights or greater Alaska, Bermuda, Caribbean, Europe from January 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015.

Cunard:  10 Year Anniversary Event.  Complementary balcony upgrades; up to $300 per stateroom on board credit; reduced deposit.

Disney:  $50 on board credit per stateroom on a 3 or 4 night Bahamas cruise aboard Disney Magic or Disney Dream sailing January 5 - May 29, 2014.

Holland America:  Take advantage of our Explore4 promotion on select December 2013 holiday cruises and 2014 sailings that provides four added value extras:  a free Signature Beverage Package or beverage card, free specialty restaurant dinner, free or reduced fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom, and 50% reduced deposits.  Guests making a booking during NCVW on select sailings can also qualify for up to $200 per stateroom in on board credits in addition to all four Explore4 offers.

Hurtigruten:  5% reduction of current price levels for select voyages for new bookings.

MSC:  Special pricing for selected sailings in Summer Caribbean 2014 plus receive up to $200 per stateroom in on board credit for MSC Divina Caribbean sailings between April 12, 2014 - October 11, 2014.

Norwegian:  Up to $250 on board credit fleetwide; up to $500 on board credit for cruisetours in Europe, Hawaii and Alaska;  Bonus on board credit for all Norwegian Getaway sailings currently open for sale.

Royal Caribbean:  Book a 7 night Caribbean cruise and get up to $100 to spend on board next summer.

Windstar:  Special sale rates on select sailings plus $100 on board credit per stateroom.

These offers are available exclusively through a CLIA Cruise Agent.  Certain restrictions apply and vary by cruise line.  Your CLIA Cruise Agent can provide specifics for each offer.  Offers are subject to availability and may change without notice.  Rates are presented in U.S. dollars.  On board credits are not redeemable for cash.  Other restrictions may apply to each offer.

Participating agencies also have an option to have a personalized “micro-site” which will show some deals and some select videos.  You can visit my micro-site here.  Interested in getting rates for your next cruise vacation?  Give me a call at 888-882-5793 or send me an email with your interests and I will get it right to you.  If you already have a travel agent, contact them to take advantage of these great offers.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Current Cruise Promotions

There are still some great promos out there if you are still looking to book your cruise.  Here is a sample of some of the promos currently running: 

Royal Caribbean:  CruiseOne has an exclusive promo offering free pre-paid gratuities for passengers one and two on sailings that are 5 nights or longer, booked in an ocean view or higher and depart from July 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013.  The booking window is short, reservations must be made between June 4 – 6, 2013.  Great time to book your summer or holiday cruise.

Royal Caribbean:  CruiseOne has an exclusive promo for Royal Caribbean’s new ship Quantum of the Seas.  The Quantum will start sailing in November of 2014 from Cape Liberty.  You can earn up to $150 on board credit (amount depends on total vacation cost) for reservations made on Quantum of the Seas through June 11, 2013.

Celebrity Cruises:  Currently there is a Pick Your Perk promo that is running through June 19, 2013, for sailings departing from September 2013 through April 2014.  The promo applies to sailings that are four nights or longer booked in an ocean view or higher.  Guests can choose from one of the following:  On board credit; classic beverage package for two or pre-paid gratuities for two.

Norwegian Cruise Lines:  CruiseOne has a lot of group space on many Norwegian Cruise Line sailings.   Often the rates are lower than the current rates and come with amenities.  Outside of the block space, Norwegian has a promo running for reduced deposits and additional amenities.  This promo runs through June 8, 2013, and is valid on sailings that are 5 nights or longer.  This is a great time to book Norwegians brand new ship the Breakaway that sails from New York, or perhaps reserve the Getaway that will be sailing from Miami next year.

CruiseOne Freer & Associates not only has great promotions, but we offer excellent service and advice at no additional cost.  Thinking about planning your next cruise?  Give us a call and let us help!  You can reach us anytime 888-882-5793, send me an email or visit us on the web.  We look forward to helping you plan your dream vacation!  (We also do land vacations!)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

On Board Credit for 2013 Sailings!

Well, if you have been waiting to book your 2013 cruise, now is the time to do so.  There are still some Wave Season promotions out there (promos offered by the cruise lines during this time of year, which is a heavy booking period).  But, on top of that ... CruiseOne has its own on board credit promo that runs from today, March 14, 2013 through March 21, 2013.  So just one week to take advantage of this promo.

So, what are the details ... the promo is offering up to $150 on board credit for all cruise lines and all stateroom categories booked for cruises that depart from April 15, 2013 through December 31, 2013.  The amount of on board credit varies, and depends on your total vacation cost booked.  Here are the amounts:

Total Vacation Cost         On Board Credit
$1-$1,999:                          $25
$2,000-$2,999:                   $50
$3,000-$3,999:                   $75
$4,000-$4,999:                   $100
$5,000-$5,999:                   $125
$6,000+:                             $150

On board credit is a great promo.  It is basically a dollar amount that is placed on your on board account, and deducted from what you owe.  For example, if you have $100 on board credit on your account and you spent $500 while on board, you will only be responsible for paying $400.  Nice perk huh!   And it is combinable with any current cruise line promos that might be running.  For example, Celebrity Cruises is offering their 1, 2, 3 Go promotion again, which offers a choice of one of the following:  pre-paid gratuities; classic beverage package for two or on board credit.  This in itself is a fantastic promo, and imaging combining it with CruiseOne's promo ... SWEET!  (If you have read any of my blogs that feature Celebrity Cruises, you would know that they are my favorite cruise line.  Thinking of booking this promo myself!)

I am sure you would love to know more ... so, just give me a call at 888-882-5793 or send me an email.  Great opportunity to book your summer trip, or even your holiday cruise.  And please remember:  You will NEVER pay more by using CruiseOne Freer & Associates as your travel agent.  Your rates will be the same as going direct, sometimes even better if we have some block space.  You will get a dedicated, knowledgeable person to handle your arrangements ... one that has your best interest.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Exclusive on board credit for Alaska and Europe!

If you are thinking of taking any of the following cruise itineraries this year now is the time to book!

River Cruises

Why you ask?  CruiseOne has an EXCLUSIVE on board credit promo for these sailings.  The promo only runs for one week, February 21, 2013 - February 28, 2013, and is valid on sailings that depart April 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013.

The on board credit amount depends on the total vacation cost as follows:

Vacation Cost:  $1-$1,999; On Board Credit Amount: $50

Vacation Cost:  $2,000-$2,999; On Board Credit Amount: $75

Vacation Cost:  $3,000-$3,999; On Board Credit Amount: $100

Vacation Cost:  $4,000-$4,999; On Board Credit Amount: $150

Vacation Cost:  $5,000-$5,999; On Board Credit Amount: $175

Vacation Cost:  $6,000+; On Board Credit Amount: $225

This offer is combinable with any offers that may be offered by the cruise line directly, and is valid for all stateroom categories.  This promo is NOT available for Carnival Cruise Lines.

There are some fantastic itineraries out there and some great rates!  Want details, feel free to give me a call at 888-882-5793 or send me an email.  But hurry, this promo ends February 28, 2013!   Happy Sailing!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Where are those last minute cruise deals?

As a travel agent, I get a lot of calls asking me about last minute deals. Most start off with “I’m looking for a great last minute deal for this coming weekend.” Last minute deals have really become a thing of the past. Over the past year and a half, cruise bookings have increased. Ships are filling up and cruise lines are really offering their best rates for those that book early. Now that doesn’t mean you won’t find a last minute deal … they are out there sometimes. But if you are looking for one, be prepared that the ship, itinerary or category you desire just might not be available.

Booking early has lots of advantages! First of all, the cruise lines have been offering their best rates early. I have the luxury of watching rates all the time. I can tell you with certainty that most rates increase as time goes by. Especially when it comes to peak sailing times (peak times are holidays and when the kiddos are out of school). Some cruise lines, like Carnival, even offer Early Saver Rates, which have a low price guarantee, but it does come with some restrictions as well. Also, booking early means you get the best selection of available staterooms. So if you are particular as to where to want your stateroom to be, best to book early. The most desirable staterooms are the ones that get booked first. Also, by booking early you have a longer window of time until final payment, which allows you to make payments on your cruise if you wish.

What happens if you book early and the rate goes down? That is a great question. Most cruise lines will honor a rate change if it is done prior to the final payment due date (the final payment due date is usually 75 days prior to sailing). Some cruise lines will even make adjustments or upgrades after the final payment due date, depending on the rate code that was originally booked.

Do travel agents have staterooms that cruise lines do not? The answer to this is usually no. A travel agent uses the same live inventory that the cruise lines do. Agents pull everything directly from the cruise line. So if you call the cruise line direct and the ship is sold out, odds are that it is in fact sold out. Sometimes agencies hold block space, but if it is close to the sailing date, unsold space must be released back to the cruise line.

Can a travel agent get you a better rate? Well, sometimes. With the cruise lines, the rates are the rates. Most cruise lines have a very strict policy against discounting and it is just simply not allowed. With that said though, there are some agencies that hold block or group space. This means that staterooms have been held, locking in the rate at that time. This sometimes means that an agency just might have a lower rate than what is currently offered.

If rates are the same, why use a travel agent? That is another good question and one that I get very often. Let me start the answer by saying that as a client, you do not pay any more than you would pay by going direct to the cruise line (speaking for myself, as I do not charge a fee). The cruise line pays me. So in a sense, even if you book through the cruise line, you are still paying for an agent. Agents are very knowledgeable. I cannot tell you the countless hours I have spent training, touring ships and continuing my education. Agents have YOUR best interest. Not the best interest of the cruise line. I received a call yesterday from a person that I quoted a rate to last week. Turns out she booked directly with the cruise line and had an issue. She called the cruise line and was not happy with the answers she was getting. She actually called me, which is surprising. Her first line was “I am so sorry to bother you with this but the person at XYZ Cruise Line was simply a clerical person and did not help me or understand my issue.” I answered all of her questions and she thanked me and stated next time she cruised she was going to call me and definitely use an agent. If you can get personal service, expertise and a dedicated person to be with you through the entire process and even after you get home … all for no extra cost … wouldn’t you use an agent?

So, the bottom line is, if you are looking for a last minute deal, give your travel agent a call. Agents can search all of the cruise lines and itineraries very easily. Something it would take you as a consumer lots of time. Just remember that you might not be going on that last minute cruise, and even if it is available the rate might not be so “last minute.” If you do not have an agent, give me a call at 888-882-5793, visit my website, or send me an email. I would be more than happy to add you to my list of satisfied clients!