Wave season officially open, many travelers will plan a cruise in the next few months. This has nothing to do with any specific promotion, cruise line offer or economic condition. Right now is just a very popular time to book. Probably the cold of winter keeping everyone inside, dreaming of someplace else. Someplace warmer. A topic not normally covered wave season: onboard booking. A topic even more rarely talked about, any time of the year: onboard booking guided by your travel agent.
So you’re on a fabulous cruise in some part of the world and really having a great time. By the end of the first day, the thought occurs: “this is the best vacation ever”. By the end of that sailing, a common regret about travel by ship: the itinerary did not last long enough. OK, maybe next time think about a longer one. Post-cruise, your travel agent calls to see how your arrangements worked out. Happy to hear you had a good time, that agent asks if you had the opportunity to book on board.
No, did not really think about that.
Next time: think about it. There are significant advantages to booking onboard.
Bonus Value – Onboard Credit available only by booking while sailing is part of the deal and the most commonly combinable promotion. Not all deals are. Still, your friend with $1200 of onboard credit? Onboard booking might have added to that.
Reduced Deposit – Regardless of the ship, sailing date or stateroom category, onboard booking usually brings a reduced deposit. Booking far in advance, there’s no reason to tie up any more of your travel funds than necessary. Booking close in, it still feels like you got a deal anyway. Half is half.
Meaningful Stateroom Location – If you like the class of ship currently being sailed, would like to book it again, but might prefer a different stateroom category or location you can physically go look at it. The difference between physically walking to the location and choosing from a deck plan is substantial.
A Good Deal Your Travel Agent Can Verify – Your travel agent will receive a copy of that onboard booking before you return home if you mention their name while booking onboard. While the onboard cruise consultant might not be familiar with or understand the importance of your personal preferences, your travel agent sure does.
Refundable - For the most part, onboard bookings for specific ships and sailing dates can be changed without penalty. Open bookings bring a long period of time in which to decide too. Still, if for some reason the best move is to cancel and never sail again, that onboard booking is usually refundable.
Cure For Post-Cruise Depression - If we bought into the onboard programming offered by most cruise lines, odds are we came back refreshed with a bit different view of the world, if not life itself. The downside of that happiness occurs when post-cruise
depression sets in. The best cure for this common travel malady: booking another cruise.
Chris Owen shares frank, inside information about cruise vacations on ChrisCruises.com