OpinionVacations to Go Cruise Reviews: What Cruisers Really Think

Vacations to Go Cruise Reviews: What Cruisers Really Think

Cruise travelers are always looking for ways to save money.  After all, the more you save the more cruises you can take.

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With Vacations to Go advertising lower rates and all kinds of perks, the company has a strong advertising presence.  Most of you have probably heard of them. 

But what’s the catch?  Is there one?  Is there a downside to the “cruise deals” found on Vacations to Go?

Carnival and Royal Caribbean ship in Cozumel cruise port
Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

You can usually get some added perks like onboard credit thrown in, but what other factors do you need to watch out for?

In this article we’ll weigh the potential pros and cons that have been brought up by customers who have left reviews on Consumer Affairs.

I book almost all my cruises directly through the cruise line’s website.  I also use cruise search engines to find deals, but for the booking process, I just enjoy the direct method.

But there are enough people using Vacations to Go to make me do a deeper dive into the experiences people had who used the service.

Founded in 1984, Vacations To Go is a travel agency specializing in discounted cruises. They advertise themselves as offering last-minute deals on unsold cabins negotiated with major cruise lines.

The website is famous for these last-minute deals through their “90-Day Ticker” and has been a staple of the company for years.

With 273 verified reviews on Consumer Affairs alone, Vacations to Go has been used by quite a few cruisers in the past. 

However, those reviews paint a mixed picture. 

With an average rating of 1.4 stars out of 5 on the consumer advocate website, I examined recent feedback within the last year, so only the most recent experiences were considered.

In the reviews and comments many mentioned potential advantages like finding discounted fares and the convenience of a “bundled booking process”.

But there were also some common issues brought up, including misleading pricing, booking hassles, and concerns about customer support. 

Pricing and Advertising

MSC, Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas and Carnival Celebration docked in Costa Maya
Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

Some reviewers on Consumer Affairs have been disappointed with the pricing advertised by Vacations to Go.

A commenter from New York noted, “One example is I looked at Royal Caribbean for a suite. V2G advertised $2,679 say I save 48%, but when I checked RCCL website for the exact same cruise, date, and room, they are giving me the exact same price.”

Contrary to common belief, travel agents and discount travel websites can’t really offer cheaper pricing on cruises – not technically anyway. 

Sometimes they can offer onboard credit or other perks, but the price is pretty much the same anywhere you look –unless one site is trying to squeeze out a little more revenue.

Another reviewer shared, “Prices advertised on their website are not what is quoted when you reach an agent. The price quoted to me was astronomically higher than the website.”

This could also be due to the “hidden fees” that many booking websites don’t show until you are on the checkout page.  Things like port fees, taxes, and single supplement fees can definitely inflate the final cost.

Thanks to a new California law, more transparent pricing will be seen across the web, as cruise lines will include some of these hidden fees in the advertised price.

This issue was a recurring theme in the reviews. One cruiser from Florida who was looking to book a Windstar cruise mentioned, “As soon as I paid in full the website is now advertising 6000 for a single. That’s 5000 less! I wrote and asked them if they would honour this rate and was told it’s too late as I’ve paid in full already. ”

Booking Issues

cruise ship in portmiami docked

Several users have faced challenges during the booking process. A reviewer from Texas shared an experience about trying to get a group rate but never hearing back:

“He called me the next day. I reiterate what we needed and he says, ‘I’ll call you back in ten minutes.’ It’s been a day and a half and no call from Curtis S. He also said there was only double occupancy rooms left and I have to get extra rooms. I called Royal Caribbean directly and booked our cruise.”

One user from Oregon noted an issue with how the company bundles different transportation needs saying,

“When booking a cruise there are often other needs…. Transportation, connections, coordination, hotels, etc., the things travel agents do. VTG does not offer these services and once you use them to book the cruise, travel agents aren’t anxious to provide you the other associated services.”

Many of the booking issues mentioned in the reviews pertained to how certain charges were communicated – or not communicated in some cases. 

Customer Support

Royal Caribbean Icon of the Seas and Vision of the Seas Cococay

A California customer who had been using the website for over 20 years mentioned, “The last 5 years have not been so good. Most recently I have been trying to get a refund of a deposit I made to be on a waiting list back in 2021 with American Queen Voyages. Vacations to go calls and gets an update for me each time I call but say there is nothing more they can do.”

An additional complaint came from a user who tried to correct a mistake, “They will not send you the packet to review before purchase. Booked the wrong cruise. Spent hours on the phone almost immediately trying to get it switched. Nope. No help from this company. In fact, at one point Princess changed it for us and V2Go changed it right back.”

While some liked the convenience of using the company’s travel agents to handle issues that came up, using a middleman can sometimes lead to complications.

A user on Reddit mentioned being very happy with handling these issues, however, saying,

“I’ve also found it much easier to work with a travel agent when sailings are changing as much as they are now, vs. needing to go through the line itself. For example, when my last sailing was cancelled, I decided to lift and shift. All it took was a couple minutes on the phone with the agent telling them which new date I wanted, and then they did the rest of the work.”

Excursions

Problems with shore excursions were also commonly reported.

A reviewer from Missouri said, “When we got off the cruise, we had to walk a long 25 minutes to reach the taxi service, and that’s when we found out we were late and the bus had left us. We were told that the tour started 30 mins after the ship got to the port. Nothing was mentioned in the email or the ticket about a specific time or a specific place”.

Another reviewer from Colorado added that the excursions booked through Vacations to Go were not seamlessly integrated with the cruise line.

A Florida user echoed these sentiments saying, “If you do decide to book through them, I would strongly advise against it.”

Positive Experiences

cruise ships in portmiami, need for cruise travel insurance
PortMiami while boarding Icon of the Seas. Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

Despite the negative reviews, a few customers reported positive experiences.

One customer from Florida noted, “Thank you, Vacations to Go, for investigating my issue and taking corrective action. You made it right, and that means a lot.”

Another reviewer appreciated the follow-up, stating, “We’re so glad that Princess was willing to make an exception and allowed us to switch to a sailing that included Glacier Bay.”

A customer from Washington shared a positive experience after some initial troubles, “Happy that Vacations to Go took me seriously, refunded my money for the horrible hotel booking, and apologized in full. Thanks to Robin, Andrea, and Michelle for taking care of this minor but important (to me) detail!”

Final Thoughts

While Vacations to Go has been a great service for some, there are enough one-star reviews to make some potential cruisers wonder if they should book a cruise through the company.

As one commenter summarized, “Just do your homework before you book with Vacations to Go. Compare with the cruise line and maybe other websites before you decide.”

I should note that Vacations to Go was very good at responding to reviews and comments made on the Consumer Affair website and seemed to make attempts to look up booking numbers to verify issues some cruisers had.

There was even one comment from a user that mentioned how the company had made things right:

“Happy that Vacations to Go took me seriously, refunded my $ for the horrible hotel booking and apologized in full. Thanks to Robin, Andrea and Michelle for taking care of this minor but important (to me) detail! Very much appreciated by both myself and my wife. Thank You!”

If you’re considering using Vacations to Go for your next cruise, read the reviews carefully and compare prices directly with the cruise lines. This way, you can make an informed decision and hopefully avoid some of the common pitfalls experienced by other travelers.

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
OpinionVacations to Go Cruise Reviews: What Cruisers Really Think
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