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Early booking

We’ve recently had confirmation from our on-line TA of choice (Ideal Cruises) that they were able to turn our ‘advance registration’ into a firm booking when P&O started accepting them. We’ve booked on Ventura (again), cruise N114, in May 2011: 17 nights to Venice, including calls at Malaga, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Venice (two days and an overnight stop here), Korkula, Cephallonia, and Vigo. We’ve got one of our preferred balcony cabins on C deck, the ones with the double-depth balconies, we’ve got second-sitting for dinner, we’ve got some on-board credit, and we’ve got free parking.

There was a discussion recently on Cruise Critic as to why people preferred to book so early for a cruise (13 months in advance in this case). The person who asked was pointing out that  late offerings, i.e. cruises booked just three months or less from the date of the cruise, are often a lot cheaper than the prices asked for the same cruise up until that point. These late booking offers occur because about three months before (or just under) the cruise start date is usually when passengers are asked to make their final payment, i.e. about 90% of the total price, and for almost every cruise some passengers will be unable to make that final payment, will lose their deposit, and forfeit the booking. The cruise line, having kept the deposit from the failed booking, can now sell the cabin at a lower cost than before. In any case they want to do this because even if they sell the cabin at cost, they’ll make money from on-board expenditure.

But we don’t do this – we prefer to make a solid booking at an early date and get the advantages that brings. Crucially for us this is choice of cabin. On Ventura (and Azura) the C deck balconies are so much better than any other standard balcony cabin; this alone is makes it worthwhile booking at a time when you can be certain of getting one of these. Getting the right sitting for dinner is also important for us. There have been a couple of other threads on Cruise Critic recently in which people had expressed concern about the location of their cabin, or the fact that they couldn’t get the dinner arrangements they wanted, and in both cases I think these were late bookings. So we’re committed early bookers.

Of course, when we’ve retired, have less money and no work schedules to fit in, it might all look very different…..

One Response to “Early booking”

  1. Malcolm Oliver says:

    Hi Tom, in a recent survey (I can’t remember the source)the majority holidaymakers claimed to enjoy the planning and looking forward to the holiday as much, if not more than the actual holiday itself.

    I must Say that I agree. Therefore, based on that information you can only get maximum please looking forward to a holiday/cruise if you book well in advance.

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