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CruiseGuide 2011



Buying Cruise Tickets


cruise tickets


So you're ready to take that big step and try a cruise for yourself? Here are a few cruise tips on buying tickets that will shed light on your many options.

Buying cruise tickets does not have to be a tough chore. Nor does it have to be an expensive one. We actually went on 4-day cruise to Cozumel in January 2007, on the Carnival Fantasy for $229 a person! And that was done by dealing with Carnival directly, after seeing that price listed on their internet site -- no Travel Agent needed!

But some folks do like using travel agents (some of our family do this every trip), and some prefer to use other third-party options, such as the popular online cruise booking source, icruise.com .

Don't fret. You're going to be taken care of pretty much however you choose to get your cruise tickets. The important thing to remember is to do your homework -- then do what works best for you.

There is no guarantee that buying cruise tickets in any one of these three ways will always yield the cheapest price. And just because a certain outlet offers the "cheapest price" on cruise tickets does not make that the right choice for you.

For example, let's say that you and your family have decided on fairly short notice that you'd like to take a cruise for the first time, or maybe you're simply not the type of person that cares much for putting a lot of research into something on your own. If these examples describe you, then you would probably be well served by working with a travel agent to obtain your cruise tickets. Even seasoned cruise "veterans" often prefer to continue utilizing the services of a travel agent, simply because they have built a relationship with that agent, and the agent knows what their unique tastes are in travel.

If you're the 'doing-my-homework' type, then you owe it to yourself to check out some of the amazing deals you can find through online outlets, such as icruise.com . These types of websites are like an online travel agent, constantly searching for the best deals on cruise tickets. They search 'across the board', so to speak, and provide some great values on voyages on a myriad of ships, from many different cruise lines. A one-stop shopping experience, especially if you're not dead set on using one particular cruise line.

Of course, you can always just contact a cruise line directly, or, as we do, regularly scan your favorite cruise line's website for deals on cruise tickets. You'd be amazed at what kind of prices you'll get by checking directly with the cruise line in these ways. And another advantage to working directly with the cruise line comes in the form of dealing with last-minute contingencies that may come up -- we like the fact that you can call the cruise line's Customer Service department, 7 days a week, if there's a problem with your cruise tickets when you get to the terminal, an option you may not have if you use a third-party booking option.

Whatever option you choose, remember that cruise ticket prices vary wildly throughout the year, regardless of cruise line, and you can find some incredible deals if you can be a little flexible about when you'll take your vacation. For example, we took a 7-day trip on the Carnival Conquest in January 2006, and for the four of us we paid around $2000 for cruise tickets. My sister's family of four took that same trip, on the same ship, with the same room, that summer, and paid well over twice that price for cruise tickets! But don't think these price swings are necessarily seasonal -- prices can fluctuate largely even from week to week. The point is, when it comes to cruise tickets, do your homework on what week you'll go, and you can save big.

Any way you slice it, as long as you go through a reputable outlet, you're probably going to do fine when it comes to buying those cruise tickets. Hopefully, these tips will help you choose the path that's right for you!

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