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Old April 9th, 2011, 05:33 PM
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Default Carnival Group Rate Questions

We are considering planning a "Family & Friends" cruise in the fall of 2013. I have contacted Carnival in an attempt to get some rough ideas on pricing, but it's difficult to do as cruises for the fall of 2013 are not yet posted. While the pricing might vary, as a general guideline, I have been playing with dates for the fall of 2012 to make an educated guess on what rates could be in 2013. Again, this may not be accurate, but at least it's a ballpark price.

Anyway, my question is specifically for those who have booked group cruises with carnival in the past.

Has anyone who has ever been booked on a group (rate) cruise ever go back to the Carnival website and see what they are charging everyone else for your same cruise?, ie, how much per person is your group saving? Now if you were in a group you might have gotten additional "Perks" due to the allocation of Carnival's "Fun Points" I think it's called. I will ignore that for now and consider it, "Gravy" for those in our group.

If anyone can offer me a dollar ammount of how much cheaper your rate was for the group cruise, than Carnival's "Early Saver" rate, could you please post the following:

1.) The dollar ammount you saved
2.) The length of your cruise,
3.) Your stateroom type (interior, balcony, etc.)
4.) What free "Perks" did your group have.

Thanx,
Krunch
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Old April 9th, 2011, 05:54 PM
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I think your best bet, is to contact a travel agent and find out what they have groups in. I don't think going through Carnival direct can off you any group prices. Yes, you can save some $....Also another way to book and save a few dollars is to book a cabin guarantee, where you don't actually book a specific cab, but just a cab catagory and you would get that catagory and possible an upgrade...

Sometimes the T/A will throw in a cabin credit that you could not get by booking with the cruiseline and we have a Cruisemates group cruise comming up, where someone will get the cruise for free, just something our travel agent is doing...
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Old April 9th, 2011, 06:31 PM
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Hmmmm.

Thanx for your input Donna, but there MIGHT be advantages that Carnival can offer that travel agents may not. Not only that, but Carnival spells them out for you, and, gives you options to choose your "Group Perks".

Have a look at this:
http://www.carnival.com/cms/carnival...ect_Guests.pdf

Shipboard credit is always appealing to every cruiser I'm sure, but the "Family & Friends" cruise we are attempting to plan, via the link above, allows me to choose an option for example that gives my group a one hour, open bar party. This would be great as some of our potential guests we have not seen in a few years.

Now, maybe travel agents can offer similar perks, but essentially I assume it would still be through Carnival's "Fun Points" system.

I will consider calling a travel agent to bounce this group cruise off of them but my gut feeling is that they are "Middle Men" and if I can eliminate the "Middle Man" I should gain something from it, as I am essentially acting as the travel agent for my group and dealing directly with Carnival. I am not saying anything bad about travel agents. For 3 of our 4 cruises I technically used a travel agent, which is what Air Miles Canada is, but I was using their reward miles for our cruise making our cruise free, except for having to pay the taxes and fees. The forth I booked online via Carniva's website and feel I paid a fair price.

Thanx,
Krunch
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Old April 9th, 2011, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krunch View Post
Hmmmm.

Thanx for your input Donna, but there MIGHT be advantages that Carnival can offer that travel agents may not. Not only that, but Carnival spells them out for you, and, gives you options to choose your "Group Perks".

Have a look at this:
http://www.carnival.com/cms/carnival...ect_Guests.pdf

Shipboard credit is always appealing to every cruiser I'm sure, but the "Family & Friends" cruise we are attempting to plan, via the link above, allows me to choose an option for example that gives my group a one hour, open bar party. This would be great as some of our potential guests we have not seen in a few years.

Now, maybe travel agents can offer similar perks, but essentially I assume it would still be through Carnival's "Fun Points" system.

I will consider calling a travel agent to bounce this group cruise off of them but my gut feeling is that they are "Middle Men" and if I can eliminate the "Middle Man" I should gain something from it, as I am essentially acting as the travel agent for my group and dealing directly with Carnival. I am not saying anything bad about travel agents. For 3 of our 4 cruises I technically used a travel agent, which is what Air Miles Canada is, but I was using their reward miles for our cruise making our cruise free, except for having to pay the taxes and fees. The forth I booked online via Carniva's website and feel I paid a fair price.

Thanx,
Krunch
You will not get any better prices or perks if you book this yourself vs. booking with a TA..... despite your "middleman" theory, the TA can often offer you MORE than the cruiseline can regarding "perks" above what the cruiseline is going to provide to you. As far as pricing 2012 cruises as a guideline..... hard to say if that will work given the volitility in the cruiselines fluxuating rates at any given time.

In most cases, ES fares are going to be LOWER than if booked as a group, but of course comes with stricter guidelines. Also, once the group rate is "locked in", you will not get lower fare adjustments or OBC as you would if booked thru reg. rates.

The TA can be very assistful regarding collecting deposits, payments and handling all the details, questions, etc..... well worth the commission they are paid by the cruiseline ! Are you sure you want to take on that headache ??? JMHO
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Old April 9th, 2011, 11:37 PM
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No, I certainly would not want to take that on, when someone that knows the ins and outs can handle it, plus take care of any problems with booking a large group....Well worth it, IMHO....
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Old April 10th, 2011, 01:06 AM
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It's a common misnomer to believe that group rates are less than an Early Saver rate or a regular published rate. They may be very near a Past Guest or Military rate on occasion, but rarely less. Group fares are never cheaper than an Early Saver rate. The advantage of group bookings is organization and some perks. These will be determined by the number of cabins you book.
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Old April 10th, 2011, 01:31 PM
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I was thinking along the same lines as Snoozeman. The first group CC cruise would have saved me a little bit, but less than $50 total, for what to me was a lesser room. this was 3 years ago, so I booked on my own.

The last two years I could book ES cheaper than the group rate, so never signed up with the group. I felt like a traitor, but I just am not paying a higher rate to be part of the group. They got a 4B price with $75 OBC for the cabin I believe. I took the midship deck 8, 1A, larger than the 4B and higher deck and overall, even counting the OBC, my price direct was still less than the group rate.

Some groups have activities they add into the price, making it even higher yet.

If you are a smart experienced cruise shopper, you can do better on your own. Last year on the group cruise, I got a last minute price drop to $379 from $429, and those who booked the group rate got nadda.
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Old April 10th, 2011, 08:05 PM
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Thanx everyone for the input. As I said, I am just exploring the options right now, so i contacted Carnival first to see what they offer. I will also check with a travel agent as this gets closer as there are no rates available to be even quoted right now. All I was attempting to do is "Ballpark" price this vacation.

WRT last minutes rates as one poster suggested, if the whole group waited to attempt a last minute rate, that's too much of a gamble, not to mention trying to get a flight that last in the game, and a hotel near the port. Too risky IMHO for an entire group.

Many people suggested getting more from the travel agent. Did anyone click on the link I posted which explains Carnival's point system? I only need 5 staterooms to get some value, I hope to get more than that, and hopefully the rates and or perks would get better because of that.

Krunch
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Old April 10th, 2011, 08:45 PM
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Any travel agent "worth their salt", would get you the Carnival points, and maybe more.

Travel agents aren't a middle man either. They are paid by the cruise lines. The cruise lines don't charge more if you use a travel agent, when really they should charge less if you book directly with them.

If you find a good agent, you're getting the services of a professional, at no cost. To be that's a no brainer.
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Old April 10th, 2011, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krunch View Post
Thanx everyone for the input. As I said, I am just exploring the options right now, so i contacted Carnival first to see what they offer. I will also check with a travel agent as this gets closer as there are no rates available to be even quoted right now. All I was attempting to do is "Ballpark" price this vacation.

WRT last minutes rates as one poster suggested, if the whole group waited to attempt a last minute rate, that's too much of a gamble, not to mention trying to get a flight that last in the game, and a hotel near the port. Too risky IMHO for an entire group.

Many people suggested getting more from the travel agent. Did anyone click on the link I posted which explains Carnival's point system? I only need 5 staterooms to get some value, I hope to get more than that, and hopefully the rates and or perks would get better because of that.

Krunch
True that you may only need 5 staterooms in the end to gain access to the "Fun Points", but that will not get you the "free berth" you will earn for 8 staterooms...... a higher # of staterooms sold will not get better rates nor will it give you additional "fun points"...... I would strongly suggest you speak to a good TA and look at all options before deciding that a "Group Booking" is the best cost effective way to save $$$$ !

A good TA will try to find the best method to book your group and is the most cost effective for the group. Their services are FREE (in most cases) so why would you even want to take the responsibility of doing this yourself and possibly have problems that everyone is pointing the finger at you for ?
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Old April 10th, 2011, 10:27 PM
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Again, thanx, I will look into the travel agent option. I'm just a little put off from travel agents, at least local ones to me actually, right now as oddly enough there were several posts on a local forum here in my hometown today. A person was requesting recomendations of travel agents here in town and the majority of the posts were, "There are none" and many then began telling their horror stories with local agents. Maybe the city I live in is just too small, maybe it's a Canada Vs. The U.S. thing and it's just more competitive down your way. But, as I said, I will explore travel agent options.

Krunch
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Old April 11th, 2011, 12:02 AM
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With e-mail , skype, toll free phone numbers, communication is simple these days. It's a mistake to think you have to use a local travel agent.

I'm Canadian and haven't booked with a local agent for over a decade.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 07:06 PM
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Kuki, if you could PM me some recomendations for travel agents, I'd appreciate it!.

Thanx,
Krunch
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Old May 1st, 2012, 05:10 PM
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I am a travel agent and have booked numerous Carnival Group Cruises. Carnival will not offer you anything additional that we as travel agents can offer. When you add the 'Fun Points" or amenities options, Carnival raises the prices for the cruise in most instances. So the Amenities are not free as you make think they are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by krunch View Post
Hmmmm.

Thanx for your input Donna, but there MIGHT be advantages that Carnival can offer that travel agents may not. Not only that, but Carnival spells them out for you, and, gives you options to choose your "Group Perks".

Have a look at this:
http://www.carnival.com/cms/carnival...ect_Guests.pdf

Shipboard credit is always appealing to every cruiser I'm sure, but the "Family & Friends" cruise we are attempting to plan, via the link above, allows me to choose an option for example that gives my group a one hour, open bar party. This would be great as some of our potential guests we have not seen in a few years.

Now, maybe travel agents can offer similar perks, but essentially I assume it would still be through Carnival's "Fun Points" system.

I will consider calling a travel agent to bounce this group cruise off of them but my gut feeling is that they are "Middle Men" and if I can eliminate the "Middle Man" I should gain something from it, as I am essentially acting as the travel agent for my group and dealing directly with Carnival. I am not saying anything bad about travel agents. For 3 of our 4 cruises I technically used a travel agent, which is what Air Miles Canada is, but I was using their reward miles for our cruise making our cruise free, except for having to pay the taxes and fees. The forth I booked online via Carniva's website and feel I paid a fair price.

Thanx,
Krunch
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Old May 1st, 2012, 09:37 PM
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Well, here's what I found about the fun points and it sounds pretty good to me.

http://www.carnival.com/cms/carnival...ect_Guests.pdf

So what kind of "Deal" for some extras can you offer up for a group of 8 or more?

We would like a one hour, open bar coctail party for our group and shipboard credit for each room in the group.

Krunch
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