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Monday, May 23, 2005

Why Cruise Rates Change

Why Cruise Rates Change

So you were quoted a price, called your travel agent back, and found that the price or cabin choice was no longer available. We understand how that can be your frustrating.

Please understand, however, that it's never intentional on the travel agents part: Reputable companies doesn’t tolerate dishonesty. "bait & switch" simply doesn’t work. They know guests are very willing to go on to the next company if they don't get what they want. You don’t last long in this business alienating customers.

So why do rates change? There are three main reasons why this happens:

1. Cruise line computers raised prices. The cruise lines have sophisticated computer systems involved in "yield management." That is, they look at how many cabins of each type are booked, how many are "on hold", and how many are available. After taking into account the time left before the sailing and how easy it's been to fill the ship on previous, similar dates, the computer adjusts the price accordingly -- sometimes it goes up, sometimes it goes down. The more popular the sailing, the more likely it is to go up. That can happen once a week, once a day and some cases, once an hour!

Once you put a cabin "on courtesy hold" you are insulated from these changes, but -- as your travel agent did not get your traveling parties names or you choose not to provide them- they generally can't hold space for you until you contact them and provide this information..... so it's in your best interest to call or e-mail your travel agent right away.

2. Group space filled. Most travel providers hold group space on a large number of sailings. In essence, this means that they bought a block of cabins on a future sailing early enough that they were given a lower rate by the cruise line. They can then pass savings on to you--but only until they run out of cabins to sell, and it’s first come, first served.

3. Somebody made a mistake. Sometimes a cruise line reservations clerk ( not your travel agent ) quotes a single passenger price instead of a cabin price or applies a special that's not actually valid anymore. Sometimes the cruise line gives your travel agent the price for a 12-day sailing instead of the 24-day sailing starting on the same day. Numbers get mistyped; computers have glitches. Despite all of efforts of the cruise line reservations staff to prevent these mistakes, where there are humans there are going to be errors. Every time one of these errors occurs that makes the price seem too high or too low, or too good to believe, you can bet someone is going to be disappointed -- so we hope you'll have patience if that someone is you.

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Cruise Traveler Magazine is an online cruise magazine offering an unbiased cruise guide, latest cruise news, cruise reviews, tips, feature cruise articles, and need to know information about cruising. Editorially independent of travel providers or cruise lines.


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