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Carnival Cruise: How to get "the best" price on a specific cruise?

firewire0 228 July 29, 2012 at 06:30 PM in Travel (2)
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I'm trying to get a good deal on Carnival Cruise that departs on October 28th. I've done the standard travel sites and it looks like Priceline does offer the best deal .. I think?.

Sometimes I can be picky, but for this trip I'm not at all. I'm literally going for THE CHEAPEST rate I can get. Trust me, if I could work in the kitchen for $5/hr to get a better rate I would! Things I've already tried:
- Googling "discount codes"
- fleebay and CL some Carnival coupons or gift cards lol (weren't any)
- Check out all the travel sites.

I should say that my schedule is extremely flexible and I can buy this soon or late and I'm willing to take risks - Like are there ever last minute deals on these things?

I mean, there's literally not to much I can think of doing outside of booking with a credit card and getting some cash back. Or maybe save a couple bucks with the 'priceline rewards?'

Maybe there's somebody with sea miles looking to trade of airline miles?

--

EDIT: Ok, I'm screwed I just realized all the places I was checking out are for two people. I'm going to be traveling solo. Even the last minute deals are weak sauce.

24 Comments

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#2
Where is the cruise departing from? October 28th is definitely not last minute.

Have you searched around http://www.cruisecritic.com/ yet?
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L4: Apprentice
228 Reputation
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#3
Quote from PiratesSayARRR View Post :
Where is the cruise departing from? October 28th is definitely not last minute.

Have you searched around http://www.cruisecritic.com/ yet?
I didn't before, but I just did. Looks to be about the same price.

I'm leaving from Galveston, Texas.

btw - I still don't know if the desitnation is the 'Western Carribean' or 'Eastern Carribean'. One going for $950ish/person and the other $1.35k/person, respectfully.

I'll be able to tell you what one for sure tomorrow.
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#4
I'm in the same boat (haha pun intended), looking for a super cheap rate on a cruise in early September. This would be our first cruise. Try cruisecompete.com. You submit the cruises you want to go on and a bunch of travel agencies will submit competing bids. Most if not all the bids are the same price that you will find anywhere else, but it's worth a try. One cruise we're strongly considering was discounted far more than anyone else.
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#5
I also recently booked one for our honeymoon. Unfortunately, we are getting married the week before thanksgiving and it seems like everyone doesn't like to spend time with their family and would rather be on a cruise. Prices were just outrageous all around and airfare was like 4x normal. I used kayak to compare, but you may want to just call the cruise line. If you have to fly look at http://www.allegiantair.com/
they seem to have great rates but limited places they leave from. I spent around 1.8k or so and we are driving, but I got an extended balcony room. I used a corporate discount website to get some rewards though so that helped. Best of luck man
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#6
I booked a cruise through carnival a month or so ago for cruise in October. Your best bet is to just go through Carnival they offer a "super savers" rate where if the rate of your cruise price goes down you get the difference.
You can also try cruisecompete.com but its generally the same price as directly booking through carnival.
Also what type of room are you getting, i would recommend if your looking to save money just get the inside room. Your hardley in your room for the cruise other than to sleep.
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#7
In general, you find very little variation in fare from website to website when it comes to cruises. The best you'll usually find is on-board credit for your cruise as a perk instead of a fare discount.
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#8
Rules for first cruises is NEVER take a carnival that is less than a week, boats are old and stinky! 7-10 day boats are usually new or newer.

Other than that avoid deck 2 in the front of the ship, thats where the anchors and stabilizers are and they make a ton of noise even if you're on the outside.

Inside rooms do save you some cash but there is something to be said for a veranda view. Sometimes its nice to slide open the door and sit out on your own deck at night and watch the stars and ocean go by.

With carnival I always try to get deck 7 or better about mid to rear ship. Should you have a bad experience with Carnival don't let that spoil your cruising choice as they're about the motel 8 of cruiselines. If you wan the four star then Crystal is bar none the best I have ever sailed with.
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#9
Just booked one at the first of September last week. Your best bet is to go through Carniva's site. They usually have an option for what is called a reserved room. Which means you pick the type of cabin, and they will pick where on the ship they put you as your sail date draws closer.

These are usually cheaper. The best times to book are usually either a year in advance (early bird deals) or just a month or so when they are trying to fill in the last open rooms. Holidays are usually more expensive. So thanksgiving and christmas will cost you more.

Solo passengers get screwed. They need to make a certain amount on each cabin, so you pay almost as much as two people in that cabin do.

There aren't any coupons, or discounts. Just have to watch their site and keep checking prices. They can change about twice a week it seems. I have an aunt who is a travel agent, and she wasn't able to do any better than the carnival website price.

The only discounts I have seen out there are codes for like 10% off excursions booked through the boat. Cruise Critics is a great resource for tips and even excursion advice. However I don't believe there is much you can do for the booking price.

Good Luck
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#10
Vacationstogo.com is a good place to check for discounts. I used to cruise solo when they had rooms that were 150% but those days are gone so now you have to pay double occupancy less port fees.

Warezdog can call Carnival the Motel 8 but he also mentions Crystal in the same posting. Comparing apples to oranges. Crystal has a 7 day cruise to Canada for $5700 for a balcony vs. Carnival is $1000.

I've cruised Carnival 12 times and never had a bad cruise. If you have questions about Carnival drop me a line. If you do go to Cruise Critic they have good information but some of the members can be brutal so make sure to put your thick skin on!
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#11
We started to book a cruise through Carnival's website, but my wife halted as it was late at night and she still had some questions she wanted to check out. She had created an account for us while she was going through the process, but didn't book. The next day a Carnival rep was on the phone and talked with us for about 45 minutes answering all of the questions we had, directed us to the best available room, and we got the cruise booked for the same price it would have cost through the cheapest online prices we were finding. Our Personal Vacation Planer was Kevin West and he was great at helping answer questions and getting us the best rate/room available. His phone number is: : 800.819.3902 Ext. 85344. Give him a call and he will work with you on your cruise.
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#12
Having recently spent a bunch of time researching Carnival cruises for a trip in December, what I've discovered is according to Priceline, Carnival basically requires Priceline (and I'm assuming others) to offer the same pricing as their website. That being said, there are differences based on where you book. For example, the travel insurance (if you want to purchase it) is much cheaper through Priceline than through Carnival. Also, some travel agencies, while they cannot offer to lower the price of the cruise, will offer onboard credits. We booked through a small agency affiliated with our credit card because while they offered the same price for the cruise as Carnival, they gave us approx. $100 in onboard credits (and there travel insurance was cheaper as well -- but we didn't buy that.) Also, the on-shore activities are cheaper from Priceline than booking directly from Carnival -- and you can book the onshore activities through Priceline even if you don't book the cruise through them.
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#13
I already mentioned one of these, but these are the top 2 best suggestions for price (in my opinion):

1. cruisecompete.com - compare rates from multiple travel agents
2. Carnival Personal Vacation planner. After creating an account at carnival.com, one of their vacation planners called me. A few of the cruises he quoted me were significantly cheaper than anywhere else. He also was able to offer price guarantee if the price drops before the cruise.

I'm a first-time cruiser and have been shopping it like crazy - Priceline, Hotwire, Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia, cruisecompete.com, vacationstogo.com, eBay, craigslist - you name it! ...and like everyone else is saying the price will probably be the same across the board - with the exception of the 2 options above. If you can't find an uniquely low rate, the best bet is to shop the perks - cashback, onboard credit, excursion discounts, etc.
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#14
Quote from Bonnie63 View Post :
Warezdog can call Carnival the Motel 8 but he also mentions Crystal in the same posting. Comparing apples to oranges. Crystal has a 7 day cruise to Canada for $5700 for a balcony vs. Carnival is $100!
You should re-read my post; I never compared the two at all, ever. I simply stated that if you wanted a 4 star cruise line then Crystal was your answer.

Carnival IS the motel 8 of cruise lines, any quick search for opinions on cruising will tell you that, almost every other cruise line is better and you get what you pay for.

Comparing Crystal to Carnival is ludicrous especially after accusing me of comparing them but since you started with your asinine Canadian fare let me finish:
No interior rooms on Crystal they're all ocean view
Pass to crew ratio 1-1.5 carnival 5-1
Coffee, cappuccino, and soda FREE
Room service 24 hours a day FREE
Have formal dinner delivered to your room FREE
Breakfast delivered to your room everyday FREE
Passengers per ship 980 VS 4800
Crew speaks English

You may have never had a bad cruise on carnival because you've never went less than 7 days.

Another worhty mention is that Crystal doesn't do turn and burns, in other words they don't make round trips, the two ships they have constantly sail around the world and rarely will your embark and debark port be the same.

If you have a cruiseline you'd like to replace with the motel 8 comparison I'm all ears but the vast majority of web opinions of Carnival pale in comparison with that of all other cruise lines.
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L4: Apprentice
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#15
Wow, sounds like I'm screwed for finding that rock bottom dirt price! lol. The lowest rate I could find was like 880 after speaking to the rep. That was actually a "poker rate". That's what I'm going for - a poker tournament they are having on the ship.

For the same room it was like 1.1k online at most places.

I will keep calling and checking places out though I don't think I'm going to find what I want. I'm looking for a price in or around $500. Hopefully they get desperate last minute!
I'm really getting screwed because of the double occupancy thing. Since I'm just going by myself.
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