Unfortunately this can be the case. The benefits of booking early are that you can get a better choice of cabin and even be sure of your booking. :Late booking means that you might get a better price with less choice. If you complain long and hard enough you can sometimes get a credit for a future cruise but I'm not sure about OV and their policy here. Sorry but why not try....Neil.
It cannot have escaped your notice that there are very large numbers of cruises advertised at large savings over the brochure price. Just look at the papers at the weekend for example. You actually did extremely well to pay just £100 more!!
The lesson is:- If you want one particular cruise at one particular time, book as soon as possible. If you are resonably flexible with regard to ship and itinery, search the papers and the net for the best available price.
It's nor right, but it is not restricted to cruises.
It is all basic supply and demand. If you wait to book late, you run the risk of not getting the cruise or cabin type you prefer. I've sometimes had a huge discount for booking late but often haven't been able to get the cabin category I want. I'd say that if your dates are very flexible and you are prepared to be flexible re cabin category and ship, then leaving it to the last minute may get you a bargain (especially as American's start feeling the pinch of their current economy and the weak dollar). However if you are talking about high demand times like Christmas and new year with the popular cruise companies, i wouldn't take the risk of being dissappointed if you leave it to the last moment. So i guess I'm agreeing with you, it really is a dilemma on what to do for the bes.
You might want to try NCL or Royal Caribbean - my reading of their brochures is that if the price goes down you will be upgragded or get on board credit etc. A number of people on cruise crtic seemed to have had success in getting credit/upgrades because of price reductions. However, it appears that you need to keep checking prices yourself then contact your agent or cruiseline - it is not done automatically.
We always book early with Royal Caribbean as I can't face a cruise ending without having another to look forward to. We have got some great early booking deals with them. We have cruised twice with Ocean Villiage (no where near as good as RCI) - first time we got ripped off like yourself through a travel agent but last September we booked OV2 with 3 weeks to spare, got a great deal and were slightly upgraded so it appears OV is better for late deals.
Re the do you book early or late dilemma. after reading the answers from people who replied, they dont address the attitude of ocean village as a company! when i complained to them about the difference in price that we had paid when we booked in jan 2007 and what they were offering the same deck and cabin spec in late oct 2007 a difference of £500 by the way, it was basically tough luck, we have your money now. thats what i mean by early bookers subsidising the late bookers. this is done presumably to fill unsold cabins. the moral of my story is never ever book early with ocean village you will only feel ripped when you talk to your fellow passengers while you are on your holiday. leave it as late as possible before making your initial enquiry.