It isn’t often I get on my soapbox, but I feel I have to this week! I read an article in the Independent newspaper by Simon Calder the travel journalist. In this article Mr Calder is talking about cruise lines that “change their mind” and his parting words are – “book late to avoid disappointment is the best course to steer, even though it is exactly the opposite of what TUI and every other travel firm wants you to do.”
So, what was Mr Calder referring to? He was basically talking about a Thomson cruise which had changed the itinerary. Three of the ports of call had been cancelled, these were, Havana, Nassau and Lisbon. The main reason it seems was that Thomson (or should I say Marella) and Royal Caribbean had been arriving the same day into Havana and the cruise terminal is simply not big enough for both ships, which then had a knock on effect on the other 2 ports. Mr Calder then said and I quote – “The lesson I take from this maritime misadventure: never commit a long way in advance for a cruise. That way you reduce the risk that the itinerary will change, and lessen the chance of learning that the locations you set your heart on will go missing from the captain’s charts.”
I of course, can understand everyone’s disappointment when a itinerary does change and in this instance, perhaps a little bit more forward planning was called for. However, sometimes a itinerary is changed for a real reason like the weather or like last year with the hurricanes hitting the Caribbean. It does not mean you are not getting your cruise, it means it is changed for your own safety in this particular instance.
Then I come onto Mr Calder’s opinion that you should book late. You know that I am 100% for booking as early as you can because in my opinion you get the best price, the cabin of your choice etc etc. There is another reason for booking early too, and I list these as follows:
A new ship – when a new ship is launched and heavily advertised the demand is huge, if you wait to book till much later, you will find it difficult to get on it.
School holidays – like them or loathe them, they are so difficult to secure. Book early or you wont get on.
If you are after a family cabin, a suite – book early they fill up fast!
If you are looking at a expedition cruise to say the Galapagos, space is limited, ships are smaller therefore capacity is reduced.
If you want to take your dog on the Queen Mary to or from the States – there are not endless amounts of kennels.
if you are combining a cruise with a sporting event such as the Grand Prix in Monaco.
There are always “bargains” around, just remember these are on cruises not selling particularly well, dates that may be oversubscribed for example. Do remember that these bargains, might not be for the cabin grade you want, and a lot of them are on a guarantee basis, which means you have no control where they are – this, believe me causes problems or should i say the odd moan!
Now I am off my soapbox and feel better! Would love to hear your comments, you may disagree with me. Thankfully we all have that freedom of speech!
Till next time x