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Monday, June 27th
Last Minute Travel is part of the Tourico Holidays company, based in Altamonte Springs, FL. They offer sailings from Azamara to Viking and at least a dozen other cruise lines. This is also a full-service travel site, so if you need a flight to get to your port of departure, or a hotel to stay in when you get there or when the cruise ends, you can do it all on the Last Minute Travel booking portal.
Despite the company's name, this cruise vacation booking site failed to impress on our short-notice Royal Caribbean sailing. Their price was exactly the same as the lowest prices on other sites, although they did have the interior staterooms available for booking as a guarantee (while some of their competitors either showed interior cabins as "not available" or required customers to call for pricing information). There were no active promotions, so you wouldn't get any onboard credit or discounts on shore excursions.
Last Minute Travel pleasantly surprised us on the Disney sample sailing. They had two promotions in place at the time of our most recent review, Taxes Included and 7% Instant Savings, which brought the fare down to $230+ less than what we were quoted by the DCL site and by most of the competitor cruise booking sites we evaluated.
You may be wondering why Last Minute Travel only earned 2.5 stars when their fare was the lowest we found for that Disney sailing. At first, this looked like a solid choice for booking a cruise vacation, especially to save money; we found their "A+" rating at the Better Business Bureau as a good sign.
But, when we started reading experiences from actual customers/travelers, we weren't as impressed. There were more than a few cases where people made reservations through LMT, only to get to the airport or hotel and find out that there was no record of their booking. Can you imagine traveling all the way to your port of departure, only to find out there's a problem with your reservation and you won't be permitted to board? Of course, LMT's BBB rating indicates that they do a better-than-average job of handling issues that arise, but we would recommend that you check and double-check your cruise reservation in the weeks prior to your sailing.
At the end of the day, Last Minute Travel could save you a decent amount of money on your cruise vacation - but you'll have to decide if it's worth the possible risk of having complications with the reservation.
Lots of travelers are turning to cruises for the best of all worlds: the excitement of exotic ports of call, the convenience of not having to change hotels with every new destination, and the delight of world-class dining and entertainment day and night.
In fact, cruising isn't limited to a particular group when it comes to popularity. Parents with young children may gravitate towards cruise lines that are known for their top-notch onboard clubs for kids, and young singles tend to choose sailings with tropical destinations - and unlimited drink packages! From casinos to spas and so much more, a cruise vacation has something for everyone.
While you might think that the best deal on a cruise is found by booking directly with the cruise line, you're more likely to get extra incentives if you purchase your cruise through an online partner company. The agents working for these companies know all of the most current incentives, like onboard credits or discounted shore excursions, and it doesn't cost you extra to get the help of an agent. The internet makes it especially easy to price the destinations and dates that interest you, get a ballpark amount, and then request a detailed quote - or even book your cruise right away! - with just a few clicks of the mouse.
If you're new to cruise vacations, you should be aware that there are costs to expect beyond the price of the actual sailing. Most initial price quotes don't factor in taxes and port fees, for example. Also, you're generally expected to pay a certain amount in gratuities - to the stateroom attendant who makes your bed and often leaves you with towels shaped into cute animals each night, and your wait staff in the dining room. Some cruise lines have suggested amounts, while others automatically charge your credit card on file for the gratuities they require from each guest.
Onboard, while many things are part of your all-in-one vacation experience, you should anticipate paying extra for alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, though some cruise lines have packages you can buy that include them. And, of course, if you want to take advantage of your ports of call for shopping, excursions like swimming with dolphins or taking a guided tour, you'll want to budget for that as well.
When deciding which site to use when booking your next cruise vacation, how can you tell which company offers the best service? Here are several criteria to keep in mind as you make your choice:
TopConsumerReviews has reviewed and ranked the best cruise vacation booking sites available today. We hope this information helps you find the perfect sailing for your travel party. All aboard!
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