Sunday, 18 November 2012
My first cruise - 34 days to French Polynesia....
This was my first cruise - 34 days to French Polynesia with Holland America Westerdam. Why I picked it was because the cruise sailed from Vancouver, got back to San Diego, and I had always heard about Bora Bora. Because I was travelling alone, and wanted to not spend too much, I got an interior cabin.
I looked at hollandamerica.com two or three times a week, waiting for the price to come down. In mid September, the price dropped to $2425 and I booked it on September 13th. But the price would be x2 this, because I was travelling alone.
During the summer, I kept on phoning the Customer Service number on Holland America website. I got many different stories - I couldn't get on in Vancouver, I had to go to Seattle, I think they quoted me the wrong price on Single Share, etc. I found out that to be a cruise consultant, you take a few courses, and you are one. It turned out that I knew a cruise consultant, and she booked the cruise for me. She also found me airfare from Edmonton - Vancouver then San Diego - Denver - Edmonton for $368.44, including taxes. Westjet is 1 bag free, but in San Diego, you have to pay $25/bag.
From reading my blog about Hobart, I use aeroplan miles. On their website, under UseyourMiles, I printed off two cruise certificates ... $500 credit for 59000 miles, which saved $1000.
So here are the costs:
Cabin 4849.88 Taxes 199.96 Bus to ship 28.14 Bus to Airport 18.44
Flights 368.44 Bag 25.00 Tips (11.50/day) 391.00
Total 5880.86 less 1000 aeroplan certificates .... $4880.86
Holland America gave me a cabin number 10 days later ... 5166 on the Verandah deck. The cruise consultant e-mailed me, and said that if I would have booked a Category L cabin, it would have cost me $1158 more.
On September 30th, I flew Westjet out to Vancouver at around 11 a.m. I was the last one off the plane, and the pilot was helping to clean it - the flight atttendant told me that everyone helps.
Holland America met the cruise passengers in the luggage area, and put us on a bus to the ship. They looked after the luggage, and it was delivered to the cabin later on in the afternoon. The bus driver gave us a tour about Vancouver, and the trip lasted 45 minutes. It took about an hour of standing to board the ship, but very efficient.
I wanted to drop off my carry on, so went to the cabin.There was a queen sized bed with two tiny night tables, just room to walk at the bottom of the bed, then the bathroom and closets. When I saw how small the cabin was, I was happy that I came alone.
There were quite a few people travelling alone, and most were in an interior cabin. But many cruisers were two in the interior cabins. I met two scuba divers, and they stored their scuba gear in the shower.
That's enough about business - now let's follow the cruise.
If you would like to use my cruise consultant, Message me.
Pictures belong to Phil Bianco.