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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 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.

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