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ljandgb

Free Alaska Cruise thru Total Rewards?

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Our Total Reward credit card just sent us a "you qualify for a free cruise" promotion.  Looking thru the small print, what little info I can get is that it's with NCL, an "inside plus" room, must sail May-June, includes most things besides speciality restaurants, drinks, service charges, etc, and includes cruises that start/stop in Vancouver or Seward.  It looks like it must be on the Jewel, with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway.  We can upgrade rooms if we wish.  I haven't called the CC company yet, but thought I'd get input on what sort of questions I would need to ask them and if this is even a good deal.

 

There's also a Barcelona option, but I'd definitely need to call for info, as there are more choices than I can sleuth on my own.  

 

We've cruised before, so aren't complete newbies.

 

Does anyone have any pearls of wisdom regarding any aspect of this - the promotion, the itinerary, or the ship?  Thank you!

 

 

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As you mentioned, you are not new to cruising. But are you new to these kinds of casino promotions? It is not "free," think of it like a discount off of purchasing a cruise on your own. You would need to pay the port taxes, the admin fee that the casino department charge you with, and then if you choose any of those perks like the drinking or the dining package, you need to pay the 20% gratuities. 

 

If you have not been to Alaska before and you like cruising, then this might interest you depending on the total price.

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I received a "free" cruise through my local casino and took the Alaska option.

 

I am cruising Vancouver to Seward July 29th.

 

I was charged $140 per person admin fee and $204.12 port taxes. For two people that came to $688.24.

 

Now on top of that I have to pay the daily service charge which will be $203.

 

I am in an inside cabin and chose not to upgrade so I can't tell you what that fee would be.

 

I always wanted to go to Alaska and based on current booking prices of $3000 I am saving $2300, which is awesome.

 

If you were upgrading to ocean view or balcony I'd want to make sure you were on the correct side of the ship to see the glaciers the best. I'd also check on flights since it's a one way. My flight home is twice as expensive as my flight there.

You could also google the different tours available at each stop to see if that interests you.

 

 

 

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Having done both the round trip out of Seattle and a one way in Alaska, I think the one way is a better experience. The dates they have are a bit early for my taste, I prefer to go a bit later in the summer, but that's personal preference. If you can upgrade to an ocean view or balcony without incurring a huge cost I would, the view through the British Columbia portion of the inside passage is awesome. It really doesn't matter which side of the ship you are on for glacier viewing, as the ship will pivot giving each side a view. 

 

The ship itself is fine, she doesn't have all the choices of the megaships. I don't see that as an issue personally for Alaska where the destination is Alaska not the ship.

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Thanks for the replies.  I did figure "free" was only free up to a point, LOL.  There was a long list of fees and charges in the small print, so I wasn't sure how much we'd actually save if the initial offer is for an inside to begin with.  It looks like it still may be worth it.

 

I would definitely prefer an oceanview over an inside, and smaller ships don't bother me.  I'm definitely more about the destination than the ship.  Good point about what tours/excursions are available.  I'm not one to just get off and wander about the town.  We like to go and do/see things.

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1 hour ago, ljandgb said:

Thanks for the replies.  I did figure "free" was only free up to a point, LOL.  There was a long list of fees and charges in the small print, so I wasn't sure how much we'd actually save if the initial offer is for an inside to begin with.  It looks like it still may be worth it.

 

I would definitely prefer an oceanview over an inside, and smaller ships don't bother me.  I'm definitely more about the destination than the ship.  Good point about what tours/excursions are available.  I'm not one to just get off and wander about the town.  We like to go and do/see things.

also, you will get free drinks in the casino. and you will get free bottles of water at the casino bar. we are total reward members and i am diamond with harrahs. we also get 20% off on cruises we book. no free cruises yet, but one of these days.

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10 hours ago, ljandgb said:

Thanks for the replies.  I did figure "free" was only free up to a point, LOL.  There was a long list of fees and charges in the small print, so I wasn't sure how much we'd actually save if the initial offer is for an inside to begin with.  It looks like it still may be worth it.

 

I would definitely prefer an oceanview over an inside, and smaller ships don't bother me.  I'm definitely more about the destination than the ship.  Good point about what tours/excursions are available.  I'm not one to just get off and wander about the town.  We like to go and do/see things.

You will claim your TR certificate by calling the Casinos at Sea (CAS) number on the certificate. 

 

Have your our certificate number and date you want to sail (off of NCL.com). I recommend a northbound trip from Vancouver to Seward. 

 

Ask for the upgrade price. CAS has fixed prices for upgrades that have nothing to do with the current retail pricing. Based on your cabin class you book, you will be offered “free” perks also found on NCL.com. Dining and beverage perks come with mandatory gratuity service charges applied to all people. And, if you have never sailed Alaska, you really want a balcony. 

 

Note: your TR status is meaningless on NCL. As you gamble on the ship, you earn NCL CAS points and get rated by CAS. They are looking for consistent play every night (doesn’t matter denomination) for rating. If you are a “good” player, you can call CAS directly next cruise to see if they will comp your room. 

Edited by BirdTravels

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7 hours ago, BirdTravels said:

You will claim your TR certificate by calling the Casinos at Sea (CAS) number on the certificate. 

 

Have your our certificate number and date you want to sail (off of NCL.com). I recommend a northbound trip from Vancouver to Seward. 

 

Ask for the upgrade price. CAS has fixed prices for upgrades that have nothing to do with the current retail pricing. Based on your cabin class you book, you will be offered “free” perks also found on NCL.com. Dining and beverage perks come with mandatory gratuity service charges applied to all people. And, if you have never sailed Alaska, you really want a balcony. 

 

Note: your TR status is meaningless on NCL. As you gamble on the ship, you earn NCL CAS points and get rated by CAS. They are looking for consistent play every night (doesn’t matter denomination) for rating. If you are a “good” player, you can call CAS directly next cruise to see if they will comp your room. 

 

Great to know, thanks!  Alaska has really not been on our radar, but we're going to look into this as a "cheap" getaway for us.

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20 hours ago, ljandgb said:

Thanks for the replies.  I did figure "free" was only free up to a point, LOL.  There was a long list of fees and charges in the small print, so I wasn't sure how much we'd actually save if the initial offer is for an inside to begin with.  It looks like it still may be worth it.

 

I would definitely prefer an oceanview over an inside, and smaller ships don't bother me.  I'm definitely more about the destination than the ship.  Good point about what tours/excursions are available.  I'm not one to just get off and wander about the town.  We like to go and do/see things.

Upgrading to a balcony usually does not add a tremendous amount of money to your trip. Depends on timing, etc. I'd call and ask the CAS representative which dates are most economical for the upgrade. Even if you were out and out buying the cruise you would have to pay the port taxes, etc., so you really are saving. We have done dozens of cruises, all through the casino people except one to Hawaii (where there is no casino) and always save a pretty decent amount of money - minimum 20% since we now buy cruises outright in addition to the free offers, which we do continue to accept, but always choose to upgrade.

 

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