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Thinking about booking through a certain big box store, have some questions


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I'm looking into booking a transatlantic cruise from Barcelona next October/November.  I am looking at possibly booking through a well-known big-box store travel program, as their price is very good.  I also have a Future Cruise Certificate that I bought while on board my cruise to Alaska last year.  Previously, I've always used my FCCs directly with the cruise line, so can anyone tell me if they can be used when booking with the big-box store?  The store's website isn't very clear, as it seems to be primarily referencing COVID-19 credits.  

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If you're referring to the Seattle big box warehouse store, yes you can use a future cruise deposit (I'm assuming that's what you've purchased). You cannot book on line with it. You must call. Their agents are very helpful and will set everything up with the cruise line. 

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12 minutes ago, yerdua said:

If you're referring to the Seattle big box warehouse store, yes you can use a future cruise deposit (I'm assuming that's what you've purchased). You cannot book on line with it. You must call. Their agents are very helpful and will set everything up with the cruise line. 

Yes, they will allow the Future Cruise Credits.  The agent will call HAL, who is the ultimate authority on what you have coming, and then the agent will apply it to your booking. Sometimes they have gone back and forth with me and the HAL rep, to explain things.

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Yes, we’ve done that before.  We have also done a 3 way conversation when it was needed one time.   Decide if you want the non-refundable or refundable fare and make sure your invoice is correct when they email it to you.  
 

We miss the OBC the big box doesn’t give any longer but their store card is fine if you shop there a lot.  

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6 hours ago, TiogaCruiser said:

Wasn’t there a thread about 3 months ago about the shop card being significantly less if one used a FCC at “BigBox”Co?

 

Yes. I think the shop card value is calculated on the net cruise fare. At least mine was after the FCD was applied. I don't know how it works with FCCs received from cancelled cruises. 

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13 hours ago, Loreto said:

Yes, they will allow the Future Cruise Credits.  The agent will call HAL, who is the ultimate authority on what you have coming, and then the agent will apply it to your booking. Sometimes they have gone back and forth with me and the HAL rep, to explain things.

Thanks, everyone!  That's exactly what I was hoping to hear.  I'll still need to call HAL and see if there are any other specials going on that can't be obtained online.  But most likely, if I decide to book, it'll be through the BigBoxCo, as their price is definitely cheaper than booking directly with HAL, even not considering the store card.

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1 hour ago, ldlewis45 said:

 

Thanks, everyone!  That's exactly what I was hoping to hear.  I'll still need to call HAL and see if there are any other specials going on that can't be obtained online.  But most likely, if I decide to book, it'll be through the BigBoxCo, as their price is definitely cheaper than booking directly with HAL, even not considering the store card.


Make sure you're comparing apples to apples.  I have found that the price is exactly the same as HAL's when the perks are factored in.  I suspect that the lower price you see is with no or limited perks (default price on big box site).  So call both HAL and big box agency before booking.  At least, this is my experience with the Canadian site.

 

Also, I was pleasantly surprised with one of my bookings with the big box in that I will receive both a shop card AND OBC even though it was booked after they stopped offering OBC.  Not sure why, just took it and ran!  Hasn’t happened since....  Now waiting for the cruise so not sure if we will actually receive either.....

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11 hours ago, TiogaCruiser said:

Wasn’t there a thread about 3 months ago about the shop card being significantly less if one used a FCC at “BigBox”Co?

My FCC were protected by the BB TA so when I booked a cruise the shop card was full value. They may not give the same value if the FCC came from a direct booking or a different agency. I had to ask and the verified they would honor it and put it in the notes.

A-

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FWIW, my experiences booking HAL through KirklandCo have been outstanding.  Their customer service is impeccable, I never have to wait on hold to reach someone, they know the product, and I've always been able to stack various discounts and OBCs with no hassles.  And I agree with comparing apples to apples, but when I've done the same I have come out thousands of dollars ahead booking through KirklandCo.

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I would advise anyone looking online at prices on the KirklandCo website that the prices may be less than on HAL because the prices are based on a non-refundable deposit, which is not disclosed on the KirklandCo website.  I found that out only when I called.  But the travel advisors have always been very helpful and when they call HAL have asked the agent to find me the best priced offer.  I have booked several cruises through KirklandCo and have been happy with the service, shop card and OBC.

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When I looked recently on their website it showed non refundable clearly in my opinion.  I would not be booking any non refundable cruises though at this time-just my opinion.  

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We booked a cruise that had a refundable deposit but unfortunately within a week the cruise was cancelled.  We promptly received an email from the Kirkland based company spelling out the details of what we could do with our deposit.  We are very happy with the service they provided us & would use them again.

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4 hours ago, Golden Gater said:

I would advise anyone looking online at prices on the KirklandCo website that the prices may be less than on HAL because the prices are based on a non-refundable deposit, which is not disclosed on the KirklandCo website.  I found that out only when I called.  But the travel advisors have always been very helpful and when they call HAL have asked the agent to find me the best priced offer.  I have booked several cruises through KirklandCo and have been happy with the service, shop card and OBC.

When I was pricing out the ones on the BigBoxCo website, it clearly indicated that the less expensive option had fewer perks and a nonrefundable deposit.  But even with the more expensive option with perks, packages, and refundable deposit, the price was comparable or cheaper than the price on the HAL website that didn't seem to come with any perks at all.  (Or at least, they weren't indicated as being included on my hold.)

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Okay, so after research and calling HAL, the prices for the apples-to-apples comparison is the same as booking through HAL, EXCEPT for the store card, which is worth $310 for the room I'm wanting.  Now I have to decide whether it's worth booking a balcony or not.

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21 hours ago, ldlewis45 said:

When I was pricing out the ones on the BigBoxCo website, it clearly indicated that the less expensive option had fewer perks and a nonrefundable deposit.  But even with the more expensive option with perks, packages, and refundable deposit, the price was comparable or cheaper than the price on the HAL website that didn't seem to come with any perks at all.  (Or at least, they weren't indicated as being included on my hold.)

 

I believe HAL advertises the "Have it all" pricing upfront, but you can select the the basic nonrefundable pricing as well.  The real difference should be the store card.

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I was tempted to go ‘BigBox’ but negligible difference; me going with HAL direct eliminates 1 more possible point of error or misunderstanding. BTW, my HAL agent works from home now. 

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44 minutes ago, LocoLoco1 said:

I was tempted to go ‘BigBox’ but negligible difference; me going with HAL direct eliminates 1 more possible point of error or misunderstanding. BTW, my HAL agent works from home now. 

We have booked before with BigBox but ran into an issue when on the Kongingsdam.  The HAL front desk on the ship was wonderful and allowed us free to phone the BigBox regarding missing OBC.   It did not get sorted out and we pursued it further when home.  Ended up with a gift card to the BigBox in lieu  but would have preferred the OBC. 
 

We decided this time to book our 29 day cruise with our HAL PCC.  

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20 hours ago, LocoLoco1 said:

Nice thing about direct HAL booking, it’s ALL there with no ambiguity. Main Street Travel agents are few and far between since Internet. 

Actually, I was disappointed in the HAL rep I spoke to when I called to get more info.  She was pretty clueless about the product and disinterested in selling the cruise and I had to pry information out of her.  

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21 hours ago, canadianbear said:

We have booked before with BigBox but ran into an issue when on the Kongingsdam.  The HAL front desk on the ship was wonderful and allowed us free to phone the BigBox regarding missing OBC.   It did not get sorted out and we pursued it further when home.  Ended up with a gift card to the BigBox in lieu  but would have preferred the OBC. 
 

We decided this time to book our 29 day cruise with our HAL PCC.  

I always insist that the Big Box store gets everything I am expecting in writing and I take that piece of paper with me along with my confirmation of shareholder credit.  Sometimes the TA who does the booking has to get a Big Box manager involved to get all OBC, drink cards, etc listed on your confirmation.  I feel more comfortable if I have everything in writing up front!  

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29 minutes ago, oaktreerb said:

I always insist that the Big Box store gets everything I am expecting in writing and I take that piece of paper with me along with my confirmation of shareholder credit.  Sometimes the TA who does the booking has to get a Big Box manager involved to get all OBC, drink cards, etc listed on your confirmation.  I feel more comfortable if I have everything in writing up front!  

Trust me, I not only had the email to show them but I also always take a hard copy.  It was basically one blamed the other (HAL blames big box, big box blamed HAL).  So we just waited until we got home and escalated it.  Big box needs to do their invoices more clearly which I told them but they came through with the store card which they did the conversion rate to what it would have been in US dollars.  
 

 

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I have booked over 50 cruises on 3 different cruise lines at the Big Box. Very pleased with their professionalism and service. Prices are always the same as going direct through cruise line, but sometimes less. The OBC or gift card make it a better deal. I can also call them 7 days a week. 

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1 hour ago, Bethcb said:

I have booked over 50 cruises on 3 different cruise lines at the Big Box. Very pleased with their professionalism and service. Prices are always the same as going direct through cruise line, but sometimes less. The OBC or gift card make it a better deal. I can also call them 7 days a week. 

Yeah, the cabin I wound up getting is an west-facing balcony on the 5th level, 5189.  On the Oosterdam, which has the same layout as this ship, I had the suite that's directly next to it, and the balcony is about 15 feet deep and completely covered.  I'm absolutely looking forward to it!  With booking through Big Box, I not only get $75 shipboard credit with the FCD, I get a $310 store card.

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2 hours ago, canadianbear said:

Trust me, I not only had the email to show them but I also always take a hard copy.  It was basically one blamed the other (HAL blames big box, big box blamed HAL).  So we just waited until we got home and escalated it.  Big box needs to do their invoices more clearly which I told them but they came through with the store card which they did the conversion rate to what it would have been in US dollars.  
 

 

I agree about their invoices.  I’m not a fan of the Cash Cards instead of OBC but it won’t keep me from booking with them.

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