I love booking trips and doing the research that goes into them, but it can be incredibly frustrating to be the one who is tasked with coordinating everything. Case in point: for a few months, Luke and I have been discussing embarking on a Caribbean cruise in February 2012 to celebrate our anniversary. (Actually, we were going to go last year, but then we decided to move half way across the country and had to postpone the cruise.)
Anyway, about two weeks ago I started seriously looking into things. I found the itinerary that would work best for us during the week we wanted to go, found flights and a hotel that had shuttles from the airport and to the cruiseport the next morning. I emailed a family friend that is a cruise enthusiast for advice, and had everything ready to present to Luke over dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.
He liked the cruise and the ports and the price was reasonable, so we decided to book it. Of course, the next week was a scramble of requesting vacation days and making sure we could in fact cruise off to the Caribbean for a week, and by the time I was able to book, prices had gone up. In the case of the cruise, the price went up literally $400 a person in front of my eyes. I saw one quoted price, called to book it, and that rate was gone. With our flights, Southwest raised them $250 in a matter of days, and the hotel I had selected suddenly had a convention in town and had no available rooms.
Needless to say, I was pretty deflated. But, I continued with my research and found alternatives. For the cruise, we basically had to suck up the price difference or go for a smaller stateroom and balcony. Everyone I spoke with said the extra money was worth it, so I put our deposits down on the more expensive cruise. I actually found flights on United direct to Ft. Lauderdale for $25 cheaper than the original Southwest flights. Of course, we will have to deal with baggage fees, but at least there was an alternative. With the hotel, I was able to book the last available room through the hotel’s website. We won’t get any hotels.com credits, but the low price and shuttles will offset that.
In the end, I suppose it all worked out, but I was seriously freaking out for about 2 hours on Monday. Next time I will try not to get so sold on one flight or hotel, and allow for flexibility, and make sure that we take care of our vacation requests asap. In a little over four months, we will be cruising on this baby!!
Image via Cruise Critic