Travel Related

At LAST! I Have Finally Booked My First Cruise Since COVID. But When Am I Sailing?

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr
Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


I finally, at long last, have booked another cruise. I don’t mind admitting that having no flights, no hotel stays, and no cruises on my booked itinerary for so many long months this year has been really depressing. That awful feeling is now gone.

Well, mostly anyway.

So why book now and where am I going and when am I going? First up I am not going on a “cruise to nowhere” i.e. just getting on a ship to get on a ship – no thanks! Next, I am not sailing anytime soon.

There was a cruise I planned to take this year — but clearly, that is on hold. I have little confidence that by this time next year the entire planet will be COVID safe. Thus, my booking is for 2022! That will mean it will have been over 2 years since I set foot on a ship when I normally sail 2-4 times a year.

NCL, my preferred cruise line that I am Platinum Plus with, off and on every month has different offers that are just about all the same. You get a “free” drink package (you must pay tips as an add-on, however) as well as a number of specialty dinners (again, you pay tip charge) and other bits that are nice. But what is less common is offering a lower price for the base of the cruise.

But there is more that made me pull the trigger now.

I have for a long time been a Wyndham Diamond that let me, even though I never ever gamble even one cent ever, be a Caesars Diamond member. That gives me a very nice discount (20% on this cruise) on top of whatever lowest base price including a discount off of sale prices that NCL offers.

I also had a few NCL cruise next credits I wanted to burn. You buy these at 50% of face value when you are on a cruise (the only time you can get them, BTW) and have up to 4 years to spend them.

What else you ask? Take a look:

This was the final real and sweet Amex offer on my Platinum Card from American Express that motivated me to “buy now,” if you will.

Both my wife and I had this offer targeted on our cards. NCL lets you, once you have a reservation, make as many small payments as you want. We will make two separate $500 payments and each get the discount from the Amex offer you see above (#ProTip: Another reason to HOLD a number of Amex cards long term). Not just this but I hope to see more similar offers over time on other Amex cards we hold before the final payment is due a long time from today.

Now I know what you are thinking – doesn’t René usually use points to all but sail for free?

That is true. 🙂

I have on a number of occasions used my Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for the sailing in full (including tips). But this year I have cashed out all my UR points via grocery stores at 1.5 cents so I am now just slowly spending that travel cash to buy the cruise. So I am, in a way, at least using the proceeds of those points to travel.

Without telling too much about the cruise, it is one I have always wanted to take. I am booked in a front suite with a massive balcony that allows, on a smaller class of ship, me to get the “posh deck” feel I like, that is, tons of space but also an overhang for when you want to be in the shade.

I am thrilled to be “back in the game,” if you will, even though that goal is a long way off. My cruise, in fact, is so far off I can not even look at air or hotel options for a long time to come.

I can, however, start to plan the things I want to do pre-cruise in my departure city as well as the stops along the way on the cruise. I can begin to consider what points I will use for air and how to maximize that experience at the best price in points. Bottom line I am feeling so much better just having something booked and feeling that giddy excitement that one day I will be able to travel safely and enjoyably once again.

Now let’s just hope that by 2022 COVID is GONE and cruise life can return to what it was before!

Are you considering booking a cruise again for 2021 or 2022 or beyond? – René

 

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

11 Comments

  1. Got 2 booked in late September and another in October. We are betting on vaccines. We used all the same offers you mentioned. Hoping this works out. We are both big fans of NCL.

  2. I’m not sure I am ready to book again, but I did want to try Celebrity cruise and they have a Pacific coastal cruise that sounds good. I’m still waiting for RC to cancel a Feb cruise so I can get my non-refundable deposit back.

  3. Speaking only for myself (i.e., not for my wife), I’m just waiting to get vaccinated. At 74, I can hear my travel clock ticking down toward zero. On the positive side, my age makes me COVID “vulnerable” so I hope to get some priority status in the vaccine line.
    Assuming that happens, I’m ready to cruise and take my chances that the ship may get quarantined offshore somewhere. I have many books that I’ve never read.

    But the marooned-by-quarantine issue is where my wife and I part company. Going solo wouldn’t be fun so I foresee some difficult negotiations ahead. Ironically, we took a Hong Kong – Vietnam – Singapore cruise with NCL at the very beginning of February. In advance, we worried about HK’s street protests. Then during the final pre-cruise week we worried about the emerging coronavirus story. Given what we know now, sticking with that cruise plan was a bad decision. But we had fun and — as far as I know –no one on the ship caught COVID. The worst part was flying SIN-INC-ATL-IND to get home. That was almost 36 hours of continuous mask wearing on planes and in airports. I have very little patience for people who claim that they “can’t” wear a mask in a restaurant or grocery store. Please “spare me” — literally.

  4. NIce !! Wanted to do a major trip and cruise for my 0 Birthday this year but will wait to see what next year brings!!! What is the name of the fancy suite you booked?

    • @dee – Not sure this one has a name but it is a forward suite with large balcony.

    • So excited for both of you ! Yes that dangling carrot sure
      Gives you something to look forward to!
      I too turned that magick age of 70 and feel that tick tick pressure to get going. My guy is not all that keen on cruising . Nor is he spontaneous.
      I am hoping for a travel bubble from JFK to LHR
      And beyond……
      just bought a new house –
      Not moved in yet
      But shall be come the new year. Stay safe and have fun
      Hoping for a gathering one of these days

    • @Mitch – Did you even read the post? It is for 2022. And only then will I sail if COVID is gone.

      • Nice. Carnival sent me an offer for Australia 10 to 14 days. It would have a balcony state room. With taxes about $1400 for the two of us, and a $1000 AUD on board credit and another $600 US credit for not refunding a previous cancelled cruise.

        Two problems…… too soon and coach airfare js 1700 a person.

        • @Gregg – Sounds fantastic – other than the when part. I can not wait one day to take an Australia cruise. So ready for 2020 to be OVER!

  5. Pingback: Avoid These Economy Seats If You Can, The Bank With A $250 Retention Offer, Is This The Shortest Lived Credit Card Benefit Ever? - Your Mileage May Vary

Write A Comment

BoardingArea