How It Works

Booking a cruise vacation is not at all like booking a hotel room. Below I will reveal to you “How it Works” so you will understand the difference.

Hotel Bookings

With glowing sunset as backdrop, downtown Orlando, Florida is reflected in mirror smooth Lake Eola.

Hotels have a minimum or “net fare” that is made available to all those different web sites that you see on the internet. Each of those web sites then adds their own mark up (commission) to that net fare, resulting in the price that they are willing to sell the hotel room to you for.

For instance; The Red Star Hotel has a “net fare” of $100 per night.  Web Site A adds a $25 mark up, making their price $125 per night. Web Site B adds a $30 mark up, making their price $130 per night, while Web Site C decides to add a $35 mark up, making their price $135 per night.  That is the simple explanation of why you get all sorts of prices when searching Hotel prices.

Booking A Cruise

triumph

Booking a cruise works completely different from a Hotel room.  The Cruise Lines publish “gross fares” meaning that the price they make public is the price the cruise cabin will be sold for, no matter which agency you work with.

To make things more complicated, however, most cruise lines have several various promotions going at the same time, meaning various prices are available.  These might include special rates for past passengers, Early Savers, “guarantee” rates where you get a discounted price but the cruise line gets to pick your cabin, military rates, senior citizens rates, and more.

The point is this; No matter what promotion price you qualify for that price is available to every travel agency in the country, and no agency is allowed to change the price. Cruise lines work from a “level playing field” so that every agency has the same prices. So, no matter what you may have read on the internet, the correct price will be the same no matter which agency you call. (We hope you call The Cruiseman, of course).  Look Out! Some online agencies add a “booking fee” or “service charge” to the booking, so you actually end up paying more than the published fare.  We’ll never do that to you.

WARNING:  Because of the “level playing field” policy of every major cruise line, many online agencies will try to fool you with deceptive advertising and come-on’s to make it appear that they have some kind of a special deal that other agencies do not have.  This is, of course, unethical & nonsense. Please don’t be fooled by the “70% off” ads, etc. And be aware of the word “from”, such as “7 night Caribbean Cruises from $399pp”.  That means that the $399 price is available at least once in the next two years, and most certainly not when you want to cruise.

The one exception to all of this is Group Rates. If you form a group, or join an already formed group you will received a discounted rate, or a special amenity, or both.

I hope this will clear up some of the confusion and help you understand “How it Works”. At The Cruiseman we never try to fool you, and we give you the honest facts with no tricks of any kind. That’s been our policy for 23 years …. And counting.

25 Free Things to Do in New Orleans

Thomas Jefferson paid $15 million for the entire Louisiana Territory, or about four cents an acre. That means New Orleans went for about seven bucks. More than 200 years later, New Orleans is still a great deal.

1. Get jazzed.
Stroll along Bourbon, Frenchmen and Fulton, where jazz pours out onto the street, or duck into a club for the full experience. Many clubs don’t even charge a cover.

2. Dive deeper into our musical heritage.
Explore New Orleans neighborhoods and their connection to jazz with six self-guided Jazz HistoryWalking Tours provided by the National Park Service.

3. Browse art throughout the city.
It seems like you can find art in every corner of New Orleans – and you can. Check out the galleries on Julia and Royal, Jackson Square vendors and the Mid-City and Bywater art markets.

4. Experience our parks.
Walk among the centuries-old oaks of City Park, picnic in picturesque Audubon Park or enjoy views of the Mississippi River at Woldenberg Park.

5. Attend a free festival.
There’s almost always a festival going on in New Orleans, and many of them are free – French Quarter Fest, Satchmo SummerFest, Po-Boy Preservation Festival, Wednesdays at the Square and, of course, Mardi Gras.

6. Immerse yourself in New Orleans history.
Stop by the Historic New Orleans Collection at 533 Royal Street for a crash course on the city’s history, which spans almost 300 years.

7. Spend a day at the track.
Experience the thrill of live thoroughbred racing at the New Orleans Fair Grounds from early November to late March. Grand stand admission is free.

8. Bike along the levee.
Bring your bike (or rent one) and go for a ride along the levee while taking in the sights and sounds of the mighty Mississippi River.

9. Eat for free.
Oysters, gumbo, crawfish boils – many of these feasts are free at local music clubs for those who are there buying a few drinks.

10. Shop for mansions on St. Charles Avenue.
Come on! You don’t have to be in the market to appreciate these jewels on the Avenue.

11. View the architecture of the French Quarter.
I spy wrought-iron balconies, a cornstalk fence, a hidden courtyard…

12. Tour the oldest restaurant in the French Quarter.
Ask for a tour of the historic Antoine’s that has hosted dignitaries, presidents and notable historic figures in its 160 years. Make sure to peek into the endless wine cellar.

13. Catch a free summer show at Tipitina’s.
This uptown venue pays homage to the jazz legend Professor Longhair with free shows on Fridays during the summer months.

14. Eat some pralines.
This gooey, nutty treat is a New Orleans snack staple. Candy shops throughout the city offer enough free samples to fill you up – and tempt you to bring some home.

15. See haute art.
The fashionable Warehouse District also doubles as the art district. The first Saturday of every month, walk down Julia Street and peruse local artwork in the diverse galleries.

16. Look for ghosts.
Experience paranormal activity and visit haunted sites such as the Bourbon Orleans, one of the most spirited locations in the French Quarter.

17. Spend Saturday morning at the farmers’ market.
Learn a bit about the famous New Orleans cuisine with free cooking demonstrations at the Crescent City Farmers Market.

18. Watch a Cigar Rolling Demonstration.
The New Orleans Cigar Factory is one of just a handful of U.S.-based cigar rolling outfits. Located right in the French Quarter, the store is a walk-in factory with a half-dozen experts rolling tobacco at any given time.

19. Haunt our “Cities of the Dead.”
Take a guided tour of our famous aboveground tombs at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District or St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 on Basin Street, believed to be the final resting place of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Knock three times on her crypt and make a wish. Please note that tours of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 are only available with a guide.

20. Take a self-guided literary tour.
See where Tennessee Williams (722 Toulouse), William Faulkner (624 Pirate’s Alley), Truman Capote (711 Royal), Thornton Wilder (623 Bourbon), Walker Percy (1820 Milan) and Anne Rice (1239 First) lived.

21. Jam at the Square.
During the spring, the Young Leadership Council sponsors free concerts Wednesdays in Lafayette Square.

22. Stroll the French Market
Nearly three centuries of history and six blocks of uniquearts and crafts, souvenirs, and local food stalls to discover. Whatever it isyou’re looking for, you’ll find it at the French Market!www.frenchmarket.org

23. Be moved by our spectacular churches.
The large Catholic population of New Orleans gave rise to breathtaking churches such as St. Louis Cathedral, St. Augustine and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

24. Discover the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.
Located amid the beauty of City Park, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden features one of the most impressive collections of contemporary sculpture in America.

25. Go window shopping on Magazine Street.
While this might start out a free activity, you may find yourself with the uncontrollable urge to throw your money at any one of the unique shops that line Magazine Street so that you can bring a little bit of New Orleans home with you.

 

Source: New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau   http://www.neworleanscvb.com/