| Date Published: December 4, 2012 |
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|Carnival's New Cruise Fare Structure: More Choices or More Confusing?|
(1:45 p.m. EST) -- As of this week Carnival Cruise Lines' fare categories just got a little more complicated -- and only two things are certain: You may get confused at some point, and the line's "Early Saver" fares are no longer guaranteed to be the cheapest option.
As of December 3, Carnival's fare categories are comprised of seven options (four more than before): Fun Select, Fun Select Plus, Past Guest, Early Saver, Easy Saver, Super Saver and Instant Saver.
Here's a quick rundown, made as simple as possible:
Fun Select: Fun Select is Carnival's standard rate with which passengers can select their own cabin. But within the new system, Fun Select fares also come with free cabin upgrades that allow passengers to be upgraded up to two categories within the same cabin type (ie inside, outside, balcony, etc). Upgrades are dependent on availability.
Fun Select Plus: Similar to Fun Select fares, the upgrades included in Fun Select Plus rates allow passengers to be upgraded up to seven categories within the same cabin type. As with Fun Select, upgrades are based on availability.
Early Saver: Early Saver fares are the lowest available rates that come with a cabin assignment and are only available for bookings made more than three to five months from sailing (depending on cruise length). They include price protection, meaning that if the going rate of the cabin category you've booked goes down, you qualify for a refund in the form of onboard credit. In a change, Early Saver bookings can now be changed prior to the final payment date for a $50 per person fee.
Easy Saver: Easy Saver fares are slightly less than standard Fun Select fares and are available for bookings made within three to five months of a sailing; passengers can choose their cabin and make changes before the final payment date for a $50 per person fee. There is no price protection.
Super Saver: Super Savers are the lowest fares Carnival now offers. They require a non-refundable deposit and are available for bookings made more than three to five months from sailing and do not include a cabin assignment.
Instant Saver: Also "heavily discounted" (according to Carnival), Instant Saver fares are not available until closer to sail date, require full non-refundable full payment and do not include a cabin assignment.
Past Guest:Past Guest fares include a free two category upgrade. Passengers must qualify for the fare.
Sitll confused? Cruise Critic readers are talking about what the new fare system will mean to them.
According to a spokesperson for Carnival the new fares categories were "designed to provide consumers more choices."
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor
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