I saw what I thought was a good deal : 7500 vacation club points for a 15 days transpacific cruise on the Celebrity Millenium. Marriott Club Member Services put me in touch with a third party I.C.E. Imagine my disbelief when I.C.E.'s agent quoted an additional port charges of $375 per person in addition to the $118 for taxes, fees, and port expenses charged by Celebrity. I ended not booking the cruise. This was not a good deal but a bait.
Did anybody used Marriott Vacation Club Points for a cruise and dealt with I.C.E. ( International Cruise & Excursions, inc. ) ?
We have used points for cruises in a couple of instances of use or lose. The fees were not an issue as I expected them going into the process but I understand your reaction to this surprise. Overall I agree that a cruise is not the best value for use of points and as I stated earlier we only use them for such as a last resort ( no pun intended )
It’s the norm, when you are applying or using points for air flights or cruises in addition to the points you will have to pay the airport, port charges and taxes.
Check out what the actual port charges and taxes are by calling Celebrity; it’s high probability they coded you exact amount they pay to the cruise line. I know it does not feel good, but they may not be overcharging you at all. See below the prices for the cruise you were planning to take. The prices do include port charges, but do not include Government taxes. Knowing the range of price options will help you determine if the 7500 Vacation Club Points for a 15 days transpacific cruise on the Celebrity Millennium is good deal and option to use your VC points...
What is the ~ $ value for 7500 MR Vacation Club Points, does anyone has latest info? .
Celebrity is charging $118 per person for taxes, fees, and port charges in addtion to the cruise fare. I can understand the additional port charges charges of $375 if there were many ports visited. This cruise starts in Vancouver, then only docks in Dutch Harbor, Sapporo, Hakodaten, and ends in Yokohama and will be at sea for 10 days out of the 15 days. I am taking this cruise because I do not relish the long flight to Japan. I have taken longer cruises of 47 days with many ports visited and I would not mind then the higher port charges. As an aside, I had used Vacation Club Points to take a Colette tour of Southern Italy and Sicily a month ago. There were no extra charges added besides the club points.
I agree that these port charges seem high. Did you check with Celebrity to see what the port charges would be if you booked it directly with them? Many people have commented that the DC point cruise deals aren't that great, but I haven't seen any comments on the Timeshare User Group forum about excessive charges by a third part booking agency. I appreciate the flexibility to use the points for other vacation options as long as I don't feel I am being taken advantage of. Please provide your feedback regarding this issue to MVC.
Port charges are fairly standard, similar to the parking and resort fees you have to pay for award room nights. However, these charges appear to be more than the typical cruise port charges. Marriott should do a better job screening their third party partners, and the hidden charges appear to be expanding everywhere. Buyer beware!
I put up a post earlier today raising the question whether cruises or land tours are a better usage of MVCI points. Here is a link: http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/message/158869#158869. My tentative conclusion is that land tours through Collette are a better value. My issue is not so much about the port charges and fees (although I was surprised by that, too, as a new cruiser) but rather the upcharges in cash to get a better type and location of veranda stateroom, and especially the upcharge to take advantage of "1-2-3-Go" promotion in effect on the date of booking. In other words, if I booked the same cruise on the same date using cash, I would have received the "1-2-3-Go" promotion "free." But booking through MVCI points, we had to pay extra to add the "1-2-3-Go" to our reservation.
My wife and I had a nice tour in Sicily with Collette using Marriott vacation club points and will book another tour with them in the near future. Collette also give a 100 dollars per person "rebate' that can be used for their optional tours or transfer from airport to hotel.
Cruises and air travel are poor exchange for Marriot vacation club points. For one thing, ICE the third party Marriott uses charge more for port charges and fees than the cruise line.