We booked three more cruises while on the ship with lots of extra perks...Off the ship in Tauranga...Photos!

Our ship, the Celebrity Solstice looked huge while docked at the Port of Tauranga, New Zealand.
Booking cruises while aboard ship definitely has perks often unknown to passengers until they decide to investigate.  Although this is only our 12th cruise, many passengers we've met have been on dozens of cruises over the years with considerably more experience than us. 

Those passengers have learned the ins and outs of saving the maximum number of dollars while gaining the maximum number of perks offered by the cruise lines.  The more we cruise, the more savvy we've become in taking advantage of every possible benefit.

While on this cruise we booked three additional cruises although we may not ever go on these specific cruises.  For that reason we won't list the details and itineraries at this time.  Should we decide to follow through on them we'll post the details at that time.

We stopped at a local park as we walked to the center of town in Tauranga, New Zealand located on the North Island where we'll be living.
However, as explained by the "sales staff" in the Future Cruise Sales Office aboard the ship, if we book these cruises now, the perks we receive are fully transferable to any other Celebrity cruise we may choose to book in the future with no time limits or constraints as to when we may use them or which routes we may choose to explore.  This is a huge benefit.

Booking these same cruises through our usual Vacations to Go rep, doesn't allow us the magnitude of these perks which are only offered while on the ship.  And yet, our VTG rep will receive full commission credit for any cruises we book on the ship which, based on the good service we've received over the years with VTG, it's important to us. 

Plus, our rep at VTG will continue to handle when and if we decide to transfer these perks by moving them to a new cruise and canceling the prior booked cruise(s). 

The bay in Tauranga.

The only "catch" is that the cancellation/transfer must be made 75 days prior to the sail date when the final payment is due and automatically billed to our credit card on file.  Cancelling after full payment results in hefty penalties, which we'd never incurred.

Yesterday, while I was busy posting Tom visited the Future Cruise Sales Office to review each of our upcoming Celebrity cruises to determine if re-booking was a benefit.  The only existing booking which proved beneficial to change was the Alaskan cruise, at this time.  That may change in the future when we're aboard another cruise.  This same policy applies to Royal Caribbean cruises, all under the same corporate umbrella.

For us, this could be a "paperwork" nightmare.  But, with our spreadsheet with all the information detailed and documented and further noted on our online calendar with reminders, its relatively easy. 

Tom spotted this street rod and suggested this photo.  Note the license plate.
For the average traveler booking one or two cruises, its a breeze.  As of today, we have nine future cruises booked over the next 26 months all with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean except the one upcoming Mekong River cruise (Viking lines) next summer. 

Now, this sounds like a tremendous amount of cruises but considering we move every three months, plus the fact that use cruising as a means of transportation when possible, its not so alarming.

Sure, we wish we'd never have to deal with airports, overweight baggage and long lines and could cruise everywhere we'd like to travel.  Its just not possible when there are only so many routes cruise ships navigate throughout the world. 

Cruise passengers, other tourists and locals filled the busy Tauranga, New Zealand streets.
Each of the three cruises we booked in the past several days have offered amazing perks.  One of the three cruises we booked in a replacement to the Alaskan cruise on May 17, 2017 we'd already booked.  By making a second booking on the same exact cruise in a different cabin number, we're able to acquire more perks. 

Once we arrive on land and contact our rep at VTG, she'll cancel the first Alaskan cruise and transfer the new booking to the cabin number we originally booked.  The staff on the ship can't do the cancellation from the ship, suggesting we do it directly with our usual rep.  Maneuvering this seeming complicated process got us more perks on the nine day Alaskan cruise including:

1. Classic Beverage Packages for two:  Valued at US $59 per person, per day for the nine day cruise, totaling US $1062
2. Unlimited Internet Package for two (no sharing required):  Values at US $488
3. Onboard credit of US $150 which can be applied to the mandatory tips required at US $12.95 per person, per day totaling US $234.  (We could have chosen a perk to include full payment of the tips but these other above packages gave us more "bang for the buck."

On our prior booking for this particular cruise we only had one perk, not the above three perks as follows:
1. Classic Beverage Packages for two:  Valued at US $59 per person, per day for the nine day cruise, totaling US $1062

By booking onboard, we've saved US $638.  We're still going on the same exact cruise with the same exact balcony cabin class.  It's certainly worth the time and effort.

After a long and delightful walk through the town of Tauranga, we sat on a park bench enjoying the beach on a sunny day.
As for the other two cruises we booked, we were able to pay a minimum deposit of only US $200 for the two of us with similar perks on each cruise, as above stated, transferable to any future Celebrity cruise. The fact that the two other cruises don't meet our itinerary and criteria, is irrelevant.  They'll eventually be transferred long before the final payment dates.

We realize this information may be boring to many of our readers who don't cruise or have little interest in cruising.  For this, we apologize.  But, as we've always attempted, if we can save our readers who do cruise a little money here and there, we're more than happy to do so.

If any of our readers have questions we can answer regarding this, please comment at the end of this post and we'll promptly reply sharing our suggestions with all of our readers.

Today is our final full day aboard ship.  We'd booked a small group tour with four other passengers to go sightseeing in Bay of Islands, New Zealand but Tom is getting a sore throat.  Not wanting to infect the four other passengers in the charter van we decided to pay our share of NZ $170, US $110 and not go. 

The rocks at the shore were covered in a wire mesh to prevent erosion.  The seagulls are so used to people, this one didn't flinch when I took the photo.
The four other passengers appreciated our willingness to cover our share to avoid them paying more when last night we delivered the NZ $170 to one of their cabins.  As it turned out, this morning another couple took our spot and we got our NZ $170 back!  Safari luck! 

Now, let's hope Tom's sore throat dissipates over the next few days.  As always, many passengers are coughing and sneezing with colds, common on cruises.  He can handle a cold and actually feels quite fine otherwise.  The fact that its pouring rain today certainly doesn't leave us disappointed that we aren't going on the mostly outdoor tour.

This afternoon, we'll pack, leaving out clothing and toiletries for tonight and tomorrow since our bags will be collected this evening.  We'll keep our carry on bags with our most valuable items, in our possession as always, including the yellow Costco bag, the computer bag and the wheeling cart to hold it all.

We've been assigned a disembarkation time of 7 am tomorrow although there's a degree of flexibility in getting off a little later if we choose.  We'll play it by ear with nary a concern.  By 9 or 10 am all the passengers will have disembarked as the ship prepares for the next load of 2850 passengers embarking in Auckland, New Zealand on the reverse of this cruise.

Today, we'll prepare tomorrow's "final expenses" post including our cruise fare, the included perks and the final bill we received for extras not included in the fare which will automatically be uploaded a bit earlier than the posts over the term of this 14 day cruise.

Thanks to all of our readers for cruising along with us.  We thoroughly enjoyed the journey with all of YOU at our sides!

Photo from one year ago today, January 18, 2015:

View from our veranda in Princeville, Kauai where we lived for four months. We enjoyed every moment on the exquisite island for its beauty, the Laysan Albatross, "Birdie" and for all the wonderful people we met and the lifelong friends we made. We love and miss you all! For more details, please click here.


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