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Should you send your bags to the ship before going on a cruise?

Luggage Forward rolls out a new online reservation system for cruise passengers who want to ship their bags

No one likes schlepping luggage on a trip, and there are plenty of services happy to take your bags off your hands. Now one company is making it even easier.

Luggage Forward has been in the bags-to-cruise-ship business for about a decade. The company announced Monday that cruise passengers can ship their luggage to 122 ships at 100 ports worldwide using its new online reservation system.

You can see the price, based on size, weight and the distance your bags are going. Like other services, Luggage Forward picks up luggage at your home or office (you fill in the address and information online), and the next time you see your bags will be in your stateroom.

Bags are tracked during their transit and if they're late, it gives a full refund plus $500, according to the company's statement.

I checked prices on Luggage Forward's website and found it would cost $94 to ship a small bag (25 pounds or less) from my home in L.A. to a Carnival cruise ship at Port Canaveral, Fla. A larger 50-pound bag would cost $124.

That's a pretty modest amount of money, especially considering you may face bag fees on some airlines to get to the start of your cruise.

The equation changes, of course, when your bags take a longer trip. Shipping the small bag to Paris for the start of a cruise cost $154.

But if you're shipping to Istanbul, Turkey, for example, the cost shoots up to $614. And there's this caveat on the company's online booking page: "Due to strict customs regulations, we might not be able to offer doorstep delivery in Turkey. Please call to book."

Some cruise lines offer passengers tips on using their "luggage valet" service.

Seabourn uses Luggage Forward, while Princess Cruises uses shipping services like DHL Worldwide Express, according to its website. It quotes prices starting at $90 per piece for domestic shipments and $250 for international, with prices varying by size, weight and destination.

Crystal Cruises passengers receive a discount when they ship their bags with a company called Luggage Concierge, and Regent Seven Seas uses Luggage Free.

The bottom line is whether the cost is worth the convenience. So pack light, price how much your bags cost to ship (and what you might pay in airline bag fees) and then decide.

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