Originally Posted by You
Norm.. that's not quite true. On some lines the price has to be the same, but the agents are allowed to purchase "perks" (from the cruise line) to offer to their clients... such as an onboard credit.
Agencies are allowed to offer other perks.. such as free insurance, or a pre-cruise hotel stay,etc.
And there are normally plenty of agencies offering group rates.
So... it still pays to shop.
According to Royal Caribbean's press releases on this a couple years ago and several travel agents with whom I have talked, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. now forbids such pracices across all of their lines. In particular, the press release said tha the parent company would reduce commissions paid to travel agents found to be offering perks by the cost of the perks.
But maybe they have since relaxed the policy?