Originally Posted by jaxon
Originally Posted by Kuki
Originally Posted by thecruisequeen
Well for the first time I booked directly with Royal and Carnival. My TA who is a cruise only TA was great however they made some changes.
1. If I book a cruise then cancel it they will charge me $100. even if it is well before the final payment.
2. When there is a price drop they now charge $35. to call the cruiseline and adjust the difference.
3. No more bottle of wine in the cabin either. :o
Talk about Cutbacks
One thing remains the same is they still offer the free insurance.
I'd NEVER book with an agent that keeps ANYTHING if I had to cancel. The cruise lines give a full refund when cancelled outside of final payment date, and that is what I expect the travel agent to do.
And charging $35 to get discounted prices is even MORE ridiculous!!!
That said... I'd ALWAYS use a GOOD travel agent. Though RCI prohibits agents from selling for less than RCI prices, they do allow them to purchase perks such as onboard credit from RCI to pass on to their passengers, and if agents happen to have group space that can also save you money.
Plus I'd never reward a cruise line with my booking, for refusing to allow travel agents to discount from their commissions to offer me a lower price.
If they are paying no travel agency commissions, they could offer me that discount, but they don't do that either! They just want their price. I'd rather have a TA working for me... in the event something goes wrong I have an advocate working for me, not an employee of the cruise line pretending to.
I understand completely about booking directly and not getting a discount when the line doesn't have to pay a travel agent. I had an on line agent who I liked, but when a problem arose, she created more problems with her attitude. I appreciated that she tried to go to bat for me, but in the end, I was the one who negotiated the resolution. She left and I used her on line agency one more time -- when the price dropped, I was told I had to forego the drop or my little OBC -- the price drop was of greater value, so I gave up the OBC. So in the end, I got NOTHING for booking with them. Tried another outfit, booked 19 people, got nothing but a bottle of champaign, and a small OBC for each cabin, plus they were rude. When I asked about a tour operator's discount, I was told that they would have to take away all the small OBC's to give me one (should have tied that down at the onset, but I didn't know about them then). Ever since I have booked directly -- I trust myself to watch prices and negotiate resolutions.
Some pointers for the future:
When you book a group you do so as an affinity. The TC berth thumb of rule is that the first TC berth goes to the pied piper the second to the TA.
If you book into a promo/speculative group then there is no TC for you unless you bring enough people with you.
99.9% of the time cruises have group space with amenity points. So if you book a cruise with a group you should get something from the amenity points and if applicable the first TC berth. If the TA is nice he/she gives you a little extra. As a customer you have right to see the group manifest which shows you all the important stuff. A TA who refuses to give you that is hiding. Also, while RCI is pretty set with their TC berth (every 15 paid berth gets you a free berth minus non commission charges) a lot of cruise lines are flexible. Some cruises get you a free berth after 10 paid berths.
I definitely could tell you how I handle a group in a real life situation but I don't want that Kuki or Paul think that I advertise here.