Originally Posted by zydecocruiser
It could easily cost more money using a TA. Some charge cancellation fees and change fees that are not originated with the cruise line. With the new Carnival pricing Carnival seems to be catching on.
There is never, EVER, a compelling reason to only use a TA or only use a PVP. Individual mileage may vary.
I have many international clients and they are always comparing prices locally as well as booking with me, as a U.S. agent. Sometimes the prices are better booking there and other times it's better booking here. Not only depends on the exchange rate, but also cruise lines will offer deals over there that U.S. agents can't get and vice versa. Always best to look after your own best interest.
But as for costing more booking with an agent, that's why you always want to ask if they have any agency fees (booking fees, change fees, cancellation fees, admin fees, etc) - if they do, book with another agent. You should NEVER pay any fees and you should never pay more with an agent than you can booking directly with the cruise line.
As for Carnival's new Fare Codes, they are causing more problems and more headaches than ever before, especially for first-time cruisers. Just yesterday, I quoted a client for a Carnival cruise and there were 16 different fare codes! Of course, on the Carnival website, it advertises the lowest possible fare, but that's for a Category 1A (upper lower) or for a guarantee non-refundable, etc, etc. It can be extremely confusing to someone who's never booked before and doesn't understand all the various options and restrictions.