Originally Posted by newcruising
Matelot...Thats a lot of info. More than i could have asked. Thanks loads the link provided was really helpful. A great insight to whats going on. I have looked at travel agents but only the big names Thomas cook etc do it and i don't think i would gain much.
I've looked at the rooms you can pick with TA and Im guessing they are below the Centrum!! lots of stamping noise from above reported. Think ill try nearer the front and hope for calm seas. Will i actually get the cabin i pay for if i book with RC or could it change?
Thanks for the drinks info looking forward to how much that will cost. Can i bring my own alcohol on board? bottle of spirits for example?
As I mentioned, it's always best to book with an agent (and yes, I'm an agent, so I'm obviously prejudice on the matter), especially if you're new to cruising because there are many details you need to be aware of. But knowing what I know now after doing this for more than 11 years and having personally done 46 cruises on 11 cruise lines, if I weren't an agent, I would still use one to book my cruises. The number one reason is that should something happen or should you have any problems, it's always good to have someone working on your behalf who represents you and they have contacts not available to you. If you book directly with the cruise line, they represent themselves so you'll be on your own. I can't tell you how many times I get calls from people who have a problem and want me to help them only to be told that I can't because I'm not their agent and they have to deal directly with the cruise line. But often an agent will have better rates or amenities than the cruise line and since they do not charge for their services, it benefits you to use their expertise. If you have any questions, an agent can help answer them, whereas almost always when talking to the reservation person at the cruise line, they've never been on a cruise or to any of the ports, so their ability to answer your questions is extremely limited, not to mention very biased.
I had a client of mine just two days ago call me because he couldn't get a problem taken care of. He didn't want to bother me and tried to handle it himself and spent three weeks dealing with the cruise line. He's retired and had the time, so he thought he'd give it a try, but realized it was no use and he was getting nowhere. I told him it's never a bother and that's what I'm here for, and he should have called me first. I made one phone call, spent 10 minutes on the phone, got the problem solved, and called my client back. We both got a good laugh over that one! He lives in Texas (I'm in Virginia) and he's been a client of mine for about 8 years. He swore he would never ever call the cruise line again!
Anyway, besides all that, check out a reputable agent you feel comfortable with, keeping in mind that bigger is not always better - they deal in quantity and not quality. Besides, it's always important to support a small business whenever you can. Those who don't use an agent don't realize they're supporting a big business without supporting a small business and that's never a good thing.
As for where to get your cabin, you really need to check all the way around it; what's above, below, and next to it? The front is not the best place to be because of the motion and if you're susceptible to seasickness, I would definitely not suggest being in the front. The back is a little better, but you can often feel the vibration from the engines. Being in the middle is the best place to be, but it is also more expensive.
But there are two ways to book a cabin; a guarantee and a cabin assignment.
A guarantee cabin means that you are guaranteed at least the level of cabin that you have selected (inside, oceanview, balcony, or suite), but you do not select an actual cabin so you don't know where it'll be until about 30 days prior to sailing. A cabin assignment means you (or your agent) will select your actual cabin so you'll know exactly where you'll be. And once that cabin is assigned, they will not move you, unless it's to offer you an upgrade, which sometimes can be good or bad.
Hope this helps.