Originally Posted by cruise planner
Most of the time the rate a travel agent charges is exactly the same as what the cruise line charge because the cruise lines require us to advertise the same rate. Sometimes you'll find some discounters who have a lesser rate, but you have to be careful as it may be putting them in danger of loosing their credentials, so they're not someone you may wish to take a chance with. Other times, an agent may have a group rate that they booked many months ago when the rates were lower, so you may be able to get space in their group.
But the best reason to use an agent is that you have someone on your side should you need anything or have any problems. They'll work hard to keep you happy as they want your repeat business. If you book with the cruise line and have a problem, who do you think they represent?
If you're considering more than one cruise line, then you have to contact each one individually whereas an agent can give you information about all of them with one phone call.
Sort of like working on your car - if you know what you're doing and have all the parts, then you can do it yourself. Otherwise, it pays to have a good mechanic on your side.
A titch misleading. While agents aren't allowed to "Advertise" different rates, they sure can give them. Princess still allows discounting to happen and we generally save 10 - 15% on all Princess's advertised fares. If I had an agent that quoted me the same as the cruise line, they wouldn't be getting my business. Even lines that don't allow discounting you can generally get 5 - 10% of the cruise fare in OBC.