I book directly with the cruiseline. I don't like having to deal with a middleman. I am a control freak.
Local TA's are not around 24/7 in case of an emergency. The perks that online travel companies offer is not worth being at the mercy of the company's standing with the cruiseline in case there is a problem.
For my upcoming cruise, I booked directly with Carnival. To date, I have received $484 in OBC for various reasons. I got this by calling Carnival directly. Would I have received this much OBC through a local TA? Not likely. Through an online TA? Depends on their relationship with Carnival and whether they felt like going the extra mile just for my benefit.
(cruzin' solo by design)
Freedom ('09), Imagination ('08), Victory ('08), Destiny ('08), RCCL Navigator ('08), RCCL Majesty ('08), Glory ('07), Liberty ('07), Fantasy ('07), Destiny ('06), NCL PofAm ('05), Fascination ('04), Victory ('04), Fascination ('04), RCCL Voyager ('03), Fantasy ('99)