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Old July 22nd, 2007, 05:29 PM
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Default Should we book w/TA or direct w/carnival cruise line?

So... we are finally ready to book our July 08 Alasks cruise with Carnival Spirit and I have so many questions! Let's start with this one:
I pretty much know what deck, what kind of stateroom, etc.. that I want. But I can't decide if I should use a TA or book directly thru Carnival? I've gotten some price quotes from on-line cruise agents but will I get good service? (Cruises-N-More is the one I am considering the most at this point)
Any suggestions?

Thanks
Laura
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Old July 22nd, 2007, 09:13 PM
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Use a TA. Why give the commission to a huge corporation?

I cannot comment on the online TA you mentioned, but a local TA can/will give you better service than the cruise line. Example: If you want to change your dining time, your TA has more clout dealing with the CL than you will have.

As an aside...usually you can book with the CL and later transfer the booking to a TA of your choice.
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 06:50 AM
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I agree, a good cruise t/a is worth their weight in gold. You never know if problems arise and its always nice to be able to talk to the same person and get your issues resolved.
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Old July 23rd, 2007, 09:58 PM
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Default Re: Should we book w/TA or direct w/carnival cruise line?

Laura,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
So... we are finally ready to book our July 08 Alasks cruise with Carnival Spirit and I have so many questions! Let's start with this one:
I pretty much know what deck, what kind of stateroom, etc.. that I want. But I can't decide if I should use a TA or book directly thru Carnival? I've gotten some price quotes from on-line cruise agents but will I get good service? (Cruises-N-More is the one I am considering the most at this point)
Any suggestions?
When booking a cruise, a competent reputable travel agent in your neighborhood is your greatest asset. A competent travel agent will be able to advise you regarding your choice of cruise line and will invest the time to help you to find a good match. A competent travel agent also will be very familiar with the destinations through personal travel experience, and thus will be able to advise you about worthwhile attractions to see and shams to avoid. A competent travel agent also will verify that all of your arrangements are seamless as it's possible to make them or that you know how to get from "here" to "there" on your own if you must.

After 22 cruises, I still book every cruise through a very reputable travel agent even though I book other travel on line routinely.

BTW, a travel agent should be able to match nearly all of the fares that you see advertised on the 'net, the exception being group fares. Some travel agents also form groups of their own that may offer fares lower than what you see advertised. The cruise lines still pay very generous commissions to their travel agents, so travel agents are glad to take the time to provide superior service and customarily waive normal agency fees for booking flights and hotel stays in conjunction with cruises.

Norm.
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Old July 24th, 2007, 10:14 PM
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Thanks all

Now, is it important to have a TA that specializes in cruises? We live in a small town and the travel agent I have used here in the past is not a "cruise specialist" Other vacations we've been on I have used on line TA's who specialize in the vacation we were on (ex Dianey World) There seems to be SO many cruise ta's on line I'm not sure what to do. Of course I want to get a good price and good service. Help!

Laura
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mclaura
Thanks all

Now, is it important to have a TA that specializes in cruises? We live in a small town and the travel agent I have used here in the past is not a "cruise specialist" Other vacations we've been on I have used on line TA's who specialize in the vacation we were on (ex Dianey World) There seems to be SO many cruise ta's on line I'm not sure what to do. Of course I want to get a good price and good service. Help!

Laura
Hi Laura;

I agree that a GOOD TA would be a big help but there are many TA's out there and finding a good one who is knowledgeable is the hard part. One easy way to find out how knowledgeable and honest a TA is about cruising is to ask if they have heard about any recurring propulsion problems on some Celebrity ships. If they say NO, then keep looking!
I have tried this with several TA's and so far I am still looking but when I find one I will stick with them. FYI, there have been 18 propulsion failures with Celebrity ships and any TA worth his/her salt should be well aware of them and tell you about them.
As far as price, check on various cruise web sites and with the line that you are thinking of choosing. The best thing to do is to do a lot of research on your own so at least you will know what questions to ask.
You could book direct with teh cruise line and I believe that Carnival will allow you to later move your booking to a TA. This would let you shop around for the best deal that you can find at a later date with all TA's.
This board is a great place to get information.
Hope this helps.
Debra
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