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Old May 19th, 2010, 03:05 AM
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Default How should I buy my ticket?

I'm zeroing in on an Alaskan cruise for me and my family on either HAL, Celebrity, Princess, or NCL and I'm writing to ask, in the next week, when I figure out exactly what cruise we want to take how should I go about buying our tickets? I'm leaning toward going with my local travel agency who on first visit seems to be fairly well versed on creating cruise itineraries. Should I go with them, or should I go through some other maybe internet agent who can get me a deep discount?

Thanks everybody!
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Old May 19th, 2010, 09:19 AM
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It doesn't hurt to shop around and find the best deal you can. You may want to e-mail the lady that does our Cruisemates cruises, go into the group cruises and find her info. Just to have something to compare to and some can and do throw an extra thing in, example...shipboard credit or something.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 12:21 PM
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How much help do you think you will need with the booking? Will you have a lot of questions about cabin location, cabin type, shore excursions, airfare, cabin locations, etc..

If you feel you need more than just booking your cruise then you should use a full service TA and not a large online agency.

An agent is more than just someone who gets you the best price. They also are the people who handle your booking, questions and resolve problems. There are agents who can get you a good price and offer great service. It pays to shop around.

The best way to find a good agent is to take recommendations and don't be afraid to ask questions.

Take care,
Mike
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Old May 19th, 2010, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donna View Post
It doesn't hurt to shop around and find the best deal you can. You may want to e-mail the lady that does our Cruisemates cruises, go into the group cruises and find her info. Just to have something to compare to and some can and do throw an extra thing in, example...shipboard credit or something.
This may be a really dumb question but will using the TA who handles the Cruisemate cruises be very similar in experience to using my local TA? In other words, will she be responsive if something goes wrong and available to answer questions? (I don't need help finding a cruise, choosing the right cabin etc ... but would love to find a TA who might give me a few perks like OBC etc...). I have booked 3 cruises with my local TA - 2 with suites - and haven't gotten any perks (other than good service, of course).
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Old May 19th, 2010, 05:35 PM
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For a first cruise I would go with a travel agent, and ask lots of questions. Then next time when you are a more knowledgeable veteran, you can do it on line or some other way. If you are going with your family, Princess would be pretty much ideal.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 05:49 PM
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I don't know about in the US but in the UK we have TA's who just specialise in cruises, get great discounts, free parking, OBC, & are "in" with cruise lines when it comes to getting cabins for their customers. They also should take responsibility for stuff that goes wrong.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 07:25 PM
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I will say, yes, she's very good and helping you throughout your booking, questions, etc. She may have group space on some sailings and can pass the savings on to you, you'd have to ask about things like that. She is always an e-mail away. If you feel better booking with the local one, I'm sure they have a good customer service program....what ever you feel more comfortable with....
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Old May 19th, 2010, 08:10 PM
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I would feel very comfortable with a responsive TA who will give us some OBC or at least a nice bottle of red after booking 3 cruises (2 of which were - not to be repitious, but -suites).
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Old June 11th, 2010, 07:26 PM
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In my opinion and experience, VERY few agents know a shread about Alaska, outside of what they can "read". You are FAR better off doing your own homework, and finding out exactly, what is involved in traveling Alaska, and what YOU want out of this trip. A good source is to read through some trip reports, rather than looking at cruise itineraries.

For your best trip- research ports, and get to know what they can offer you, for tours, do yourself a favor and find out about the vast differences of glacier itineraries/routings.

You list 4 different cruiselines- which tells me, you are very undecided, since these are very different itinerary options.

Don't rush into a booking, I am just back from a 3 week trip and never before did I run into such numbers of VERY unprepared visitors, with, only ONE person, I spoke to had knowledgable plans. And plenty others, made the wrong choices.

It's a costly and infrequent trip for most, you might want to make the most of it, the first time around.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 07:59 PM
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Whatever you do reserching is important .My TA went into corporate and then retire .I used a TA that I met at a town fair
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Old August 27th, 2010, 06:08 PM
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I booked my cruise with a travel agency along with airline tickets. Then i found out I wouldn't know my airline scheldue until 30 days before cruise, which is in May 2011. I couldn't stand this, not being able to pick the flight and times I wanted or to know when we'd be leaving exactly. I did some research and cancelled my air fare with TA and got my own tickets which were $450.00 dollars cheaper! I also bought travel insurance with airlines in case something happens and we can't go and it was not expensive at all. I thought too that a TA could get cheapest flights and best hotel prices. Not the one that I used.
Good luck to you and hope you get everything worked out. We're going on Celebrity after many great recommendations!
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Old August 27th, 2010, 09:13 PM
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In most cases, you can do your own air cheaper and you get to pick the airline and times, etc.
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