I received a phone call two months ago from a Royal Caribbean Certified Vacation Planner. She said she noticed I had visited their website and put a hold on a few cruises; she said was I still planning on booking a cruise; and if so, she would help me with the process. I mentioned to her that I had already booked thru a travel agent. She said thank you and if I had any questions to please call her.
Freedom of the Seas Dec 11
Allure of the Seas: Jan 11
Voyager of the Seas: May 09
Splendour of the Seas: May 07
Explorer of the Seas: Jan 04
Majesty of the Seas Jan 99
I've had several calls over the past couple of years. As with AF1, after I had researched some cruises on the Royal Caribbean website I received numerous calls which went unanswered by me. I finally picked up the phone on one of their calls and told them I had a cruise already booked through my agent. RCI was persistent. So am I in screening calls but I finally got sick of it and now I know to nip it in the bud early or else they won't stop calling.
Carnival did the same thing after I did nothing more than go to their website and order a hardcopy brochure. A PVP called several times before they gave up. In that case I never talked to them.
I received a call from NCL after registering on their website. They sent me some materials but never followed up.
I have been offered and cruise/resort package from the old Carnival Sea Miles card. Didn't take them up on the offer.
All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by; John Masefield
Carnival: Glory 2004, Destiny 2008, Splendor 2009, Freedom 2011, Valor 2012, Dream 2013
Celebrity: Summit 2011
Princess: Ruby 2010, 2014, Caribbean 2013, Coral 2014, Regal 2014, 2016
Star Clippers: Royal Clipper 2015
In my case both RCI and Carnival have my agent listed. Her agency even shows up at the top of the Carnival website. Yet they called anyway - breaking their rule.
I've recalled more information about this and I now remember contacting my agent after Carnival called and telling her about it. As you can guess she was outraged and contacted her sales rep. After that I received no more calls.
With RCI - after I had researched the cruise on their site I had my agent make the booking. The phone call came after the booking was made and appeared on the RCI website in my account. I find it hard to believe someone from RCI calling me didn't have my account information showing I had already booked the cruise via my agent.
Well, I have to say it is far more persistent than even I thought.
As we all noted, it would be different if that had our travel agents listed. And if they called and said "we can credit your travel agent for the commission even if you book directly with us."
But the problrm is deeper - the KNOW that some (probably most) people don't really believe that commission are "free" to the consumer, and if the direct caller just hints they can save money by buying direct (and who doesn't basically believe that in most purchases anyway?) - then a person will be easily misled into thinking a direct buy will be cheaper than using an agent.
PLUS - I have had people tell me their caller said they had access to offers travel agents don't get. The day THAT happens we will see a revolt.
I have had a few calls from cruise lines after I requested brochures, but not from just visiting their website. However, my regular travel agent began charging a $25 fee the last cruise we booked last year. It has made me rethink about booking directly with the cruise lines or finding another agent.
Not only are they poaching clients via phone, but they are doing it on cruise ships. I have clients who I have had for years. I tried repeatedly to get them to try Carnival, but they stuck with Royal Caribbean. On their Voyager of the Seas cruise last spring they met a Carnival executive onboard. He gave them the name and number of a Carnival PVP and told them he would get them a special deal. After they were all booked, and paid they had all kinds of questions. The PVP was no longer with Carnival so they called me expecting me to service a booking made directly with Carnival. I have been on FAMS and seminars on Carnival and we are warned never to try to get customers onboard or we can lose the right to book. Yet, their own executives go out and do it. The client said he would have booked with me but was told that a travel agent could not get him as good a deal. I asked what he was paying and I could have gotten a better fare for them plus gotten upgrades. He qualified for both a residency rate and a senior fare, neither of which he got. They also did not get a bottle of wine or OBC from Carnival, which I would have given them. Between this, the phone calls and E-mails to my clients from the cruise lines and all the TA bashing on that other online forum I figure I will get out of the business in a year or two. I've been at it 18 years and am a CLIA Master Cruise Counsellor who has sailed on over 42 different ships, yet every Tom, Dick and Harry out there thinks they know it all when booking their first or second cruise. I love it when I see people complaining about rooms under the disco or over the main show room or find that they are denied boarding for failure to have proper documentation. Invariably, they were do it yourselfers.
My storefront TA Maggie, sold me my first cruise on the old Rotterdam in 1983, then two more in '84 & '85. By the time I was ready to book again it was '88 and I booked online...I knew what I wanted and it was cheaper. My last sailing was in late '08 and it was online. If the cruise I want for 2011 is available through the cruise line cheaper than the internet, then that's where I'm going. Just as the online agencies took over the storefronts, etc. It's business. It's progress. Time marches on. I miss Maggie, I miss Woolworth's too. I got one phone call from RCCL. The guy was polite and I told him sorry. That was the end of that. Haven't heard a peep from HA,NCL,Celebrity or Princess.
I found out the name of the Carnival Exec from my clients and wrote him a letter telling him I did not appreciate him poaching my clients on a RCCL cruise. I also sent him print outs showing that the Carnival PVP did not give my client the best price. The only response was a form letter that said they received my letter and they would get back to me. NOTHING. I also called my DSM and complained.