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  #31 (permalink)  
Old March 17th, 2011, 06:13 PM
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Even though lines may not allow discounting, it's not stopping agents throwing in Onboard Credit. I've had two quotes in the past couple of weeks, an Azamara cruise would have come with $800 OBC and a Oceania one was $900
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old March 17th, 2011, 07:06 PM
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Even though lines may not allow discounting, it's not stopping agents throwing in Onboard Credit. I've had two quotes in the past couple of weeks, an Azamara cruise would have come with $800 OBC and a Oceania one was $900
True... many agencies will throw in some OBC, but there are limits set by some cruiselines i.e. CCL, RCI, =x= . You may also find an agency throwing in pre paid gratuities, pre paid insurance, transfers.....all TO ENTICE YOU to book with them ! And many times the cruiseline is offering that OBC and the TA is acting as the "hero" when offering it to you w/out any expense out of their pockets.

Bottom line... It pays to research as much as possible to make certain you are getting the Best BaNg for your $$ and selecting a competant TA to work with, is icing on the cake, so to speak !
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old March 17th, 2011, 09:20 PM
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Henry 43; here is a suggestion for finding a good cruise travel agent. If u have an american express card; they have excellent travel agents, as do AAA. Both of these companies have certified cruise specialists; they are local to where u live and they are very dedicated to making sure you have a good cruise experience.

My previous TA was an American Express agent and I did not care for her .I always heard that AAA was not good for travel but I will check them out .
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Old March 17th, 2011, 09:25 PM
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Worth a shot, make lots of calls, but, in my research experience, AAA always had the highest pricing...

Henry, this will be a good learning experience
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Old March 17th, 2011, 09:34 PM
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A friend of mine believes that because of the tsunami in Japan and all the turmoil in the middle east people americans will desire to vacation more at home .
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Old March 18th, 2011, 11:47 AM
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Ok, I know I’m far from being considered a true cruiser with only three cruises under my belt. I just don’t understand the big deal here about the importance of using a TA. For people like me this board is a little like a classroom and after reading the reasons why you should buy insurance I now wouldn’t dream of going without. So on my upcoming cruise this will be the first time traveling with insurance and it’s a good feeling just knowing I have it. I’ve come to respect the opinions of many folks on here especially Trip & Mike M.

So now I hope we could shed some light on why a TA? All I’m hearing is if something goes wrong the TA is there for you. What kind of thing are we talking about that only the TA can solve and the cruise line can’t? When I booked my last cruises I did work with a “cruise Planner” and thought she would help me if needed, did I think wrong? I would never use a travel website like Expedia or some other site. Like I said I’ve learned many thing from these boards and I ask these questions because I want to really know other than OBC why a TA is so important. I need for instance…..
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old March 18th, 2011, 12:55 PM
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For some a TA is a great asset in their corner....simply because they want the TA to handle all their vacation travel plans. For others, they prefer to handle everything themselves. Either way is dependant on each persons wants and needs.

Fact... a TA can assist if there are flight issues while you are enroute to your destination
Fact... a TA can assist in hotel, rental car, shore excursions, etc....
Fact.... a TA will go to battle for you if something goes wrong during your cruise that you feel should be addresed for compensation after you retrun
Fact.... a TA is able to discuss various cruiselines and their positives and negatives to assist in finding the cruiseline that best fits your needs or lifestyle.
Fact.... a TA can assist in suggestions regarding ports of call you will be visiting

For some.... all of the above is a nice "comfort zone" and provides piece of mind and less possible stress.

Does everyone need that "comfort zone" ??? Probably not, but it is available to you at no charge by the TA.

If a TA is able to provide OBC or perks to you, and does not charge a fee for any of the above services, why would you not want to use the services of a well trained, and knowledgeable TA ?

TA's are multi faceted..... Booking direct with the cruiseline cannot provide some of the valuable assistance that a TA can.

In the end... you have to do what you are conmfortable with, and that may or may not be to use the services of a TA...... It's all a matter of choice !
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old March 18th, 2011, 01:02 PM
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Curtis - thanks for your list. I thing each fact might need to be followed by "a good TA ..."

However, if I'm traveling to a cruise on Saturday and my TA doesn't work weekends they are unable to help me if problems arise in my travel. As others have noted in some cases the TA stands between the traveler and provider. Sometimes this is a help and sometimes it is an hinderance.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old March 18th, 2011, 01:10 PM
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Curtis - thanks for your list. I thing each fact might need to be followed by "a good TA ..."

However, if I'm traveling to a cruise on Saturday and my TA doesn't work weekends they are unable to help me if problems arise in my travel. As others have noted in some cases the TA stands between the traveler and provider. Sometimes this is a help and sometimes it is an hinderance.
The good TAs are available on weekends too, at least via email or a phone call.

I've faced the situation once, where I needed assistance on a weekend. The cruise line offices were closed, the travel agent took care of the situation for me within a couple of hours.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old March 18th, 2011, 01:11 PM
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Curtis - thanks for your list. I thing each fact might need to be followed by "a good TA ..."

However, if I'm traveling to a cruise on Saturday and my TA doesn't work weekends they are unable to help me if problems arise in my travel. As others have noted in some cases the TA stands between the traveler and provider. Sometimes this is a help and sometimes it is an hinderance.
I was generalizing TA's with the facts..... A TA just doing their JOB should be able to provide everything I noted. TA's doing their job will have an alternate person to take their calls if they are away from the office, or have a cell phone that clients can contact in the case of a travel emergency. I would not say that it requires the title of a "Good" TA... just a TA that is dedicated to their profession and their clients !

And remember... it's all a matter of CHOICE by the potential client to use a TA or not after they have interviewed the TA to make certain that they will meet their needs.
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  #41 (permalink)  
Old March 18th, 2011, 01:19 PM
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In most cases those selling cruises for the cruise lines only have an interest in getting you to book on the line they work for.

In many cases they don't even know about much about their own ships, so then you have to contact other departments.

Over the years I've found the biggest source of misinformation provided about ships come from the cruise line office people themselves.

If the cruise line's sales people were as well trained as experienced cruise travel agents, I might recommend them more.

Free expertise of a professional to take care of my travel plans seems like a service I can't lose on.

People can get free or discounted services at such places as barber schools, and even dental schools. Some who make use of them walk away happy, others not so much, and choose to use a professional.

Booking a cruise, and assuring everything is taken care of (even the stuff you may not think of) is more complicated, and more expensive than walking into a shoe store, seeing a pair you like, and buying them.

What the internet does is allow you to find the services of really good professionals, no matter their locale.
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old March 18th, 2011, 05:09 PM
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I used a TA (online) for my last cruise, and it was a NIGHTMARE! It started fine, but when it came time for my final payment, they suddenly wouldn't accept my payment (tried 3 different debit cards). After going through menu upon menu on the phone (this company primarily does airfare, and half the CSR I spoke to didn't even know the company SOLD cruises), someone was able to take my payment.

For this cruise, I'm just doing it myself directly through Carnival. I'd much prefer to deal with them directly, and already have OBC from putting a down payment on my next cruise on my last one.
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  #43 (permalink)  
Old March 18th, 2011, 05:22 PM
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I used a TA (online) for my last cruise, and it was a NIGHTMARE! It started fine, but when it came time for my final payment, they suddenly wouldn't accept my payment (tried 3 different debit cards). After going through menu upon menu on the phone (this company primarily does airfare, and half the CSR I spoke to didn't even know the company SOLD cruises), someone was able to take my payment.

For this cruise, I'm just doing it myself directly through Carnival. I'd much prefer to deal with them directly, and already have OBC from putting a down payment on my next cruise on my last one.
So the payment was an issue.....when using a debit card that sometimes can be an issue because of banks only allowing a certain amount of funds to be withdrawn in a 24 hr. period...perhaps that was the problem, I don't know w/out knwoing the whole story. But, I certainly am sorry you had a problem with an online TA.....but you seemed happy with their planning it appears. A payment issue could have also occured if booking with the cruiseline direct too, couldn't it ?

Book the way you are comfortable with.....just be willing to be open minded for a change if a good opportunity surfaces to using a TA is all I can suggest.
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  #44 (permalink)  
Old March 18th, 2011, 07:36 PM
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As I might have mentioned before , we have a wonderful "brick and mortar" TA. We have her office number and email, her home number and email, and her FAX. If she's not available there's always someone in the office to help.

We can (and do) go to her office to book a cruise (we already know what cruise, etc., we want) and also to pick up our documents.

Does she know everything about every cruise line? No, but as a Cruise Specialist, she knows more than most Travel Agents and she knows what we like. (Yesterday she sent me a link to picture's posted by someone we all know of a Cove Balcony on the Dream.)

We used AAA a couple of times when we first started cruising and I didn't realize how bad they were until we found this TA.

I might book directly with a cruiseline, or even with another "brick and mortar" agent not in our area, but I don't think I'd ever book with an online only "agent".

fun2cruiz, I think you've just pointed out the problem with an online only agent. The payment shouldn't have been an issue because a good TA will tell you what the payment options are.

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So the payment was an issue.....when using a debit card that sometimes can be an issue because of banks only allowing a certain amount of funds to be withdrawn in a 24 hr. period...perhaps that was the problem, I don't know w/out knwoing the whole story. But, I certainly am sorry you had a problem with an online TA.....but you seemed happy with their planning it appears. A payment issue could have also occured if booking with the cruiseline direct too, couldn't it ?

Book the way you are comfortable with.....just be willing to be open minded for a change if a good opportunity surfaces to using a TA is all I can suggest.
IMHO, you can't beat a good local TA,
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Old March 18th, 2011, 07:55 PM
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I didn't have a problem with booking through Carnival on my last cruise but the girl I spoke to knew very little when I questioned her about something. I had done my homework so I kind of knew the answer to my question but wanted to double check.

For my upcoming cruise the person I spoke with Carnival was very informative on the ships I was interested in and it helped me make my choice. I did book with a TA for my upcoming cruise and don’t expect any problems. I think it’s whatever makes you feel better.
I make my own air and hotel reservation .
I was just curious as to what a TA could do strictly cruise wise that I couldn’t do other than OBC.
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Last edited by Aerogirl; March 18th, 2011 at 08:00 PM.
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Old March 18th, 2011, 08:55 PM
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Hi Aerogirl,
So glad to hear you did purchase some travel insurance. I'm sure you will not need to use it, that's the whole idea....At some point, if you didn't have it you'd need it and now you have it and won't need it...
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Old March 18th, 2011, 11:17 PM
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Hi Aerogirl,
So glad to hear you did purchase some travel insurance. I'm sure you will not need to use it, that's the whole idea....At some point, if you didn't have it you'd need it and now you have it and won't need it...
Thanks to my CM pals including you who made me see the importance of having it. I would never dream of going without it now. Thanks CruiseMates!
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Old March 19th, 2011, 12:29 AM
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To each his own. I guess I'm too anal because there is no way I would use a TA. Using one would not be a comfort to me in any way, just the opposite would be true.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 04:02 AM
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Being affiliated with companies like Amex, does not always work out, as a group of cruisers found out..I was one of them.
And you've linked to the story about this where? You've made a very open ended statement here, and I'm very curious to read and learn more, but you didn't link to a thread or blog ....
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Old March 19th, 2011, 08:47 AM
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So the payment was an issue.....when using a debit card that sometimes can be an issue because of banks only allowing a certain amount of funds to be withdrawn in a 24 hr. period...perhaps that was the problem, I don't know w/out knwoing the whole story. But, I certainly am sorry you had a problem with an online TA.....but you seemed happy with their planning it appears. A payment issue could have also occured if booking with the cruiseline direct too, couldn't it ?

Book the way you are comfortable with.....just be willing to be open minded for a change if a good opportunity surfaces to using a TA is all I can suggest.
yeah it was weird because all other payments with this card went though fine, run debit or credit. I guess the whole 'oh I didn't even know we sold cruises' from some of the CSRs I talked to scared me
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Old March 19th, 2011, 09:45 AM
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There is nothing to link to any story, It was a group cruise. We were not dealt with properly,and in spite of several people trying to get agent to do the right thing, the company didn't.

If I was not part of the group,and was not one of the people speaking to the agent, I would not have mentioned it. Talks went nowhere,and that was the end of the story.
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Old June 18th, 2013, 02:13 AM
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Hi friends i just want to say you here that there are many traveling companies which are offers you the b est facility and the luxury Cars and transports for the pick and drop or transferred you but you should pay to the good traveling company for the best and good travel with them .............
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Old June 19th, 2013, 03:01 PM
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It's funny hoe things change in two years, back then I was not a big fan of using a TA but now I would never not use one...something to be said for the peace of mind they provide.
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