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-   -   Travel agency, vs click to buy? (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/all-things-cruising/381226-travel-agency-vs-click-buy.html)

Trip March 16th, 2011 01:46 PM

Travel agency, vs click to buy?
 
The has always been a hot button topic..the travel agent vs buying online. I just read this article,which advises going with, as they call it, a "dinosaur".....and I agree... the one time I booked online with the cruiseline, I transferred it to an agent asap...I love dinosaurs..how about you?


Travel agents: The dinosaur you just might need | Gadling.com

Trackypup March 16th, 2011 01:51 PM

I've done both and still do both. I used one of the big online only agents for a few cruises and have never had an issue. Even though I'm in Vancouver, if I do use an real agent, she's on the East Coast of the US.

I've been lucky in that we've never run into issues on any of our trips so I haven't really had to weigh in on their services. Both have got me price reductions, found me better cabins and respond to e:mail very quickly.

jacdenv24 March 16th, 2011 02:59 PM

Like Trackypup, we are in Canada but years ago we contacted an agent in Miami via the internet and have been with her ever since-like 10 cruises. We e-mail and chat on the phone a lot-I feel like she is a friend although we've actually never met in person. Kinda like Cruisemates:D I do extensive research on line prior to booking a cruise, then call my agent when we've made up our mind. Wouldn't have it any other way. Mind you, if she hadn't turned out to be so great I might have tried booking on line.

Aerogirl March 16th, 2011 03:05 PM

For my upcoming cruise I decided to use a TA, other than the $100.00 ship board credit to our cabin Iím not impressed. When using a TA you can only use them if you decide to change things. For instants I choose our cabin and the next week we decided we wanted to move to a different room, same category just a different location on the same floor. My TA said we canít do that so I called Carnival and they said sure you can but your TA has to change it through us. Any and all requests must go through your TA. I do have to tell you the person is very nice but knew very little about Carnival and at one point during our conversation she said to me you know more that I do. Up to this point I personally see no need to book with a TA and probably wonít do it again. Although the $100.00 SBC is nice!
Who know maybe if something goes wrong it will pay off to use the TA. It's whatever you're comfortable with.

Kamloops Cruiser March 16th, 2011 03:24 PM

I'm also from Canada . I once used a TA in the US and wasn't happy with the service I got . My local TA (used 2006) has been to us. In some canadian provinces all TA have to belong to a "Travel Insurance" plan.
This is gov't plan that will remburse you if the travel supplier defaults.
Also if an airline fails while your travelling they pay to get you home.

Trackypup March 16th, 2011 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by doopydozer (Post 1359894)
I'm also from Canada . I once used a TA in the US and wasn't happy with the service I got . My local TA (used 2006) has been to us. In some canadian provinces all TA have to belong to a "Travel Insurance" plan.
This is gov't plan that will remburse you if the travel supplier defaults.
Also if an airline fails while your travelling they pay to get you home.

I should have posted this in mine. If I were booking a "Package Holiday" I probably would go through a Canadian Agent for the coverage, but I'm not expecting Princess to do down anytime soon so it doesn't really apply. I also always book my own air. If Air Canada goes down, we're all in trouble ;)

AF1 March 16th, 2011 04:56 PM

I am fortunate that my best friend is a Royal Caribbean cruise agent. So I book thru him; if I need to change something I txt or email; or I just drop by his house. Very nice; I booked online with Royal once; I like having my friend do everything; it's always nice to be able to reach out and touch someone; especially if things go bad.

Mike M March 16th, 2011 06:36 PM

I would NEVER, EVER, NEVER "click to buy" a cruise. I "may" buy from on an online agency but I will talk to a human being before I ever make the decision to make the final purchase.

I will make sure that I am getting every discount I am entitled to and I will also see what extra benefits and perks I can get.

Once again: I will never "click to buy" and I would never advocate anyone else doing it.

Take care,
Mike

Donna March 16th, 2011 07:04 PM

Absolutely no way....Too many problems can arrise and you are basically stuck. Sure love to have someone to call with questions and problems...

Fern March 16th, 2011 08:18 PM

I'm sorry that several of you have had a bad experiences with Travel Agents. We have a wonderful Agent who is a Cruise Specialist.

I'd suggest you ask your friends and family for Travel Agent recommendations. We found our's by calling our "oldest" local "brick and mortar" agency and asking for the cruise person. They put us in touch with "Debbie" and the rest is history!

At this point she has to sell the cruise's without discounting, but she always send's us a "goody" onboard and if we have a problem she's always there to help.

Our fall cruise (Early Saver) has gone down in price about 8 times (yay!) and she takes care of all the price changes. She's well worth "the no money" :D:D !

Kuki March 16th, 2011 08:18 PM

A couple of things to remember...

Your local travel agent may easily have an online prescence. Many do.

There's too many really good travel agents to put up with a bad one. And because you may have "landed on" a bad one, shouldn't necessarily turn you to booking direct with the cruise line.

They are interested in selling ONLY the cruises on their line; not looking after you to direct you to a ship that is right for what you want.

And, even using an online TA, like Mike, I would never book online without first talking to the agent and discussing things to make sure they know the business, and know how to take care of business.

LisaK March 17th, 2011 08:43 AM

i totally agree with using a travel agent/cruise specialist. Its just nice knowing that there is someone there for you to handle anything and everything for you, and she always gets a good price, and some perks like onboard credit, drink coupons etc.

Lakers Fan March 17th, 2011 11:37 AM

I'm having difficulty finding a good TA

green_rd March 17th, 2011 12:56 PM

I tried to use a local TA for our Med cruise last summer, but I just couldn't turn down the $500/pp difference in price between the rate she quoted (same as the cruise line website) and the the rate I got on line. The perks (OBC, wine, coupon book) were nice but I would have gone with the TA if that had been the only difference. DW & I had already done all the hard work of picking a cruise, would have loved some help with hotels in Venice and Rome, would have probably even bought insurance through her, but not for a thousand bucks!

fun2cruiz March 17th, 2011 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Henry43 (Post 1360112)
I'm having difficulty finding a good TA

What do you consider a "Good TA' ???
Just lowest prices ?
Excellent service ?
Knowledgeable ?
No change/cancellation fee's ?
Assists with pre/post cruise arrangements and air ?

Those are just a few things that come to mind when selecting a TA that I believe you should consider.... and they are out there I assure you !

Sometimes the LOWEST PRICE is not the BEST VALUE when selecting a TA to assist in vacation travel planning.

Lakers Fan March 17th, 2011 02:25 PM

A good TA
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fun2cruiz (Post 1360165)
What do you consider a "Good TA' ???
Just lowest prices ?
Excellent service ?
Knowledgeable ?
No change/cancellation fee's ?
Assists with pre/post cruise arrangements and air ?

Those are just a few things that come to mind when selecting a TA that I believe you should consider.... and they are out there I assure you !

Sometimes the LOWEST PRICE is not the BEST VALUE when selecting a TA to assist in vacation travel planning.

Someone who will discuss options via telephone .

Trip March 17th, 2011 02:29 PM

If this:"Someone who will discuss options via telephone" is your sole criteria, there are tons out there. Let your fingers do the walking...

Aerogirl March 17th, 2011 03:37 PM

I think you should read up on what youíre interested in and have an idea of whatís available on each ship. I would never just go off what a TA tells me. I called Carnival three times and then the TA to book. Like I said the only perk was the OBC and thatís real sweet. As far as price change the TA told me that my job to check and see if the price drops and if it does call her and she would take care of it. As far as the TA itís one that I know people here on the board recommended and use.
It may be worth it if something comes up and I need her to help fix a problem. I would have no problem going directly through the cruise line again to book.

Trip March 17th, 2011 03:51 PM

I sort of equate using a ta, to having travel insurance. I sure as heck don't want to use the insurance,but knowing I have it, is peace of mind..

A ta is the same, If there are any bumps, knowing I have an advocate in my corner, to help, is peace of mind.

The person who makes your reservation over the phone from a cruise line, would be no help at all, to anyone. What services do they do for you, other than your booking?

But like anything in life..it's different strokes:)

Lakers Fan March 17th, 2011 04:00 PM

I am communicating with a TA via e-mail and she tends to poof .I know there are a lot out there but so far the ones I found are quoting the same or higher than the cruise line.

anniegb March 17th, 2011 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Henry43 (Post 1360213)
I am communicating with a TA via e-mail and she tends to poof .I know there are a lot out there but so far the ones I found are quoting the same or higher than the cruise line.

Henry

Even though I live in the UK, I share the same problem as you.

Most UK TAs are USE-LESS!

If I book a vacation package, I will use a TA for the additional ABTA protection and SUPERVISE the TA at every stage.

A lot of TAs are fairly inexperienced. UK cruise specialist TAs are a very rare breed.

I frequently access cheaper airfares.

I really should get myself qualified and accredited. :)

Annie

Lakers Fan March 17th, 2011 04:42 PM

In December 2010 we did a 10 day cruise to the Panama Canal for $979 each person for a wonderful outside room.

A comparable room on a 7 day cruise to Bermuda is $1500 -same cruise line .Every TA wants the same as the cruise line or more.

Trip March 17th, 2011 04:47 PM

YOu need to get a quote with port charges, and taxes and compare apples to apples.

Lakers Fan March 17th, 2011 05:00 PM

Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Trip (Post 1360234)
YOu need to get a quote with port charges, and taxes and compare apples to apples.


My last cruise in Dec.2010-$979 pp including all taxes -10 days-Panama Canal

For a July 7 day cruise to Bermuda-exact same cruise line ,a comparable room $1479 pp including all taxes .

anniegb March 17th, 2011 05:07 PM

Henry

I assume it is HAL ?

I assume you would be sailing from New York?

Maybe the Bermuda market can bear a higher price? Supply and demand?

That pricing for July is higher than December does not surprise me.

Maybe you got a bargain price for Panama.


Annie

AF1 March 17th, 2011 05:10 PM

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.

green_rd March 17th, 2011 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Henry43 (Post 1360230)
IEveryTA wants the same as the cruise line or more.

Some cruise lines do not allow the TAs to undersell their website others, of course, do. Carnival is one that does not allow discounting.

Trip March 17th, 2011 05:11 PM

You would be sailing to Bermuda in peek season..,the shoulder season, will always be less expensive for Bermuda.

Trip March 17th, 2011 05:16 PM

Being affiliated with companies like Amex, does not always work out, as a group of cruisers found out..I was one of them.

I would ask friends, to see if who they use,and most importantly, are they getting the type of service you are looking for. When you make the call..interview them and tell them what you expect...

fun2cruiz March 17th, 2011 05:28 PM

Comparing a Panama Canal cruise in Dec,. and a Bermuda cruise in July are two different animals...one is off peak season, one is during peak season.....completely different itineraries.... You cannot compare the two at all.

TA's that are charging a higher fee are doing so for one of two reasons:
1. Charging a fee for their service
2. TA is not researching for the lowest fare you may be eligible for.

Some TA's may have a lower fare due to Group Space they have secured quite some time ago and those fares are lower than the current cruise fares.

Some TA's will rebate some of their commission to offer a lower fare, but not all cruiselines allow this any longer.

Because of the limited window for Bermuda sailings and minimal ships headed there, the cruise fares have historically commanded a higher price, especially during July - Sept.


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