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  #31 (permalink)  
Old July 17th, 2011, 06:59 PM
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Well... my actual advice would be find a good specialist TA & use them, in theory it should be their problem if something goes wrong...in reality they may well be no use, but if you have a TA at least you have someone to try to get help from. The removal of discounts has led a lot more people to book direct, no cheaper to book via an agent but they do all the work.
Annie I would not say I had any great experience of cruises but I do soak up information.
A major UK cruise specialist TA has gone bust this week.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old July 19th, 2011, 02:17 PM
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To address the original question, we brought some friends along on a New Years cruise with us a few years ago. The night before embarkation, as we were enjoying our pre-cruise dinner, one of our friends asked, "Which ship are we on tomorrow?" After about falling on the floor, I answered, "Vision of the Seas." He said, "Oh, ok. But what ship is that?" I asked, "What do you mean, 'what ship'? I just told you." He said, "Is it Carnival or what?" I said, "The cruise line is Royal Caribbean; the ship is Vision of the Seas."

What's really odd is that we had booked this cruise about a year in advance, and leading up to it, we were coaching the other couple regarding what to expect (one had sailed previously, while the other was a first-time cruiser). It never occured to me that he wouldn't know the ship or the line.

Regarding using a good TA, I have a short story about that. My husband and I were at a travel industry function and met 2 gals who were hired by a large online travel agency (you ALL know the website). These 2 gals ONLY sold cruises. We got to know them over lunch, and when I asked them how many cruises they'd each been on, they said NONE! Wuh???? How on earth can they ADVISE cruisers? These were just glorified order takers, apparently. I wonder if they're still with the company.
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