I have seen many folks reccommend the use of a TA. What services can I expect from a TA? As a general rule do they mind lots of questions? I have read that a TA can act as a liasion between myself and the cruise company. Why would I need a liasion? Thanks in advance for your time.
Well... in a word, if you do not purchase your cruise through a travel agent, you will always pay more for it than you should and get less value for your $$$. Any travel agent worth his or her salt welcomes questions from potential cruise clients and will become a valuable source of valid information helpful to you in choosing a cruise that matches your own needs, life style, likes, dislikes and budget.
you ask........."Why would I need a liasion". If you are willing to do some of the "grunt work"(book flights etc), you really don't need a liason. As far as flights, we have found it much cheaper to book our own flights vice booking cruise/air package. Its been our experience that when we use a TA, we still have to be active in the process. The times that the fare went down (we were refunded difference) before sailing was identified by us not our TA. I am sure there are times that a TA would be more beneficial than going it on your own....just as I am sure there are times that you will pay the same regardless if you do it on your own or use a TA. The best way to find out whats best for you is to RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH . Compare what you can get on your own to what a TA will offer you. Without a doubt research air prices.......as I said we have always saved a significant amount by booking the air on our own. I am not a TA. There are very few things in life that qualify as "always" IMHO .
This is one of the times that I can say a TA is 'always' best. That does of course depend on getting a reputable TA. A reputable TA can always get you a better price than that offered through the cruiseline. Additionally you have someone to 'go to' should any one of the hundreds of minor things that can and sometimes do pop up during a vacation. They can also be of great assistance in guiding you to the l;ine that best fits your needs and desires to appreciate you vacation better. I will agree that the best thing anyone can ever do is RESEARCH YOUR TRIP! You can best do that by visiting our message boards and looking at what is being discussed and/or asking questions yourself. As you can see, we have many wonderful people here that are willing to add their knowledge to help you.
Community Staff Leader
Thank you Ernie, Rick and Jim. I used a TA that was refered to me from someone over the net and was more than pleased with the price I was quoted. I had called three local places and he beat their deals by over $150 per passenger plus I was locked into the cabin I wanted. No surprises, I like that. Basically I was wondering what other services, beyond booking, they provided and ya'll helped there. I work the internet like a job and love to research and get good deals so thanks for letting me know I was on track there too.
I have read all the comments about TAs, but I think that many people must have had better luck than I have.
Each time I go to a TA, they call the cruiseline while I sit there and quote me the price. I then go home and call the cruiseline myself and get the SAME quote.
Now neither of the TAs I have visited have a 'relationship' with the cruiseline so that's probably where I am going wrong. Consequently, I always book myself and visit the cruiseline website everyday to look for deals etc., then I don't have to wait for a TA to answer my questions or relay messages. I have been more than satisfied with the price for my BC category room on the Grand Princess this August and even received a refund recently.
I will say that I LOVE researching the deals myself -- I think I missed my calling.
What you are doing wrong is listening to the price the line quotes to the TA. <VBG> That is the BAE price that the TA will offer. What many TA's do is discount that fare by rebating some of their commission! Not all of them do it. Don't worry about what the line tells your TA, worry about what the TA quotes you and if it isn't better than what you can book yourself throught the cruiseline, find another TA! Here's what I do to get a price that I am happy with;
I search all the MAJOR TA websites like expedia, travelocity, vacationstogo, and the dozen or so more that are readily available and will have a price you can view without commitment. I take the AVERAGE of those prices for the ship, cabin cat, and date I want, (that makes me comparing apples to apples), and THAT is my base price that I look to beat. I then contact the bargain finder here at Cruisemates and place an ad being very specific in what I want and maybe replying to the top two or three that respond with actual prices and not the "call me we'll talk" garbage. I also contact TA's that I know are reputable and see what they have to offer. At that point I have a pretty good idea of who will most likely be able to give me the best price overall for the service I am looking for. I then take those two or three folks and get serious with them and start "talking turkey" letting them know that they are in the final running and ask for their very best deal, bottom line. After I see what they are offering I pick the one that I like the best and let the others know that I really appreciate their time. I do not play games with them or pit them one against the other hoping one may beat the other by $25 or something. I show them respect and appreciation and they have always responded in a professional manner in return. I'm happy, the TA's are happy, and everything worked out well. I also make sure that they will honor any price reductions and if there are, then I get them, if there aren't, I have a price I am happy with and don't worry about any johnny come lately that wants to give me a better price if I change to him/her.
Community Staff Leader
Thanks everybody for your TA advice, I will try out your strategies for my next cruise. In the meantime, as one person said, "if you are satisfied with your price then you have a good price." This year on Princess I think my price is really good and I don't care if someone else got it cheaper. I can't believe that people have asked some of you how much you paid for a cruise - how nosey!!!
For those that are so worried about "price comparisons" after they are already one the cruise I always tell them that my TA told me not to tell because it was a special deal he got for me for $50pp per day and I let them worry themselves to death over it. <> Those rates just don't happen with the exception of just after 9/11. Like you said, if YOU are happy with the price you paid, then it is a good deal for you and who cares what someone else paid. Too darn late to let it worry you anyway!
Community Staff Leader
I feel like I have been given the keys to the universe. Thanks for all of the tips. I am finally getting to a place where I can do more cruising and I love the hunt. I do get frustrated with the sites that will not give a quote, how do you get around that.
It is funny about what you all said about being happy with your price. My last cruise was on a small worn out ship and we sailed over Christmas. I was tickled with the price as I got several discounts as I sat there with the TA. It is three years later and I am paying much less for a better cabin and even the brouchure prices over Christmas are cheaper than what I paid back then. I am not comparing "apples to apples" but I am definitely aware I paid dearly for that cruise. Has it dimmed my fond memories? Not a bit
Part of the fun is "snagging a deal" but I definitely would never let someone elses good fortune, luck or better hunting wreck my vacation. What I would do is find out how they did it and learn from that. Ya'll have been wonderful with sharing your tips thanks. I can't wait to try them out.
One thing I am crossing my fingers about is NOT having to use my TA for a problem.
From what I gather on this post, people use different TA's every time they book a cruise or they book themselves. Is that about right?
If that is the way to do things, then I must be old fashioned because I am of the sort that I find one good TA that I like, that knows me, my husband, our likes and dislikes, plans and budget and then stick with her booking after booking. I just would not feel comfortable going to a new TA every time and have to start from scratch about my likes, dislikes......
Call me old-fashioned, call me crazy, but I am a one TA woman I guess.