Background: About 30 or so of my friends are on a group cruise booked through a travel agent. The total group was about 200+ people. It is a large party, where they booked the conference rooms and will have classes and seminars. Being an avid cruiser, I was pitching in my two cents every chance they let me. Most of them had been paying on this trip for the last year. It was a horrible price, $650/pp 3 nights - Bahamas out of Miami, RCI. The cruise leaves today and they return on Monday.
First Issue - Cruise Docs
It began to puzzle me because towards the end of July and all of August I kept asking them had they received their cruise docs. They were clueless as to what those were since they were all first time cruisers. I had my old ones and shared with them what they should have received via fedex/airborne. No one out of the almost 30 friends had received them. Most of them left yesterday and had not received their cruise docs. All they had was a letter from the travel agent with the cruise ships itinerary. They didn't know their cabin number nor which dining room sitting. I'm very concerned because they all left for Miami w/out cruise docs. I'm praying the travel agent will meet them at the hotel and have this information for them or something.
I've read a lot of boards and haven't run across any travel agent who meets the group and gives everyone their docs the day before or day of cruising. Is this a common practice? Since no one received confirmation from the TA, what happens if someone was left off the ships manifold?
Second Issue - Price $650/ 3 nights - cheap rooms
The price for this 3 night cruise was horrible. When I questioned the TA about why the price was so high, she mentioned that the contract was signed at that price prior to Sept. 11. I told her prior to 9/11 or not that was extremely hight for a 3 night cruise. I told her the price before 9/11 and afterwards was around $400. I asked her would we receive a difference since the price was lower. She said no because this was the contract price.
Question: Is this possible to cheat my friends out of $200 even though the cruiseline is offering the same cruise at a cheaper price? Is this TA getting away w/ a huge commission?
I was glad this was everyone's first cruise so they didn't and won't know what to expect. I pray they all have a room and good sitting and the service is superb so they won't judge this cruise and not want to cruise anymore. Thanks for all responses.
Wow! That is the travel agent from hell IMHO!! Not only is this price totally out of line for a three day cruise, I am sure the price has been much, much lower than that at one time or another and a good TA would have gotten the better price and maybe upgrades, shipboard credits, gifts, etc, etc. Especially if they booked 200+ people! Additionally the docs SHOULD have arrived at least two weeks prior to departure. There is no reason for them not to will the lenght of time they had to get them to everyone. Not only did they get ripped off big time, but I hope that they actually have tickets! The TA not giving them any info at all is just unbelievable! Please write and let us know what transpires!
Community Staff Leader
You're right, that's essentially a $400 cruise, even in a nice outside room.
Good of you to be so concerned. You're obviously a very caring friend. But people are gonna do what they're gonna do. The agent's obviously no prize, but it does take two people to make a contract. If none of your friends were wise enough to comparison shop, well, they're paying the price for that. It's the old law of logical consequences.
You just need to make a note never to use that agent for YOUR cruises!!
The price sounds horrible, but I have noticed that sometimes my husband has had opportunities to attend professional association seminars on cruise ships and the rates always seem higher than what I can get myself for the same accommodations. I wonder if perhaps those holding the meetings and so forth are passing in costs to reserve certain facilities (i.e. places for their conferences or classes), or if there are shore excursions or special parties included or something? This would be something to find out. But it's still pretty crummy. Was there perhaps a group leader in charge of all the documents? Even so, I would have thought SOMEONE would know this and it would have been explained up front. (Sometimes people don't READ info. they are given or take the time to check things out that they should, and later say, "Well no one told me that!". ) Let us all know how this saga ends, as now we are all curious!