I was wondering if anyone has ever booked a cruise through a web sight online. I have never done so and was just curious if anyone has and if so are the prices much better then booking through a travel agent? Also what sights do you recommend. I have looked at icruise.com and see good prices, but I'm not too sure.
When you book online you are booking thru a travel agent. My expeirence was that it turned out bad...get a local travel agent that will look you in the eye if they have any explaining to do.....Local travel agents can get the same deals as online...there is no difference between booking with icruise.com for example and booking with a local ta.
icruise.com is a travel agency and they make a commission on your cruise just like everyone else...please find a local travel agent and support local business!
I have booked three cruises from online travel agents (web sites) and not had any problem. Some are better than others. Do some research before you book.
Haven't used icruise, but from what I've heard it's a reliable site.
Now posting as MichelleP.
Lets set some definitions: booking online means actually having NO contact with a live person. You select your ship/date/cabin/price yourself and buy it online with your credit card.
Live Travel Agent: a real person you consult in conversation for advice and who eventually books your cruise with the cruise line for you and will send you your cruise documents.
In my opinion, booking online should be done by people who know what they want in terms of cabin type, air arrangements, time of year, cruise line, etc., and it should be done only in the interest of saving money.
Travel agents should be used for those who more unfamiliar with cruising or for those folks for whom extra service is worth paying a very reasonable additional cost for. What I am saying is; if you are not fussy about small details and get a bigger charge out of saving a few bucks then book online, but if you want to be assured of getting exactly what you want - and have an avenue for recourse after the fact if things did not go well, then I recommend using a live travel agent.
I also would tend to book a cheaper cruise online, but if I were buying a luxury cruise I would use an agent who is going to get me exactly what I want.
That being said - using a "live" agent does not mean you have to use a local agent. You can find many VERY good live agents that will work with you by telephone. They do not have to be in the same city or state.
We just booked our last cruise through Travelocity. The Cruise agents there are extremely helpful. We got $200 knocked off the total when the price went down, and we just got another upgrade from an inside room, to an Oceanview cabin. All you have to do is call and ask. It is true that an agent can do a lot for you. But for us us it was a learning experience to do it ourselves. It all depends on how much time you have to keep up on things.
I booked with MyTravelco.com and have been very pleased so far. I do agree though with "Suzannen" about supporting local business but I had to book immediately one morning because the catagory cabin I wanted was the last one. I then accidentally locked it up for 15 minutes and had to sit on the phone with the TA and the cruise line until it released. It all worked out fine but I will give my local TA the business next time I travel. I am soooooooooo picky and it takes me time to find what I want for the price I want to pay. I don' t usually know what I want to pay either. Sometimes has a lot to do with what your going to get for what price. The internet is a great tool to work with but the TA's know there stuff. Plus, it helps support the town you live in. I live in a small town and almost always opt to give my business to a local merchant rather than going somewhere else.
Booking through an agent that advertises online or uses the Internet is as safe as booking through any other means for the most part. One of the best places to find agents are right here at Cruisemates in our advertising area. While we cannot personally guarentee that all will give total satisfactory service they are all supposed to be licensed to sell in all 50 states and belong to accredited travel groups. Remember that not everyone can sell in all states as some states like Calif and Florida have some very strict laws governing agents so those that can naturally make me feel better.