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  #1 (permalink)  
Old April 17th, 2003, 09:39 AM
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Default Who would you recommend for TA

Who do you all use for travel arrangements? Please tell me your best or your worst. I booked online and really regret not having the personal touch. So for the next cruise (hopefully hubby will not get sick as he is motion prone and we will can do this often), who would you suggest for a great deal with personal touch. Thanks a bunch, Denise

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Old April 17th, 2003, 09:55 AM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

Denise77. email me.
SSAFWs...ED
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Old April 17th, 2003, 10:17 AM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

Denise--We use a local TA because we like to see the person asking us for money. Also she is extremely knowledgeable about all the cruise lines in which we are interested. Have you looked around/visited any agencies in your own area?
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Old April 17th, 2003, 11:20 AM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

We moved this area a few months back and no we haven't checked locally. I am still trying to learn the roads !! Ha..but soon, Thanks, Denise

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Old April 17th, 2003, 11:21 AM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

Denise: if you email me I will give a name of a couple of excellent T.A.'s. Or you can check out the Cruise Bazaar feature here on CM.
marylou@cruisemates.com

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Old April 17th, 2003, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

Denise,
Unfortunately, or probably fortunately, no ONE TA can always give you the best price on every cruise. You have to research yourself and find a price that you are satisfied with and with the level of service that you can live with. I cannot and will not recommend any one agency over others as that would just be unfair because of the above reason and the certainty of treating agencies that are just as great unfairly because I don't know them. We also cannot allow people to 'recommend' agencies on the boards because while most are just cruisers like you and I, some agencies will come in and post recommendations for thier agency posing as a satisfied customer and this is a violation of our advertising policies. I CAN tell you what I do to get the most for my money. First I go to the cruiseline website and find out what the going rate is for the cruise I want to do. That is my baseline. I then check the major online agencies and those that advertise here and see what their asking price is for the same ship, cruise date, cabin, etc making sure to compare apples to apples. I also place an ad in the Bargain Finder and check with my local agency. After I have gathered all this information I start 'talking turkey' with the best three or four results and go from there. I do not always take the absolute lowest nor do I try and nickle and dime the agent. It is a two way street of trust and honesty. Once I make up my mind as to who I am going with I thank the others for their time and do not look back but be happy with my choice.
Jim

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Old April 17th, 2003, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

Thats super advice and from all of you and I know you all know what you are talking about because of the sheer number of cruises you take. One more question: How soon in advance or how close to sailing do you usually book. I have noticed great deals on both ends and have you ever waited too long to book and missed out on something that you really had your sights on? Thanks, Denise

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Old April 17th, 2003, 11:45 AM
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Default Re: Re: Who would you recommend for TA

Time varies Denise. I have planned some as much as over a year in advance, and some as soon as three days before sailing. There are deals on both ends and once I have booked, I never worry about what shoulda, coulda, woulda been. Just not worth the headache. Yes I have lost out on a cruise that we really had our heart set on because of a delay in booking because of miscommunications between the TA and ourselves. It suddenly filled up and nothing was available.
Jim

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Old April 17th, 2003, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

I love that....shoulda coulda woulda......I agree totally. I can't undo past mistakes, I can learn for the future and let's get out there and enjoy life. Thanks for reaffirming my assumptions. Soon, Denise

ps..I put my little flock on the gallery so if you we see each other on a dock one day......be sure to holler.

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Old April 17th, 2003, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

I'll say that I have had really good service from knowledgeable TA's at AAA. They offers their travel agency service to everyone, not just members. They might not be the least expensive, but they will provide personal service, in person.
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Old April 17th, 2003, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

I have a great TA. Is it permissible to post her name, phone number, and agency? We're leaving Saturday on the 2d cruise we've booked with Barbara. Last cruise she made all the arrangements for us through HAL - had a wonderful bon voyage basket sent to our suite. Everything was perfect! This time we're doing our own flights and excursions, but I have been on the phone and exchanged e-mail with her numerous times. She is so friendly and helpful about everything, I feel like we're old friends. I just got off the phone with her. She took a message from me that I had left after 5:00 asking for some last minute help. She had been at the dentist for a painful procedure but had just taken care of the couple of requests I had made. We are leaving Saturday on the NCL Dawn - Barbara informs me that she has paid for a night at LeBistro for the 4 of us as a birthday present for my sister.

Jane
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Old April 18th, 2003, 09:50 AM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

Is all that stuff normal for a TA to do?? How do you know if someone is a good TA? What should they do?
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Old April 18th, 2003, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

These CruiseMates articles might help.

Travel Agents and Online Bookings

Finding the Best Travel Agent

Cheers,
Michelle B.


Carnival Fantasy


Land Cruise, Britain and Belgium

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Old April 19th, 2003, 09:00 PM
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Default Re: Re: Who would you recommend for TA

Can I speak from a new cruise agent point of view. I will not use this forum to
advertise myself or "toot my own horn" but think a TA point of view may help.
I just got into the cruise consultant business this year. I had taken three cruises in the last 5 yrs and loved it. I decided I wanted to start my own home based business
and cruise consulting seemed like a great one to start. My experiences b/4 I got into
this with other agents varied. All did their job but lacked the "service" to get my repeat business. What I mean was they got me the cruise with no problems but all
never followed up after the sailing. Asking a client how their vacation was,
sending a thank you note etc all mean a lot. None of the agents I dealt with ever called
or emailed even asking how the trip was??? Many agents forget who you are after the booking. I have started my business on service service service. I will never be the lowest price on every cruise. But I will make sure I do everything possible to satisfy
my client & communicate before and after. Sending a little gift to the client when he sails says a lot. You cant do it all the time especially on the low cost cruises
but when possible I do it. Please remember from a consumer view, the agents are not making a bundle on your cruise. They need to hopefully get repeat business and referrels from you. We all want to get the best deals but remember who will be there to help if there is a question or problem. My competitors on the web offer low prices
but can they service you? I hope to survive by being competitive and "killing" my clients with service. Any questions feel free to email.
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Old April 20th, 2003, 11:17 AM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

There is no question in my mind that service should be taken into considerable consideration when choosing a travel agent.
Most agents promise great service, unfortunately fewer deliver. I think a part of the problem is how easy it is to become a home based agent. A few hundred dollars and you can "hang your TA shingle".

This isn't to say there aren't many great and dedicated home based agents, but I do think it enters into the equation.

I think the other misnomer is that agents on the web do their business soley on the web. While there are some web agencies which operate soley on the web, MANY agent web sites are simply extensions of their "brick and mortar" agencies. IE.. they actually have physical offices that you can walk into if you happened to live in their local area.

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Old April 28th, 2003, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

Denise,

Unfortunately, just like any business there are good and bad agents and before I got into the business myself I had some bad experiences as well. Here are a few tips:

a) If you are going to use a local agent, ask around and see if you find any "unhappy" clients.
b) Look for a fairly quick response when you ask for a quote.
c) When you get this response, look for information. If the agent is quick to just pass along the price of the cruise and not list the additional fees, confirm itinerary, give you some payment options, etc., they are probably just out for a quick sale and repeat business is not important to them.
d) Ask some questions. Once again, if this agent is not willing to take the time and answer your questions and concerns BEFORE they have your booking chances are the customer service will not be great once you do book.

Now, for your husband's seasickness. You might contact the folks you booked through and request a midship stateroom. Also, if you have a local discount store such as Walmart, go to the pharmacy and purchase a "seaband". One district sales manager for one of the cruise lines gets very seasick and always wears a seaband. You can also get non-drowsy Dramamine. Additionally, some have found when lying on the left side (increased circulation throughout the body) they are less prone to seasickness.

Good luck and have a wonderful cruise!
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Old April 28th, 2003, 09:14 PM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

Thanks to you all. I will get the seaband right away and will log the other information. I have learned a great deal on this web site with you guys and really appreciate the time you put into it. Soon, Denise

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Old April 29th, 2003, 01:39 AM
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Default Re: Who would you recommend for TA

me I myself........is'nt difficult

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