Has anyone booked their own cruise on line directly with the cruise line? If so, can you share this experience? I am thinking about booking my own directly, however, if I hear that many people get ripped off in some way or form, then I'll go to a travel agent. But if I hear that it is easy and good, then I will probably try it on my own.
I would check prices on the different cruise wholesalers and outlets. They are generally quite a bit less expensive than the cruise line itself. Use an agent that you trust, but do your homework first so that you know how much you should be paying. The bargain finder here on Cruisemates is a pretty good place to start.
I shopped around...numerous website (orbitz, travelocity, icruise, cruisesinc, etc...) and locally at a few local TA nearby. We found the best price online at bestpricecruises. I did try Carnival's website and they were way more and I even called them directly and they wanted alot more then the online TA. I even inquired about past guest stuff and nothing....so I booked online instead.
I have to restate that no one place will always have the best price for you cruise. Who will have the lowest price changes all the time. In addition the BEST price may not always be the LOWEST price. Reputation and customer service is worth a few bucks. Now if we are talking a hundred dollars or so then yes, that is a significant differance and you will see that much of a change in pricing if you cruise enough and check around each time. One of the reasons I do not recommend any one company is that the Agency "I" got the best price from may not be the agency YOU can get the best price from. It always pays to shop around. Check out the Cruise Bazaar we now have running as we have a great variaty of agents to choose from that we feel good about.