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  #1 (permalink)  
Old March 20th, 2004, 03:27 PM
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Default TA vs direct

I booked directly with the cruise line. Carnival. What are the significant differences, should I expect equal, lesser or greater service?

Anything I should know about booking directly with Carnival?

Thanks
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old March 20th, 2004, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: TA vs direct

First off.. what you should know is that you paid more than you need to.

This will always be the case when booking directly with the cruise line. 95% of TAs will be able to save you money on your cruise.

I'd be shopping your booking with travel agents. Carnival does allow you to transfer your booking to a travel agent.
So.. you can take your exact booking, and find a travel agent who'll take it over, and SAVE you money in the process!

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Old March 20th, 2004, 04:37 PM
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Default Re: TA vs direct

Thanks.

I don't have a TA - and the price I got at Carnival was much less than any of the .com sites that I found. I searched a lot of the .com sites before I just called Carnival and said "be done with it and get it booked".

Beyond price, anything else I am missing out on!

Thanks again!
Martha
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Old March 20th, 2004, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: TA vs direct

Did you know ahead of time that Carnival was the line you wanted? A TA can often help you decide which line might be best for you.

dorothy

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Old March 20th, 2004, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: TA vs direct

I have a forced lay off from work for 12 days. I had always wanted to cruise, and work was forcing me to take time off. I knew where I wanted to go, and I knew I only had about 5 departure days to choose from.

So, in a nutshell, my choices were very limited to begin with. All I could really do was see what was available from a southern port (within driving distance - that narrowed it to New Orleans, Tampa, Jacksonville and Port Canaveral) on those few dates that I was available.

I'd been researching this for about 6 months or longer. I already knew that Carnival was the line I wanted to cruise with. Work just offered me the window of opportunity that I hadn't had before. Plus, my husband won't go with me - I am taking a neighbor.

The reason for my question in the first place, is that we have a guaranteed room and I've been reading about the upgrades - and I honestly wanted to know if your chances for an upgrade are better or worse when booking thru a TA or thru the cruise line.

So, I knew the cruise line I wanted to take. The $$ I could have saved won't cause me to loose sleep. But - am I worse off, or better off for having done so? Beyond the $$.
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Old March 21st, 2004, 12:58 AM
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Default Re: TA vs direct

Here we go again Used TA's for our first 2 cruises. Find booking directly with Celebrity costs same as using aTA. As always, the key is research. When I HAVE TO CALL my TA to ask for a credit for a price drop..it's time to fire the TA and do it myself. I know I will hear.. "My TA is the best!" "my TA is my friend" etc... To each his/her own. I am my best representative when it comes to planning my vacation. More importantly, I can call the Captains Club Cust Svc and get things done without going thru a middle person.

Vamartha .I think you will get as good service booking direct as going thru TA. You can make a call as well as they do

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Old March 21st, 2004, 10:03 AM
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Default Re: TA vs direct

I don't really know how going thru a TA or Carnival factors into the upgrade equation. I know that the other factors include: 1) who *pays* the most for a room (that person stands the best chance of an upgrade); 2) when you booked (those that book farther out stand a better chance).

Hopefully you'll get a lovely upgrade, but it sounds as though you and your neighbor are going to have a wonderful time!

dorothy

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Old March 21st, 2004, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: TA vs direct

Right On Rick,

I booked my first 7 day cruise with a TA, we did it on a whim (it was inside our local wal-mart) and did no research. Our total was 1400.00 for two. This was the Rivera deck oceanview. When we got onboard we found out others on higher decks paid 549.00 a person. And the other slap in the face is when we went to check in, we was asked if we wanted to prepay gratuities. So all we paid for was the cruise fare and port fees and taxes. When I got back and questioned them about it they said it was because I booked a month before departure so the price was higher. WHATEVER. I have since booked directly with carnival and their price is the same I find on AOL, Yahoo, etc. Not only that you can't even talk to Carnival if there is a problem because they only talk to you if you book direct otherwise you have to depend on your TA to resolve any issues. So for those who think TA's or so wonderful remember this "They have to make a profit off of you to stay in business"
P.S. That TA was booted out of Wal-mart after many complaints from unsatisfied customers.

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  #9 (permalink)  
Old March 21st, 2004, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: TA vs direct

Shew. I feel better already..

My reasoning was - I have unlimited access to the internet - I am on four or five hours at home each day - and more like eight at work - so I have lots of time for research.

And I couldn't for the life of me figure out why I should pay a "middleman" to accomplish what I could on my own.

I'm starting to get a tad excited. Two weeks from tomorrow I will be boarding my first cruise ship!

Thanks a bunch. You all made me feel better!
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Old March 21st, 2004, 01:25 PM
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Default Re: TA vs direct

If the cruise lines discounted their rates by even a portion of the amount they pay travel agents commissions, then there's no question, you'd be better off booking direct with the cruise lines.

That's not the way it works however.. Whatever price the cruise line offers it to you for, the travel agents can obviously purchase it for the same price.

Included in that price is their commission.

Sure.. there are agents who will offer it to you that same price, and simply keep the commission share for their work.
But there are MANY agents who will share a portion of their commissions with you, thus generating a savings to you

If you happen to find an agent who has group space on a sailing your planning on, then those savings can be even higher.

I've found that some of the common online agencies people shop at... like Orbitz, or Travelocity are simply quoting "rack rates" these days. But I believe if you check out some of the "cruise only" online agencies ( like some advertising here at CruiseMates) , in most cases you'll find significant savings.

In the 36 or 37 cruises I've been on, I've yet to find one where the cruise line price was less.
In setting up all of our CruiseMates Group Cruises, (and I shop them VERY diligently) I've yet to find a cruise line who'd offer us the same price, or less on any of the sailings we've done.

If you're booking directly with a cruise line, I'd at least ask them if they'll "kick back" at least 5% of the price, since you're saving them between 10 & 20% that THEY'D be paying a travel agent if you were using one.

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old March 21st, 2004, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: TA vs direct

Sounds good mooseman.to bad it does not work that way

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  #12 (permalink)  
Old March 22nd, 2004, 01:07 PM
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Default Re: TA vs direct

i personally am a huge fan of using a TA. They can usually get you the best price and most with throw in a few extra perks ( like shipboard or photo credits) to keep your business. I like putting a face to voice and being able to call the office direct and ask Catherine or Donald.
Do whatever works best for you.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old March 22nd, 2004, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: TA vs direct

LisaK Do whatever works best for you

agree! Research Research Research before you buy! No cruise for us until Dec

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  #14 (permalink)  
Old March 22nd, 2004, 02:27 PM
SharB
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Default Re: TA vs direct

One point that wasn't addressed is the airline or transportation-to- home factor. Since you're driving to the port, it's not an issue. We got "stuck" in Vancover (tough duty) while cruising during the 9/11 incident.

Our TA was able to get us flights home within two days, others without TAs ended up getting rental cars and driving home. Some of these others had to drive considerable distances. Others, of course, hung out until the flights opened up.

It's a great comfort knowing there's someone to turn to in this type of circumstance.

Shar
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old March 22nd, 2004, 03:08 PM
cruisinKandJ
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Default Re: TA vs direct

The smartest people shop thoroughly for a good TA.

J.
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