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Old January 19th, 2008, 09:37 PM
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Default What's the best way to book a cruise?

What is the best way to book a cruise? Is it best to use a travel agent or to book it directly with the cruiseline. I am going to get a suite with either Princess or Carnival. Would I get a better deal by using a travel agent or going directly to the company? Will the company negotiate if you book directly with them?

Thanks
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Old January 20th, 2008, 12:06 AM
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I think you'd be much better to use a TA rather than the cruise line. Do NOT believe cruise lines negotiate at all.

I personally use an online TA who has gotten me some really great deals. Suggest you check out some of the special CruiseMate cruises to see my agent's full particulars - her name is Nancy. She's excellent on returning emails and phone calls and finding the very best deal she can ... also a million dollar seller on many lines so has lots of experience.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 06:38 AM
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I agree, use a good travel agent. Sometimes they can have group space on some sailings that you can take advantage of too, only a travel agent can help you with that. In most cases there are some perks that go along with that in addition to a better price than you can get by booking directly with any cruiseline. You'll also get that personal service and someone to call if you need to make any changes, etc.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 09:01 AM
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I also, strongly, advocate using an experienced travel agent. For many cruiselines (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara) they won't be able to sell the cabin for any less than the cruise line is selling it "but" they can often offer incentives in the form of transfers, ship board credit, or travel insurance that the cruise lines will not offer you.

They are also very important if you have never cruised before and need help in finding a ship and line that meets your needs. Not all ships and lines are the same.

Agents are also very helpful if you have a problem after the sale. Name changes, airline changes, shore excursion selection and problems that may occur en route are all examples where a travel agent can provide you with help that the cruise may or may not give you.

They won't charge you any more than the cruise line but, if they are a good agent, will definitely earn their commission.

Here is some criteria I look for in an agent:

1. Are they CLIA certified: Their certifications are ACC, MCC and ECC. I would look for an MCC (Master Cruise Consultant). This means they have personally gone a number of cruises and understand the product they are selling.

2. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If the agent doesn't want to answer them or seems bored then find another agent.

3. I don't use agents who charge a cancellation fee.

4. Do they promptly return you emails and phone calls. If not don't use them.

5. Don't be afraid to shop for an agent or be afraid of hurting someone's feelings if you don't use them. It's better to not use an agent now rather than having your feelings hurt and your vacation ruined at a later time.

There are a number of agents and agencies who advertise on this site. I can't attest that they are good but they all meet CLIA qualifications. If you need some personal recommendations go ahead and email me.

Take care,
Mike
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Old January 20th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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Default Re: What's the best way to book a cruise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lauera9482
What is the best way to book a cruise? Is it best to use a travel agent or to book it directly with the cruiseline. I am going to get a suite with either Princess or Carnival. Would I get a better deal by using a travel agent or going directly to the company? Will the company negotiate if you book directly with them?

Thanks
Do a search on some of my earlier posts/threads on cruisemates and I had given details of how we always cruise for less than $50 per person per day, including port charges! Infact, sometimes as low as $30 pp per day.


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Old January 20th, 2008, 11:39 AM
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Mke is right on about finding a good TA. Many agents belong to consortiums that offer specials on various cruises that you won't get just calling the cruise line. Shop around and like Mike said don't be afraid to ask questions, a good agent is willng to help you anyway they can. I know from experience.
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Old January 21st, 2008, 02:53 PM
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A personal travel agent that you see face to face across the desk is great, but we've had good luck with online ones too such as vacationstogo.com. That's a good site and once you have some notion of what you are after, their agents are very helpful on the phone.
We've also had good luck dealing with cruise lines directly.
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Old February 12th, 2008, 03:21 PM
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I just booked a cruise direct with Carnival. I was quoted prices through past TA at $329pp includes taxes and fees - interior cabin on Main - and I called Carnival to say - "Hey, this will be my 5th cruise on Carnival and I want to get a good deal - how much can I get an Interior on Main near center of ship and the price was $219pp plus fees and taxes for total of $544 for 2 people - so I got a better deal using Carnival direct.
I called 1-888-CARNIVAL and talked to an agent ***edited**

In fact I was offered a cabin on Empress, Upper, Main, or Rivera, but we do not like the higher floors or the bottom floor and we will never cruise at front of ship again.

Stay away from front of ship on high floor - unless you are 100% sea sick proof - I ride rides at the fair and have cruised 5 times and never been sea sick!!
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Old February 16th, 2008, 04:42 PM
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Default booking a cruise

All the advice is to find an agent who is a specialist with the line you wish to book. Is there a listing of specialists? For example, is there some web site where the cruise provider is plugged in and a list of their specialist agents is provided. One would think this would be beneficial for all of us..
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Old February 27th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisesrme
I just booked a cruise direct with Carnival. I was quoted prices through past TA at $329pp includes taxes and fees - interior cabin on Main - and I called Carnival to say - "Hey, this will be my 5th cruise on Carnival and I want to get a good deal - how much can I get an Interior on Main near center of ship and the price was $219pp plus fees and taxes for total of $544 for 2 people - so I got a better deal using Carnival direct.
I called 1-888-CARNIVAL and talked to an agent ***edited**
I've done awesome buying directly through the cruise line too. Same exact price as with a TA. I think the benefit of booking directly through the cruise line is easy access to changing itinery....like room. Once you book through a TA the cruise line is obligated to not make changes for you....you then must go directly through your TA.
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