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-   -   Booking with Travel Agent or Direct (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/ask-cruisemates-staff/356552-booking-travel-agent-direct.html)

tbowman September 24th, 2008 01:41 AM

Booking with Travel Agent or Direct
 
Ok. So today I went to my travel agency, Escapades Travel here in San Antonio to book my cruise. I had read that booking with a TA would usually gain you extra perks. Such as free trip insurance, ect. I got nothing. I put it on "hold" until Thursday when I have to go back to pay my deposit. I was kinda surprised by the whole thing. She was nice, and seemed like she was interested in helping me, but everything I told her she disreguarded. I asked for a deck that did not have a public area above or below. She gave me the Upper deck. I asked for a balcony cabin mid deck, I get one Aft. I tell her that I have cruised before, she ignores me. I tell her that I dont want near the elevator, I get one 2 doors down. I swear it was like I was not even talking to her. I have never used a TA before. I have always booked my own travel. Even when I went to France I did every thing myself. I am/was concidering Conquest. I may have to re think and go Escasty instead. I have not made up my mind, but I do have until Thrusday.

My question is this: Is there any benefits to booking with a TA vs Direct with Carnival? So far I think I may cancel her booking and do my own. Especially since I did not get the cabin location/deck that I wanted. I mean if they are booked and thats all thats left then fine, but she did not ask.

I am wanting to sail the Conquest on Feb 21, 2010 or the Escasty on Feb 20, 2010.

travelgalSue September 24th, 2008 06:13 AM

I recommend that you find another agent. Your requests should have been addressed by her not ignored. If the cabin she has is the only one left then I understand but did she try to get one in the area you wanted it doesn't sound like it. As for the perks, I don't know of any agent that can get you free insurance. Since you have cruised before and if it was on CCL then she should make note of it and check for past passenger options on the cruise you selected. A good agent will at least do as much as possible to make sure you get the cabin you request at the best rate possible. Good Luck and do book with an agent.

Trip September 24th, 2008 09:58 AM

RUN Don't walk, to another travel agent...actually, you should have addressed all the points, she ignored, right there and then, and said thanks but no thanks...

A good travel agency will do their best to accomodate all your requests, and will be pro active in making sure you have a great cruise. Don't give up, and go specifically to a Cruise Agent, rather than a travel agent. Good luck.

Mike M September 24th, 2008 10:05 AM

Re: Booking with Travel Agent or Direct
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tbowman
Ok. So today I went to my travel agency, Escapades Travel here in San Antonio to book my cruise. I had read that booking with a TA would usually gain you extra perks. Such as free trip insurance, ect. I got nothing. I put it on "hold" until Thursday when I have to go back to pay my deposit. I was kinda surprised by the whole thing. She was nice, and seemed like she was interested in helping me, but everything I told her she disregarded. I asked for a deck that did not have a public area above or below. She gave me the Upper deck. I asked for a balcony cabin mid deck, I get one Aft. I tell her that I have cruised before, she ignores me. I tell her that I don't want near the elevator, I get one 2 doors down. I swear it was like I was not even talking to her. I have never used a TA before. I have always booked my own travel. Even when I went to France I did every thing myself. I am/was considering Conquest. I may have to re think and go Ecstacy instead. I have not made up my mind, but I do have until Thursday.

My question is this: Is there any benefits to booking with a TA vs Direct with Carnival? So far I think I may cancel her booking and do my own. Especially since I did not get the cabin location/deck that I wanted. I mean if they are booked and thats all thats left then fine, but she did not ask.

I am wanting to sail the Conquest on Feb 21, 2010 or the Ecstacy on Feb 20, 2010.

I don't know if you wanted "The lowest price" or were more concerned with the cabin location. If you were specific about the location I would get a new TA. There are plenty of mid-ship, 8C cabins, available on Empress deck (i.e. 7363) that perfectly fits your criteria.

A TA cannot always give you freebies but on a Carnival cruise they should be able to give you a lower price than Carnival is offering. It may not be much but it should be lower and most of all they should give you what you want if it's available. Don't be afraid to speak with your dollars and find a new TA.

Take care,
Mike

tbowman September 25th, 2008 01:39 AM

Hi
 
Location on the ship is more important to me then the price is. Dont get me wrong, I am not rich, but I know that I am willing to pay more for something that I feel is a better fit for me.

I have contacted another trave agent. I am suppose to meet with her this week. I just want to get this show on the road and get booked. I dont want to wait too long and end up not getting the cabin I want.

Trip September 25th, 2008 09:40 AM

With a sail date that far out, on this ship, you should not have a problem getting your cabin..it would floor me if you did...

Magnolia Blossom September 25th, 2008 12:53 PM

Dittos to all the good advice above.

As for getting freebies from the agent, here is my experience.
Frequently you will get a bottle of wine from your TA. However, since this is your first booking with a TA keep that in mind. Back before my TA-who-walked-on-water retired she was always able to get me great upgrades for free, but I had done a lot of business with her.

I have gotten free travel insurance from one of the larger internet companies, I don't think I can mention their name here but if you PM me, I'll tell ya'. They do not always offer it, but more often than not.

You can also do a Cruise Quote (is that the name?) available through the link on this site. You put in your specs and several agencies will respond via your CM mailbox. No one is going to bug you by phone or email.
Attached to each quote will be mentioned whether they offer you any goodies.

BTW, for what it's worth, I'd go on the Conquest. I've been on both ships twice and the Conquest has so much more to offer.

spacewoman September 27th, 2008 09:32 AM

I'm curious as to whether anyone can compare experience with their TA on an individual booking and group booking. Ours went like this: first cruise in 2003 we were ugraded to a suite for free, 2004 no upgrade, 2005 went on NCL got an upgrade to suite for additional $250, 2006 went on NCL with radio station in a group booking different travel agent no upgrade, 2007 on princess with my TA no upgrade, this year did Carnival again our TA, group booking, no upgrade and Carnival went ahead and assigned the cabins they did not give her a list to use. We had a HELL of a job getting cabins together, took many many phone calls.

I have to say we got balcony rooms on deck 6 for $899 each with this group booking although I see same price for next September on an internet site and through Carnival.

Anyone with similiar stories? Better to group book or individual?

Kuki September 27th, 2008 09:52 AM

One thing about pricing... you SHOULD read my latest Blog.

http://www.cruisemates.com/blog/author/kuki/


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