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  #1 (permalink)  
Old January 19th, 2012, 03:12 PM
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Default Best way to book our cruise?

Hello everyone!
I'm brand new to the Cruisemates Boards (after a somewhat unfriendly brief stint on another forum) - and after reading through a lot of posts, I'm feeling a little safer here than at the previous site I was on. You all seem like a great bunch of people.

I'm also brand new to cruising - so new, in fact, that I haven't even booked my first cruise yet. My boyfriend's 50th birthday is coming up & after a lot of discussion between us we decided we wanted to try a short cruise as a celebration. Neither of us have ever been on a cruise & until recently when some friends told us about their cruise experiences we thought it wasn't really our type of vacation. But now we're excited - and trying to learn as much as we can before we decide which cruise to book.

We have narrowed down our choices to a 4-5 day cruise leaving from one of the Florida ports during the early part of March (this year - yes I know we are very very late in deciding this). So I've looked around & we have a decent idea of which cruises that would work best for us. I thought we could make a final decision based on knowing which are the best available cabins in our price point on each of the 3-4 cruises we are looking at. (I understand that our cabin choices are somewhat limited at this point.) Based on what I've read I feel like a good travel agent might be able to help us with this & walk us through the whole process. Unfortunately we don't have a travel agent that we have any history with & I've seen some people say you should use a TA that specializes in cruises only so we definitely don't have any experience with any of those. I've seen a number of "online" agencies that seem to be the bigger ones - the ones that always seem to come up first in Google - Crucon, Cruises.com, Cruisedeals.com, etc. Are any of these "online" agencies any good? Is it better to just make a choice and book directly with the cruise line? We're kind of lost at this point

So - to sum it up - should we use a TA? Can you tell us which ones are good? Any personal recommendations? Am I going to get banned from this site after my first post for even asking this?

Thanks everyone!!
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Old January 19th, 2012, 03:28 PM
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I recommend using a good TA. They can help you in many ways.

I have used one to book all of my cruises.

TM
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Old January 19th, 2012, 03:45 PM
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Welcome to Cruisemates and the world of cruising.

What are the ships you are looking at doing...By using a good cruise travel agent, they can match you with the right cruise, activities onboard and ports of call. I would suggest looking into a 7 day, you'll get more islands other than a stop in Nassau with or without a private island stop. Especially, if you having to fly into your departure port...Just a few things to consider...
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Old January 19th, 2012, 04:32 PM
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For a first time cruiser I especially recommend using a cruise travel agent specialist. They not only help getting you on a ship to match the things you might like, but will be there to go to bat for you if anything goes wrong with the cruise.

I've been using the same travel agent to operate the CruiseMates group cruises for close to a decade now. I trust her, I respect on her, and we obviously feel comfortable with her work, because it does reflect on our reputation.

Nancy Bogert: nancy@planningcruises.com
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Old January 19th, 2012, 04:33 PM
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nygirl, welcome to Cruisemates, and, pull up a chair. We have lots of of cruisers willing to help.

Firstly I would say, yes, please use a travel agent, vs, the order takers of any cruiseline, and, if you check out our home page, you can find the agent, that books our CM, group cruises. The most important thing is, to have a good rapport,and discusss all your concerns. Don't forget to inquire about travel insurance, as well, so very important.

They will be able to access the remaining cabins to place you in the most comfortable location. We are aslo cruising in March, as a Crusiemates group on the NCL Epic. I cant wait.

Remember, as a first timer, ask us and the ta, any and all questions..there is not a silly question, either.

Ps, there are other reasons for being number one on a google search sometimes, not necessarily the most popular choice. I hope you will enjoy your first cruise, and, come back often to Cruisemates
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Old January 19th, 2012, 10:12 PM
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Default Travel Agents

Quote:
Originally Posted by nyggirl View Post
Hello everyone!
I'm brand new to the Cruisemates Boards (after a somewhat unfriendly brief stint on another forum) - and after reading through a lot of posts, I'm feeling a little safer here than at the previous site I was on. You all seem like a great bunch of people.

I'm also brand new to cruising - so new, in fact, that I haven't even booked my first cruise yet. My boyfriend's 50th birthday is coming up & after a lot of discussion between us we decided we wanted to try a short cruise as a celebration. Neither of us have ever been on a cruise & until recently when some friends told us about their cruise experiences we thought it wasn't really our type of vacation. But now we're excited - and trying to learn as much as we can before we decide which cruise to book.

We have narrowed down our choices to a 4-5 day cruise leaving from one of the Florida ports during the early part of March (this year - yes I know we are very very late in deciding this). So I've looked around & we have a decent idea of which cruises that would work best for us. I thought we could make a final decision based on knowing which are the best available cabins in our price point on each of the 3-4 cruises we are looking at. (I understand that our cabin choices are somewhat limited at this point.) Based on what I've read I feel like a good travel agent might be able to help us with this & walk us through the whole process. Unfortunately we don't have a travel agent that we have any history with & I've seen some people say you should use a TA that specializes in cruises only so we definitely don't have any experience with any of those. I've seen a number of "online" agencies that seem to be the bigger ones - the ones that always seem to come up first in Google - Crucon, Cruises.com, Cruisedeals.com, etc. Are any of these "online" agencies any good? Is it better to just make a choice and book directly with the cruise line? We're kind of lost at this point

So - to sum it up - should we use a TA? Can you tell us which ones are good? Any personal recommendations? Am I going to get banned from this site after my first post for even asking this?

Thanks everyone!!
I recommend Liberty Travel on Ralph Ave. in Brooklyn
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Old January 20th, 2012, 02:28 AM
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Everyone books cruises differently, I am sure you will develop your own style after you cruise a few times.

Nancy Bogart is a good travel agent, as Kuki has noted, she will get you on the right track for your first cruise.

I was going to say something here but I think i'll start a new thread for that!

Anyway, welcome to cruisemates, it's a great place for info and opinions!

Happy Sailing
Tim
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Old January 21st, 2012, 03:14 PM
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Welcome to our group. We do not consider any question to be a bad thing. Especially this one. So, yes, do use a travel agent. And if you feel uncomfortable with them when you ask questions, move on to a different one.
I also might recommend first going directly to cruise lines' websites. You can get a feel for what the prices are and what the availability is on the cabins. That way, you are not going in blind when you call the travel agent.
If you are flying, I will say that I have never booked flights through the cruise line because they charge a premium and you have no control over the times of the flights. You can get cheaper on your own. But, be sure and allow much more time than you think you will need, so that you don't have to stress out over delays. If you can, I even suggest flying in a day early. This is just my own opinion.
I also agree to try for a 7 day. It can be very close to the cost of a 5 day and 4 day cruises usually only give you one port.
Good luck and keep us posted on what you decide.
Marty
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