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Lakers Fan April 23rd, 2012 05:19 PM

Cruise question
 
I could be wrong but I believe I read on here that a Travel Agent cannot legally charge less than a cruise line for a cruise but can offer on board credits .


Currently an on line TA is offering a special rate of $70 less than the cruise line and a TA I know is offering a rate of $45 less than the cruise line .Neither is giving shipboard credits .


Are the TA's allowed to do this ?

Kuki April 23rd, 2012 05:43 PM

From the small amount of difference, it's quite likely the travel agents have booked group space, which normally does offer a small discount of the "going rate" by the cruise lines.

If travel agents are offering onboard credits, or other amenities, they are rarely paying for it themselves. Rather, there are "points" assigned to different sailing where agents are allowed to use those point to choose from a menu of amenities, which might include the onboard credits.

It's also possible the travel agent booked group space, and later the price rose, so they are offering the lower rate.

With group rates, after a period of time, and especially if a sailing is selling really well, the cruise lines will take back cabins in a group that haven't been sold.

Some agents with group space will actually sign a contract, and actually make the deposits on all their group cabins. In those cases they can keep the lower priced cabins for a long period of time.

Lakers Fan April 23rd, 2012 05:54 PM

Thanks ,Kuki

Donna April 23rd, 2012 09:45 PM

I bet Kuki is correct and they have group space that they can discount and add some extras, that the cruiseline can't...

green_rd April 24th, 2012 09:20 AM

I don't think there is anything illegal about discounting cruises. Though I believe Carnival prohibits TAs from discounting cruises.

Snoozeman April 24th, 2012 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kuki (Post 1426256)
It's also possible the travel agent booked group space, and later the price rose, so they are offering the lower rate.

This does happen. More so when prices are rising.

Now pricing is usually dropping faster that the group can be adjusted down to match so you don't see it much.

Kuki April 24th, 2012 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by green_rd (Post 1426315)
I don't think there is anything illegal about discounting cruises. Though I believe Carnival prohibits TAs from discounting cruises.

All of the major cruise lines have the same policy prohibiting TAs from discounting off of their own posted prices. They do allow TAs to purchase amenities FROM THEM to offer as incentives.

No doubt some TAs do break the rules, but if they are caught they are in doo doo.

On any given sailing there are usually a number of variable rates that people may be eligible, which don't get published. That's why it's often best to contact your travel agent to find out what the current rate is on a particular sailing.

Snoozeman April 24th, 2012 12:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kuki (Post 1426343)
On any given sailing there are usually a number of variable rates that people may be eligible, which don't get published. That's why it's often best to contact your travel agent to find out what the current rate is on a particular sailing.

This is Soooooooooo TRUE!! Happens all the time!

Good friend booked Breeze Med cruise through TA and he's paying $200 less than his friend in next cabin who booked through a vacation planner at Carnival. Booked the same day...Amazing.

Paul Motter April 24th, 2012 12:32 PM

It is also possible that a TA is posting online prices that he just "didn't get around to updating yet." - There is always a permissable time lag because prices change so quickly.

Also lately I saw that Revelex (A big technology company that has a cruise sales software engine for independent cruise sellers online) had a system where they updated prices every morning, and it would always (automatically) grab the lowest price it saw in any category.

For some Princess (I believe) cruises it was picking up the 50%-off third person in a cabin price and displaying that as the retail price in a certain category. Obviously just an outright error. I read soon after that Revelex had fixed this bug. And this was only a few months ago.

Marc April 25th, 2012 12:19 AM

My TA gives "rewards" on every cruise varying from 5% to 7.5%. The rewards come in a check about same time I receive docs. At first I thought it was kind of silly for cruiseline to enforce a fixed price but then letting my TA give rewards but I quickly realized I am earning miles on the whole amount including the 7.5% I get back.

Also, as Kuki mentioned, she is allowed to sell "group space" at lower rate on a certain number of sailings per year so her prices will be cheaper on those cruises as the cruise line raises prices.


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