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Old June 11th, 2003, 04:00 PM
Steve Lynch
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Default travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

Hi:

We are just about down to the nitty-gritty but have one more question. Is it better to book with a travel agent or directly with Carnival? And whatever the answer can you bargain with both? Also is there a fee for travel agents? Thanks.
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Old June 11th, 2003, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

Hi Steve,
I'd always book with a travel agent that is a cruise specialists, they can almost always beat the cruiseline directly, plus you have the added security of having an agent handle things for you, so as long as you have a good one, its the best way to go IMHO :-)

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Old June 11th, 2003, 07:58 PM
HOSKI
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Default Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

cruise lines are not allowed to uncut travel agents so you usually get a much better deal with them. The savings also varies by the type of TA you use. Some people book with the cruise lines or a local TA because they get the best customer service that way. Once you know your way around or even if you feel comfy doing it now, you could book with an online TA and save even more. We book all of our cruises with a TA we found online.
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Old June 11th, 2003, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

Try ****Travel agent name deleted*** (Can't do this folks)

They were fabulous and even got us an on board credit when the prices dropped on their site- which was always much lower than Carnival direct.

Even though it was an online sitemer service was wonderful and we always were taken care of immediately if we called with a question.

Barb
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Old June 11th, 2003, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

I ended up booking directly with Carnival. We are a member of AAA, and I wasn't impressed with the TA's there. Plus, the Carnival CC gave me a better deal. I don't know any travel agents since we don't normally take trips like this, so I decided to try this myself. I call my CC whenever I have questions, and he's very polite, never gets impatient with me. I'll admit I'm a little nervous about not having a TA to call, but things can go wrong with or without one (or go right to keep this in a positive light Carnival has been great about sending me info right away. The only thing I'm concerned about is getting the boarding passes in time. We booked only 1 week ago for the July 5 sailing, and I was told it normally takes around 2 weeks from booking to get the stuff printed and mailed out. That will put us about 1 week before sailing. He said to call him if I don't receive my packet by 1 week prior to sailing, and they will have us pick them up at the port.

Anyone ever done that before? Thanks!
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Old June 11th, 2003, 10:54 PM
rberne1
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Default Re: Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

I've always booked my Carnival cruises directly with Carnival and with great success. Never as close to the sailing date as you have though. This year we'll be sailing with family on the Pride over Thanksgiving. Carnival's military discount this year is outstanding! Our rates were reduced $300 per person when discounting from past guest cruiser rates (originally booked at $1030, is now $767 - extended balconys). I think only Carnival could have discounted the rate so well, not that a TA couldn't, but would they. And my Carnival rep is very curtious, returns calls asap and quickly sends out info to us.

Happy cruizin'


Carnival Pride - 11/03
Tahitian Princess - 4/03
Sea Princess - 11/01
Elation - 3/01
Jubilee - 9/94
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Old June 12th, 2003, 04:29 AM
Steve Lynch
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Default Re: Re: Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

Thanks everone for the insights but as a followup question. Do you recommentd paying for the cruise upfront or holding some of the payment back?
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Old June 12th, 2003, 06:49 AM
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Default Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

Steve,

While there is nothing wrong with booking directly with Carnival, please keep this in mind. If Carnival gives you a qoute lower than what you get from a TA, the TA simply has to call Carnival back and give them the info. Secondly, you can get excellent service when you go directly through the cruise line, but keep in mind that should you have a problem with the cruise or the cruise line, you will be on your own. For example, I had clients (a group) that did not get everything they were supposed to have gotten on their cruise. When they returned from their cruise, I went through all of the proper procedures. When I did not get not get the resolution I felt my clients deserved, I went up to the assistant of one of the VP's. My clients in turn got a nice discount off of their next cruise as well as some onboard perks as well.

Cheaper is not always better! Customer service (that rarity we used to have) is becoming more and more valuable as is expertise. Kind of like toilet paper. Sometimes the cheaper brand just doesn't hold up when you need it to. (Sorry, couldn't pass using that little comparison once it popped into my feeble little mind...maybe I am working too early this morning...lol)

Anyways, I hope you have a wonderful cruise. I firmly believe that cruising continues to be the best vacation value out there!

Mary
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Old June 12th, 2003, 11:24 AM
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Default Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

I thought I would comment on this....I am a first time cruiser myself and I have done all of my homework before booking. I have called five travel agents and they all gave me the same price as Carnival did. I contacted Carnival directly. I asked the travel agents why the price is the same as going directly through Carnival and I was told because they call up Carnival themselves to get the prices.

I don't see where people are coming up with its better to go through a travel agent. I have spoken with my vacation planner of Carnival and was told that if the price drops they would be able to adjust it for me even after final payment is made. I don't even mind if I get ship credit...just as long as I get the price difference.

I also found that going through Orbitz or Expedia the price was a little lower but it didn't include taxes and port charges...once that was added in to the price it bumped it up to what I am paying through Carnival.

I am happy with Carnival and I hope that I do get what I was told by the vacation planner if and when the price drops.

I have a friend who just came back from the Conquest cruise and they were so very pleased with it. They will do it again in the future they said the food was a 9 out of a 10. The service was a 10....never had to ask for anything twice

Happy Cruising ! !
Sky
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Old June 12th, 2003, 12:10 PM
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Default Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

Hello Sky

If you price drops even after you pay final payment, the TA can still get you the onboard credit. I always check every Monday morning for my clients, and if there is a difference I work on it for them.

Darrell

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Old June 12th, 2003, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

Is it possible to get a discount if the price drops if you book directly with Carnival?
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Old June 12th, 2003, 02:22 PM
JANz
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Default Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

I search all over for a good price on the Legend next June...I finally called Carnival and was given the lowest price of all of them, yes even *******. The young man at Carnival told me that if the price dropped by such and such a date, we would get the credit...After that date, an upgrade or onboard credit.
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Old June 12th, 2003, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carniv

Hi Steve,
Just pay the deposit at time of booking and wait until you get the final payment notice, then pay it all. You can even pay by credit card, gives you a little more time to pay it off completely, then by the time the cruise is actually here, its paid for and all you have to worry about is the extra money you spend while on the cruise.

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Old June 13th, 2003, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Ca

I think the key is to get a good TA.........I've been told that some pocket the money when there are price deductions...instead of passing the credit down to their customers. That is one aspect of dealing with the cruise company directly...there is no middle man. I'm thinking myself...of going direct next time...that way I can be in control...keep checking to see if there is a price drop...and call myself to get the credit. I'm not sure if my TA is doing that for me now....I keep hearing about upgrades and credits and I've never gotten one.
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Old June 13th, 2003, 10:33 PM
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Default Re: travel agents vs. direct contact with Carnival

You are your own best TA.

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