Without giving too much away and breaking the rules its best to check EVERYWHERE on the internet. The large travel consolidators as well as ones that specialize in cruising. Many times the specialists are easier to work with and have more up to date low pricing. Use your favorite internet search engine to find them. I have never had good luck with local travel agents. The service is better but the prices have always been higher. I know there are some travel agents on here and I dont mean to offend. These are just my personal local experiences.
Also check and see if you are able to use any discounts. Many people dont realize they qualify for any when in fact they do. It can be age based, military(current and retired), corporate or any number of other discounts. For example people that work at companies like UPS, FedEx, DHL can get the industry rate on many cruise lines. (Those companies are considered to be airlines and the employees, even floor workers,can often get a discount). Think of every possible organization you or someone in your party belongs to or works for. Any past cruisers in your party? Often times the whole party can then get a past guest (friends and family) rate.
Get a couple of the best prices and call them and pit them against each other in a bidding war. Call the second lowest one and tell them you are likely going with another agency (the lowest one) and wanted to see if they can beat the deal. Dont lie about rates though. Once you get a low deal there, call the cruise line and see if they can beat that. When calling a cruise company directy be SUPER friendly and very patient. It doesnt always work but if you get the right person at the right place you can get a heck of a discount.
Don't count out your local travel agent. I am not a travel agent (new22003), but our local travel agent beat our best internet price for our cruise to Alaska last year by $500. I have since used her again for our Christmas cruise on CCL and she got me a military discount that I did not know I was entitled to. We have cruised many times, and I usually book myself, but after getting some advice off of this board, I have used our local TA twice out of our last three cruises as she got us a better price than I could get off of the internet sites and you can't beat the service of a face-to-face agent. Of course, go into the local's office armed with some knowledge of current pricing, etc.; in other words, do your research first so you know right away if you are getting a fair deal or getting ripped.
Happy sailing to one and all!
RCCL Monarch of the Seas 5/98
RCCL Majesty of the Seas 1/02
CCL Fascination 10/03
CCL Holiday 11/04
CCL Celebration 5/05
HAL Statendam 5/05
CCL Holiday Xmas/06
Crown Princess 10/07
Where did you get the best service and price for your cruise
Go straight to the cruise line. I found it to be the best deal for the money. Then do the rest right here on this site and research the net. That was and has been my personal experience when planning a cruise. They have promotions that change from week to week or every 2 weeks so keep searching and good luck.