Is it better to book your cruise thru Carnival online or through an agent by calling Carnival. Also, I've been checking out webpages and some of the prices are a little bit lower. Is it safe to book off one of these websites instead of Carnival?
If you book thru an online web site, make sure they are forthcoming about any extra fees. I have booked all my cruises through a large, nationwide travel agency who has a long standing relationship with all major cruise lines. They are informative, can pass on any discounts associated with their agency, and will go to bat for you should you have any problems with your cruise. I like sitting across the table from a live person, they know exactly what my requirements are when cruising, and it has become a painless procedure. I also feel safer about divulging credit card information, personal information, etc., with a reputable agency.
I booked through a local travel agency, and it IS nice to have someone to directly email or talk to on the phone. However, I did that thinking she could take care of EVERYTHING for me. As it turns out, I had to book my own air as I'm flying for free due to accumulated frequent flyer milage so I had to book flights through American Airlines website. She was able to book hotel and car rental for me, so that was nice. Next time, I will also go through the agency. My first cruise (with my teenage son) is coming up in July. For the second one (I'm considering cruising alone in 2009), I will call the agent. And, for my 2nd cruise with my son in 2011, I wil also call the agent.
I book the air and excursions, she takes care of the rest. I like that!
I want to know the same thing. Specifically in terms of upgrade potential. The rates I'm finding on the web through different companies are only marginally cheaper than the rate I got from the Carnival associate. Is Carnival more likely to upgrade a customer booked directly through them or doesn't it make a difference?
I always recommend using a trained travel agent.
1... if they want to they can always beat the price Carnival offers
2... if something goes wrong and you need someone to carry your case to the cruise line, having bought the cruise from a Carnival employee, you have no one to go to bat for you.
Upgrades have little to do with where, or from whom, you book your cruise. They generally only occur if the cabin category you booked is overbooked... then they entice some with upgrades.
Kuki is right. We booked our first cruise direct with carnival. It was neither a awful or great experience.
We are now going on our second cruise. Booked with a PVP with the idea of transferring to a TA. We tried cruise compete but got that gut feeling that something was wrong with the 2 quotes we got back. So we didn't go that route.
I did just contact the TA used here for group cruises, Nancy S. Bogert. She is great! It looks like we will be using her.
I will post again as soon as the transfer is complete but I am loving Nancy so far!! Carla
- Carnival Inspiration 3/3/07 - Grand Cayman & Calica