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Old July 12th, 2009, 09:21 PM
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Default booking a cruise

What do you think is the best way to book a cruise? Travel agent, Carnival direct, or is there a website that is consistantly priced lower?
Thanks for any info.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 09:30 PM
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We have used Vacations to Go, www.vacationstogo.com , for 4 of our 6 cruises and have never been disappointed . Our TA is Hamton McCardell from over there and we have always got the best price and never and drama when swithcing cabins, dining times etc. He is always very helpful and the cruise docs and bookings go off without a hitch. Not like our previous TA. The number over there is 1-800-338-4962 and Hampton's extention is 280
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Old July 12th, 2009, 11:01 PM
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When I asked the same question a few months ago, Kuki answered me with the best possible answer (Thanks again Kuki). We went through the cruise planners that the cruisemates goes thru a lot to book groups.
cruisiplanners(Nancy Bogert. Her assistant is Marrietta. Perfectly wonderful ladies to work with. They are the best in my book. I can give u Marrietta's email. i have that here right now.. mertleverling@comcast.net. Good luck and happy cruising.
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Old July 12th, 2009, 11:27 PM
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I don't truly know which is the best but so far I like working with Carnival direct better. I have used three ways, booking online at the now out of business Cruise Value Center in East Brunswick NJ for many years, a travel agent, & Carnival and still like Carnival direct over all of them.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 11:48 AM
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In booking with a private TA, I find better deals as they try to squeeze you in under an existing group discount if available. I've gotten nice little perks by doing this; free OBC, free pictures, free upgraded room. Carnival TAs will not book you under an existing group (unless someone can tell us otherwise)
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Old July 13th, 2009, 05:29 PM
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This is my first post on Cruisemates, but I have been on 9 cruises.

I always book with friends who have been on 15+cruises. All on Carnival. They swear that booking directly through Carnival is the best way, but I'm not so sure. The last few times I booked, I went to the Carnival website and looked at the prices. While I had the website up, I called them to get a price. The prices are the same. It didn't matter that I was a past guest at all. It didn't matter that my friends have platinum status. There have been no upgrades, OBC, pictures or any other perks. (other than the carnival rep being very friendly and calling me sweety and honey) Every time I book, I ask for an upgrade to a better room or OBC but she always tells me that she is giving me the "best possible deal" Am I doing something wrong? I am thinking that next time I will try the travel agent.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 06:02 PM
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If you're booking directly with the cruise line you're paying more than you have to.

Many people love their PVPs, and swear by them. But, bottom line...you're booking with someone who works for the cruise line, not hiring a travel agent, who works for you.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 06:43 PM
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I wholeheartedly agree with the above poster, booking with a well established, local, travel agent affords you an opportunity to be included in a large group cruise already booked where the cruise cost will be less than if you booked on your own. Also, you will oftentimes receive coupons for complimentary drinks, photos, spa services, etc. The only times the upgrade fairy has smiled on me was when I booked through my T.A. Even if you cannot be included in a group cruise, you will receive personal service that is not available when booking online or over the phone and any discounts available thru the T.A. Booking with a Carnival agent directly affords you no discounts at all, they are there to book the staterooms at the prices listed online and in brochures, they don't have much wiggle room. An established travel agent who books tons of cruises will offer you the most discounted rate, specific room location, and dining time for you because they want to keep you as a customer. You do not pay a commission to the T.A. to book your cruise. Plus, if anything does go wrong on your cruise, you have the clout of a powerful travel agency backing you 100%. I love being able to sit across the desk from a live person when booking a cruise. I have been using AAA Travel for years and my T.A. knows exactly what my likes and dislikes are.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 08:18 PM
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After you do a bunch of cruises you can find everything you need to know somewhere on the net. Its fun. Pick your itinerary, ship/cabin, price/military,past guest,state,over55 and then call carny. If you have any questions you will get a answer right away. No need for a inbetween. Never had a problem or found a better price in 23 cruises with Carnival. All but 3 were balconys Never had a upgrade but almost all were military price and they are hard to beat right from the start. Always book a year to 8 month out. Our thing right now is 9A sometimes hard to get. Just make sure you don,t mix apples and oranges for your price.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 08:32 PM
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A friend of mine was showing me just this morning that you can get on delta.com and go to delta sky miles and then find cruises there. See link.

http://www.skymilescruises.com/default.asp?

The quoted rates seem lower than what I have found anywhere. I just checked and a lot of the available rooms from this morning are already sold out. Take a look and see what you think.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 08:41 PM
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Once you have a probelm, and your ta, has been proactive, and, in your corner, you will know how good it is to have a ta.....
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Old July 14th, 2009, 01:39 AM
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HI..

One other thing to check out is that some online travel/cruise sites charge a "processing fee" that might be non-refundable. Just double check that you get all the costs up front before you buy.

It is always fun to do your own research and find what you like then check around to see who gives you the best price and service!

Take care;

Lee & Kelli
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Old July 14th, 2009, 07:54 AM
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Kuki who do you use? Do you book direct or online with a travel agency? Does this site have their own travel agency we can trust?

I did not like the ones I spoke to in person here in Florida by my home. I found them pushy. That is why I switched to Carnival but if I can get a better deal I will use a TA again. Any suggestion anyone to which agency to use that we can trust and get a better deal than using Carnival alone?
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Old July 14th, 2009, 03:52 PM
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There are good and bad travel agents, but a good one is priceless. But, anyone who thinks that upgrades and other perk's are going to happen if they can just find the right agent is wrong. And asking for them doesn't work. We are Platinum and sometimes get perk's, sometimes not. Other than the automatic Platinum stuff, I mean. Last time, we were upgraded from inside guarantee to balcony. Didn't even know about it until the day before. But, we usually get whatever we paid for and that's it. But as long as I am on a ship, I'm happy.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 10:16 AM
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What's the difference between booking a cruise through an online agency and doing it in person? I've booked three cruises of my own and two for friends through the same online travel agency and I've never had any problems.

I personally like to do it online, but I see that some people like to have a person helping them out with their cruise. I've gotten nice deals online, but when I've checked Carnival's website I haven't seen the perks the other agency offers.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 11:05 AM
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I've used both a TA and VTG . In Canada I would prefer to use a TA.
Some provinces have insurance plans that all TA's have to be part off.
This plan covers the consumer in case that a TA takes your money
for a trip and goes bankrupt before they forward the deposit/payment
to the travel/cruise line.

This also protects you somewhat if your carrier goes bankrupt when ypur away on the trip.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 11:44 AM
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Ro, this is what Cruisinggrandma said a few posts up...

We went through the cruise planners that the cruisemates goes thru a lot to book groups. Cruiseplanners(Nancy Bogert, & her assistant Marrietta.


If you go to our home page, and click on the area for our Cruisemates group cruise,you will see all Nancys contact info....
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Old July 16th, 2009, 10:48 PM
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Thank You Trip for the tip. I will look into it as you suggested. Much appreciated!
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Old July 16th, 2009, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wakeboard
This is my first post on Cruisemates, but I have been on 9 cruises.

I always book with friends who have been on 15+cruises. All on Carnival. They swear that booking directly through Carnival is the best way, but I'm not so sure. The last few times I booked, I went to the Carnival website and looked at the prices. While I had the website up, I called them to get a price. The prices are the same. It didn't matter that I was a past guest at all. It didn't matter that my friends have platinum status. There have been no upgrades, OBC, pictures or any other perks. (other than the carnival rep being very friendly and calling me sweety and honey) Every time I book, I ask for an upgrade to a better room or OBC but she always tells me that she is giving me the "best possible deal" Am I doing something wrong? I am thinking that next time I will try the travel agent.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 10:26 PM
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I went to Nancy's ad on CM and sent her an e-mail .Its been 5 days and I have yet to receive a reply.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canes20 View Post
What do you think is the best way to book a cruise? Travel agent, Carnival direct, or is there a website that is consistantly priced lower?
Thanks for any info.
It's really up to you.

Keep in mind the cruise line agent will do what is best for the
cruise line not you.
Agents will go to bat for you if you have a problem with
company . They ar your rep with the cruise line. They will
do all they can to keep you as future client.
I've been with my TA since 2006.
All cruises expect one whrer thru her . One I did thru VTG because
she wasn't working ( dispute with agency principle)
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 11:16 AM
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Would suggest that you look at several alternatives for booking a cruise and before final selection check with the cruise line. It is my understanding that the cruise lines have priced the cruises the exact same price in order that all are on the same page however the agents have circumvented by offering extras such as on board credits champagne delivered to your room and also might roll the price into a group rate which comes into play with 15 booked passengers.For the record my cruise last month 7 day was booked with an outside discounter who also gave me a $140 hotel credit to use either pre or post in the city of departure and since the price was the same as others this was an easy decision. In the end the 14 category upgrade came from the cruise line as we got within 60 days of the sailing date and also under the guarantee cabin selection.Do your home work for the best deals and have a great cruise every time.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 10:37 PM
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We have always booked thru our TA. Paid a small down payment for the cruise of our choice and then paid along and along till it was paid off. She has handled all of the dealings with the cruise line, as well as taken care of future cruise vouchers, all documents, and discounts, as well as discounts for price reductions and has gotten us on board credits we wouldn't have known about. She has only charged us $25 for each cruise we've booked thru her. When I've tried to ask questions directly on the phone with Carnival I've been told whatever I wanted to hear only to find out it was lies. I'd go with my TA anyday..
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Old March 6th, 2011, 11:04 PM
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Our TA was awful .We are looking for a new one now.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 11:44 PM
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Henry, give Nancy a buzz...an oversight for sure..
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