I think the most single important thing to do when booking is make sure you find a really experienced cruise travel agent.
With new "flat pricing policies" by the majority of cruise lines, you might find prices pretty much the same everywhere, but as SS says, you might find an agent with group space, to save you a few dollars; as well as onboard credits or insurance to offer as amenities.
SS says "you give up control". That makes it sound like a bad thing. A good travel agent means you're letting someone else to do all the work, and worry (if something goes astray before, during, or after your cruise), and it costs you nothing extra.
The cruise lines can NEVER undercut the price a travel agent can offer. If they do, the travel agent is overcharging... and you should look for a different agent.
When using a travel agent it costs the passenger nothing! The cruise lines pay the commission.
Take a look at **edited by mod*** (many cruise travel agencies have online web sites where you can check pricing)
this is where you can see all prices all on the same
page and the prices you will see. The cruise line will
be the same price. The Triumph for Oct 15th 5 day
for $329. If you wait till Dec 11th Majic 7day $599
cheapest inside cabin. How I helped, Thanks Ed
Last edited by Kuki; March 14th, 2011 at 03:47 PM.
Although you may be seeking the lowest vacation package you can find, do not let that be the only determining factor to consider..... Since the cruiselines in general have leveled the playing field (or so they say, but I will dispute that !) you pretty much will find that any TA you are looking at is going to offer the same rates, but may be able to throw in some free perks to persuade you to book with them i.e. OBC, trip insurance, pre paid gratuities, wine, flowers, etc. that the cruiseline will not offer.
Also remember that even if you book your cruise thru a TA and they are technically in control of your booking, you still have someone to speak with regarding anything about your cruise. True, the cruiseline will not discuss the financials of your cruise with you if booked thru a TA or make any changes for you, but you do have a contact person still. And the beauty of working with a TA is that the majority of TA's DO NOT CHARGE a FEE for their services and can also assist with hotel, air, rental car and even tips and tricks about cruising and the ports of call you will be visiting....some of which a CCL rep. cannot do for you !
Now the key is to find a KNOWLEDGEABLE and HONEST TA that YOU are comfortable with. Be certain to question what fee's they may charge for cancellation or changes in your initial conversations and what their policy is regarding rate adjustments should you be eligible for any after your booking has been deposited on or paid in full.
A TA can be a valuable asset to you and in most cases not cost you anything at all.
Just as there are good TA's out there, we have some that give us a bad rap.... the key is to find one you are happy with and that can fufill your vacation planning needs.
Best of luck with your research and just remember that the LOWEST PRICE is not always the BEST PRICE ...... SERVICE is an important factor in the equation as well and is just as important too !
__________________ Your Travel "angel" ~~~ Curtis
"January" Blizzard Flavored Treat & Cake Of The Month "Strawberry CheeseQuake"
Last edited by fun2cruiz; March 14th, 2011 at 01:50 PM.
Also, if you are flexible and can "pack n go"....Carnival offers PackNGo rates every Wednesday and they are good through Friday....
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