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Old July 4th, 2012, 11:12 PM
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With so many new Carnival devotees, as part of CruiseMates now, I would like to ask a question, which we have bandied about for years now, booking with Carnival, or booking with a travel agent.

It seems to me, there is no other cruise line, that has more people booking directly,and I wonder why the draw?

What does the cruise line give you, that a good travel agent wouldn't do for you, and more? Being an advocate for any issue that might arise, vs, in many cases, just an order taker, that sometimes has never cruised. I asked that question of one years ago,and was surprised to hear she had never cruised.

So, always with Carnival...always a TA, or either or....

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Old July 4th, 2012, 11:18 PM
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I booked my first cruise with a travel agent. Not a local one, one I found through the internet that said if I called the 800 # I could get an onboard credit. She was wonderful until I made my final payment, then it was like I never existed.

My wife and I wanted to add our 2 year old granddaughter on our cruise, I could NOT get her to call us back for anything and RCCL would not help us because we booked through a travel agent.

My wife called RCCL, got a supervisor, who after hearing my wifes pleas, made a 3 way call with the agent, who still wouldn't pick up the call. The operator said she was on another line. The RCCL supv. finally got it worked out for me, if it wasn't for her, I am sure my granddaughter would not have been on our cruise.

After that experience honestly it soured us from using a travel agent, because of the hassle of us not being able to deal with the cruiseline itself.

Hope that makes sense, if not I apologize, I think I may have gotten too much sun today.
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Old July 4th, 2012, 11:20 PM
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I book with Carnival through my PVP. He is very good.
I have booked with TAs in the past. Since Carnival no longer allows TAs to discount the cruise price anymore the TA price is not any better than Carnival's. I had a few issues with Tas in trying to handle booking issues. My Carnival PVP has always been very helpful.
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Old July 4th, 2012, 11:46 PM
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I've booked several ways, with a TA, with a PVP, and directly form Carnival's site. Lately I don't see any advantage to booking with a TA, if you book directly through Carnival's site, or with a PVP, the confirmation that they send to you has a link where you can make direct payments. I kinda like that If you have a FCC to apply to your booking , you can do it yourself. If you've booked with a TA they have to do it. (at least the last time I booked with a TA they had to apply it I don't know if this has changed?)
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Old July 4th, 2012, 11:51 PM
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We have had the same online TA for the past 5 years. Not only do they match the price that Carnivall states, but we get a LOT of OBC! They are there each and every time we need them, weekday or weekend! Will be going for our fourth time on the Miracle this month with a $500.00 OBC! Sorry, but Carnival pvps cannot beat that!
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Old July 4th, 2012, 11:56 PM
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I wish I had a TA like that! I'm curious though how are they able to give you additional OBC when, from what I've been told, Carnival no longer discounts their cruises to the TA's?
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Old July 5th, 2012, 12:19 AM
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I always get a better price through TAs and no, they are supposed to, but they all do.
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Old July 5th, 2012, 12:28 AM
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I have booked with both a TA & through Carnival, had no problem with either. I like the OBC you get with a TA and it does make me feel good to know I have someone in my corner if needed.
$500.00 OBC? You must have booked many room on that cruise.
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Old July 5th, 2012, 12:39 AM
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I think Marc has to be te all time winner for obc's.....
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Old July 5th, 2012, 12:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiting4acruise View Post
I book with Carnival through my PVP. He is very good.
I have booked with TAs in the past. Since Carnival no longer allows TAs to discount the cruise price anymore the TA price is not any better than Carnival's. I had a few issues with Tas in trying to handle booking issues. My Carnival PVP has always been very helpful.
Well I agree with you ,to a point. Carnival keeps changing their website in order to gain more customer profit. Carnival also clamped down on TA's a few years back . Carnivals new policy was no one may offer rates cheaper than Carnival. What I am finding now , TA's have taken a cut to offer the same price that Carnival offers . As well as another cut to offer their customers an OBC ( on board credit ) it may not be much perhaps twenty five dollars .

TA's had to do something in order to survive . Are thay fairing well now?
Border line, Carnival owns to many cruise lines ,so the better part of the market will sail Carnival in the long run, they don't have a choice.

I've booked both ways and I have booked direct , I tend to lean toward the TA in the near future . I'm finding better room location and OBC with a TA. Carnival will charge you more for the same room . .

Just my thoughts .

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Old July 5th, 2012, 01:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip View Post
With so many new Carnival devotees, as part of CruiseMates now, I would like to ask a question, which we have bandied about for years now, booking with Carnival, or booking with a travel agent.

It seems to me, there is no other cruise line, that has more people booking directly,and I wonder why the draw?

What does the cruise line give you, that a good travel agent wouldn't do for you, and more? Being an advocate for any issue that might arise, vs, in many cases, just an order taker, that sometimes has never cruised. I asked that question of one years ago,and was surprised to hear she had never cruised.

So, always with Carnival...always a TA, or either or....
I would definitely not book with a TA if you book ES rates. Every time you are entitled to a reduction you must contact your ta and get them to submit the form.

Some drag their feet because when you get a rate reduction the ta loses commission.

Some charge a fee. Much easier booking direct.

Bill
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Old July 5th, 2012, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerogirl View Post
I have booked with both a TA & through Carnival, had no problem with either. I like the OBC you get with a TA and it does make me feel good to know I have someone in my corner if needed.
$500.00 OBC? You must have booked many room on that cruise.
Just one aft-wrap on the Miracle. Price was the same as on Carnival but our TA gives great OBC!
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Old July 5th, 2012, 11:13 AM
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For the first 5 years of cruising with Carnival, we booked through a Travel Agent. (hubby always used the same Travel Agent for all his single cruises in the 1980's and 1990's)

Then in 2003, we had a small issue on a cruise and "Uncle Bob" wrote me that he was "hand picking" a PVP to contact me with a offer on a future cruise.

That PVP did indeed call .... we took them up on the offer .... and used him for 7 years until he left to become the Director of Sales for Oceania.

He was wonderful. We still stay in touch on Facebook....and will be having drinks when we come down for the Blogger's Cruise in January.

Before he left, he gave me the name of the PVP that covered for him when he was on vacation....who is also wonderful. (In fact, I am hoping he will come on the 2 day cruise on the Breeze in November).

BUT now we are trying something a little different. When possible, we book with our PVP and then transfer it to a Travel Agent who has become a cruise friend over the years.

That way my PVP still gets credit as does the Travel Agent.

There used to be a lot of incentive for cruisers to use Travel Agents because they could "kick back" part of their commission to reduce the price of the cruise or in the form of OBC.

Carnival kinda put the lid on this a few years back because (naturally) the larger Travel Agencies were able to kick back more than smaller ones.
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Old July 5th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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hi! We just booked our 3rd Carnival cruise. We booked completely on line. Before the first cruise I started to do the TA route, but I take a long time to decide on things and they drove me crazy calling and calling and calling. I switched to using a PVP at Carnival for that and the next cruise, but this year when I started researching on line THEY kept calling. I hate to be rushed. so, booked on line. we'll see how it goes
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Old July 5th, 2012, 12:30 PM
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The TAs I use don't charge anything extra and the bottom line price is always better. As for ES - all I do is email the TA, and they do the rest including beating Carnival into submission if there is a disagreement. With ES rates, it does mean incentives are floating until the final cruise price is known.
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Old July 5th, 2012, 01:36 PM
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For our upcoming cruise we used a TA for the first time. She gave us $100 off our cabin... but I'm really not sure it was worth the stress of not having control of everything. (not to mention she really fell short of expectations on customer service) I don't think I'll be using one again.
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Old July 5th, 2012, 02:14 PM
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I have a PVP that I've been working with for about 8 years. She's absolutely wonderful and when we booked our last cruise with a TA, I felt like I was cheating on her. The only reason I booked with the TA was because it was a group cruise.

We almost always book the Early Saver rate and had nothing but trouble with this via the TA. Now it could be that it was a large group and she was completely overwhelmed, but I really like having the control to do these things myself. Plus booking direct, I can see at any time exactly what I still owe, what my current price is, and what OBC I have (I usually have Shareholder and FCC credit at a minimum..and sometimes ES credits).

I'm not opposed to using a TA...I used to be one myself so I would love to support a good one...but since I have a wonderful PVP at Carnival I don't see the need to stray when I book Carnival. We are booked with a TA for our 2014 Princess cruise though!
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Old July 5th, 2012, 03:14 PM
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Better to deal direct. Why insert a middleman?
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Old July 5th, 2012, 04:14 PM
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We have used the same Carnival PVP for our past 14 Cruises. He is always available and very helpful and as a Carnival Employee he has been able to easily solve any issues that have come up.
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Old July 5th, 2012, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
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We have used the same Carnival PVP for our past 14 Cruises. He is always available and very helpful and as a Carnival Employee he has been able to easily solve any issues that have come up.
That is why I like my Carnival PVP.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 02:31 PM
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If you know what you are doing and understand all the rates, it is just as easy to book directly anymore.
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Old July 6th, 2012, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruise Cat View Post
If you know what you are doing and understand all the rates, it is just as easy to book directly anymore.
So true! In fact, from the stuff I've learned on the message boards I feel like I know more than my PVP. She laughs when she has to read me all the disclaimers when booking...says "as you know...".
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Old July 6th, 2012, 05:21 PM
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Interesting that we're discussing this now.... Carnival has announced a change to their TA partnership policies which will no longer allow rebating or the giving of OBC. Effective 8-1-12
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Old July 6th, 2012, 05:45 PM
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I wonder why, if a ta would willingly reduce their comission, why any line could object? Sounds like they really want to remove a ta from the booking equasion?
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Old July 6th, 2012, 05:51 PM
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The stuff I read on a couple travel industry sites sound like they're trying to make it an even playing field for the little guys to compete w/ the big agencies. It's obviously early, but sounds like the travel agent groups are happy with it. (Course the big guys probably won't complain publicly about one of their biggest suppliers either)
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Old July 7th, 2012, 08:49 AM
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I have a wonderful PVP that I have used for over 8 years. I use to book with a TA but I like having control of my booking and prefer to book directly with the cruise line for this reason.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 05:27 PM
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I usually book through a TA as we get an onboard credit for doing so. I book early saver and he submits the forms for me, but as the price goes down, so does our OBC. I really wonder though when Aug 1 rolls around and TA's aren't able to give OBC if we will continue to book with him.

I am inclined to think we will as he gives us great service, but the agency is not open on Sunday. He also has insurance that is better as far as we are concerned than what Carnival offers and it is less expensive than what is offered on insuremytrip.com.

It's going to be interesting to see what will really happen with the changes.
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Old July 7th, 2012, 05:53 PM
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Katie, August first should bring many commements from our Cruisemates for sure! If I might ask, what insurance company does he book with you for your low rate?
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Old July 8th, 2012, 08:47 AM
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we book with TA to get a little OBC that you do not get with Carnival PVP. same price and a little money back makes it a no brainer for us.
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Old July 8th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
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Katie, August first should bring many commements from our Cruisemates for sure! If I might ask, what insurance company does he book with you for your low rate?
He gets us Travelex insurance. We are older people so the rates for us are higher than the young people, but this insurance is a lot better coverage-wise than Carnival's regular insurance.
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