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Old February 20th, 2014, 11:24 AM
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Default prospecting for a deal...

We (Wife and me) are thinking about booking our first cruise for late April. I went to CC website and filled out some info, but stopped short of purchasing, so I could see what the total was. We have yet to decide if we want to do a 3/4/5 day trip.

Anyways, the next day I got a phone call from Carnival, they left a message asking if they can help finish my reservation. At first I was a little annoyed, but then I thought maybe this can work in my favor. What are the chances of getting a deal through talking to the "agent" directly? either a reduced rate or ?

Money is a deciding factor, to spend so much on something we have no clue if we will even enjoy it. Any secrets to getting great deals, like the pins used by Disney World when you book?

Thanks for your time.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 02:42 PM
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First, you NEVER want to book directly with the cruise line. If you have any problems, who do you think they represent? It's certainly not you! Use a travel agent, preferably a cruise specialist. They will give you the exact same deal offered by the cruise line and often will be able to make it better. Plus, they charge nothing for their services! It makes sense to utilize them because should you have any problems, they represent you and have contact information and resources not available to you. I could give you dozens of examples, but trust me when I say an agent can be so much better for you. Keep in mind that the person at the cruise line works in call center, is not a certified travel agent, usually has only worked for the cruise line for less than six months, and most of the time, they've never even been on a cruise. So their knowledge is limited to selling you a cruise. An agent is not there to sell you anything; they're there to provide as much information as you need to make an informed decision. Plus, they can give you information on all the cruise lines, not just one.

And yes, I'm obvious prejudice on the matter, but if I weren't an agent, knowing what I know now, I would only use an agent to book my travel because I know what they can do that the cruise lines can't/won't do to help me when needed.

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Old February 20th, 2014, 04:13 PM
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Not to dive to deeply into this, but I gotta ask. How does a travel agent make money if the purchaser does not pay them?
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Old February 20th, 2014, 07:50 PM
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They get paid a commission on the sale by the cruise line. As I mentioned, you pay the same or less with an agent, but you have them on your side and it cost you nothing for their services, which is why it's always a good idea to use a reputable agent. Plus, you're supporting a small business who wants your repeat business and referrals, so they'll work hard to assist you.

And just so you know, they don't get a commission on the entire amount you pay.

The price you see advertised is actually made up of two amounts; the cruise fare and the port fees (also referred to as NCF's or non-commissionable fares). Commission is only paid on the cruise fare and not the NCF's.

Of course, on top of the advertised fare, you pay taxes - those are almost always shown as a separate line item in the overall quote for a cruise.

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Old February 20th, 2014, 07:52 PM
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Just my 2 cents, I would never book through a cruiseline when you can go through a good travel agent. Just makes more sense to have someone look after your booking and help with questions and possible problems...Especially, when it doesn't cost you anything..
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Old February 20th, 2014, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpartanKen View Post
Not to dive to deeply into this, but I gotta ask. How does a travel agent make money if the purchaser does not pay them?
Here is a basic example, not exact but it explains the point: Say the cruise fare is $500. If you book directly with Carnival, you pay $500 to Carnival directly and Carnival keeps the $500, and then uses part of it to pay the salary of the person you talked to on the phone. If you book with an agent, Carnival still gets the $500 but then they send a percentage of it to the agent as their sales commission. The bottom line is you are still paying $500 no matter where you bought the cruise.

Also - the person on the phone is not going to give you a special deal to close the sale. They can offer you the set cruise prices for the particular cruise you want, nothing more or less. They do not work like a car salesman does. Whatever prices they have access to are also available to any travel agent. Those are Carnival's own rules.

I've taken several dozen cruises over the years. I know what I like and could book my own without any issues because 'I've been there and done that'. Yet, after all those cruises I still have a cruise agent handle my bookings. She looks out for me and my best interests, gets me perks when she can, and is my advocate. Here is how I book my cruises....I figure out what I want, send an e-mail to my agent saying 'book this cruise, and this cabin category'. That's it. Within a day I get an e-mail back with my booking confirmation attached.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 09:38 PM
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OK, so I got the get an agent thing down. lol.

With that said, do you often get a better deal (via the agent) then what the carnival website shows? I just want to know, for logistical reasons for my wallet or if should just expect to pay the price the CC site has. And I am just talking for the cruise, not airfare or hotels.

Thanks for the info, btw!

Ken
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Old February 20th, 2014, 10:00 PM
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First, almost all the cruise lines require everyone to advertise the same cruise for the same price. However, sometimes an agent has group space they can book you into that will either provide a lower rate or some amenities not offered by the cruise line.

Plus, if the rate goes down after you've booked, your agent will most of the time be able to get the lower rate for you, provided final payment has not yet been made.

Pete
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Old February 21st, 2014, 08:53 AM
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The true value of a good travel agent is when something goes wrong in your travel plans...an established travel agent will do everthing they can to resolve your issue because they value your long term relationship plus they have resources within the system that you do not

I always bring my travel agent a small thank you gift from my cruise and refer anyone that ask me, to her,
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