Lol..........okay Ernie. I admit I know nothing about group travel rates. But as an individual, I will continue to explore my options when purchasing cruise tickets. I do absolutely know that it was thru my efforts of monitoring RCCL and Celebrity websites that we saved 1500 off what our T/A charged us on our last 2 cruises. I found the savings...not my T/A. RCCL and Celebrity refunded the savings to our credit card. We always book our cruise at least a year in advance and feel we get a good deal. It's usually the airfare that adds drastically to the cruise price. All I quess I am trying to say is that I think cruisers need to really monitor things for themselves to a degree. Let's agree on one simple fact..Travel agencies are in the business to make money and comsumers are in the business of saving money. Don't get me wrong, I am NOT asking for something for nothing but do want the best deal. There is nothing wrong in using a T/A but I would NEVER take everything they say as fact anymore that I would dealing with any salesman. Am I wrong in thinking that T/A's work on commission? I WISH there was no wheeling and dealing..I wish there was ONE fair price for the accomadations you want. It is ridiculous the hugely different amounts we pay for the same service. JUST give everyone a fair price and stick to it. It does bother me when T/A's always say "we are the way" and that "the traveller can't do it without us". Give people more credit than that. Ernie...couple weeks ago T/A's protested something by not answering their phones for a couple hours...what was that about? Also PLEASE don't say that people are going to get ripped off if they choose to not use a T/A. Ernie as I tried to illustrate is my last post...everyone is replaceable. I think at one time, years ago, T/A's were the only way to go but now the T'A's just can not give you the deals and perks they use to be able to do due to Cruise lines taking that ability away from them. In closing let me say, if you want a T/A then by all means use one BUT don't let T/A's or any salesman convince you that you will suffer if you decide to go it on your own. Thanks....also Ernie thanks for not using the PT B quote....laughing
I guess we all have to deal with the fact that the travel industry is much like the car industry. You can go to a dealership that says they have non-negociable pricing if you don't want to haggle. But you are not getting the best price available. If you book through the cruise lines websites you will not get the best possible price. That might be okay with you if you don't want to do the research and be willing to ask the questions.
A tip to get a good price. Call at least three different cruise only agencies. Give them three different names for the reservation. Ask for prices on the exact same cruise. You will get three different prices. There is no set in stone price from the cruise line. It is supply and demand combined with relationships with travel agencies that influence prices.
Surely, everyone will not get a group rate. I have to disagree with you about the website price being the highest....I have not found that to be the case. Our neighbor checked with with a T/A and was told in order to get a group rate discount 15 had to travel and the discount would be 1 of the 15 free.....then divide the savings for one with the group......I don't see any good savings there. I do agree that you have to SHOP around. As a group I assume you would save something but as an individual I don't think you will see any difference in the Celebrity site and a T/A. I called 4 different T/A's and got the same price. Group I guess is different. Celebrity pays millions of dollars a year to maintain their website.......If a T/A can get you better why do they pay that money?
Stanley, You still don't have a concept of how this works. Sometimes the group rates given by the cruise line to agencies is cheaper in addition to the TC ( that is the free berth you refer to ) Many agencies book far in advance and are given terrific rates via the group department and then they sell those cruises to individuals. There are also preferred agencies that are given special rates on all bookings so even the price to the various agencies varies. It should never be more than on the web site. Basically, as a client, you don't even need to know if this is done as a group originally. It is just another means of pricing. I really don't think you are going to understand this so don't know why I'm even trying.
You are right, I don't understand why people think a T/A is the ONLY way to go.....I would never put all my faith in a salesperson.....by definition (salesperson) the more you pay...the more they make. And thats okay. Are you saying EVERYONE can get group travel rates??? hummmmmm. I hope I have'nt said dont use a T/A.....dont mean that......just saying explore other options before you commit. Next cruise I will check out the group rate theory.....and other options...cause I can not see how EVERYONE can book at group rates. Which T/A's are blessed by the cruise lines with cheaper rates? This is getting out of hand....all I have been trying to say is.....recognize that a T/A is a salesperson working on commission......DON"T put T/A's on pedestals......Talk to a T/a.....compare to the web price....monitor price deductions at the web site instead of waiting for your T/A to tell you the price is down 400 which equates to a cut in T/A's commission . Sounds like some here pray to their T/A...lol....I just can't believe that EVERYONE can get a group rate...so what about us who can't...
I don't choose or have the time to keep on with this. Suffice to say, if you buy the cruise directly from the cruise line, you may be paying too much, but you will never know. For the final time, Travel Agents across the Country consistently, repeat, consistently off cruises, like to like, at better rates than can be obtained from the cruise line itself on an individual booking. You seem not to want to accept this. If somewhere along the line you saved money by buying direct it only means that you made a poor choice in t/a's or, more likely, the price was reduced after your original booking. Most cruise lines and t/a's will protect you to the lowest price, BUT, most cruise lines will only make last minute rates available to new bookings. In any case, good luck!
My heavens... are you thick? For the LAST time, the t/a will meld you into an already existing group... NOT create a special one for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Must t/a's have hundreds of groups set up and hundreds more through their consortium affiliation.
Regarding group rates, we have always booked our cruises through an internet T.A. We found this website through various other cruise websites. We have found that their offered prices on specific cruises have been incredibly low. I have built a solid relationship with this company and one particular agent, and she explained how it works. They book blocks of cabins on a particular cruise with a specific cruise line and they are given a "group rate". Then this T.A. discounts the fee another 5%...thus giving the customer an outstanding rate. Because they do so much business with only cruise lines, they can afford to take the additional discount. They pass it onto their customers and it's a win-win situation. We KNOW that we have gotten great rates. We are talking another cruise in 13 days, and have a Sky Suite, and have paid a lower rate than an outside cabin. We also take the responsibility to stay in constant contact with our T.A. and monitor different rates on other cruise sites, in case the rates change. The T.A. has never failed us yet, and our loyalty to them speaks volumns.