I have a favourite cruise line "X" and normally use Travel agent "Y" . Last week another agency "Z" sent me a 4 page flyer listing 35 cruises on my favourite line at reduced prices.
I contacted my agent "Y" quoting the reduced prices on two particular cruises. When she replied her quote was $335 MORE than the flyer price. in each case $335 is quite a sum to pay extra. I contacted her again and explained I was not happy with the big difference in cost
Her reply was to tell me that her price was actualy better than the flyer because her price included included "free prepaid gratuities".!
I may not be Einstein when it comes to brains but paying an extra $335 for the cruise and receiving "complimentary" gratuities of $132 is not good maths.!
I could pay my own gratuities and buy quite few extra goodies like shore excusions with the other $203 plus few sherries before dinner.
I think it's impossible for any agent to have the best prices every time for every line. If the differences are minimal, and you have a good relationship, and get great service, in that situation I'd stick with the TA.
If the difference is significant (which seems to be the case on this one) I'd expect a good agent to tell you to take the deal, expecting you to be back when booking your next.