Where can I go to check Costa prices? They are one of the few lines that don't post their prices on their web site? I understand that the prices out there now are terrific and I am booked on the Atlantica for 2/24/02 and would like to know if I can get a better price before I make my final payment.
I'd suggest you check with your t/a. If you are going to any cruise line's web sites to find "best" prices, you're not seeing the "best" prices... far from it! Also, I think the key word here is value. You should love the CostaAtlantica, she's a great vessel, really!
Ernie.........you sure do push people toward a T/A.....I think it would be nice to see what the prices are in other arena's also so that when you can make an educated decision. To Carol I say...good for you to explore all price markets before deciding.
Well... a cruise line's web site is the last place I'd go to get the best value or, for that matter, best price, on a cruise... regardless of the line. Remember the old saying... "a lawyer who represents himself in court has a fool for a client". I can say, and am sure others with second it, that you will NEVER get the best value/price for a cruise on a line's site, period. It is sort of like going to a car dealership and reading the window sticker prices. If that is your cup of tea, so be it. I really don't think this is a matter of opinion or, perhaps, predisposition. It's just a fact.
Ernie.....I have always checked the Cruise Lines website before purchasing and the price has always been the same at our T/A. Always as the cruise has gotten nearer, the website reflected lower fares....armed with that we call our T/A and get the lower price....hummmmmm maybe we need a new T/A. We use C&I Travel. We have'nt booked a group rate yet....maybe be a few dollars cheaper. Friends of ours were told by carnival that if 15 booking were made....1 would be free. That doesnt sound like much of a savings. Unfortunately not all T/As will be as professional as you. I would think that if our fare goes down...their commission goes down. Maybe no prob if you are using a full service T/A but I dont think its in a discount T/As best interest if our fare goes down. JUST as I would.nt but a car at sticker price or the first car I looked at......I always explore as many avenues as possible when pricing a cruise. From my experience...the T/A isnt always cheaper than the Cruise Lines own web site......never been higher either .
On this one I have to go with Ernie. If your TA isn't quoting a better price than the cruise line's web site, you're simply using the wrong TA.
Nothing wrong with tracking the cruise line web sites for price reductions after you book, but a good TA will also do that for you, and pass along the discounts.
Those who book directly with the cruise lines won't get the best prices or the service a good TA provides.
Ernie.. don't use the "lawyer analogy" though.. dont think u have another TA book your cruises do u?
Jon, I agree. Like a lot of businesses now, once you have paid they forget you. Lets never lose sight of the fact that T/A's are sales-people. Naturally, they will always claim that they are the way. Thats okay,,just doing business. But as consumers, as when you make any major purchase....SHOP around. I am not saying don't use T/A's. I am sure there are good ones out there....just as sure that there are bad ones. You protect yourself and get the best deal by realizing that they are sellers and you are buyers. I would never consider a T/A my "friend" but rather someone I am doing a transaction with. Buyer beware and check all your options before committing. I have seen posts on these boards where cruisers say their T/A is their "best friend"......that is scary lol. Buyer beware! Believe it or not, if you decide to go it on your own...it aint that hard . I know best how to spend my money. Not coming down on T/A's but am tired of "scare" posts by some T/A's that say you can't get the best price unless you use a T/A. Explore all options......T/A's are in business to make money and we are trying to save money . If you think your T/A provides good service then of course use them but never be afraid to research. However, a lot of the posts I see on all boards about price going down was found by the cruiser and the T/A did'nt take action on the savings until the cruiser called the T/A. (????) I think in a lot of cases, once you have committed to a price, most T/A's are not going to check periodically for reductions. Would'nt that reduction cut their commission?
Well... first, I cannot imagine ANY circumstance in which a t/a's price is the same or higher than the cruise lines. If you see this, then you havve the wrong t/a... regardless of the cruise line, period.
Second, most t/a's who do a volume cruise business offer you group prices based on existing promotional or affinity or consortium groups that you do not know exist. You probably will have no knowledge that you are part of a group booking... none at all... but you will get significant savings over an FIT (individual booking).
Think of an auto dealership. When you go to a cruise line's web site, you are looking at the sticker on the car window in the showroom. Wanna pay that price? Sure, some do... but, I'll tell you, any good t/a will get you a much better value (the key word here is "value") than you will ever get directly through the cruise line.
What seems to be missing from your equation, Rick, is that we (t/a's) cannot stay in business selling you once. We need you to come back again and again. We love price reductions... absolutely love them... to many clients, we become hero's! Do the math. What is the big difference to us in commissions with a $100 or more reduction pp in a cabin... as compared to keeping a client over the long term?
Another thing... we have our "A" list... which I think you will NEVER be on, for any t/a... what's the "A" list? Well... when the cruise line calls us with a "problem sailing"... a sailing they need help on, and we, as major suppliers to the line, get the super deals (hush hush), you can be sure you will NEVER hear of them. We send these out to our loyal clients. People not on these lists, who will switch agents to save $10, are on the ships, and hear others talking of these fabulous deals and wonder how they got them. Well... one way is by developing a mutually beneficial relationship with a good t/a. The t/a and client are not adversaries as you seem to think... we are agents for you... and for the cruise line, trying to broker the best value for the client.
I agree with all of yu and thik it is a good idea to shop around. However, I have committed to a certain cruise because of an illness last year and are taking it this year. How can I check Costas prices if they aren't on line? And if they ARE lower since 911, should I be entitled to that lower rate if I haven't made final payment?
Carol... forgive me, but why isn't your t/a doing this for you? He or she is a travel professional who can quickly get firm answers to those very reasonable questions... rather than your posting them here, expecting answers from people you don't know and whose knowledge you have no way of assessing. I really don't understand.
Carol... your t/a is quite right. It is interesting. On Costa, as well as most other lines, since the September 11th horror, prices have dropped dramatically on select sailings with lots of space available. However, they have remained the same on most sailings that have been more or less full... which may well be the case on your date.