We're brand new to cruising--will be taking our first next summer. We're wondering about the value of Travel Agents. In the past, we've always book "regular" vacations ourselves and done fine. But on these boards, it appears many (most?) go through travel agents for cruises.
What are the advantages of using TAs over booking yourself? If we book directly with the cruiseline, won't we save ourselves at least the TA's commission? We don't mind doing legwork ourselves, but also don't want to sell ourselves short if there are other significant advantages to using a TA.
A good travel agent will steer you through uncharted waters, assist you in choosing a ship and itinerary that will be a good "fit" and act as a liaison between you and the cruise line in case of problems.
Also many of them will meet or get close to any pricing you find on-line.
Thank you. We've had some major frustrations with the cruiseline since my initial post. Seriously thinking about cancelling. Sounds like a fun trip, but we can't seem to get confirmation of the price they agreed to--have spoken to them four different times and gotten four different answers.
Would a travel agent be able to get written confirmation of a reservation and price? Or is it standard in the cruise business to be expected to take someone's word for things over the phone? We're talking a lot of money here, and we're gettting nervous. They also have our deposit...for which we have no receipt. Not a good first impression of cruising at all.
Do a little local research and find a cruise only travel agent or a TA who specializes in cruises at a larger vacation type TA. This is not one whereyou use the TA at the office who is real good at booking business airfare and hotels.
Talk to the TA and tell them you likes and dislikes (party,/ quiet; casual/formal,
sunand beach/histoic touring etc etc.) Will you have kids with you, family, singles, or older folks. Do you want structured dining , something in between or totally "freestyle".
Inside cabin, outside, balconey, suite. 3 day 4 day 7day 10 day 11day 14 day, around the world in 95 days? Do you want your own transpotation or use the cruiselines? Do you want pre or post stay time ? After 10 cruises I still use a TA to book . Yes I pretty much know what I want, but she always manages to dazzle me with something. (great airfare, a hotel suggestion etc.). You will pay the TA and walk out with a
receipt outlining the trip you are paying for. I have never seen a significant difference between what I have paid and ANY fare I've seen elsewhere.
Thanks to all for the comments. Got with a reputable TA today. They are taking over our reservation for us. TA will deal with the cruiseline, and we'll deal with the TA. TA said they would send us a receipt, etc. once they get the paperwork from the cruiseline. Lesson learned--will use TAs from now on. :-)
Won't we save the travel agen commision if we book direct with the cruiseline. the answer is a BIG NO. they charge you full fare if you book direct. If you book with a good agency and there are some excellent online ones that will keep giving you refunds or upgrades as the prices go down if they do. You will get an excellant price.
On my cruise this November I saved $400 pp over the cruise line web site price booking with a good online agency, and it has since gone down another $40pp which I got back.