Travel Agents-Not always necessary for me. (long post)
Before reading keep in mind that I'm speaking about my needs personally and I'm not knocking other peoples needs or feelings whatsoever.
I know this post might anger some people, but I wanted to state my opinion because more than one of my posts has been replied to with a simple "use a travel agent". Well, I really don't think travel agents are the end all be all. There was certainly a time when it was beneficial but these days anyone with a computer, telephone and 1/2 a brain should be able to accomplish most, if not all, travel arrangements. Even on overseas trips the mainstream hotels and tourist sites have English speaking employees on hand if they want to stay in business. I guess if you were booking some exotic trip to the 3rd world a TA might be worth the extra expense (their not really free anymore; there is always some hidden fee that they don't tell you upfront). Or newbie and group travelers might benefit from them too. Or people with special needs, language barriers, disabilities and the like. Or maybe if you were looking for some ultra-cheapo vacation. Again I'm only speaking about my needs. There can be a 100 reasons to use a TA and a 100 reasons not to.
When I booked my cruise I had no problem whatsoever calling HAL directly. 99% of my questions were answered on their website. I've also checked out other cruiseline websites and all seem pretty user friendly, even providing online booking services; something that HAL does not do unless you've cruised with them previously. I'm not sure if it would have been as smooth for me if I had air connections to make (I embark/disembark in my home city) but even that doesn't strike me as that difficult.
I just wanted to respond to those one-line pronouncements of "you should have used a travel agent" or "use a travel agent next time". My first thought with those posts is it must be the travel agents themselves trying to drum up business. I'm more inclined to listen I guess if they would give a reason as to why I should have used a travel agent because of a simple question about a passport.
In closing, I guess in all the years I've used TA's, I never walked away with a completely satisfied feeling....I was always left thinking to myself: "I could have done that."
i hear what you are say but here is my opinion i know some computer
put i don't know enough that is why i personal go to throu a travel agent
i need to have a person to help me with things i have avery helpfull travel
agent i'm glad you can do things for yourself some times i need help to have my independence
I agree that people who want to "do-it-themselves" can very easily book their own cruise (or anything else).
But I identify more with Denise (paddletoe53). We're just more comfortable with a good TA who can run "interference" for us. Yes, my TA does charge a very small fee, but she disclosed it up front (the first thing we were told) and we were willing to pay it .
Our TA for our second and third cruises was wonderful, but when I went in to book a NCL cruise you would have thought I was asking to go to the moon! I found our current TA, who is a cruise specialist, and she was very specific about what to expect on a NCL cruise. Since we are very easy going, laid back people, she said we would like NCL. I've e-mailed her with all kinds of "stupid" questions and had an answer within a few hours. IMO, a good TA is worth the "extra fee" and her/his weight in gold
I guess I just have "half a brain" .
Each to their own ,
"A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour."
Carnival Inspiration 2002 Carnival Elation 2004
Grand Princess 2004 NCL Sun 2005
Sun Princess 2006 NCL Dream 2007
Caribbean Princess 2007 NCL Dawn 2008
Island Princess 2008 Island Princess 2009
Golden Princess 2009 Carnival Conquest 2010
Grand Princess 2010 Island Princess 2011
Grand Princess 2011 Carnival Magic 2012
Carnival Dream 2012 Island Princess 2013
Carnival Magic 2013 Carnival Legend 2014
Sea Princess 2014
for me personally a good travel agent is worth her/his weight in gold. You will never know how truly beneficial a TA can be until you need their services and advise, advise that is where a good TA will rise above the others.
TA's have insider professional access to the cruise lines that you nor I can get.
I’m not sure if I’m expecting too much from a Travel Agent. We booked a cruise through an online travel agency (one that advertises in this site). The price was supposed to be $750 under listed price due to a credit card incentive if the cruise and flight were charged in full to the card on the day of booking. After booking I checked prices again against what the TA sent as confirmation. On second look, the cruise itself cost exactly what it would have been going through the cruise line. However, when checking air fares again, the TA cost we about $120 per ticket over what I found on Expedia. Unfortunately I had agreed to the price because it was lower than my first look, and I am told that I am stuck with these tickets because they are non refundable and had already been charged to my card. I could change them, but the transfer cost would eat up any savings.
The reservation was made in August. The cruise is in April 2006. I have only heard once from the TA and that was to tell me the flight times would not be set until March.
This is our first time using a TA, but under these circumstances, things would have been less expensive doing things on my own. Perhaps as we get closer to the cruise it will make more sense. I may also have been better off with a local TA rather than an online booking.
File this under "maybe it's just me" or perhaps "hindsight is always 20/20" In any event, we are really looking forward to the trip. If all goes well, it will probably still be a bargian considering everything there is to do.
I'm glad Seattleguy was able to book and not have any problems, changes, etc...For myself, I just wouldn't ever book unless with a good travel agent. There is a poster that is here asking for some help, because her cruise is 13 days away and no docs....they didn't book with an agent and don't know who to call to check into it....its just always nice to be able to call or e-mail an agent with any concerns and its taken care of, plus I don't think you pay and more to use a travel agent, in fact in a lot of cases, you can get some extra things along with booking with them, including ship board credits, cocktail parties, etc.
I booked our Liberty cruise in April when Carnival sent me an email about a free 2 category upgrade for booking that day. We did and got a great room at a much lower price. I then asked on a TA web site if anyone wanted to take the booking for a reduction in price. A TA took it over and saved me $200 to boot! Nope! You wouldn't have gotten that savings by asking the cruiseline to give it to you.
Book me on your next cruise and enjoy your personal punching bag.
First time cruiser, but I booked directly with Carnival, so far it has gone smoothly. Carnival agent reduced my fare by $180.00 when Carnival had a sale going on. I travel allot, business and pleasure, and have only used a TA once (1979 to Vegas). Since then I have always used Expedia or booked directly with hotels, airlines, etc. Maybe I am just lucky but I like to have control of what I do.