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  #1 (permalink)  
Old October 3rd, 2007, 11:28 PM
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Default How best to book?

Three couples want to book Ziederdam in Feb.
Holland America (on the phone) would offer no discounts off the price on the web. And wouldn't gtd price until we booked.
We can get cheaper on Expedia. Should we book with Expedia, or Orbitz or such? Or should we find a TA? We want to book cruise and air? We need advice.
Also, the Holland America website says the dining rooms are closed or waitlisted? Are we really gtd a table? We need advice.
Anyone ever book through USAA?

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old October 4th, 2007, 11:52 AM
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The highest price will likely be directly with the cruiseline. You can probably do just as good with a TA rather than Expedia, Orbitz, etc. Plus they can link your reservations if you want to eat together, maybe even offer shipboard credits, etc. Be careful when booking online...read the fine print BEFORE you book. some charge fees for changes/cancellations, etc.

Personally, I'd book my own air - that way you have control over what flights you get. I always liked flying in the day before/stay a day later. It's less stressful.

Never heard of anyone not getting a table, but you might be waitlisted for the particular time you want. If you see the maƮtre d' once you board you may be able to change that based on availability.
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Old October 4th, 2007, 12:05 PM
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Definitely book with a Cruise Travel Agent!

From my personal experience I've never found Expedia or Travelocity to offer the best prices available. You may want to check out some of the cruise travel agents who advertise on our site for quotes. These are large, reliable agencies.

The thing to remember is that because of cruise line pricing policies, regarding advertising, you can no longer get the best available price by simply surfing web sites. You'll get lower prices by requesting quotes via email or phone call.
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Old October 4th, 2007, 02:35 PM
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in the past I have try booking directly with the cruise line and through a TA, I felt more comfortable with the TA, I was speaking in person with the TA . If there were problem I go see her and get it fix,
With the cruise line on the phone , a couple of times I was put on whole
and sometimes you are not speaking to the same person so you have to explain it again to a different person. Find a Good TA and stay with them!!
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Old October 4th, 2007, 04:02 PM
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I vote TA too. First you have someone to yell at if things go wrong. The TAs I have used are more like dogs with bones and they won't let go of something until they get satisfaction,,therfore you get satisfaction. As far as HAL,,I am booked for a cruise on the Eurodam. I did fake bookings through HALS site, through another site which I can't remember (expedia or something) and went to the travel agent who got a better price for the same cabin got some shipboard credit and got me an upgrade all at the same time.
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Old October 4th, 2007, 07:58 PM
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Your TA is always looking out for your best interests, and will work for you with any sort of issues that will arise..trust the posters.... Find a good cruise TA, you won't be sorry.
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Old October 4th, 2007, 09:08 PM
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Ford Racing Ron - is it possible on this website to give the name of a TA? Probably not. We are in Southern Orange County & the only TA's I have recommendations for do Oceania not HAL. Bummer!
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Old October 5th, 2007, 10:57 AM
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I don't know if its legal or not,,so I sent you a PM with the information .
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Old October 5th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_Racing_Ron
I don't know if its legal or not,,so I sent you a PM with the information .
Ron,

It is perfectly fine to PM someone if you are answering or recommending a TA for someone who has asked for a recommendation.

You just can't do it on the boards. I actually wish we could BUT there are a number of unscrupulous Travel Agents who will start threads asking about TA's, writing their own advertisement, in the form of a post, or spamming the boards.

We are also supported by advertisers (legitimate) and it sure isn't fair for someone to receive "free ads" in the form of posts while they have to pay.

If anyone receives a PM from someone, that you believe is spamming you, you should report the username to customer-service@cruisemates.com. We don't like that and will take care of the person but an answer to a question is just fine.

BTW: Use the travel agent. I did book one cruise through Travelocity because it was the first and last time they actually had the best price.

I didn't need any personal service, even though I made the booking over the phone. By doing that and asking questions I received a discount and additional stuff that I wouldn't have received online. This was in 2002 on the SS Norway. That was a number of cruises ago.

Take care,
Mike
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Old October 10th, 2007, 08:42 PM
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I would suggest a TA , especially if you need to book airfare as well.
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Old October 18th, 2007, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doopydozer


I would suggest a TA , especially if you need to book airfare as well.
I agree wholeheartedly with you. A TA will be there to look out for your best interests simply because she will want not just this booking, but many future ones with you. Also, if she serves you well, you are likely to recommend her to your friends ... which means even more business. The cruise lines don't necessarily have that motivation. I'm not saying booking with the cruiseline directly is a bad thing, but you do lose that extra layer of protection.

Remember, any TA (including the cruise line) can serve your needs fine when everything is going well. It's when there are problems that having a good TA will be a true Godsend.

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Old October 18th, 2007, 06:22 PM
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Thank you everyone. We found a TA, we are booked. It was the best way to go. She dealt with each of us individually and answered all our questions. We will pick out our flights and go through the TA instead of the cruiseline. The TA warned us about cruise line flights. Thank you again!
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Old October 19th, 2007, 10:32 AM
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TA vs Cruisline for flights.....probably since I live near Los Angeles and therefore LAX, I have had perfect luck with the cruislines choice of flights (going through my TA of course). So I have used the cruisline. I suspect the fares are not that much different unless you want to go buisiness or first class,,then the cruilines will really get you. I saw that now,,but when i go to Copenhagen next year I will see what they do to me with that one.....
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Old October 21st, 2007, 05:29 PM
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Ford_Racing_Ron, I think the main problem people have with cruiseline flight booking is weird routing, long layovers, inconvenient flight times, etc. The cruiselines book to make the largest profit for themselves.... the TA books for the best deal for the traveller as they want you to use them again.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 03:23 PM
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Arkiegal,,,,,I know. Thats why I say I must really have luck on my side going through the cruisline. As I stated I have only been on 3 curises so far, and so far the travel times were excatley what I wanted as though I did pick them myself,,all non-stop,,all non-wierd routings. I just hope my luck didn't play out for next year. I recall being in Alaska someone telling us about having to take a flight that left back east at like midnight, with like a 6 hour layover in Denver or something. I have my fingers crossed. I will also add one of the things I am particular about is where I sit on a plane so once I get my cruise docs, I always go online and change my seating assignments.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_Racing_Ron
Arkiegal,,,,,I know. Thats why I say I must really have luck on my side going through the cruisline. As I stated I have only been on 3 curises so far, and so far the travel times were excatley what I wanted as though I did pick them myself,,all non-stop,,all non-wierd routings. I just hope my luck didn't play out for next year. I recall being in Alaska someone telling us about having to take a flight that left back east at like midnight, with like a 6 hour layover in Denver or something. I have my fingers crossed. I will also add one of the things I am particular about is where I sit on a plane so once I get my cruise docs, I always go online and change my seating assignments.
When we went thru the Panama canal in 06 , some people had to take a redeye special to Vanconver to board the same day. One gentleman left
Toronto Ont at 1AM to arrive in Vancouver for his cruise.
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