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Old July 29th, 2011, 03:04 PM
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Default An NCL Knock and Kudo

I just wanted to tell an NCL story, with a good and a bad side...

I booked a cruise on Norwegian Epic's first 7-day cruise because I really wanted to have time to explore the ship.

Now - since that booking I have been getting phone calls from an "NCL Personal Vacation Planner." In all I have probably had six of these calls, but since I am usually busy I usually just told them I couldn't talk.

Now, I booked the cruise through a travel agent, and I was not contacted by NCL until after I booked that cruise - actually after I was contacted first before I sailed. They act quickly. A lot of travel agents do not like the fcat that NCL contacts their customers directly - that's cutting out the middleman.

So, yesterday when ny NCL PVP called I said to her, "You know, I have a travel agent?" to see what she would say. To her credit I did NOT hear anything like "we'll I can get you better deals." Just the opposite...

She said to me. "I'm sorry, I am looking at a database that does not say that - that would be in a different set of records concerning sales. I am looking at records we get from people who sign up for specials on our web site or expressed interest some other way. I apologize, we really don't want to step on any travel agent's toes here so I will just let you go now."

Okay - kudos to her and NCL for immediately ending the call when I said I had a travel agent. But on the other hand, a knock for giving her leads that do not exclude people who have booked with NCL through travel agents. Yes, I have signed up for specials on the NCL web site because I am a reporter. But I never requested that they contact me by phone. In fact, I prefer to use agents for many things because I know they will not sell my name to anyone else.

NCL should never contact a customer directly who has booked a cruise with a travel agent. If they want to be proactive and contact anyone they should contact the travel agent and ask them if they think the travel agent should contact me.

But I have heard rumors of cruise lines direct sales trying to steal clients even when they knew they had travel agents - and that definitely did not happen in this case.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 05:25 PM
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I book many clients on NCL ships and NEVER have they had a call from a CS rep. at NCL. Perhaps your booking was just a glitch in the system. Personally I would have your TA call NCL and advise of what occured along with a reprimand to them for calling you direct.
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Old July 30th, 2011, 12:43 PM
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Thanks for sharing Paul. As a home-based franchise with a small customer base (by choice so no boo-hoo here) this is definitely something I watch out for. No matter how much the industry swears they don't want to step on our toes (any more), it does happen. When a customer brought an unsolicited e-mail to my attention, I got the same response you did...that it was because of him using the "RCI" website to locate "specials."

But back to"NCL" who has a huge "Partners First" campaign going on now so they really do need to make every effort to eliminate these types of problems. How difficult is it to ask up front if the customer is working with a T/A?
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Old July 30th, 2011, 01:16 PM
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Yes - I am well aware that NCL has a big "Partners (meaning travel agents) first" campaign going.

It would be a good idea for the caller to ask first if I had a travel agent.

On the other hand - now what if I had booked a cruise through that PVP - would my travel agent have gotten a commission? I think that is the main question.

NCL claims that she will, am I right? Do you she think would have gotten one? Frankly, it does seem a little unlikely.

As to the first comment (fun2cruiz) - I know for a fact my first call came about 2 months after I booked that first cruise. I am not sure when I signed up for specials, but still... that was what the PVP said.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 05:21 PM
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I would guess that a PVP could certainly give the booking to your T/A of record. They do it onboard ship all the time (in fact I highly recommend booking onboard so the consumer gets "OBC" from the line and our agency but you have to make sure they do assign the booking to your T/A). But even if they would do this, I'd rather sink or swim based on my abilities and not have customers talking directily with the cruise line. The line has nothing to lose by telling customers all the things that might happen (like upgrades, rebates etc. ) but I prefer to deal with realities and "walk the walk."

I have 2 customers right now that are in the process of transferring their bookings to me (Holland not NCL) and even though the line seems to be dragging their feet, it will happen.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 06:10 PM
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I hate to even hear of the line dragging its feet. It just seems SO typical in today's marketplace that any business will do what it can to trick you or just make it harder for the consumer to get what is really due to them.

It's like cable companies offering a "year of cheap internet" but when it goes up to three time the price they don't say anything, it just goes on your bill - so YOU have to call the company and change your service.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 09:58 AM
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I would think your booking would show it was booked through a travel agent, right? If not, a nice idea for them to call...

I have a simular beef with our cable company. You need to call and see what bundles they are offing at the time, otherwise, they will not contact you to change your service to a better one. Even though it is the exact same one you already have, but are paying more?? I would think it would be good customer service to let your customers know. So, I always call, after I see my bill go up, to check on what the specials are at that time. The comsumer shouldn't have to do that, IMHO.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 06:50 PM
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It's like that thread I started before - "what's the catch?"

Our phone company did the same thing with our DSL - starting charging us $49/month for it - for our guest house, Ridiculous.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 09:11 PM
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Just goes to show, if it is too good to be true, most likely it isn't. There is ALWAYS some catch that they don't tell you about. I almost also fell for free "trial" offer....you are still buying the item, you just have the choice to try it and keep and pay for it, or send it back....its is not free..
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