I prefer to do business face to face with a Travel Agent. I do all the footwork - check web sites, newspaper ads, availability etc. I found a great price - well below other advertized rates on a cruise and took it to the TA that booked my last cruise. She claimed she could not and would not comment on any internet cruise rates. I really thought she would match it at least to get the business. In between repeated statements on how she could not comment on internet rates, she stated that she knew of many people that have had very bad experiences booking on internet sites.
Anyone here have a bad experience? Seems pretty on the up and up to me. Has anyone ever booked with 7 Blue Seas? Comments either way would be appreciated.
Thats exactly what happened. And I booked with her last year. She didn't even want to know what my price was. She did call Princess to see if they were running any specific specials. The answer was no. We left feeling like losers.
You need to find the Agent that know how to find the deals. An Agent that has a good relationship with that cruiseline. Some agents fear the internet and say they are giving away cabins. That is not always true. The Smart agents know how to find deals and are beating other agents who dont. You win when you find a Good Agent!
I had the opposite experience. I received the Captain's Circle magazine with what looked like a nice package for an 18 day cruise from SF to Papeete, Tahiti. We checked out a travel agent in the town we moved to last year and she was able to talk to Princess and reword the offer to get us exactly the same package but at an even lower price. This TA has been in business for over 10 years but I doubt she does a lot of cruise business as it is a fairly small town. I'd check another agent if I were you.
I do not think that you should feel badly because you found a better price on the web. It has been our experience that a traval agent is really only necessary when we plan complex trips that may involve changes. For instance a trip to Austrialia where we were all over the country involving lots of airline and hotel conections. When we book a cruise vacation it is usually point to point air and get on and off the ship. How simple can it be? Save your money and get the best price! Some TA's don't understand the web and the one we used to book with is just getting connected to e-mail this year. Most of these people are really low tech and are affraid of change.
I am a travel agent. Sometimes, the prices you find on the internet are from companies that hold group space. The have been holding it for months and probably held the space at a much lower rate. For this reason, many travel agents are not able to offer you the low rate because it would cost them money to book the cruise for you. I have run into this situation a number of times. If you feel safe booking online, then go for it. I wouldn't consider doing this myself since I have heard of some people having bad experiences with it. I try to beat a quote whenever I can. I am available most days and times and would be happy to see if I can beat the quote you got. Please don't think badly of travel agents. I am sure your travel agent would have been happy to help you if she could. If she is the owner, then she has to pay bills and can't give products away.
Please reread my note. I said that the TA was able to beat Princess' purported Captain's Circle offer even though she did not do a large volume of cruise business as this is a small town. I'd always prefer to have a TA to ask questions of since it is not very easy for an individual to get information from Princess.