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  #1 (permalink)  
Old September 25th, 2006, 06:33 PM
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Default Internet prices vs. travel agent

I was messing around on the internet and saw that my cruise that I booked through the travel agent cost more than what I saw on Cruisesonly.com. A difference of $234/pp to be exact. The Princess website lists the more expensive price too. What is it with Cruisesonly?. Why is their price cheaper? Can I get that cheaper price if I call my TA? Should I even bother?
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Old September 25th, 2006, 06:50 PM
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I could not check our next cruise on the Golden as all the cabins in our categaory are sold out.

However, I did check the RCI cruise in 12.07. This is what I got:

12 Night Southern Caribbean Holiday (Cape Liberty roundtrip)

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Cruise Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Departure: 12/23/2007
Cruise Length: 12 Nights
# Passengers: 2
Dining Pref: Main Dining (around 6:15 pm)

Stateroom Category: JS

Current Total: $7,318.00* + $20 processing fee.

Now I booked through another online agency, and the JS (but on deck 10) is $5,175.58 plus a free tour.

So, thwy are not cheaper than the one I have already.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 06:52 PM
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Oh, forgot to ask. What cruise are you looking at?
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Old September 26th, 2006, 08:44 AM
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Be sure you are comparing apples to apples. Sometimes the Internet agencies advertise a lower price but then tack on the government fees and taxes that your travel agent has probably already added in.

It just might be the travel agent too. I went through about 5-6 before I found this one and now I'm staying put.

I have never been able to find a better online price than what my travel agent has given me.

For our Tahiti 2005 cruise I saved about $600pp over what another agency was going to charge me online. The only reason I checked was because a co-worker highly recommended his travel agent and raved about the great prices he was getting - at least he did until he talked to me and I showed him the prices I was getting.
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Old September 26th, 2006, 09:54 AM
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you have to really read the fine print about the price, is is the EXACT same cruise? does the price include port charges and governmental fees? sometimes that will make up the difference. IF it is the EXACT same cruise as what your TA is offering, call her up and ask her if she can meet the price, most cases they will do their best. IF she can't - then think about
booking with the online TA and then cancelling the original cruise, find out if there will be any cancellation fees or penalites that could wash the price difference.
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Old September 26th, 2006, 01:10 PM
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Some internet sites give up their commissions therefore they look less expensive. I prefer a TA for the personal contact.
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Old September 26th, 2006, 02:12 PM
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Before you are sure the price is lower, get the total price with all the port fees and "taxes" added in. Many times, what looks to be cheaper ends up not really being so when agencies add their commission into the taxes and other fees.

Also, sometimes a large company has group cruises they have booked that they can sell you a cabin through that really does have some lower pricing. Or at least amenities added in.
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Old September 26th, 2006, 02:15 PM
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The price that I posted from that Web Site is the bottom line price + $20 non-refundable booking fee.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 01:16 PM
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We booked our Med. Cruise next year with an online agency that we've used before. Never had a problem and their bottom line price was $900 per person cheaper (for the same cabin) than a TA that refused to discount her price. I'd rather have the $1,800 than "Personal Service".
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Old September 28th, 2006, 03:31 PM
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Thats maybe just a poor choice of TA, who maybe being small could not offer the "discounts" available that the larger TA's or the "online" guys get.

Yes, I trawl the net, looking for the deals, it gives me an idea of what I could pay....But I still go into an actual TA, hear what they say, counter it with "but I can get it for"...see if they can meet it.

And if they are not far away from the price I go with them...as I would rather have a "real" person that I can take my concerns, worries or problem too. Rather than a call centre that when I call does not know me, my problem or concern and I have to start again....explaining.

Plus I see them as call centre workers and without the experience or qualification required to be a Travel Agent

Thats worth a few bucks extra, knowing I have an individual I can see face to face and deal with.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 03:43 PM
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I have booked all our recent cruises via the Internet. I don't have a call center to deal with. I have a real person with a phone number and an e-mail address.

I have received "personalized" service on every one of our bookings and I do have questions and requests that are handled by them.

No issues to date with Internet TAs.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidBgood
Thats maybe just a poor choice of TA, who maybe being small could not offer the "discounts" available that the larger TA's or the "online" guys get.

Yes, I trawl the net, looking for the deals, it gives me an idea of what I could pay....But I still go into an actual TA, hear what they say, counter it with "but I can get it for"...see if they can meet it.

And if they are not far away from the price I go with them...as I would rather have a "real" person that I can take my concerns, worries or problem too. Rather than a call centre that when I call does not know me, my problem or concern and I have to start again....explaining.

Plus I see them as call centre workers and without the experience or qualification required to be a Travel Agent

Thats worth a few bucks extra, knowing I have an individual I can see face to face and deal with.
It's your money, you do whatever you feel comfortable with. I pick my cruise, pick my cabin, book my own air so I'm basically just looking for the best price who won't screw things up. The Live TA, is very large and well known on other boards, she just won't discount which is too bad as I've since made two additional booking with the on-line ta.
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Old September 29th, 2006, 03:11 PM
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"The Live TA, is very large and well known on other boards, she just won't discount which is too bad as I've since made two additional booking with the on-line ta".

Sorry, but are are you describing a scenario or an actual large female TA person? Confused

If this Big TA person is actually the industry,,then say it. And yes it is my choice, go online or go personal.

Thats a no brainer, as individuals we can all make decisions. Just make sure it this right one for you and the people you need to back you up, when S hits the fan are there. Not all online TA's in my experience can offer this.
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Old October 9th, 2006, 07:09 AM
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Ok, here is the straight scoop. MOST Cruise lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian) no longer ALLOW large agencies (Like CruisesOnly) to discount, nor do they let your mom & pop TA do it either, to make things fair. Princess, however, still does. And they still give GREAT rates to large bookers. ***edited to remove advertising***. Sadly, for your live TA, she will be consistently outpriced on Princess. ***edited to remove advertising***
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Old October 9th, 2006, 07:42 AM
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We booked through the airline (unitedvacations) and was 200.00 pp cheaper. wE ENDED UP NOT EVEN TAKING THE AIR (FLYING JETBLUE). pRICE DID INCLUDE ALL FEES AND TAXES. sorry about the caps. too early in the am.
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Old October 9th, 2006, 10:21 AM
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According to my TA, Princess also does not allow them to discount the cruise. However, as a past Princess passenger, I'm elegible for some pretty good deals from them anyhow...

Dana
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Old October 9th, 2006, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
According to my TA, Princess also does not allow them to discount the cruise
That's not quite accurate, which is true of several posts in this thread, about which lines do, or do not allow discounting.

RCI and Celebrity DO NOT allow agents to discount from their set pricing, with the exception of group rates.

The other cruise lines do not allow agents to ADVERTISE discounted prices - below their set prices. HOWEVER, they do allow the agents to discount the prices as they choose when dealing directly with the clients.

So.. bottom line, you can't get the lowest price simply by surfing the travel agent web sites, but you CAN get a discounted price when asking for quotes with telephone, or e mail inquiries.

With Princess in particular, any agent can offer a lower price than the "big" agencies if they are dealing directly with a customer, and chose to discount from their commissions. That is where the discount would have to come from.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danacline
According to my TA, Princess also does not allow them to discount the cruise.
Dana
I'd be a little concerned using a TA that lied to me.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Shark
I have booked all our recent cruises via the Internet. I don't have a call center to deal with. I have a real person with a phone number and an e-mail address.

I have received "personalized" service on every one of our bookings and I do have questions and requests that are handled by them.

No issues to date with Internet TAs.
Same here.

When you've done this enough and are able to call up and basically know excatly what you want then I see no need to spend one penny more then you have to.

Seriously as soon as I get on the horn with a live person regarding a quote Im constantly gauging the verbage they use to determine their level of knowledge. I base my choice of TA greatly upon this. You'll run into the occasional call taker who is a newb or whatever and then there will be times where you'll get someone who is completely on the same wave length as you and their is a cynergy of travel thought that culminates in a great price and exactly what you want.

So what Im saying is if you've cruised enough to know what you want and all the details involved then an online TA is perfectly fine. If your new to cruising then a brick and morter type TA is the preferable option.

R
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Old October 16th, 2006, 12:43 PM
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Sometimes it is cheaper online but if anything goes wrong, dont expect any help or answers from most online agencies, they are basically just telemarketers taking orders. I booked twice online to save a few bucks and regretted it. A good TA will work with you if something comes up. If you like taking chances, then cheaper is better. Good luck and happy sailings!
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Old October 16th, 2006, 03:19 PM
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The online TA for me is more convienent. I can call or send e-mails and not have to drive to the local TA's office.

If you have an issue with any TA, just have them transfer the booking to another TA. If you talk and communicate with the online TA on a regular basis, they are very helpful and responsive.

I had one that was not the sharpest knife in the draw. I just explained to her that her services were not up to par and to transfer the booking.

Also, I shop for the best price and then ask my favorite TA if she can meet it or beat it. Works everytime.
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Old October 19th, 2006, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonnieste
Sometimes it is cheaper online but if anything goes wrong, dont expect any help or answers from most online agencies, they are basically just telemarketers taking orders. I booked twice online to save a few bucks and regretted it. A good TA will work with you if something comes up. If you like taking chances, then cheaper is better. Good luck and happy sailings!
We've saved a ton of money using an on-line agency. When you say..."If something goes wrong".... would you buy a $1,000 insurance policy against your trip? That's what you're basically doing.
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Old October 20th, 2006, 04:02 AM
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You have to be careful with some of the Internet Agents. They buy blocks of cabins to get better pricing, and then push those cabins to clients. I found this to be true with one of, if not the largest Internet Cruise Agents this past spring when I tried to book the Crown for November. The rooms they had were terrible in location. So I called them, and they told me that was all that was left, the ship was sold out. Well, I didn't believe it could be sold out 8 months in advance so I called Princess Direct and had my choice of rooms. I'm sure this agent just got a better kick on the rooms they were selling. All most all of them opened into the lobby area for the stairs and elevators. Although this might not be a problem, it certainly could add to a noise level. 8)
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