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  #1 (permalink)  
Old March 29th, 2010, 09:36 PM
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Default online TA question quick replies needed

I've never booked with a TA before but Ihave come across an incredible deal with an online TA. I'm nervous about booking this way. How do I determine if its reliable etc. Quick replies with advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 10:30 PM
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You could ask here if anyone has any experience booking with this particular agency.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 10:03 AM
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Thanks I didn\t think I could be specific. I got the ta from this site actually its America's Vacation CEnter. Anyone have any experience with them? Advice is appreciated. Thanks
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Old March 30th, 2010, 10:27 AM
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Check the BBB they are usually registered with them. The only problem with booking online is that if you find a better deal or if they drop the price you can't get the price drop, but I've booked with 2 different online agencies. I haven't been too happy with them. The last one had our information so messed up that I thought I would never get it straitened out. So next time I will probably book with the cruise line directly. Good Luck.;-)
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Old March 30th, 2010, 11:29 AM
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America's Vacation Center is a licensed seller of travel and is also a legitimate American Express Travel representative.

About two years ago there was a scam in which their name was used in a travel scam. They were not affiliated with this scam.

You should always pay for your cruise with a credit card and ask the agent "before" you book if the charge, to your credit card, will be made to the cruise line or the agency. If the charge will be made to the agency and they will pay the cruise line then this is a big red flag and you should consider going somewhere else.

Take care,
Mike
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Old March 30th, 2010, 12:01 PM
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Dunno if this helps or not but in the UK I would say that the vast majority of people book with TA's usually one that specialises in cruises, we do this because they give better prices than the cruise line, offer things like parking & OBC. The payment is always made to the TA & not the cruise line. We always pay by Credit Card as we get protection should anything happen....BUT we do get charged a fee around 2% up to a maximum ceiling.

Last edited by johnthed0g; March 30th, 2010 at 12:02 PM. Reason: sp.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 01:27 PM
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I've never personally booked with AVC, but I do know they are one the largest nationwide sellers of cruise vacations.

Of course, you do need to take all "normal" precautions like travel insurance, and as Mike suggested, use a credit card to book.

And they do have many travel agents working under their banner, so don't be shy about "interviewing" the agent you're working with, and ask questions that will make you feel comfortable dealing with that particular travel agent.
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 02:13 AM
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We have always booked thru AAA Travel and we have never had a problem. We like the one on one vs. someone over the phone. Happy sailing.
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnthed0g View Post
Dunno if this helps or not but in the UK I would say that the vast majority of people book with TA's usually one that specializes in cruises, we do this because they give better prices than the cruise line, offer things like parking & OBC. The payment is always made to the TA & not the cruise line. We always pay by Credit Card as we get protection should anything happen....BUT we do get charged a fee around 2% up to a maximum ceiling.
John,

I think I might have been misunderstood. I always advocate going through a TA vs. going through the cruise line to book your cruise. What I was saying, in regard to the actual purchase, is that even though you give your credit card information to the Travel Agent they merely forward this payment information to the cruise line and the charge that appears on your statement is from the cruise line.

If the agency charges the card and later pays the cruise line from their account it is a red flag. The agency is basically holding your money and if they experience financial problems "before" they pay the cruise line you won't cruise because the cruise line never received payment.

This has been a major problem with agencies and thousands of customers have been left out in the cold because the agency went belly up. A local MAJOR agency recently did this. The first red flag was when they started charging the customer instead of the cruise line. This often indicates that they are juggling the customer revenue to pay their operating costs "before" they pay for the customer's cruises.

You do have protection if you use a credit card to pay for your cruise but if the agent goes bust before they pay the cruise line you will probably get your money back if you dispute the charge but if the cruise line is immediately paid then you won't have all the hassle. The chances of a major cruise line going bankrupt is far less than an agency.

The process may be different in the U.K. and it is normal for the agency to charge the card but it is not the norm in the U.S.

Take care,
Mike
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnthed0g View Post
Dunno if this helps or not but in the UK I would say that the vast majority of people book with TA's usually one that specialises in cruises, we do this because they give better prices than the cruise line, offer things like parking & OBC. The payment is always made to the TA & not the cruise line. We always pay by Credit Card as we get protection should anything happen....BUT we do get charged a fee around 2% up to a maximum ceiling.
What Kuki said! IMO, run away, run away! I'd never pay an agency instead of the cruise line.

Maybe things are different in the UK, but I'd be very careful!
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Old April 2nd, 2010, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
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We have always booked thru AAA Travel and we have never had a problem. We like the one on one vs. someone over the phone. Happy sailing.
I'm so glad you have a AAA agent who seems to be on the ball! We used AAA twice and had nothing but trouble. Our AAA agent didn't know how to use email and wasn't interested in learning. We had to call, leave a message, and hope that she got back to us. She had no idea of how to check prices after we booked and didn't really care .

The TA we have now answer's my questions almost before I ask them !
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Old April 4th, 2010, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackieb View Post
The only problem with booking online is that if you find a better deal or if they drop the price you can't get the price drop, but I've booked with 2 different online agencies.
That's not necessarily true. I've booked three cruises with the same on-line TA, and they have always given me a reduction when the cruiseline lowered the price. The most important thing to look for before booking with any agency: make certain of any cancellation or change fees from the agency. Good luck.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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Yes that is important to look before you book unfortunately I didn't do that. When I called about a lower price they said it's for new bookings only and you can't cancel and rebook. So I've learned to check it out first.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 12:18 PM
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America's Vacation Center is one of the TOP cruise sellers in the country, and I know the owners personally. I have even been to their offices.

They have won numerous awards from Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL and more for "Agency of the year."

Yes - they are very reputable.
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