I was just wondering if you really need a travel agent when you are booking a RCI cruise? I mean it looks somewhat self explanatory when looking at their website and the RCI cruising catalog. How much do you really save with a travel agent versus no travel agent? Plus, I have heard so many horror stories about hang-ups with using travel agents. Would like some input in this matter.
We have always gotten a better deal using a travel agent or a travel web site versus the prices that RC lists on their web site. I think it's because most travel agencies purchase from RC in bulk so they can pass the savings along to their customers. Good luck.
It's a 50/50 shot, Travel agents sometimes have bulk space on certain cruises for discounted prices but websites such as Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia, etc...also have similar bulk package prices. I've seen past posts about some of the advertisements on this website and they were pretty cheap but I would really look into all the rules and restrictions before booking anything. I've heard the horror stories about certain states getting better rates than others and people having to pay the difference when they're checking in for their cruise.
Just be careful and make sure you fully read through everything...
I also have a DYNAMITE TA who monitors pricing & has excellent pricing, + OUTSTANDING customer service. On our last cruise he got us upgraded from
a cheap balcony to a FULL SUITE (526) square feet of luxury for FREE. He also
gave us a $100 cabin credit. On our next cruise on the Sapphire Princess he got us a mini-suite for the same price as an LARGE INSIDE CABIN. No joke!!!! It was during a Princess Flash Sale.
yes,yes,yes...the main source of inventory distribution for cruise lines is thru the TA community and if you have a great TA who is a "prefer vendor" with one or more lines you will always stand a better chance for many "perks"..and more important if you have a "challenge (I never say problem) the TA becomes your advocate to resolve the issue
the internet is great, a human being who knows what they are doing is even better
I went through Liberty Travel when booking my RCI cruise to Bermuda and ended up getting it 200.00 cheaper than on the RCI website. Just look check around w/ different travel agents and you'll probably find it cheaper than RCI has it posted for.
All you will ever need to realize the true value of a land based or internet Travel Agent is a problem. TA's can get you at least a 5% additional savings than the direct sale through a cruise line. TA's want your repeat business and will do everything possible to make your vacation memorable. Cruise Line representatives are Order takers. This is fine if you know exactly what you want and that there will be no changes, problems or snaffu's. Always do research by contacting at least 3 different agents or sites, then decide who's service, price, cabin location and itinerary are the best for you.
You will always have a TA, either RCLs or one of your choosing. In general, web TAs or cruise sites have better pricing than RCL's website (see www.icruise.com). However, once RCL had the best price for me (don't recall why - may have involved a coupon too) and I cruised once on Costa and it was far and a way cheaper with them directly versus with another TA. In some cases, you can save hundreds off of the RCCL rate. If money is a concern, try icruise.com and their Visa card promotion. It is one of the best affinity program I've seen. Me and my friends have used it to save thousands of dollars.
If you need assistance with your travel plans, it is better to go with a TA that probably doesn't discount like the bulk web agents. The web TAs have very thin margins and usually expect that you've used the web to understand the cruise industry. If you just need a TA to take your reservation and handle payments, then most web TAs will do. I recommend reading the cruise lines web sites and sites like this one to become savvy :-)
Have always booked with a travel agent...I shop around. RCCL prices are always higher and I use them as a bench mark and know I can work down from there. Triple A is also very high. Have several agents I contact each trip and usually one is willing do reduce their original quote when I advise them of the others. And I will return to that one for future cruises. I also return to ones who are knowledable and personable. Enjoying their job helps make the booking process easier all the way around.
Always used a TA until this last cruise i booked for Nov. Price has always been the same as RCI fare, (bulk TA is less). Found it much easier to use my C&A coupon and my platinum memberdiscount when booking directly with RCI