I'm having a hard time finding a good TA,especially after reading the article finding the right TA. I've just been on one cruise booked it through AAA . That TA was ok but I could tell she really didn't care about once we paid, she did't even tell us that one of our stops was tendered because of a hurricane. Again I called AAAto inquire about the liberty of the seas cruise next December of 2007. When she quated me the price for a balcony room it was no cheaper than RCI price. And when I asked about perks any perks she laughed and aid AAA doesn't do that And by the way she is Accredited Cruise Councelor. I'm not looking for a bunch of freebies but more importantly a TA that cares is that asking too much. any suggestions on good TA'S. I still have alot of time Ill find one....I hope
It's a shame that you're having trouble, since there are so many great TA's out there. ****Edited to remove advertising*** She's great, and listens to what you want, and need. No doubt you'll find lots of others as well, but Kim is outstanding!
Then don't go to the group at that AAA office. We have one here in town as well, I avoid them. Bunch of snot-nosed women. They only want your $$ & have no care for you as a customer. Check your yellow pages in your town & call a few TA's & feel them out over the phone. Funny part about being a TA, you have to be a people person & enjoy working with the public. There's alot out there that don't. One of the moderators on this board - forgot her name - is very friendly & she's a TA I think. Always informative with people here.
I deal with one TA here by my office. She's wonderful! Tells you the in's, out's, what's good, what's not. And she tells you what other people have told her, but she leaves the decision up to you. I'm in Connecticut, so I'm not sure if you want to deal with someone out of state, but I'll gladly give you her name/number. She can at least give you good information over the phone.
The prices should not be any lower than RCI's prices. TA's aren't allowed to discount lower - however, you might find prices lower, but they probably don't include the port charges/fees. There's a discussion already going on about that here. Not sure if its here on RCI or one of the other ship lines.
Perks? I wasn't sure what you meant by that?? AAA doesn't do any. Neither do any other TA's I believe. Unless you are a Hollywood socialite, don't expect anything. You are on your own.
We use a TA for most of our cruises but on a couple of occasions we did it ourselves. We booked our own cruise thru RCI agent. We booked our flight and we booked our hotel room. We did all of these things early so we were able to get all our reservations. It was not that much of a hassel and we managed to save several hundreds of dollars..
We like having a personal TA to work with...but lately, she's been distracted I think...and her service has not been as good. We have a Panama cruise booked and after months of requesting have not received our papers yet.
Anyway...we are now tempted to book direct with the cruise lines!
BTW: Places like Costo, etc. have a Travel/cruise service and after calling them for information found out they DO offer perks. (air flight discounts, cabin credits, etc. Now we have NOT used them so far, so we don't know for the level of service offered. But since our own AAA travel agent has been goofing off lately...we might just give another alterative a try!
Don't be afraid to shop around for a new TA. Contact some from reputable companies. Different companies do offer different prices for the same cabin/same ship/same date etc. Perks offered usually are discounts or gifts from the TA's company themselves. Or sometimes RCI will give the TA freebies to hand out to clients that book on RCI. Bigger companies can sometimes make offers that others can't. For example our credit card company gave us a $250 discount for booking our cruise thru them for the 1st time. Our usual travel agents (we use more than one) couldn't touch that price. The one we like to deal with said "go for it". We went for it and didn't have any trouble. We call a few places and then save our usual TA for last. Our TA for the most part will meet or beat the prices from the other places. Even when he can't (as in the credit card offer) we still give him a chance to give us the best price.
Initially I went to AAA to start looking for a cruise. The "travel agent" had never been on a cruise. I tried a second TA in that AAA office and had just about the same experience. I found a TA here in my small town by driving by and I noticed the "cruise specialist" sign. I went in and the couple who owned the agency was soooo helpful and knowlagable. The TA had sailed on many different cruise lines and had seen many ships. This is where we got our trip to the south carribean on AOS. This cruise came very highly recommended. I hope it is as good as the TAs said. IMO AAA should stick to tripticks, maps and emergency roadside help.