My husband and I are planning a cruise for Summer of 2010 to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. This will only be our second cruise so I'm not sure I booked the first one getting the best deal. I went through AAA and the price they charged me was the same as listed on Royal Caribbeans site, and I received no type of ship board credits. So, in essence, it seems I could have done as well booking this last cruise myself through RC's site. I read so much about passengers getting discounted pricing or ship board credits when they book through their travel agent so my question is, how do I find the best travel agent to get the best deal? The May/June 2010 schedule is not yet posted on RC's site for the Freedom of the Seas, which is the ship I want to sail on, but I would like to make my reservations as soon as the calendar opens up. Can anyone give me advice for finding a travel agent or looking for the best rates?
I have to agree with you, going through a good cruise travel agent can save you some $. There are some Cruisemates uses for their group cruises that may be able to find you want you want and at that time, doesn't hurt to send an e-mail. Sometimes they have a group on a certain cruise that they can get you into, which saves money and has some perks along as well, someting going through the cruiseline doesn't do.
a good travel agent is worth her/his weight in gold when you find one. Stop by your local travel agent or two, just pop in you don't need an appt. and ask a few questions, get a couple of brochures, get a feel for the agent and the agency. Ask your friends, family, the better business bureau. Check out the cruise bargains banner on our site.
For me having a great TA isn't all about the price or the perks, yes its nice but being able to just pick up the phone and tell her what we are looking for and she does all the leg work, thats what makes it work
I can tell you that re: Royal Caribbean, you'll find the same price on every website since they don't allow travel agencies to discount their prices. But a good agent will get you onboard credit, or free travel insurance, or somethinfg else. He/she will also watch the price and adjust it if it goes down. I've been using the same agent for many years and it always pays off. I can share contact with you. If you want, e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org.
My main reason to book thru travel agent is the ability to walk into their office and talk one on one. Normally they have all been on the different cruise lines; so they can give you comparisons between the different lines and ships.
Freedom of the Seas Dec 11
Allure of the Seas: Jan 11
Voyager of the Seas: May 09
Splendour of the Seas: May 07
Explorer of the Seas: Jan 04
Majesty of the Seas Jan 99