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Old March 17th, 2009, 10:50 AM
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Default Anyone use AAA to book cruise?

Hi there,

I am about to pay for a cruise and wondered if anyone has used AAA to book their cruise. Apparently they charge 50 pp for cancellation, a cost which would not be covered by travel insurance. Is that typical for travel agencies? Has anyone booked directly with RC? Are there cons to booking directly with the cruise line?

THANK YOU!!

bsoper
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Old March 17th, 2009, 11:10 AM
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I've done both..............(can we discuss this here...I read the rules, but i forgot!)

Anyway, my branch does NOT charge...unless it is new. I usually book then move it to my TA when i really know what i am doing....and only for OBC (minimal).

However, last time, she forgot my OBC (still waiting for the check!)

Different TAs have different fees....you should investigate. The disadvantage to having a TA is that you HAVE one...

thus if you want to change cabins, or if you find a better price (that is NOT 'for new bookings only', the line won't talk to you...(but i had an issue and MADE them deal with me as my TA refused to help me prove i was right! i won...i was!)

anyway.....there are pros and cons...those are just a few...and I think i'm gonna fly solo....OBC is nice,but i like to have control. ANd the OBC i get is so low that the 50 bucks isn't worth it.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 12:32 PM
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First off I always recommend using a Travel Agent (but one who specializes in Cruises).

The theory of being in control of your booking is understandable, but if something goes wrong a good cruise agent can assist in getting a remedy much more effectively than a single passenger can.

I've personally found AAA to usually be amongst the most expensive travel agents, and if they charge a fee on top, that would likely have me running away.

There are plenty of good agents around who don't charge the fee.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 02:29 PM
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I have used AAA twice. Once with a local AAA office and received great service and the other by phone with AAA Carolinas which was a disaster in terms of getting the booking done correctly and getting the documentation from them.

I now only use a travel agent that specializes in cruises.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 07:07 PM
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Kuki...I agree...

at least my person at AAA generally doesn't screw up and only recently did (luckily it was only 50 bucks and it's on the way...if it was MORE i would be super mad!)

and my person actually GOES on cruises and is certified as a rocket scientist by many of them....

that said, it's easy to find bad apples everywhere! and it's funny that you said they are there is something weird happens! that's why i use mine...but, do you think i mentioned the incessant noise from the Royal Suite above my cabin when i called her from St Thomas?? NOPE! Silly me.

anyway.....my best advice is shop around and find someone with whom you are comfortable....i would prefer to be able to SEE the person as opposed to doing it all on line!
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Old March 17th, 2009, 07:15 PM
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Default AAA Booking

I have always booked right through the cruise line ( Celebrity and RCCL) . I have checked out other web sites and found that after all is said and done, the price is always the same as the cruise line gives me. I have never been disappointed and have even been upgraded.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 09:27 PM
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I too will also add, that any time we got a quote from AAA, it was always higher then others...
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Old March 17th, 2009, 09:47 PM
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hmmm...well...i was going to say the price (in my experience) has always been the same...but, then when i thought about it for 2 seconds i realized that i never actually had them PRICE it out....i always had the price and gave it to the TA.....
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Old March 17th, 2009, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: Anyone use AAA to book cruise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bsoper
I am about to pay for a cruise and wondered if anyone has used AAA to book their cruise. Apparently they charge 50 pp for cancellation, a cost which would not be covered by travel insurance. Is that typical for travel agencies? Has anyone booked directly with RC? Are there cons to booking directly with the cruise line?
Frankly, I don't think I'd be willing to book with any agency that charged a cancellation fee. If the cruise line is not going to charge you, then why should the agency?

Of course, I could certainly understand agencies charging a fee to certain clients who routinely cancel their cruises. That's a different thing, and believe me, I've known people who do that. They will book three or four of them, using the "book onboard" deals to buy "open bookings," and then call their travel agent when they return and convert those open bookings to a bunch of actual sailings, knowing full well that they are not going to actually take most of them. They just want to have a cabin reserved in case they decide to go.

That sort of thing is a lot of work for a travel agent -- converting those open bookings to actual sailings for the client, and then cancelling most of them several months later. I can well understand a $50 charge for someone like that. But for the average customer who occasionally has to cancel for unforeseen reasons, no ... I can honestly say that I don't feel it's fair to be charged a cancellation fee by the travel agent ... especially if that client is just rescheduling the cruise because maybe something came up in the time period where the original sailing was scheduled.

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Old March 17th, 2009, 09:50 PM
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I don't know about anyone else, but there are far and few between travel agencys, in my area anymore. I used to use them years ago, but got very comfortable in dealing with basically 2 agencys via the phone. One in Georgia, and one in Pa....and I have had to cancel cruises due to health issues, and have not been charged a fee....kudos to Nancy!
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Old March 17th, 2009, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: Anyone use AAA to book cruise?

[quote="bsoper"]Hi there,

I am about to pay for a cruise and wondered if anyone has used AAA to book their cruise. Apparently they charge 50 pp for cancellation, a cost which would not be covered by travel insurance. Is that typical for travel agencies? Has anyone booked directly with RC? Are there cons to booking directly with the cruise line?

THANK YOU!!


That fee would put me off right there.
Make your own reservation direct with the Cruise Line ...
I don't need a third party to make a booking, it's all online for you to select and you can pick up the phone and speak direct 24/7 if you need to.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 09:54 PM
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Matelot, a ta will be pro active for you in case any issues that may arise.I wouldn't count on any cruise line to do that...
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Old March 17th, 2009, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip
Matelot, a ta will be pro active for you in case any issues that may arise.I wouldn't count on any cruise line to do that...
I think I can do that for myself...
Each to their own, but to be honest I have booked with a couple of TA's before and was not at all impressed.
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Old March 17th, 2009, 10:26 PM
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I really appreciate all the responses. I was having cold feet with making final decisions. I called the AAA and she said that they did NOT charge a cancellation fee. The AAA who told me they did was in a different city. That made me feel a lot better. I am the type to do a lot of research on my own (library books, message boards, etc), and then hand it over to a TA. I guess my thought is that if anything goes significantly wrong I have someone at a minimum who can direct me what to do, or maybe even help me work out a solution. I am trying to think positive on this vacation.

THANK YOU all again for very helpful insights

bsoper
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Old March 17th, 2009, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsoper
I really appreciate all the responses. I was having cold feet with making final decisions. I called the AAA and she said that they did NOT charge a cancellation fee. The AAA who told me they did was in a different city. That made me feel a lot better. I am the type to do a lot of research on my own (library books, message boards, etc), and then hand it over to a TA. I guess my thought is that if anything goes significantly wrong I have someone at a minimum who can direct me what to do, or maybe even help me work out a solution. I am trying to think positive on this vacation.

THANK YOU all again for very helpful insights

bsoper
If this is your first cruise then a TA can probably help you a lot.
Happy sailing.
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Old March 18th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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Even though we are a franchise, a cancellation fee is a feature we CAN use. It isn't mandatory so another key is even the T/A says they have one, ask to have it waived (very easily done and a good test of how willing they are to get your business). The fee is there to prevent us from being taken advantage of but since pricing is uniform for "RCI," I haven't had any trouble in this arena, Robbie
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Old March 18th, 2009, 03:30 PM
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I always book through the cruise line. I then turn it over to my TA at AAA. We have been using the same one for 9 years.
There is no cancellation fee up until you make the final payment.
One time I found a cheaper price & our TA gave us dinner at Chops.
Sometimes we have turned it over to our TA & gotten a better price because they had a group of people going & they got a better price. If the price is better, we always get it.
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 02:53 PM
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Have used AAA, good service but they seem to be a little higher than the online agencies I have used recently. Bob
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Old March 22nd, 2009, 04:06 PM
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Royal Caribbean is going to charge the same fare as any TA. That in mind, a large number of online TA's use on board account credits as a bargaining chip for your business. I don't believe that AAA offers these credits.
You can get anywhere from $100 to $400 in free money. And I always get fine service with the TA I've been using. Why I would want to book through anyone that doesn't offer that?
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Old March 25th, 2009, 11:38 PM
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We just booked our first cruise on the Carnival Sensation with AAA, I think we got the early saver deal from Carnival, the price was the same as we could find online. Not sure if we got a deal or not being this was our first cruise.

But we are excited and satisfied with what we paid. Hope if a problem arises AAA will help resolve our issue. If its any consolation they will give us free passport photos
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Old March 26th, 2009, 12:01 AM
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I agree with most. A good TA does not charge any extra fees. I am glad the higher powers at CM (Kuki) have the same philosophy. The dark side happily promotes a TA which charges quite hefty fees.

Now being in this business I would not know why anybody would charge extra. Changes are done quickly and easily, canceling is a one button push and doesn't cost anything (unless you are in the penalty phase anyways). There should be no booking fees since TAs get paid commission.

Once being opposed to TAs I have met in my short tenure a few TAs/cruise consultants who are as dedicated as I am and who suffer under the bad rep of the not so good TAs/cruise consultants.

I also agree with Kuki that you should seek a cruise consultant rather than a general TA. Even more important look for the accomplishments besides CLIA etc. Each cruise line has certification programs with different levels. A good cruise consultant is very valuable. A good cruise consultant with the passion for cruising is priceless.


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Old March 26th, 2009, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki

There are plenty of good agents around who don't charge the fee.
That's good to know. The only time I contacted a local cruise travel agent, they told me they charge a $50 fee if the cruise is cancelled. From then on, I've booked with the cruise line only.
I have to be flexible when I'm dealing with 6 months out.
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Old March 26th, 2009, 10:19 PM
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I've used them and gotten great service. They do charge a fee for cancellation so be sure you are going if you don't want to get hit for $100. They got me some great rates.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 11:01 PM
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A local AAA office often obtains a block of cabins (50) prior to a sailing. They can then offer these cruises at a discount. Many of the agents themselves will grab these deals.

I was already booked on a cruise when my Mother and sister decided to go. I told them to wait until I embark on a RCI cruise that was several months ahead of the one under consideration. I would get on this earlier cruise and go to the recruiting office onboard and see what prices they would offer me. It turns out that AAA could beat the RCI agent's price (onboard) by $200.

So I emailed my sister and Mother and said, " Book it with AAA. It was the best price anywhere.

Hope this helps. Enjoy.
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