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Old February 20th, 2006, 07:33 PM
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Default I have a gripe, even though I haven't cruised yet.

I don't like travel agents who try and dissuade you from taking the trip you want.

I knew I wanted to take a carnival cruise 'cause I could drive to Jax in four hours.

Our TA spent my entire lunch hour trying to convince me to take RCL from port canaveral 'cause they have a rock climbing wall.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 09:34 PM
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You should have told the TA to take a trip!
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Old February 20th, 2006, 10:40 PM
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We used a TA's for our first 3 cruises and were not impressed. Our last 8, we have booked ourselves. The last 5 we booked a year early while on cruise. Lots of reasons why it is best for us to book our own. Part of the fun for us is planning our own cruise and air and booking our Celebrity ShoreEx on line before we go. 5 days left before we board the Summit for a 14 night'er! HuRahhhhhhhhh!
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Old February 21st, 2006, 10:13 AM
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if you had your mind made up, the TA should have respected that. If she pushed a certain cruise line chances are the agency has preferred status with that cruise line, which is good for you and for the agency.
I would have taken my business elsewhere if she didn't want to do what you wanted.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 10:47 AM
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I hate to say this, but the TA is going the way of the dinosaurs. What with the internet and all of its riches...especially sites like this one...you can do it all on your own. And this from a guy whose family used to own a travel agency.

And no one takes a cruise because of a silly rock climbing wall that you might use for 15 minutes.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 12:08 PM
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IF that was the only reason the TA was pushing the Royal Caribbean cruise then the agent was not a very good one. If you had told them that you were looking for a cruise that had a lot of activities and you were an active person then I could see that as reason they were leading you toward RCI.

There are good TA's and not good one's out there. The problem is that it's often hard to know the difference.

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Old February 21st, 2006, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
And no one takes a cruise because of a silly rock climbing wall that you might use for 15 minutes
I think we'd actually be SHOCKED by how many people book for exactly that reason.

As far as TAs being a "dying breed", though the cruise lines would like it to be so (so they wouldn't have to pay commissions), I think the services of a good TA are invaluable.

Where else can you make a purchase for less $$ than the supplier is offering it for, and get better service to boot!

Though have to admit this TA, trying to talk a customer out of a booking they know they want to make seems a bit off the wall. I think some TAs do tend to look at cruises through their own experiences, rather than the clients. Perhaps this one had a less than satisfactory cruise on Carnival.... or sadly perhaps it was a case of trying to upsell.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 08:45 PM
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Something similar happened to us! We'd used the same TA for two cruises and were happy with her. When I went in to book our NCL cruise (I'd done most of the research myself) she wasn't at all interested. You would have thought we asked to cruise to the moon!

I found another TA who was more than willing to book this cruise. She did tell us we might not enjoy it as much as our other cruises, but she didn't discourage us. Unfortunately, she was right, but we had wanted to try something different and now we know. It wasn't terrible by any means, but it wasn't what we expected.

Some of the problems we had were taken care of by our TA, which makes things so much easier.

BTW, we've booked our next cruise with her!
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Old February 21st, 2006, 11:15 PM
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Your TA was unfortunately not doing their job that well! I am a TA and I could assure you the people in our offices do not do that! When people come to me with a preference I will give them my opinion beacuse I feel that is one of the reasons why they come to me. I am a professional in this business and I have been on 18 cruises! BUT I always say to them that travel is subjective what I like you may not like and vice versa I always do whats best for them and ultimately I do what they want! If someone comes in wanting a certain vacation I may tell them about other options but book them what they want. In fact all our agents do that. I know that sounds like pie in the sky but its true. The other difference is that some agents are paid a salary such as I am and some are paid by commission. Sometime those who are paid by commission may be swayed by certain companies.

I realize on average its easy to book a lot of these trips yourself these days and its true that a lot of mom and pop agencies are dying. In fact the office I worked for was purchased by another office. Together our new owner operates three local travel agencies. She is one in a few that is still doing good these days because she sets herself apart from the rest. Our offices offer a travel concierge service. We book shore excursions (if we can), arrange dinner reservations for people doing land trips, opera tickets, theater tickets. One of the recent things I did was have a hotel in Rome get playstation in the room for one of my clients traveling with children (keep in mind this was a 5 star hotel and it took me an hour to get this accomplished). However it is this service the internet cannot provide (as of yet). Grant it our offices are located in well to do NYC suburbs so that clientele still wants an agent to take care of such affairs. I think their will be travel agents in the future but they will cater to the luxury client. But I do feel that in 10 maybe 15 years the cruise lines will either cut or do away with commisions.

Working as a travel agent is a low paying job. Salaries range from $20k-30k usually with no benefits. You do get some travel perks and some cool experiences! In the area I live in I could barely afford a cardboard box on a TA salary! So I am going to be a teacher! They do a little bit better in the area I live in !
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 12:58 AM
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We have an EXCELLENT TA that we've used for many years. He is SO good, whenever we've had a problem or concern, he does NOT say he will call us back...he gets right on the phone w/the cruiseline or whoever and has a conversation with them while we are still on the phone. He is certainly worth his weight in gold!! We've gotten to be good friends with him too, and we trust him so much that he once recommended a land vacation at an all inclusive resort that he said was wonderful, and we had such a good time, I would almost take it instead of a cruise! (eat anytime you want, etc., etc)

Once we talked to a TA at AAA when we happened to be there on other business, and she was so disinterested in what we wanted, even the offer they had which caught our eye wasn't good enough to keep us talking with her.

The Internet may have affected the TA industry, but a computer still cannot give you the personal attention you might sometimes need....
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 09:22 AM
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I feel bad -- I certainly didn't mean to diss every travel agent in the world. One of my best friends is a TA. I think, if it works for you, that's the way you should go. I've just found that through online research, testimonials, and such, I've found that booking vacations online works for me.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 11:45 AM
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Dont feel bad you didn't dis TA's. There are good and bad in every profession and if you are a TA you have to love it to be in it. maybe these agents who are disinterested should not be in it. For myself I really like it. I have been doing it for 9 years but the money is really low like I was saying in y other post. I would stay if I had better pay. But I know what you mean it really is easier then ever to book your own trip. Everyone has become their own TA!
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 12:09 PM
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Default Re: I have a gripe, even though I haven't cruised yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsujillybean
I don't like travel agents who try and dissuade you from taking the trip you want.

I knew I wanted to take a carnival cruise 'cause I could drive to Jax in four hours.

Our TA spent my entire lunch hour trying to convince me to take RCL from port canaveral 'cause they have a rock climbing wall.

No need to use a TA. I have found most TA's do not like carnival. I think they must get a kickback from some of the other lines to promote them or something. Use an online cruise agency. You save tons of money-much cheaper and there are plenty of them.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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I agree with Kuki on this one.Shop around for a good TA who will work with you to get the best possible rate.I have found waiting the last,last minute to book sometimes gets a good rate.They give a better rate instead of upgrading in which they will make a little more money.That is only my opinion though.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 10:16 AM
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Momofmeq:

Carnival OWNS!! majority of the cruiselines...no offense
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Old February 25th, 2006, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will
Momofmeq:

Carnival OWNS!! majority of the cruiselines...no offense

I have taken 11 cruises, 6 of which were Carnival owned lines. I know that what you said is true- but every TA I have ever talked to has always said RCCL was better then Carnival and Celebrity was better then Princess or HAL. I do not understand WHY-UNLESS RCCL/Celebrity gives them a kickback or something. NOT that I know that-when I posted that I was really just being sarcastic. Otherwise why in the world would they say that?

From experience I know it is not true. RCCL is NOT better then Carnival and Celebrity is not better then Princess or HAL. I should know I have been on all the lines. Now I book what I want by internet. No more TA's telling me how to spend my money.

I just happen to like having differant experiences-I do not want to take the same cruise over and over. So I like going on different lines. I will say this, I liked Celebrity and Princess the best of 6 lines- (I have also been on Disney) but still that does not mean I want to just cruise on them-I still like variety.

I hope to one day even go more upscale when I can afford it. But never will I allow a TA to dictate to me what cruise I will take.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 02:07 PM
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momofmeg,

I know the office I work for does not get kick backs from Royal Carib/Celeb. We actually do a lot of business with HAL/Crystal/Princess/NCL so we get 14% on the base fare for those guys. But if a client or prospect comes in and ask me which is better: carnival or Royal; Celebrity or HAL I would say Royal and Celebrity not because the office will make more money but based on my experience of 18 cruises and various ship inspections and customer feed back as well as professional sources I read. Thats why I would suggest those line. Basically I mainly go by what I experience which I said in my last post is all subjective. I like Carnival but if I had a choice I would choose Royal or my personal favorite Celebrity. But again I think that this is all based on opinions. Most travel agents do not force people to go certain trips. People ask us our opinions and we give it. Believe me most agents are NOT in this business for the money. Consider this: some cruise fares are real cheap these days. Pick a Royal Caribbean cruise. I just booked the Explorer of the Seas in Septembner for 5 nights to Bermuda. Client is paying about $650 per person (with all taxes) of that the agent or agency gets a commission. My place gets 10%. So that 650 per person cruise fare ,minus government and my favorite the non-commissionable cruise fare comes to about 500 per person. So the agency makes about $100 on that cruise. We also include a gift in the room so when all is said and done we must make $80-85 dollars on that cruise. And it depends on the clients but you could have put andywhere from a half hour up to a day getting that one booking settled. Of course this is the low part of the spectrum. I just booked a Seabourn cruise and made the office $1000 commission and that was on a $9000 sale.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 11:41 PM
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Anytime some salesman attempts to sway me from purchasing something I have thought about and decided upon I always counter his move with; "Whose money are we spending? If we are spending yours I could be interested, but if its mine...I KNOW WHAT I WANT.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 01:12 AM
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I went into my local travel agency and started talking about taking a cruise. He seemed moderately interested. Then, I said it was during Spring Break and he noticeable looked up at me through his glasses. I was feeling a little "judged" by the time I said that I really prefered Carnival.

He made a remark to the effect of "Why?" and I immediately started to make an excuse to leave his office.

That could have been my own perception of the situation, him trying to 'upsell' another line, or him being....I guess the word would be...prejudice against young-ish folks (I'm 30 but people tell me I look early-20's) wanting to take a Carnival Cruise during college Spring Break (the only time I have a break from grad school). Either way, I went straight home, said 'phooey' on all of that 'wonderful, can't-replace-it, won't-get-it-online' TA knowledge and booked online within the hour of what I called 'getting shunned'.

His 'wisdom' was replaced by a Frommer's guide to cruising and an internet connection. I have since, and I'm sure he is in the minority, only booked online and saved money to boot.

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Old February 26th, 2006, 10:11 AM
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I can't beleive these agents hate Carnival so much! I love a cruise booking I wish I had more! Maybe these agents are on the older side and they have this old image of the line. They probably have not sailed them in a way. I like Carnival its not my favorite as I said in previous posts.l If someone asks my opinion of it I say I like it but I prefer this cruise line over that if I had my choice. But if a client comes in wanting a specific thing I am schoked the agents act that way! I guess its their loss.
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Old February 27th, 2006, 11:13 AM
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Are you SURE the only reason they suggested another line( RC) was because of the rock wall.
The reason I ask is perhaps after talking to you the agent realized that you might be dissappointed in Carnival and was trying to steer you to a line they felt was better?

I also have to disagree with Momopeg, Celebrity and Princess are nicer then Carnival and RC, my opinion of course , but they are also rated higher in many areas of pax satifation also, so others must feel the same way.

On the other hand you chose a cruise based on one very small point, being able to drive to the port. many of us fly hours and hours( me , 13) to get to a port to take the cruise we prefer, so why wouldn't someone book a cruise based on a rock climbing wall!?What sounds trivila to you may not be to another. And I still think the agent may have just felt that RC was a better cruise.
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Old March 2nd, 2006, 07:51 PM
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I've taken those cruises, both lines, out of Pt. Canaveral many times. Do you want to climb a rock wall, or slide down a water slide?

The cruise out of Jax (I live here) is the Celebration, which is one of the oldest and smallest ships in Carnivals line. I have not sailed on her but I have been on her sister ship the Holiday. Given the fact that if you put me on a ship, with a casino, bar, and food, I'll be happy; I'll have to say the ship was the least favorite part of the trip.

If it were me, I'd drive the extra 2.5 hours to Canaveral and take the Fantasy instead of the Sovereign of the Seas or the Jax ported Celebration. The thing I favor with the Sovereign is the stop at Coco Cay, which is their private island and good snorkeling and beach day, instead of the stop at Freeport which is the Fantasy's first port.

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Old March 5th, 2006, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pg.
Are you SURE the only reason they suggested another line( RC) was because of the rock wall.
The reason I ask is perhaps after talking to you the agent realized that you might be dissappointed in Carnival and was trying to steer you to a line they felt was better?

I also have to disagree with Momopeg, Celebrity and Princess are nicer then Carnival and RC, my opinion of course , but they are also rated higher in many areas of pax satifation also, so others must feel the same way.

On the other hand you chose a cruise based on one very small point, being able to drive to the port. many of us fly hours and hours( me , 13) to get to a port to take the cruise we prefer, so why wouldn't someone book a cruise based on a rock climbing wall!?What sounds trivila to you may not be to another. And I still think the agent may have just felt that RC was a better cruise.
first of all I do feel Celebrity and Princess both are nicer then Carnival and RCCL. WHAT I said is most TA's feel RCCL is better then Carnival and Celebrity is better then Princess. I find Celebrity/Princess equal lines. I find RCCL/Carnival similiar lines although Carnival has many more ships and some of them very old and not too nice. those are the ships with the really budget prices and this may have been what the TA was trying to say that the Carnival Jacksonville ship is pretty old and not too good whereas the Sovereign was recently refurbished so would be a nicer cruise.

I said I like going on all the lines because budget does enter into the picture for me. Ofcourse I like Princess and Celebrity better but when I cruise with others and my husband I are usually cruising with other friends/couples. we also have to consider their choices. for example back in 03 I wanted to go on the Grand Princess but our friends wanted to go on Carnival Inspiration-so we went on carnival, I was a little dispointed but we did have a good time-since we were with our friends.


I thought Disney Wonder a beautiful ship and we had an absouletly beautiful balcony stateroom. We did enjoy the cruise but still I felt it was over priced, nicer then RCCL or Carnival but not enough nicer to warrent what we paid. HAL Statendam was also a very beautful ship and again we had a huge beautiful stateroom, I did find the food superb on HAL and the broadway style shows were excellent-but outside of that I found HAL too subdued for me. Princess and Celebrity, lines equal in quality to HAL, had a better mix of PAX of all ages-and more entertainment so I liked them better.

Back to the OP-even though the Carnival ship is an old ship-I still feel you can have a great time-my first cruise was Carnival Tropicale-which was as old and cr%^&*py as the Jacksonville ship-but I loved it-and it DEFINETELY got me hooked on cruising. I took that cruise in Oct. 98. I just took my 11th cruise on Celebrity Zenith last month.

But again I have been on Sovereign twice and loved her! and the Sovereign is only 2 hours further to drive-so instead of a 4 hour drive you will have a 6 hour drive. You can't miss either way-so do what YOU want.
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Old March 5th, 2006, 12:46 PM
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I do a lot of research before I book. First I go to the cruise website and see what their prices are. Then I go to two different vacation websites to see what they offer for this same cruise. Usually, they are the same price. Lastly, I contact the cruiseline by telephone and book directly with them. I know this will enflame some people but, I believe that by calling them, they will have the latest and most up to date information. By using this method, I have gotten deeper discounts because I am a previous guest and am rewarded as such. Just my 2 cents...
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Old March 5th, 2006, 11:39 PM
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mehawk, TA's get the same past passenger discounts offered by the line. In fact we get the same prices and the most up to date info. I am a TA and when I book a cruise for someone or myself I call the cruise line. Most likely its the same number that you call! The agreement the cruise lines have with TA's is to offer the same price they give people who call to the travel agents. In return the cruise line pays the TA a percentage of the cruise fare after all taxes are taken out. The commission in no way is incurred by the person purchasing a cruise through a travel agent. Sometimes some agencies give back some of the commission to the client so the fare is better. This of course is greatly frowned upon by the cruise lines!
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Old March 25th, 2006, 08:23 PM
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Speaking as another TA, any agent worth his or her salt shouldn't be turning down a sale. That's just silly.

With that said, I'm not one to say that one line is objectively better than another. Truthfully, the only real difference I've ever observed between CCL and RCCL is that the ships have different bells and whistles. I'm a bad cruiser because I don't tend to notice whether or not the food is any good (hence being a TA and not a food critic, I guess), but I've had plenty of coworkers who have fairly consistantly declared CCL's food the superior there. I've never found any real difference between the service levels, and for the most part, the offerings are the same. I'm not a big fan of NCL (freestyle isn't my cup of tea), but I have a lot of clients who wouldn't do anything else.

Case in point, two of my favorite clients are folks that I've sent on Silversea and Windstar. Last year, they called me and wondered what I thought of the Carnival Destiny. They weren't expecting Silversea level of service or cabin appointments, they just needed a getaway, and the time frame worked for them.

PS, they had a wonderful time.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 04:42 PM
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For your information, TODAY, the price of a cruise is the same whether you book it through a Travel Agency, CRUISES Only, Vacations to Go, or whether you book it directly through the Cruise Line.

It was different a few years ago, but no longer.
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Old December 26th, 2006, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marving99
For your information, TODAY, the price of a cruise is the same whether you book it through a Travel Agency, CRUISES Only, Vacations to Go, or whether you book it directly through the Cruise Line.

It was different a few years ago, but no longer.
If going on a short cruise (7 days or less), and you don't have a lot of money invested...then go for booking direct...

BUT if you're going on a longer cruise with more money invested, we like the option of follow-up service in case there's a problem.

For example: We're booking our 30th wedding anniversary cruise on HAL...it's going to be expensive because it's a longer cruise and we've booked a suite. Trust me...if something goes wrong we're going to want to speak with someone 'face to face'...not chit chat via email or go to a website and press option #1 or #2. We want to scream in person
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Old December 26th, 2006, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marving99
For your information, TODAY, the price of a cruise is the same whether you book it through a Travel Agency, CRUISES Only, Vacations to Go, or whether you book it directly through the Cruise Line.

It was different a few years ago, but no longer.
I research prices all over the Internet before booking, and I have seen a lot of price variation.
And the cruise lines themselves have the highest prices, in my experience.
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Old December 27th, 2006, 01:11 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Default Why not someone you know?

Here's the bottom line for me: even if using my travel agent wouldn't save me a dime over just calling the cruise line, which is hardly always the case, I'd still want to book through him. He's become a friend-- why shouldn't he get a chunk of commission out of the deal? I even give him my business if the price he finds me is a little higher than what's available from the giganto online agencies-- for me it's analogous to shopping at your locally-owned store instead of going to "Mall Wart" just to save a coupla bucks.

Besides, it's nice to have somebody that all the cruise lines are familiar with to go to bat for ya in case anything goes wrong-- and isn't that part of what you pay for?
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