How to find a good TA

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#1
Twin Cities MN
376 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
I'm looking for tips or strategies on how to find a good TA that will discount Princess cruises. We have been cruising around 70 days a season on Princess and have gotten reasonable service from out TA but only minor OBC for our business.

You hear all the time on the board about people having a travel agent who gives meaningful discounts but talk is cheap and it's hard to know what is fact or fiction.

I have poked around Big Box TA's a little and have found nothing really exciting.

With keeping within CC policy any help in finding a good TA would be greatly appreciated.
#3
13,887 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Got to know some from friends and family. But still haven't found at least the same compared to what I read hear.


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#4
South Carolina
27,396 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Not so sure the "Best" travel agents are the ones who offer the most OBC.
Other extra & above things they do are important as well.
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Happy Sailing! OCruisers (LuLu & Roundman)
80+ Cruises .... Princess, Celebrity, RCCL, HAL, Carnival, NCL, Costa, etc. (Still miss Sitmar)
#5
SF Bay Area, CA
1,710 Posts
Joined May 2004
Originally posted by billco
That worked for me too.
I did the same, getting 10% off the commisionable fare does add up when you are booking suites on Princess. There is also a small group OBC added to your account. For our Silversea to Antarctica cruise, getting a $3000 refund check. So glad I got the referral from a long time poster here.
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Cheryl
03/13/19 Majestic Princess - New Zealand RT from Sydney
12/22/18 Silversea Cloud Expedition - Antarctica RT from Ushuaia
09/15/18 Majestic Princess - Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia RT from Sydney
07/05/18 Grand Princess - Alaska RT from SF
10/15/17 Grand Princess - California Coastal RT from SF
06/27/17 Pacific Princess - Norway, Spitsbergen, Murmansk RT from Dover
12/17/16 Royal Clipper - BVI Christmas Cruise RT from Barbados Pictures
04/02/16 Grand Princess - Hawaii RT from San Francisco Pictures
10/17/15 Grand Princess - CA Coastal RT from SF Pictures
01/03/15 Star Princess - Mexican Riviera RT from SF Pictures
04/06/14 Grand Princess - California Coastal RT from SF
02/08/13 Ocean Princess - French Polynesia RT from Papeete
09/24/12 Star Princess - Pacific Coastal
05/16/12 Island Princess - Alaska Inside Passage RT from Vancouver
05/13/12 Star Princess - Pacific Coastal
09/24/11 Coral Princess - Pacific Coastal
05/19/11 Coral Princess - Pacific Coastal
10/04/10 Island Princess - Pacific Coastal
05/22/10 Sea Princess - Alaska RT from SF
04/17/09 Star Princess - Mexican Riviera RT from SF
05/19/08 Coral Princess - Alaska Voyage of the Glaciers Southbound
05/12/08 Coral Princess - Alaska Voyage of the Glaciers Northbound
01/16/07 Tahitian Princess - French Polynesia & Marquesas Islands
05/26/06 Regal Princess - Alaska RT San Francisco (Haines, Sitka)
05/12/05 Coral Princess - Pacific Coastal
04/24/05 RCI Adventure of the Seas - Southern Caribbean RT from Miami
04/17/04 Tahitian Princess - French Polynesia & Cook Islands
04/19/03 Star Princess - Mexican Riviera RT Long Beach
06/08/02 RCI Radiance of the Seas - Alaska RT from Vancouver
04/22/01 RCI Voyager of the Seas - Western Caribbean RT from Miami
#6
Clifton, NJ
2,791 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by OCruisers
Not so sure the "Best" travel agents are the ones who offer the most OBC.
Other extra & above things they do are important as well.
I agree with this. We always get an OBC of some sort from our TA, but it's the discounted cruise price that keeps us coming back. There are plenty of other ways to get OBC (Princess promo, FCD, Shareholder, Military, etc.).
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Michael (the guy on the right )






Coral Princess - Panama Canal Full Transit - April 2017
Pacific Princess - Scotland, Iceland and Norway - September 2016
Norwegian Breakaway - Florida/Bahamas - April 2016
Crown Princess - Alaska - July 2015
Caribbean Princess - Eastern Caribbean - April 2015
Caribbean Princess - Western Caribbean - April 2015
Ocean Princess - Aegean, Black and Adriatic Seas - October 2014
Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean - April 2014
Crown Princess - Norwegian Fjords - September 2013
Norwegian Jewel - Florida/Bahamas - April 2013
Emerald Princess - Canada / New England - October 2012
Crown Princess - British Isles - August 2011
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean September 2010
Emerald Princess - Baltics - September 2009
Diamond Princess - Alaska - July 2008
Big Red Boat (Royale) - Florida/Bahamas - August 1988
#7
24,685 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
While I am thrilled my TA discounts - what brings me back to her is her wealth of knowledge, her responsiveness and knowing that she will have my back if something happens to go wrong along the way. She has been on most of the ships with the main stream lines and routinely sails multiple lines to stay in touch with what line offers what. She has also traveled extensively so she can make first hand recommendations. One may not know how great their TA is until something doesn't go as expected and your TA has your back!

So it is more then discounting and the best price.
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#8
South Carolina
27,396 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Originally posted by Coral
While I am thrilled my TA discounts - what brings me back to her is her wealth of knowledge, her responsiveness and knowing that she will have my back if something happens to go wrong along the way. She has been on most of the ships with the main stream lines and routinely sails multiple lines to stay in touch with what line offers what. She has also traveled extensively so she can make first hand recommendations. One may know how great their TA is until something doesn't go as expected and your TA has your back!
So it is more then discounting and the best price.
So totally agree with Coral on this. .. ...
LuLu
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Happy Sailing! OCruisers (LuLu & Roundman)
80+ Cruises .... Princess, Celebrity, RCCL, HAL, Carnival, NCL, Costa, etc. (Still miss Sitmar)
#9
San Mateo, California
5,310 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Been cruising since the early l980s... on 9 different lines... before computers, TAs were useful ... have had more than my share of TAs over the years... for the past 10 years... really don't see the value... I can do just as well directly with the cruise line. I actually book all my own air, hotels and cruises, plus travel insurance separately... if you book early these days, during launch fares on cruise lines often get a good deal... I received a $500 on board credit from Princess for pass two cruises booked while on board a ship, never got that from any TA.
#10
Chelsea MA
3,246 Posts
Joined Mar 2014
Originally posted by Coral
While I am thrilled my TA discounts - what brings me back to her is her wealth of knowledge, her responsiveness and knowing that she will have my back if something happens to go wrong along the way. She has been on most of the ships with the main stream lines and routinely sails multiple lines to stay in touch with what line offers what. She has also traveled extensively so she can make first hand recommendations. One may not know how great their TA is until something doesn't go as expected and your TA has your back!

So it is more then discounting and the best price.
I totally agree with you!!
Tony
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#11
5,021 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by pris993
Been cruising since the early l980s... on 9 different lines... before computers, TAs were useful ... have had more than my share of TAs over the years... for the past 10 years... really don't see the value... I can do just as well directly with the cruise line. I actually book all my own air, hotels and cruises, plus travel insurance separately... if you book early these days, during launch fares on cruise lines often get a good deal... I received a $500 on board credit from Princess for pass two cruises booked while on board a ship, never got that from any TA.
Here's the value.
My TA passes along the cruise line perks including the on board credit.
My TA also gives a 10% discount after passing on the perks.
I get everything you get from the cruise line plus another 10%.
You're leaving 10% of the cruise fare on the table.
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rktctysooner at gmail dot com
#12
Clifton, NJ
2,791 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by pris993
Been cruising since the early l980s... on 9 different lines... before computers, TAs were useful ... have had more than my share of TAs over the years... for the past 10 years... really don't see the value... I can do just as well directly with the cruise line. I actually book all my own air, hotels and cruises, plus travel insurance separately... if you book early these days, during launch fares on cruise lines often get a good deal... I received a $500 on board credit from Princess for pass two cruises booked while on board a ship, never got that from any TA.
Disagree

Originally posted by RocketMan275
Here's the value.
My TA passes along the cruise line perks including the on board credit.
My TA also gives a 10% discount after passing on the perks.
I get everything you get from the cruise line plus another 10%.
You're leaving 10% of the cruise fare on the table.
Agree
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Michael (the guy on the right )






Coral Princess - Panama Canal Full Transit - April 2017
Pacific Princess - Scotland, Iceland and Norway - September 2016
Norwegian Breakaway - Florida/Bahamas - April 2016
Crown Princess - Alaska - July 2015
Caribbean Princess - Eastern Caribbean - April 2015
Caribbean Princess - Western Caribbean - April 2015
Ocean Princess - Aegean, Black and Adriatic Seas - October 2014
Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean - April 2014
Crown Princess - Norwegian Fjords - September 2013
Norwegian Jewel - Florida/Bahamas - April 2013
Emerald Princess - Canada / New England - October 2012
Crown Princess - British Isles - August 2011
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean September 2010
Emerald Princess - Baltics - September 2009
Diamond Princess - Alaska - July 2008
Big Red Boat (Royale) - Florida/Bahamas - August 1988
#13
24,685 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by pris993
Been cruising since the early l980s... on 9 different lines... before computers, TAs were useful ... have had more than my share of TAs over the years... for the past 10 years... really don't see the value... I can do just as well directly with the cruise line. I actually book all my own air, hotels and cruises, plus travel insurance separately... if you book early these days, during launch fares on cruise lines often get a good deal... I received a $500 on board credit from Princess for pass two cruises booked while on board a ship, never got that from any TA.
I think a 10% discount on top of what you get from the cruise line is worth it to me. It must not be worth it to you?

I also get better benefits with insurance. For example, I can book insurance with my agent at final payment and cover pre-existing conditions. Most have to buy insurance right away to get this option.
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#14
1 hour north of nyc
2,030 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Originally posted by msmoger
I agree with this. We always get an OBC of some sort from our TA, but it's the discounted cruise price that keeps us coming back. There are plenty of other ways to get OBC (Princess promo, FCD, Shareholder, Military, etc.).
discounted cruise price? My TA is good, but I never get a different price than what is advertised on any of the travel websites including the cruise website. So you actually pay less than advertised prices?
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Alaska - Island Princess 09/17
Western Caribbean - NCL Dawn 12/16
2 Night Cruise to nowhere NCL Breakaway 12/15
2 Night Cruise to nowhere NCL Breakaway 1/15
Eastern Caribbean--NLC Epic 1/14
2 Night Cruise to nowhere--NCL Jewel 2/13
Hawaii - Norwegian Pride of America 7/11
1 Day cruise to nowhere - Norwegian Spirit 10/07
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#15
Clifton, NJ
2,791 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by smrtypnts
discounted cruise price? My TA is good, but I never get a different price than what is advertised on any of the travel websites including the cruise website. So you actually pay less than advertised prices?


Always


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Michael (the guy on the right )






Coral Princess - Panama Canal Full Transit - April 2017
Pacific Princess - Scotland, Iceland and Norway - September 2016
Norwegian Breakaway - Florida/Bahamas - April 2016
Crown Princess - Alaska - July 2015
Caribbean Princess - Eastern Caribbean - April 2015
Caribbean Princess - Western Caribbean - April 2015
Ocean Princess - Aegean, Black and Adriatic Seas - October 2014
Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean - April 2014
Crown Princess - Norwegian Fjords - September 2013
Norwegian Jewel - Florida/Bahamas - April 2013
Emerald Princess - Canada / New England - October 2012
Crown Princess - British Isles - August 2011
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean September 2010
Emerald Princess - Baltics - September 2009
Diamond Princess - Alaska - July 2008
Big Red Boat (Royale) - Florida/Bahamas - August 1988
#16
Brooksville FL
3,414 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by smrtypnts
discounted cruise price? My TA is good, but I never get a different price than what is advertised on any of the travel websites including the cruise website. So you actually pay less than advertised prices?
Let your TA know that you are a Shopper .
Seems that TA is taking your business for granted ?
You should always get a better price and amenities from your TA than the best deal from Princess.
TA can book any promo that Princess offers , then give you something better as a "Thanks for your business" .
#17
711 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
From what i understand when you get a discount on top of what is offered by Princess: 1. if it is a big box store they probably have some account set up to do this 2. if it is a smaller company then your agent is giving you some of her/his commission. From what i have heard they do not make that much to begin with.
My agent is great. She is there when i need her and have questions or problems. I have called her from a foreign port with a problem and she called princess and got it straightened out! She also gets me the best deal possible. She always gives us some type of gift on every cruise. We can get a hold of her any time of the night or day.
She has been able to get us OBC when the fare drops after we have made final payment.

We found her on a prior cruise that we had taken and she was a table mate. That was 12 years ago.
#18
Chico, California
8,125 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by cheeseclan
From what i understand when you get a discount on top of what is offered by Princess: 1. if it is a big box store they probably have some account set up to do this 2. if it is a smaller company then your agent is giving you some of her/his commission. From what i have heard they do not make that much to begin with.
My agent is great. She is there when i need her and have questions or problems. I have called her from a foreign port with a problem and she called princess and got it straightened out! She also gets me the best deal possible. She always gives us some type of gift on every cruise. We can get a hold of her any time of the night or day.
She has been able to get us OBC when the fare drops after we have made final payment.

We found her on a prior cruise that we had taken and she was a table mate. That was 12 years ago.
Our TA calls us immediately with any new information. He answers the phone (immediately calls back from messages left) even when he is traveling across the country and in the evening. He wasn't able to match the amount of OBC offered by a large retailer but, instead, knocked $900 off of my fare. It wasn't quite as much as the OBC but I stuck with him anyway as I like him and get excellent service. I already have the AIBP as a perk on the cruise and felt the $900 fare reduction was of more value to me and I got to stay with the TA that has given such excellent service.
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Thrak

Not Elite but having fun working on it...



#19
SF Bay Area, CA
1,710 Posts
Joined May 2004
My new agent seems to work all the time, I get emails in the middle of the night, and she answers my phone calls directly or sends an email with the information.

The big box store TA that I used for our upcoming cruise gave us $1735 of OBC (plus all the FCC, CCL, and CC puts us at $2335 OBC). But that refundable $1735 obc is not posted to our account until we board the ship. That was fine for this cruise where I can use it to pay for all of our shorex, but in the future not as desirable as Princess shorex now have to be prepaid starting with the fall sailings.

So the new agent recommended by a long time poster here gives us 10% discount off the fare up front, plus group OBC, and is going to see what we can get with Sip and Sale coming on 6/20.

I also bought insurance through her for our cruise to Antarctica instead of from Silversea because her's was less expensive and covered pre-exisiting conditions, and if you paid within 7 days, also covered insolvency if Silversea should go under (remember the R ships?).

How foolish I was to book three penthouse suites at full price directly with Princess in the past. Never again.
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Cheryl
03/13/19 Majestic Princess - New Zealand RT from Sydney
12/22/18 Silversea Cloud Expedition - Antarctica RT from Ushuaia
09/15/18 Majestic Princess - Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia RT from Sydney
07/05/18 Grand Princess - Alaska RT from SF
10/15/17 Grand Princess - California Coastal RT from SF
06/27/17 Pacific Princess - Norway, Spitsbergen, Murmansk RT from Dover
12/17/16 Royal Clipper - BVI Christmas Cruise RT from Barbados Pictures
04/02/16 Grand Princess - Hawaii RT from San Francisco Pictures
10/17/15 Grand Princess - CA Coastal RT from SF Pictures
01/03/15 Star Princess - Mexican Riviera RT from SF Pictures
04/06/14 Grand Princess - California Coastal RT from SF
02/08/13 Ocean Princess - French Polynesia RT from Papeete
09/24/12 Star Princess - Pacific Coastal
05/16/12 Island Princess - Alaska Inside Passage RT from Vancouver
05/13/12 Star Princess - Pacific Coastal
09/24/11 Coral Princess - Pacific Coastal
05/19/11 Coral Princess - Pacific Coastal
10/04/10 Island Princess - Pacific Coastal
05/22/10 Sea Princess - Alaska RT from SF
04/17/09 Star Princess - Mexican Riviera RT from SF
05/19/08 Coral Princess - Alaska Voyage of the Glaciers Southbound
05/12/08 Coral Princess - Alaska Voyage of the Glaciers Northbound
01/16/07 Tahitian Princess - French Polynesia & Marquesas Islands
05/26/06 Regal Princess - Alaska RT San Francisco (Haines, Sitka)
05/12/05 Coral Princess - Pacific Coastal
04/24/05 RCI Adventure of the Seas - Southern Caribbean RT from Miami
04/17/04 Tahitian Princess - French Polynesia & Cook Islands
04/19/03 Star Princess - Mexican Riviera RT Long Beach
06/08/02 RCI Radiance of the Seas - Alaska RT from Vancouver
04/22/01 RCI Voyager of the Seas - Western Caribbean RT from Miami
#20
Chico, California
8,125 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by cflutist
My new agent seems to work all the time, I get emails in the middle of the night, and she answers my phone calls directly or sends an email with the information.

The big box store TA that I used for our upcoming cruise gave us $1735 of OBC (plus all the FCC, CCL, and CC puts us at $2335 OBC). But that refundable $1735 obc is not posted to our account until we board the ship. That was fine for this cruise where I can use it to pay for all of our shorex, but in the future not as desirable as Princess shorex now have to be prepaid starting with the fall sailings.

So the new agent recommended by a long time poster here gives us 10% discount off the fare up front, plus group OBC, and is going to see what we can get with Sip and Sale coming on 6/20.

I also bought insurance through her for our cruise to Antarctica instead of from Silversea because her's was less expensive and covered pre-exisiting conditions, and if you paid within 7 days, also covered insolvency if Silversea should go under (remember the R ships?).

How foolish I was to book three penthouse suites at full price directly with Princess in the past. Never again.
I was under the impression that excursions could still be booked after boarding and that would allow using OBC to pay for them when the OBC wasn't posted until boarding. I haven't seen anything stating that all excursions will have to be paid in advance. Can you please point me to the source of this information? We have a very long (49 day) cruise booked and will want to book excursions after boarding using OBC that won't post to the account in advance.
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Thrak

Not Elite but having fun working on it...