Reservations direct or thru agent

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#1
Expats, living in Israel
996 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
I was wondering if it is better to book the cruise direct via the website or with an agent?

The agent I use in the UK gives me a 50 pound discount everytime I book other cruises, however, if I had to cancel a cruise that is booked (with another cruise line)before final pay date - they told me I would lose the deposit.
How does it work if I book online?

Thank you
#2
Yorkshire, UK and Messenia, Greece
2,617 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by ilanas
I was wondering if it is better to book the cruise direct via the website or with an agent?

The agent I use in the UK gives me a 50 pound discount everytime I book other cruises, however, if I had to cancel a cruise that is booked (with another cruise line)before final pay date - they told me I would lose the deposit.
How does it work if I book online?

Thank you
I don't really understand the question. In the UK you always lose at least the deposit if you cancel. MSC has clamped down on agents offering any discounts so I prefer to book direct because

1) the prices are the same
2) the MSC website applies the repeat guest discount automatically
3) online bookings show in the "My
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Tim🖖

Waiting to Book
MSC repositioning without solo-occupancy supplement

Booked
'Land Cruise', Crystal Sunrise Queen Resort & Spa, Side, Turkey Jan 2017

Sailed
'Land Cruises', Crystal Sunrise Queen Resort & Spa, Side, Turkey Dec 2015 & Mar 2016. live review
Cunard Queen Mary 2: Southampton, England - New York, USA (7 nights), Dec 2014 live blog
MSC Armonia: Las Palmas, Gran Canaria - Venice, Italy (11 nights), March 2014 live blog
MSC Fantasia: Santos, Brazil - Venice, Italy (17 nights), March 2013 live blog
MSC Musica: Venice, Italy - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (16 nights), November 2012 live blog
RCI Grandeur of the Seas: Palma, Mallorca - Colon, Panama (14 nights), October 2011
RCI Legend of the Seas: Singapore - Dubai, UAE - Rome, Italy (24 nights B2B), May 2009
Cunard QE2: Southampton, England - New York, USA (5 nights), January 2006

Skipper Tim's guide to (almost-free) flights for repositioning cruises
#3
Yorkshire, UK and Messenia, Greece
2,617 Posts
Joined May 2009
Sorry, I am struggling with a cheap Android tablet. I will be back to iPad after this experience. Anyway....

Once you have booked online with MSC you can see full details of your booking and add drinks packages, in cabin treats, excursions etc online. Well you can when the system is working. If you book with a TA or even direct but over the phone none of these is possible.

Tim.
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Tim🖖

Waiting to Book
MSC repositioning without solo-occupancy supplement

Booked
'Land Cruise', Crystal Sunrise Queen Resort & Spa, Side, Turkey Jan 2017

Sailed
'Land Cruises', Crystal Sunrise Queen Resort & Spa, Side, Turkey Dec 2015 & Mar 2016. live review
Cunard Queen Mary 2: Southampton, England - New York, USA (7 nights), Dec 2014 live blog
MSC Armonia: Las Palmas, Gran Canaria - Venice, Italy (11 nights), March 2014 live blog
MSC Fantasia: Santos, Brazil - Venice, Italy (17 nights), March 2013 live blog
MSC Musica: Venice, Italy - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (16 nights), November 2012 live blog
RCI Grandeur of the Seas: Palma, Mallorca - Colon, Panama (14 nights), October 2011
RCI Legend of the Seas: Singapore - Dubai, UAE - Rome, Italy (24 nights B2B), May 2009
Cunard QE2: Southampton, England - New York, USA (5 nights), January 2006

Skipper Tim's guide to (almost-free) flights for repositioning cruises
#4
SOUTH WALES
3,453 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by Skipper Tim
Sorry, I am struggling with a cheap Android tablet. I will be back to iPad after this experience. Anyway....

Once you have booked online with MSC you can see full details of your booking and add drinks packages, in cabin treats, excursions etc online. Well you can when the system is working. If you book with a TA or even direct but over the phone none of these is possible.

Tim.
You can add packages, excursions cetc when you book through a TA. I've done exactly that for my next two cruises and both of them were through a TA ans both with MSC.
I still found I could get a better price via the TA and some OBC as well. what is more I could get the cabin of my choice via the TA rather than the limitted choice I was offered on line.

So in essence I've get a better experience wia a TA


incidentally I always do a dummy booking on line first and print it off to show the TA what the are having to better if they want my custom
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268 nights at sea

pete at cruisingmates dot co dot uk


1961 HMTS Dunera UK to CYPRUS 23 nights
1962 Cyprus to Isreal and Egypt 5 nights
1991 Carnival Jubilee L.A. / Mexico (Total Eclipse Cruise) 7 nights
1998 Carnival Fascination Caribbean (Total Eclipse Cruise) 7 nights
1999 Airtours Sundream W. Med 7 nights
2000:Airtours Sundream Baltic 15 nights
2005 MSC Opera E. Med 7 nights
2007 MSC Lirica W. Med 7 nights
2008 MSC Orchestra W. Med 7 nights
2009 MSC Orchestra Caribbean 7 nights
2009 RCI Serenade OTS (JS) Alaska 7 nights
2009 MSC Musica E. Med 7 nights
2010:RCI Explorer OTS (GS) Caribbean 9 nights
2010 MSC Splendida W. Med 7 nights
2011 NCL Norwegian Dawn (Penthouse Suite) W. Caribbean 5 nights Back to Back
2011 NCL Norwegian Dawn (Penthouse Suite) S. Caribbean 9 nights Back to Back
2011 P&O Azura Norway 7 nights
2011 RCI Grandeur OTS (GS) W. Med 7 nights
2012 MSC Splendida W. Med 7 nights
2012 RCI Splendour OTS (GS) Repo Brazil to Spain 13 nights
2012 RCI Splendour OTS (GS) E. Med 7 nights
2012 MSC Divina E. Med 7 nights (YC)
2013 MSC Opera UK to Lisbon and back 10 nights
2013 MSC Sinfonia W. Med 7 nights (Yippee!! BLACK CARD after this;;-- GOT IT NOW!!!!!!)
2014 MSC Opera UK to Souh Africa Grand voyage 21 nights
2014 MSC Sinfonia E. Med. 11 nights
2016 MSC Orchestra Caribbean 14 nights B2B with
2016 MSC Orchestra Trans Atlantic 14 nights
2016 MSC Splendida Repo UK to Italy 7 nights



BOOKED

2017 MSC Meraviglia Western Med (YC) 7 nights

2018 MSC Seaview Western Med 7 nights

2018 MSC Magnifica Repo 9 nights







#5
Expats, living in Israel
996 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by Skier52
You can add packages, excursions cetc when you book through a TA. I've done exactly that for my next two cruises and both of them were through a TA ans both with MSC.
I still found I could get a better price via the TA and some OBC as well. what is more I could get the cabin of my choice via the TA rather than the limitted choice I was offered on line.

So in essence I've get a better experience wia a TA


incidentally I always do a dummy booking on line first and print it off to show the TA what the are having to better if they want my custom


The TA I use gives me the 50 pound discount on every booking we have made as a club incentive (never say no to money). Once after I'd booked a Celebrity cruise I saw it cheaper with another agent & they bettered the price to less than their competator.

I shall therefore continue to give them our custom.

Thanks
#6
Yorkshire, UK and Messenia, Greece
2,617 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Skier52
You can add packages, excursions cetc when you book through a TA. I've done exactly that for my next two cruises and both of them were through a TA ans both with MSC.
I still found I could get a better price via the TA and some OBC as well. what is more I could get the cabin of my choice via the TA rather than the limitted choice I was offered on line.

So in essence I've get a better experience wia a TA


incidentally I always do a dummy booking on line first and print it off to show the TA what the are having to better if they want my custom
A year ago, I would have agreed with you on price but not with online booking of extras. Please share some sort of detail to point us in the direction of TAs that can beat MSC's online price AND give obc. I swear by the Co-op but since the crackdown even they give the same fare to the penny as MSC with no incentives to book with them.

As regarding booking extras online on the MSC website having booked with a TA, I am extremely sceptical given the lively thread on the subject. The reported experiences are that there is no online record of bookings made through third parties, let alone the facilities to add extras and amend details online.

Please convince me.
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Tim🖖

Waiting to Book
MSC repositioning without solo-occupancy supplement

Booked
'Land Cruise', Crystal Sunrise Queen Resort & Spa, Side, Turkey Jan 2017

Sailed
'Land Cruises', Crystal Sunrise Queen Resort & Spa, Side, Turkey Dec 2015 & Mar 2016. live review
Cunard Queen Mary 2: Southampton, England - New York, USA (7 nights), Dec 2014 live blog
MSC Armonia: Las Palmas, Gran Canaria - Venice, Italy (11 nights), March 2014 live blog
MSC Fantasia: Santos, Brazil - Venice, Italy (17 nights), March 2013 live blog
MSC Musica: Venice, Italy - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (16 nights), November 2012 live blog
RCI Grandeur of the Seas: Palma, Mallorca - Colon, Panama (14 nights), October 2011
RCI Legend of the Seas: Singapore - Dubai, UAE - Rome, Italy (24 nights B2B), May 2009
Cunard QE2: Southampton, England - New York, USA (5 nights), January 2006

Skipper Tim's guide to (almost-free) flights for repositioning cruises
#7
Vancouver B.C.
4,525 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
I recently booked through a travel agent. Yes you can add drink packages or excursions on line through MSC. Click on "On board Services" and put in your booking number where it asks. Just ordered the drink package and have confirmation. Will be charged on embarkation.
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#8
Frankfurt
647 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
We always managed to get better prices / OBC trough online TAs. I also find price comparisons tedious on the MSC site, thince it requires the birth dates of all passengers before it will show the prices.
#10
Kelowna, BC
1,745 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
I am starting to lean more towards doing direct with the company as I can cancel or make changes, add stuff, etc without going through a second person...ie the TA.....gives me more control I think....only book with a TA if there is some great perk added on....ie....free drink package or OBC or free specialty dinners.....can not believe that you Brits do not get your deposits back...here in NA if you cancel for any reason 90 days before the cruise your deposit is fully refundable....in the case of MSC we can hold cruises we like and might go on and get the cabin we want for a fantastic deal of only $100 per person....and hold for a year ahead or more.....for example we are holding a 20 day Tahiti cruise with a nice cabin for Jan 2015 for only $350 fully refundable on Princess...
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#11
SOUTH WALES
3,453 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by Skipper Tim
A year ago, I would have agreed with you on price but not with online booking of extras. Please share some sort of detail to point us in the direction of TAs that can beat MSC's online price AND give obc. I swear by the Co-op but since the crackdown even they give the same fare to the penny as MSC with no incentives to book with them.

As regarding booking extras online on the MSC website having booked with a TA, I am extremely sceptical given the lively thread on the subject. The reported experiences are that there is no online record of bookings made through third parties, let alone the facilities to add extras and amend details online.

Please convince me.
As MSC monitor this forum I shall not name any TA or suchlike that I deal with and risk them being "dealt with" by MSC to make them toe the line that they have, aginst competition law, enforced TAs to adopt.

As for online bookings of extras here is a screendump of my booking (via a TA) and my subsequent booking of the AI package

Certain details have been deleted but sufficient is left to convince you!








Pete
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268 nights at sea

pete at cruisingmates dot co dot uk


1961 HMTS Dunera UK to CYPRUS 23 nights
1962 Cyprus to Isreal and Egypt 5 nights
1991 Carnival Jubilee L.A. / Mexico (Total Eclipse Cruise) 7 nights
1998 Carnival Fascination Caribbean (Total Eclipse Cruise) 7 nights
1999 Airtours Sundream W. Med 7 nights
2000:Airtours Sundream Baltic 15 nights
2005 MSC Opera E. Med 7 nights
2007 MSC Lirica W. Med 7 nights
2008 MSC Orchestra W. Med 7 nights
2009 MSC Orchestra Caribbean 7 nights
2009 RCI Serenade OTS (JS) Alaska 7 nights
2009 MSC Musica E. Med 7 nights
2010:RCI Explorer OTS (GS) Caribbean 9 nights
2010 MSC Splendida W. Med 7 nights
2011 NCL Norwegian Dawn (Penthouse Suite) W. Caribbean 5 nights Back to Back
2011 NCL Norwegian Dawn (Penthouse Suite) S. Caribbean 9 nights Back to Back
2011 P&O Azura Norway 7 nights
2011 RCI Grandeur OTS (GS) W. Med 7 nights
2012 MSC Splendida W. Med 7 nights
2012 RCI Splendour OTS (GS) Repo Brazil to Spain 13 nights
2012 RCI Splendour OTS (GS) E. Med 7 nights
2012 MSC Divina E. Med 7 nights (YC)
2013 MSC Opera UK to Lisbon and back 10 nights
2013 MSC Sinfonia W. Med 7 nights (Yippee!! BLACK CARD after this;;-- GOT IT NOW!!!!!!)
2014 MSC Opera UK to Souh Africa Grand voyage 21 nights
2014 MSC Sinfonia E. Med. 11 nights
2016 MSC Orchestra Caribbean 14 nights B2B with
2016 MSC Orchestra Trans Atlantic 14 nights
2016 MSC Splendida Repo UK to Italy 7 nights



BOOKED

2017 MSC Meraviglia Western Med (YC) 7 nights

2018 MSC Seaview Western Med 7 nights

2018 MSC Magnifica Repo 9 nights







#12
Manchester, England
2,934 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
I have booked 2 MSC cruises through TAs and added the drinks packages via the MSC web site.

Admittedly I sailed on neither (1 due to a "technical error” and another due to family issues) but the extras were there for both.
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Past cruises

25-10-2015 Allure of the Seas
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04-02-2015 Norwegian Jade
09-12-2014 Boudicca
06-29-2014 MSC Opera
03-22-2014 MSC Armonia
11-19-2013 Braemar
09-13-2013 MSC Armonia
09-17-2012 MSC Poesia
09-08-2008 Costa Magica
#13
Lancashire, England, UK
839 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
I've booked my next MSC cruise through Virgin Cruises and have booked drink packages online after the event. Saved about £200 on a weeks cruise and have the exact same product including BA flights.

When I next book (hopefully for Divina for October 2014) I will get a quote from MSC website and see if it can be bettered by a TA
#14
Perth
862 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
I vary my bookings.

I use either an online German TA, UK TA, NA TA or MSC Direct (Australia or South Africa) - you will be amazed at how the prices can vary.
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#15
Yorkshire, UK and Messenia, Greece
2,617 Posts
Joined May 2009
I stand corrected. It appears it is possible to add extras via the website (except for repos) but not to see and augment the details of the booking under 'My reservations' when you log in (with TA bookings).

Pete do you have any clues of names of TAs that give discounts and obc? Is it one of the biggies? And is this only for packages or do they extend to cruise only? Is it a house that eskimos live in or was once the queen?
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Tim🖖

Waiting to Book
MSC repositioning without solo-occupancy supplement

Booked
'Land Cruise', Crystal Sunrise Queen Resort & Spa, Side, Turkey Jan 2017

Sailed
'Land Cruises', Crystal Sunrise Queen Resort & Spa, Side, Turkey Dec 2015 & Mar 2016. live review
Cunard Queen Mary 2: Southampton, England - New York, USA (7 nights), Dec 2014 live blog
MSC Armonia: Las Palmas, Gran Canaria - Venice, Italy (11 nights), March 2014 live blog
MSC Fantasia: Santos, Brazil - Venice, Italy (17 nights), March 2013 live blog
MSC Musica: Venice, Italy - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (16 nights), November 2012 live blog
RCI Grandeur of the Seas: Palma, Mallorca - Colon, Panama (14 nights), October 2011
RCI Legend of the Seas: Singapore - Dubai, UAE - Rome, Italy (24 nights B2B), May 2009
Cunard QE2: Southampton, England - New York, USA (5 nights), January 2006

Skipper Tim's guide to (almost-free) flights for repositioning cruises
#16
SOUTH WALES
3,453 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by Skipper Tim
I stand corrected. It appears it is possible to add extras via the website (except for repos) but not to see and augment the details of the booking under 'My reservations' when you log in (with TA bookings).

Pete do you have any clues of names of TAs that give discounts and obc? Is it one of the biggies? And is this only for packages or do they extend to cruise only? Is it a house that eskimos live in or was once the queen?
My booking is cruise only .
i've cetainly had quotes from the eskimos which included discounts but they are not the ones I eventually used. Giving a cliue here that you could work out means that onlookers from the cruise line would be able to guess as well, which could ruin everything.
You could always look for clues to other methods of contact rather than this open forum.



Pete
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268 nights at sea

pete at cruisingmates dot co dot uk


1961 HMTS Dunera UK to CYPRUS 23 nights
1962 Cyprus to Isreal and Egypt 5 nights
1991 Carnival Jubilee L.A. / Mexico (Total Eclipse Cruise) 7 nights
1998 Carnival Fascination Caribbean (Total Eclipse Cruise) 7 nights
1999 Airtours Sundream W. Med 7 nights
2000:Airtours Sundream Baltic 15 nights
2005 MSC Opera E. Med 7 nights
2007 MSC Lirica W. Med 7 nights
2008 MSC Orchestra W. Med 7 nights
2009 MSC Orchestra Caribbean 7 nights
2009 RCI Serenade OTS (JS) Alaska 7 nights
2009 MSC Musica E. Med 7 nights
2010:RCI Explorer OTS (GS) Caribbean 9 nights
2010 MSC Splendida W. Med 7 nights
2011 NCL Norwegian Dawn (Penthouse Suite) W. Caribbean 5 nights Back to Back
2011 NCL Norwegian Dawn (Penthouse Suite) S. Caribbean 9 nights Back to Back
2011 P&O Azura Norway 7 nights
2011 RCI Grandeur OTS (GS) W. Med 7 nights
2012 MSC Splendida W. Med 7 nights
2012 RCI Splendour OTS (GS) Repo Brazil to Spain 13 nights
2012 RCI Splendour OTS (GS) E. Med 7 nights
2012 MSC Divina E. Med 7 nights (YC)
2013 MSC Opera UK to Lisbon and back 10 nights
2013 MSC Sinfonia W. Med 7 nights (Yippee!! BLACK CARD after this;;-- GOT IT NOW!!!!!!)
2014 MSC Opera UK to Souh Africa Grand voyage 21 nights
2014 MSC Sinfonia E. Med. 11 nights
2016 MSC Orchestra Caribbean 14 nights B2B with
2016 MSC Orchestra Trans Atlantic 14 nights
2016 MSC Splendida Repo UK to Italy 7 nights



BOOKED

2017 MSC Meraviglia Western Med (YC) 7 nights

2018 MSC Seaview Western Med 7 nights

2018 MSC Magnifica Repo 9 nights







#17
Bolton / Accrington, Lancashire, UK
7,465 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Pete ... It is not just MSC who are preventing travel agents from offering discounts to their UK customers all the major brands are doing it! despite allowing it to continue in North America ..

They are also still allowing cabins to be blocked by people many months or a year or more in advance who in some cases have no intention of taking the cruise booked because they can book others for the same time scale knowing full well they will not be penalised by the loss of their deposit if they cancel 90 days or so prior to the cruise date! yet passengers in the UK lose theirs with no come back in most cases nor are they allowed to transfer it to another date.
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#18
Yorkshire, UK and Messenia, Greece
2,617 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Skier52
My booking is cruise only .
i've cetainly had quotes from the eskimos which included discounts but they are not the ones I eventually used. Giving a cliue here that you could work out means that onlookers from the cruise line would be able to guess as well, which could ruin everything.
You could always look for clues to other methods of contact rather than this open forum.

Pete
Stop teasing me. Despite receiving Allegrissimo Premium free of charge and having the hotel charge removed on my last MSC cruise, I have no connection to MSC or the cruise industry. My email address is my first name @millea.com. Help me out!

Tim.
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Tim🖖

Waiting to Book
MSC repositioning without solo-occupancy supplement

Booked
'Land Cruise', Crystal Sunrise Queen Resort & Spa, Side, Turkey Jan 2017

Sailed
'Land Cruises', Crystal Sunrise Queen Resort & Spa, Side, Turkey Dec 2015 & Mar 2016. live review
Cunard Queen Mary 2: Southampton, England - New York, USA (7 nights), Dec 2014 live blog
MSC Armonia: Las Palmas, Gran Canaria - Venice, Italy (11 nights), March 2014 live blog
MSC Fantasia: Santos, Brazil - Venice, Italy (17 nights), March 2013 live blog
MSC Musica: Venice, Italy - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (16 nights), November 2012 live blog
RCI Grandeur of the Seas: Palma, Mallorca - Colon, Panama (14 nights), October 2011
RCI Legend of the Seas: Singapore - Dubai, UAE - Rome, Italy (24 nights B2B), May 2009
Cunard QE2: Southampton, England - New York, USA (5 nights), January 2006

Skipper Tim's guide to (almost-free) flights for repositioning cruises
#19
NY
533 Posts
Joined May 2013
Originally posted by maryann2
I recently booked through a travel agent. Yes you can add drink packages or excursions on line through MSC. Click on "On board Services" and put in your booking number where it asks. Just ordered the drink package and have confirmation. Will be charged on embarkation.
I did exactly the same, also booking an excursion in addition to drinks package. TA price was very competitive. Before booking I contacted MSC and asked if they could match the price as I would have preferred direct booking, but they did not match. They also didn't offer any incentives. We went with the TA purely based on price and also because we were happy with the deck of the cabin offered.