Booking through an agent or direct?

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#1
UK
1,518 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Have decided to treat (adult) daughter to a cruise next year for her 'special' birthday. Because that will mean 3 in a cabin, are we best booking through an agent or direct with whichever cruiseline we chose to travel with?
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#2
Indiana
654 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
I would recommend booking directly through the cruise line. They have access to all the rooms available and can help you get the best cabin.

The travel agents (TAs) are only given a selection, not access to the whole ship.

Also, people's opinions will vary greatly on whether or not to use a TA in general. I don't because I like to control my reservation. With Royal Caribbean anyway, if you book through a TA, they are the only ones who can access/change the reservation. I don't like that.

Not sure if that's the same with other cruise lines.

Enjoy the planning! It's the first step toward a fun filled cruise!!
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#3
Virginia
19,461 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
And I have the exact opposite feeling of schmeed. I like to have a travel agent taking care of me. If I have a question, she knows exactly what to do and has access to a special section of the cruise company's booking area for travel agents. I also get onboard credit from the agency.

If you are looking for an agency be sure to check to see if it charges for changes or cancellations (some do, some don't). In the US there are some travel agents that specialize in cruising and there might be some in the UK as well.
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#4
Central Ohio
16,189 Posts
Joined May 2003
As Dave said you will have to go through your TA for any and all questions regarding your cruise. For that reason alone many people prefer booking directly through the cruise lines.

OTOH there are a number of cruisers who swear by their TA's ability to get better prices, OBC's, and other perks.

If you know someone who has used a TA and would recommend them you may want to consider using them.

I've used both successfully. It's a matter of shopping around sometimes.

Charlie
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#5
NJ
6,274 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
A TA will likely offer you additional perks. So we price it first directly (online), then shop 2 TAs (both very good) to see what they are offering. We end up booking with the TA.

You will find lots of info on these boards RE: fitting 3 into a cabin. But you need to give ship, type of stateroom you're considering, etc. We are always happy to give suggestions!!
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#6
Coral Springs,Florida
1,719 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
We always use a TA. This is a no brainer to us. The price you payfor your cruise should be the same no matter where you buy your cruise. The biggest advantage from a good TA is that they will give you onboard credit. On our next cruise we get $275 in onboard credit. That is free easy money to use on our cruise. We can still check our reservation on the cruise line and use their system for reservations and excursions if we like. Not all TA are the same so shop around and enjoy your next cruise.
#7
north carolina now from upper state ny Plattsburgh area
2,172 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by schmeed
I would recommend booking directly through the cruise line. They have access to all the rooms available and can help you get the best cabin.

The travel agents (TAs) are only given a selection, not access to the whole ship.

Also, people's opinions will vary greatly on whether or not to use a TA in general. I don't because I like to control my reservation. With Royal Caribbean anyway, if you book through a TA, they are the only ones who can access/change the reservation. I don't like that.

Not sure if that's the same with other cruise lines.

Enjoy the planning! It's the first step toward a fun filled cruise!!
TA's have access to the whole ship. They go into the same website that the agent who answers your phone goes into if you call direct. A brick and motar ( real building not online ) agency gets the same prices as the online specials do. What the online agencies don't do is check the the prices when they go down and adjust your booking....unless you call them and ask. The TA agent also looks out for you on a more one on one basis because she wants your business, your families business...and next years business. Online agencies pay the agents by the hr. They answer the phones and book...you won't get a birthday card being that your from the UK I don't believe that a US based agent can help you. UK prices can sometimes be different from The States. If you ever join a CC thread that is sailing out of the UK you will understand what I'm talking about Find a local agency and ask for advice. Tell them about your children and what you would like to do for them. Give them a budget and some ideas as to where your children would like to cruise. If you are going to start them as lifelong cruisers try to pick a line that has good benifits for repeat customers. I know that Celebrity Lines will have an electric tea pot in the rooms of their UK passengers etc. Some Lines like Costa and MSC will repeat the anouncements in several foreign languages and to some people that can be annoying. ( I personally like it). Local TA agencies may have groups already set up that your family will fit into easily. It's fun and your very kind to be dong this for them.
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#8
104,771 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
We use a TA and love the idea that we can go and talk to her personally -- call her any time we want to.

Our TA has access to all available cabins on all cruise lines.
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#9
Sechelt, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,686 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
No question in my mind, book thru a good TA. Not all TAs are good so you do need to make some inquiries of friends who have cruised. A good TA will access to "groups" which will have lower fares, where they are allowed, and or nice perks in the way of enhanced OBC,s, transfers, travel insurance, dinner in a specialty restaurant..... If something goes amiss, and it does happen, the TA will be there for you, you won't be talking to some faceless person in the cruise lines call center whose only loyalty is to the company and likely doesn't understand the issue to begin with. As for access to all cabins, not all will show up on a TAs inventory as they sometimes are being held back in the case of family cabins or for people booking continuing legs of a cruise, however a good TA will call the cruise line and generally will be able to free up a "held" cabin.
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#10
South Carolina
26,065 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
A good TA is priceless!

LuLu
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#11
Southern California
1,357 Posts
Joined May 2008
Have never seen a cruise line fare yet that a good TA could not beat with all the perks they can offer.
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#12
New York
4,763 Posts
Joined Jan 2000
We do all of the research beforehand, but ALWAYS book with an agent. Maybe it's just been coincidence, but we've always gotten a better rate, better/more perks and if the price goes down, she calls us to say the rate went down and now the cost is xxxx, instead of us having to regularly monitor the line's web site. If we have a question or issue, we call her and she takes care of it (and we're not on hold for 10 or more minutes)