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fodorspeter

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About fodorspeter

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  1. I can't speak for online TA's or all cruise line salespeople, but my nephew's wife works for RCI. I don't remember exactly what they call her but its something like a cruise consultant. She worked for a brick and mortar agency for about five years until they went out of business. Now she's been with RCI about a year. She tells us that she is paid a salary but gets some small incentives depending on her numbers. She isn't commissioned. As far as knowing what she's doing, we believe she's quite effective at it. We called her for our next cruise which she handled pretty well. We have used TA's in the past, but have booked direct the last couple of times. I think to categorize cruiseline agents as people who have never cruised before or have little knowledge of cruising is like saying al TA's are useless. There are good cruiseline agents and there are good TA's.
  2. I would tend to agree with Puffinator. After reading several recent horror stories on these boards about problems with TA's, I would tend to book direct and be in absolute control of my vacation. There is only one person I trust completely and that's me. As far as getting dates right, etc.; if that's a concern, call RCI instead of booking on their website. I would assume that since you've found CC, you are already pretty computer savvy, but you can always call instead. It's so interesting that none of the TA's on these boards ever recommend using a TA for airlines or hotels. Must be because its a pain for them and they don't get any commission. Hotwire is my choice for hotels. Once you learn their secrets, you can absolutely know what hotel they are showing you. Its a little more certain than Priceline.
  3. I'm going to take a crack at how you got your username for CruiseCritic: you were dressed in your slacks and polo shirt on formal night on a Princess cruise and one table over some one commented to another, "at least there's 1 Happy Cruiser in the dining room."
  4. There is no "suggesting" language in the Princess dress code: "Tuxedo, dark suit or dinner jacket and slacks for men." If they meant it to be a suggestion, they wouldn't call it a "code"; they would refer to it as suggested wear. As for insulting beachchick, I certainly didn't mean to and if I did I apologize. The way I look at that reference, I don't think the original poster meant that others needed to "make the evening" for him, what I think he meant was he didn't want someone "ruin the evening" for him. Kind of like a formal wedding reception at the local country club where the invitations say formal attire requested. The last think the bride and groom need in the background of their elegant reception pictures is some couple dressed in resort casual wear. "Choice" is an over-used and somewhat selfish word to use in this kind of discussion. "Respect" always trumps "choice"; or at least it should.
  5. I'm a little confused. I see where the cruiser should get a discount, but what is the travel agent doing to get paid? If you think about it long enough, maybe those cruisers that do all the research and know exactly what they want should get some kind of discount from RCL to book direct? Then, for those that don't want to do any work and make the travel agent do it all should generate a commission for the TA. Sounds fair.
  6. Someone posted on one of these formal threads that on formal night, please dress to code because everyone else was his backdrop. This has always made sense to me. My wife, two daughters and myself love to dress formally, have our pictures taken including at our table with the beautiful dining room setting and the formal wait staff all dressed up. I really don't want to have those memories in our pictures with a guy in dress pants and a polo shirt in the background at the next table. We cruise Celebrity and Princess because they do have a much more enforced dress code than the other mass lines. The formality is something we don't get to have in our normal lives and it creates a very special memory for us. If you don't feel the same way and want to stay resort casual, please cruise on a different line or eat in the buffet on formal nights. Thanks.
  7. So if I understand your words correctly, you would say your idea of FORMAL is a polo shirt and dockers? If I'm mistaken about that, please give us your definition of FORMAL.
  8. Not much to add. Taxis charge by the zones they go from/to. Google San Juan Taxi Rates and you'll find a handy little chart. I always use Hotwire for hotels. Go to betterbidding.com for strategy and pricing of hotwire. You should be able to get a four star in your price range. If you don't need a beach, I too would recommend the Sheraton Old San Juan which is a three and a half star hotel.
  9. We get nervous and stressed whenever we leave the ship and head home!!
  10. I'm just curious, are you one of those travel consultants I've heard about? The ones that are strictly fee based. If so, I'd be interested in why that particular style is better for the consumer? I understand the attraction for the consultant, but I don't get what the cruiser gets above and beyond the traditional travel agent service? If I'm too nosey, just ignore. No problem.
  11. When you say a large OBC, how large is it. Sometimes TA's offer unrealistic OBC's just to get the business and then don't deliver. I think I read somewhere that the max OBC is 10% of the commissionable fare. So if the cruise is $2000 and the taxes and fees are $500 then the commissionable fare is $1500 and the max OBC allowed is $150. If someone offers you $500 OBC, maybe it is a rat. Just be careful.
  12. I would strongly suggest what one poster has already advised - go to the ports of call here on Cruise Critic and you will find many great private excursions for your ports.
  13. It's been our experience that those that expouse the notion that "it's my cruise, I paid for it and I can do anything I want to" are, in fact, the ones who ignore the dress code, allow their unruly children to run wild on the ship, put a towel on a pool-side chair and come back four hours later and invite twenty of their friends to share some cocktails in their cabin at two in the morning. These types of people belong on Carnival, not Celebrity.
  14. As the others have said, no problem. I would come back around 1:30 or 2:00 as that is when the lines are typically the shortest.
  15. Our trick is we always use a porter in the terminal to get our luggage. Simply slip him a ten and ask to get a taxi. The last several times in Ft. Lauderdale, he took us out the terminal and down around to the start of the cab line and told one of his buddies who was directing the cabs to take care of us. Five minutes and we were out of there.
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