Posted May 6th, 2012, 08:59 PM
Be careful of some of those online sites (we can't mention names of agencies or agents) because there are some things that you'll find with them that you won't with other agencies. For example, it's against the policy of most cruise lines to allow travel agents to discount cruises. Their policy states that they must sell their cruises for the same price that the cruise line itself sells it for. So, if you're seeing a really big discount for the exact cruise in the exact cabin, it's probably that the agency is giving up their commission. But read the fine print from those agencies. Many times they have big cancellation fees or big fees for changing anything about the cruise. I'm not saying those online agencies are bad, but you have to know exactly what you're getting from them.
Just adding on--
If everything is exactly the same as kitty9 said then another reason why the fare is lower can be because the TA or TA's consortium has group space booked on a particular cruise.
For example I was at a trade show yesterday. A group was advertising a group cruise. Right now their fare is better than what I can get thru the cruiseline because they were able to lock in a price a while ago.
Always compare apples to apples-- What is included in each quote: exact cabin category, taxes & fees, gratuities etc. A guarantee balcony rate will not be the same as a rate where you can choose your specific cabin.