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#22
Alaska
355 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by Keith1010
Maracamama, several years ago we realized it was time to find a new agent/agency. Our TA at the time had sold his business and we were unimpressed with the new owners. We booked a World Cruise directly with a cruise line (not Silversea) and we had until the final payment was made to select and move the booking to a TA.

We asked friends if they liked their TA (I think that a TA can provide value that goes well beyond credits and such and can actually save you money in other areas and also can add other values) and we narrowed down a list to agents from various travel consortiums as well as a couple of independents.

I sent them each the same e-mail with the same set of questions and then noted that after they responded I would schedule calls with each of them. The questions varied and included not only what amenities they would provide but several other areas including their background.

Part of why I did it this way was to see how each TA prepared and the quality of their answers because that told me a lot about them. In essence it was like giving them an assignment.

I then did a phone interview with each of them.

From there I made my decision.

I was looking for a long term agent and not just for the World Cruise but certainly the World Cruise represented some significant revenue to them.

If you do this, do it thoughtfully. There is no need to make it time sensitive with some kind of edict. In fact, by not providing a specific time in my initial e mail query this was another way to get at their responsiveness.

Some do not agree with me on this but I find it very helpful to have a strong TA and not one that is based solely on amenities. There is a lot that goes into a World Cruise or for that matter most bookings that a TA can add tremendous value to.

I also think it is imperative that they have strong knowledge of the luxury cruise line industry and the companies they work with so they can not only offer solid recommendations to you but that they know who to go to if something goes wrong to make it right.

As savvy as I consider myself when it comes to cruising a strong TA can provide guidance that adds tremendous value and can save one plenty of money too.

Again, do the research and select a TA the way you might other vendors or for that matter if you were interviewing someone to work for you.

Keith
Keith~
I wanted to say I really appreciated your well thought out approach to selecting a TA! Thanks for sharing.

Tonya
#24
Encino, CA
1,197 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
My travel agent gives us a discount off the booking. It varies depending on the cruise line but it is around 10-11% on most of the luxury lines. Often we also get OBC's. I generally do all the legwork (I like to do that) and book directly with the cruise company, and then I have her take over the booking.
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Regent Explorer - Tokyo to Tokyo - April, 2021
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#25
CA, USA
14,516 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Originally posted by Carol From California
My travel agent gives us a discount off the booking. It varies depending on the cruise line but it is around 10-11% on most of the luxury lines. Often we also get OBC's. I generally do all the legwork (I like to do that) and book directly with the cruise company, and then I have her take over the booking.
If you do all the leg work, make the booking yourself and simply turn it over to your TA then that TA is not acting as a TA but as a booking service. Therefore I can understand why he/she rebates such a hefty part of the commission. No work was expended to earn it.
#26
Encino, CA
1,197 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by wripro
If you do all the leg work, make the booking yourself and simply turn it over to your TA then that TA is not acting as a TA but as a booking service. Therefore I can understand why he/she rebates such a hefty part of the commission. No work was expended to earn it.
If I wanted the travel agent to do the legwork they would do it, and they have assisted with me with other things that have come up with my bookings with them. It's not that I don't want them to do it...I like to do all the legwork myself. It's part of my travel planning. I generally decide where I want to go a year or so beforehand and do a lot of research. That part is what I enjoy doing. The reason the travel agent rebates a hefty part of the commission is because they deal in volume. They book so many cruises that they are able to give discounts. Plain and simple.
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FUTURE CRUISES
Regent Explorer - Tokyo to Tokyo - April, 2021
Scenic Eclipse - Tromso to Oslo (Arctic) - July, 2020
Scenic Spirit - Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap - February, 2020
Viking Sky - Bergen to Reykjavik - August, 2019
Regent Explorer - Cape Town to Cape Town - December, 2018

PAST CRUISES
Silver Cloud Expedition - Ushuaia to Ushuaia (Antarctica) - February, 2018
Oceania Marina - London to London - August, 2017
Viking Star - Puerto Rico to Puerto Rico - February, 2017
Oceania Marina - Amsterdam to Barcelona - September, 2016
Oceania Marina - Sydney to Auckland - February, 2016
Viking Star - Venice to Istanbul - September, 2015
Oceania Marina - New York to Montreal May, 2015
Viking Njord - Budapest to Prague - August, 2014
Viking Emerald - Shanghai to Beijing - April, 2014
Silversea Whisper - Hong Kong to Singapore - February, 2013
Regent Voyager - Stockholm to Copenhagen - September, 2012
Regent Mariner - Barcelona to Rome - May, 2011
Regent Mariner - Istanbul to Athens - August, 2010
Regent Mariner - Alaska - August, 2009
Carnival cruise - Mexico - 2000
Disney cruise - Bahamas - 1989
#28
Palm Springs, Ca
2,800 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
I agree with most of you a good TA is important. You need someone that you can trust and feel comfortable with doing business. We will be on are first SilverSea cruise--and doing it with a new TA. The last one we had didn't really care about customer service. Told you one thing then wanted to change 30 days before you cruise. We book higher end suites, so not only did she loss us, but our friends that cruise with us. But I guess we should thank her-after using her for years-she made us realize we needed someone with integrity and a change in cruiselines so we booked with SilverSeas and a new TA.
Rick
#29
296 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
In most cases, commissions are much lower than 20% and if the agent works in an agency, the agency usually get a third to a half of the commission. Also, the cruise lines are reducing the base fare on which they pay commission and increase the Non commissionable fare portion, this reducing the TA's portion further.

Some agencies have added fees for booking and managing cruises. Other agencies keep their volume up through rebating (which for many cruise lines is an illegal practice).

It seems to me that cruisers in general are expecting their Travel Agent to give generous OBC, discounts, or gifts, thus reducing their cost to the cruiser. What if a cruiser finds a great agent, and they really click, but the agency doesn't allow rebating? Everybody loses here. What if the TA lives on his commissions and can only afford that over-priced bottle of wine form the ship, or that $300 OBC?

In this instance, if the total cruise was $67,000, what was the base fare? This prices includes round trip airfare, 2 shore excursions, laundry, gifts, transfers, port charges and taxes. You can bet Silverseas isn't paying commission on those.

To the OP, you stated that you were used to your previous agent sending a thank you gift. Your current agent did the same, but it wasn't as much or as nice as your previous agent. The thought was the same, you just felt you deserved more. I suggest you find a new agent and when interviewing them, ask how much money they are willing to give you when you book a world cruise. That will weed out those bad apples that that just give you a paltry $300 gift.
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#30
Coconut Grove, FL
77 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by anonymousegirl
In most cases, commissions are much lower than 20% and if the agent works in an agency, the agency usually get a third to a half of the commission. Also, the cruise lines are reducing the base fare on which they pay commission and increase the Non commissionable fare portion, this reducing the TA's portion further.

Some agencies have added fees for booking and managing cruises. Other agencies keep their volume up through rebating (which for many cruise lines is an illegal practice).

It seems to me that cruisers in general are expecting their Travel Agent to give generous OBC, discounts, or gifts, thus reducing their cost to the cruiser. What if a cruiser finds a great agent, and they really click, but the agency doesn't allow rebating? Everybody loses here. What if the TA lives on his commissions and can only afford that over-priced bottle of wine form the ship, or that $300 OBC?

In this instance, if the total cruise was $67,000, what was the base fare? This prices includes round trip airfare, 2 shore excursions, laundry, gifts, transfers, port charges and taxes. You can bet Silverseas isn't paying commission on those.

To the OP, you stated that you were used to your previous agent sending a thank you gift. Your current agent did the same, but it wasn't as much or as nice as your previous agent. The thought was the same, you just felt you deserved more. I suggest you find a new agent and when interviewing them, ask how much money they are willing to give you when you book a world cruise. That will weed out those bad apples that that just give you a paltry $300 gift.
In my instance the CRUISE FARE was $67K. I have the invoice in my hand. We did our own air, there (usually) are not "excursions" per se. We have had free laundry for years now. I can't comment on the port charges, You betcha I think a $300 OBC is paltry, as I'm pretty sure looking at the invoice there was no "rebate" from the TA.
Yeppers, need a little more love with a 5 week Explorer cruise coming up and the WC.
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Martha

1993 Ocean Pearl Far East
1994 R 1 Seychelles
1995 Marco Polo Burma
1996 Marco Polo Singapore
1997 Paul Gaugin French Polynesia
1998 Crown Odyssey Inaugural Medit.
1999/2000 Marco Polo Millenium Antarctica
2001 Silversea Shadow Viet Nam
2002 Seaborne Legend B2B Transatlantic
2003 Silversea Cloud B2BTransatlantic
2004 Marco Polo Scandinavia
2005 Norwegian Wind Hawaii
2005 Silversea Wind 2B2B Middle East
2006 Silversea Wind 3B2B Transatlantic (100+ Days on SS)
2007 Oosterdam Alaska
Nov-Dec 2007 Regent Mariner Aust/NZ/LA B2B
Nov 2009 Regent Voyager Mumbai-Capetown
Nov 2009 Regent Voyager Capetown-Rio de Janeiro (100+ Days on RSSC)
Dec 2009 Regent Voyager Rio-Fort Lauderdale
April 2010 Sapphire Princess Mexican Riviera
May 2010 Amadolce River Cruise Paris-Budapest
Oct-Dec 2010 Silversea Prince Albert II (now the Silver Explorer): Costa Rica to Chilean Fjords to Antarctica (the 7 week Marriage Test)
Mar 2011 Regent Navigator FLL-FLL
April 2011 Celebrity Summit Southern Caribbean
Sept 2011 Silversea Shadow 3 B2B Asia
April-May 2012 Regent Voyager 3 B2B Athens-Rome
Oct-Nov 2012 Colonial Harbors Regent Navigator Montreal-Miami
April 5-May 1, 2013 Silversea Whisper Capetown to FLL
June 2013 Celebrity Solstice Alaska
June 2014 Viking Gullveig Amsterdam-Basel
June-July 2014 Silver Discoverer Otaru (Sapporo)-Seward
October 2014 Silver Explorer French Polynesia
January 5-May 1, 2015 World Cruise Silversea Whisper LA-FLL
Sept 2016 Silver Whisper Southampton-Montreal
April 2017 Azamara Quest TA Miami-Barcelona

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#31
UK
8,483 Posts
Joined May 2012
Originally posted by Maracamama
In my instance the CRUISE FARE was $67K. I have the invoice in my hand. We did our own air, there (usually) are not "excursions" per se. We have had free laundry for years now. I can't comment on the port charges, You betcha I think a $300 OBC is paltry, as I'm pretty sure looking at the invoice there was no "rebate" from the TA.
Yeppers, need a little more love with a 5 week Explorer cruise coming up and the WC.
Maracamama, your post makes me realise I wish I had been a TA with people like you as clients.

A commission and bonuses on $67k and you make all your own flight arrangements. Happy days.

Some have posted and they clearly receive value ie Keith. You clearly do not.

Time for some changes .....
#32
St. Petersburg, Fl USA
5,477 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Maracamama,
I checked my luxury TA and they are offering this on the WC. Either 8 guided, or leisurely tours with a private car and driver OR $4800 ship board credit- PLUS an additional $500 cash credit. (In addition to the credits etc by Silversea) $300 seems a bit measly to me.
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Host Dan

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#33
102,120 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Often for a World Cruise (full) if your TA is associated with one of the consortiums the consortiums provide something along the lines that Host Dan is talking about. And if that is from the consortium than the TA can also provide something beyond that on their own such as a shipboard credit. Often what the consortium is providing is actually an amenity that goes from the cruise line to the consortium and then to the guest recognizing the large volume of business that consortiums or very large independents bring to the table.

Keith
#34
Coconut Grove, FL
77 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by Host Dan
Maracamama,
I checked my luxury TA and they are offering this on the WC. Either 8 guided, or leisurely tours with a private car and driver OR $4800 ship board credit- PLUS an additional $500 cash credit. (In addition to the credits etc by Silversea) $300 seems a bit measly to me.
Just to clarify, the $300 OBC was on the Expedition cruise, not the upcoming WC.
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Martha

1993 Ocean Pearl Far East
1994 R 1 Seychelles
1995 Marco Polo Burma
1996 Marco Polo Singapore
1997 Paul Gaugin French Polynesia
1998 Crown Odyssey Inaugural Medit.
1999/2000 Marco Polo Millenium Antarctica
2001 Silversea Shadow Viet Nam
2002 Seaborne Legend B2B Transatlantic
2003 Silversea Cloud B2BTransatlantic
2004 Marco Polo Scandinavia
2005 Norwegian Wind Hawaii
2005 Silversea Wind 2B2B Middle East
2006 Silversea Wind 3B2B Transatlantic (100+ Days on SS)
2007 Oosterdam Alaska
Nov-Dec 2007 Regent Mariner Aust/NZ/LA B2B
Nov 2009 Regent Voyager Mumbai-Capetown
Nov 2009 Regent Voyager Capetown-Rio de Janeiro (100+ Days on RSSC)
Dec 2009 Regent Voyager Rio-Fort Lauderdale
April 2010 Sapphire Princess Mexican Riviera
May 2010 Amadolce River Cruise Paris-Budapest
Oct-Dec 2010 Silversea Prince Albert II (now the Silver Explorer): Costa Rica to Chilean Fjords to Antarctica (the 7 week Marriage Test)
Mar 2011 Regent Navigator FLL-FLL
April 2011 Celebrity Summit Southern Caribbean
Sept 2011 Silversea Shadow 3 B2B Asia
April-May 2012 Regent Voyager 3 B2B Athens-Rome
Oct-Nov 2012 Colonial Harbors Regent Navigator Montreal-Miami
April 5-May 1, 2013 Silversea Whisper Capetown to FLL
June 2013 Celebrity Solstice Alaska
June 2014 Viking Gullveig Amsterdam-Basel
June-July 2014 Silver Discoverer Otaru (Sapporo)-Seward
October 2014 Silver Explorer French Polynesia
January 5-May 1, 2015 World Cruise Silversea Whisper LA-FLL
Sept 2016 Silver Whisper Southampton-Montreal
April 2017 Azamara Quest TA Miami-Barcelona

All 50 states, Canada, South Africa, Cuba, China, Japan, Cambodia, Thailand
Can frequently be found in The Cayman Islands...