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kittychick78

PVP vs. just booking on Carnival site?

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So I'm looking at booking another cruise for this Dec. My only other cruise, we just booked online at the time (2012).

 

I was online today playing around with booking options, and of course tonight I get a call from a PVP from Carnival. She wasn't exactly what I would call a seasoned PVP. She was fine, but I could tell she was just reading things off the computer, inexperienced, and didn't give me any info I didn't already know, phrasing things in an annoying sales pitchy type way...that approach just turns me off. Even basic questions (does booking using my VIFP vs early saver still give me price protection) required her to go silent for 2 minutes while she looked that up...that seems like a pretty basic query that she should know.

 

I'm 100% booking a cruise, but I'd rather give the sale to either PVP that is useful to me, or just do it myself.

 

Anyway, here are my questions:

 

What are the pros and cons of using PVP vs. booking online? Are there any specific benefits?

What method do you usually use?

And if you use a PVP, do you have any recommendations and extension # of someone who really knows their stuff and works for you? If you aren't allowed to post that directly, feel free to PM me. Or even just general feedback of what I should expect from a "good" PVP.

 

Thanks in advance!

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I used a PVP once, then a travel agent (had to for rewards points), then booked myself on the third cruise.

 

I've booked myself the next three times as well (twice with other lines, and then canceled one). I don't like not having control of my booking (travel agent) and have failed to see any benefit to a PVP.

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Online you can only see up to 10 cabins in a particular category. A PVP has access to more and if needed multiple adjoining/connecting cabins.

 

If you didn't like who you got, call and speak to someone else. Have deck plans open so you can see what is above and below you and you know what you are getting.

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I have used a PVP in the past but lately I've booked online to grab a price/room that I didn't want to lose due to it being outside of PVP's working hours

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I have always booked directly on Carnival's site. No longer see the need for a TA. However, I recently wanted to book a B2B that included a casino rate for one leg and a GTY rate (Carnival picks the cabin) for the second leg.

 

I used a PVP that was referred to me. The PVP was able to pull some strings and secure us the same cabin for both sailings. Later the price went down on one of the sailings. An email to the PVP and rate was dropped in a matter of minutes.

 

Based on this experience, I will continue to use this PVP who has been doing this for seven years and is very thorough. Also, they can see more inventory that is shown on the site.

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So I'm looking at booking another cruise for this Dec. My only other cruise, we just booked online at the time (2012).

 

I was online today playing around with booking options, and of course tonight I get a call from a PVP from Carnival. She wasn't exactly what I would call a seasoned PVP. She was fine, but I could tell she was just reading things off the computer, inexperienced, and didn't give me any info I didn't already know, phrasing things in an annoying sales pitchy type way...that approach just turns me off. Even basic questions (does booking using my VIFP vs early saver still give me price protection) required her to go silent for 2 minutes while she looked that up...that seems like a pretty basic query that she should know.

 

I'm 100% booking a cruise, but I'd rather give the sale to either PVP that is useful to me, or just do it myself.

 

Anyway, here are my questions:

 

What are the pros and cons of using PVP vs. booking online? Are there any specific benefits?

What method do you usually use?

And if you use a PVP, do you have any recommendations and extension # of someone who really knows their stuff and works for you? If you aren't allowed to post that directly, feel free to PM me. Or even just general feedback of what I should expect from a "good" PVP.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

First I must advise that we are not allowed to make recommendations here on CC of PVPs or TA,s. Just the rules of the board.

 

To answer some of your questions.

 

I have had pvps that came and went in rapid succession, but have had a good one since 2009. What I do, is that I do my own research first. First know when you want to travel, have an idea of from which port, and where you want to go. Go on Carnival website and look at all the options. That way, when you call your pvp, you can narrow it down to some options, and they can better serve you that way IMO.

 

I cant think of any cons, but the pro to me, if you have a good one, or one you have a good rapport with is; you always have someone at Carnival to answer your questions or deal with whatever you need dealing with. They do not work 24/7 but, during business hours they will return your call or email asap, at least a good one will. If they do not, you can still call Carnival 1 800 number and talk to someone at Carnival any day of the week.

 

As for a good pvp in my opinion, is one who knows that I only cruise every two to three years on average, and is not constantly hounding me with phone calls. Email should do it, and that is what mine does. Outside of the regular Carnival emails that I get, she will occasionally email directly to steer me toward a cruising that she knows I would/might be interestd in. She knows me lol! Lay out the guidelines in the early dealings. Tell them what you like, and what you dont like (ie; phone calls daily), tell them you cruise habits, ie; cruise family style, solo, couples etc.

 

If you dont like your pvp after a while, all you need to do is call Carnival 1 800 number and request another.

 

hope this helps.

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I have booked both ways. I used to always book online, but like you, we started getting calls every time we went online and looked. Finally, I started using the Carnival PVP who called us. I have to say...he has been wonderful, so now I wouldn't dream of just booking online. He does a great job of finding us the best possible rooms. He also helped out when we got an upgrade offer on ONE of our rooms (from interior to balcony for a really good price), but didn't get the offer on our other room. He got it for both of our rooms.

 

My husband got a "free cruise" offer from the casino on our last booking (for an interior room), and our guy got us a nice cheap upgrade to a sweet balcony room...also worked with us wonderfully to find us a good cruise that worked for us and where we could use the casino offer.

 

Hmmmm.....is it just me, or is there NOT a way to send a PM on CC? I'm thinking there is not. So....I"m not sure how to share his info with you without violating forum rules??

Edited by Domergirl

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I always look online first. I figure out what I want from what's there, or if I'd rather have something else I figure out what that is too. Then I call the 800 number and book with whoever happens to answer. I do this because I know they can sometimes see rooms that we can't see. Like my upcoming cruise....I'd been looking and wanting a 4th or 5th deck balcony room, and one was available then gone then back and then gone again. So when I called she asked what we wanted. I told her and she mentioned the 7 and 8 deck and asked if we had a deck in mind. I told her that we'd prefer 4 or 5 but I didn't see one available. She pulled it up and said she had one. So we were able to save about $40 that way and get what we really wanted anyway. She sad we couldn't see it because someone else was probably looking at it at the same time.

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I usually book online myself, but when I don't see available cabins on a deck I want, I will call & have them check. I don't have a PVP that I've used over & over, just have been lucky with whoever answers the line when I call.

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I don't like using a pvp i rather book it myself online.

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I have booked both ways. I used to always book online, but like you, we started getting calls every time we went online and looked. Finally, I started using the Carnival PVP who called us. I have to say...he has been wonderful, so now I wouldn't dream of just booking online. He does a great job of finding us the best possible rooms. He also helped out when we got an upgrade offer on ONE of our rooms (from interior to balcony for a really good price), but didn't get the offer on our other room. He got it for both of our rooms.

 

 

 

My husband got a "free cruise" offer from the casino on our last booking (for an interior room), and our guy got us a nice cheap upgrade to a sweet balcony room...also worked with us wonderfully to find us a good cruise that worked for us and where we could use the casino offer.

 

 

 

Hmmmm.....is it just me, or is there NOT a way to send a PM on CC? I'm thinking there is not. So....I"m not sure how to share his info with you without violating forum rules??

 

 

No you cant pm on here and that is the main reason why. They dont want you sharing info by pm, by posting online, or even emailing unfortunately

 

Bill

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You can look on Carnival funville website, folks can recommend good pvp's on that website. Just do a search. That is how I found mine, and I have been very pleased. She is always looking for ways to increase my OBC and contacts me if she finds something of interest but does not bug me.

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We got our current pvp (after the older one left suddenly) via a cruising friends recommendation and she has been very helpful.

 

when we have a problem we have someone who is there to help us.

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Thank you all very much. She's since called me back and it was the same experience. She's not a 'bad' rep, it's just obvious she's either new or relatively inexperienced and I want someone who's been doing this awhile. It sounds like there are some benefits to a PVP that I can use to enhance my own research/planning with. I'll go alt avenues to get a referral, thanks for all the input! :)

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When spending thousands of $$$ on a vacation, I would say most people like to discuss their vacation plans with a real person and not spend $$$ with a few mouse clicks. :)

 

Having said that, after researching on my own on Carnival's site, and then talking with a PVP, I booked it via their web site. I thought maybe there would be some advantage in going with either a TA or PVP, but I saw none. Not sure if they get a commission, but when I was ready to book, I wanted the room I found and didn't want to wait on someone to call me back.

 

In my experience booking my recent cruise:

 

1) Online I was able to mock book many scenarios without having to run all of them through a PVP. Those scenarios would have taken hours for them to do, and I could do it online at my leisure.

2) Once I found what I wanted, I contacted a PVP only to find the price they gave me was the same as what I was getting online. I was kind of surprised at that. I figured maybe by working with them I would at least get a little additional OBC, but did not. And my "Gold" VIFP status got me absolutely nothing :)

3) I also contacted a TA, who offered about $200 more OBC can Carnival, but their price was also about $600 more than online or through the PVP.

 

So - all in all - if you're internet savvy, I would recommend booking through the Carnival site. I'm sure if I have questions or any problems at this point, I could always call Carnival and they would help me. I also saw zero advantage when I was trying to use a TA. The TA of course wanted the business, but when I told her how much less I was paying through Carnival, I never heard back from her! :)

 

Good luck!

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I have a wonderful PVP. I'd love to refer people here to him but, as noted, it's against the rules.

 

I got him when my former PVP was promoted. I like this one much more.

 

BUT, I could absolutely book everything myself. I do my own research. I look at cabins. When I'm ready to book, I have a browser open and know exactly what the price is going to be and which cabin I want. All he does is book it for me.

 

I hate to call him on his cell on weekends, so if I find something I want to book right away, I just use the "hold" function and then email him and he does the rest.

 

The only reason I don't do it all myself is because I often change cabins, or add someone, or even switch ships. All I have to do is email him and tell him what I want and it's done, usually that day or the next.

 

So although I could do it myself, he's such a nice guy and takes care of all my requests that I want him to get credit for the bookings.

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First, the prices are exactly the same. When I booked my cruise a few weeks ago I had a spreadsheet ready on prospective cruises and our prices did not differ to the cent.

 

I am so glad I called her though. I was considering which room to book on which ship and discussing my options and told her I really wanted room 9200 on the Valor cruise I was eyeing, but that it was booked. She said that she could get that room and I asked her to book it. It still showed as not available online. I was very happy to snag that room.

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I have a wonderful PVP. I'd love to refer people here to him but, as noted, it's against the rules.

 

I got him when my former PVP was promoted. I like this one much more.

 

BUT, I could absolutely book everything myself. I do my own research. I look at cabins. When I'm ready to book, I have a browser open and know exactly what the price is going to be and which cabin I want. All he does is book it for me.

 

I hate to call him on his cell on weekends, so if I find something I want to book right away, I just use the "hold" function and then email him and he does the rest.

 

The only reason I don't do it all myself is because I often change cabins, or add someone, or even switch ships. All I have to do is email him and tell him what I want and it's done, usually that day or the next.

 

So although I could do it myself, he's such a nice guy and takes care of all my requests that I want him to get credit for the bookings.

 

agreed:)

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I personally don't see the point of using a PVP unless you have a complicated booking. If you were booking a family get together with several cabins, or a B2B or something like that I could see the benefit, but I really don't see the need in having one. Honestly, I can do what they can do. I can book, do price protection forms, etc.

The only thing I can think of it being nice for is if you decide you want to change your cabin or cancel and change cruises you do have to call to do that and it is nice to have one person to talk with instead of calling the 800 number and just getting someone random.

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I personally don't see the point of using a PVP unless you have a complicated booking...Honestly, I can do what they can do. I can book, do price protection forms, etc.

 

Agreed...IF you are content with the cabins listed on the website. For instance, if you select FORWARD, it will list the first 10 available cabins going fore to aft. What if you want a cabin that is part of the FORWARD cabins but is almost to the MID cabins? Unless the ship is already pretty full, you cannot find out on the website if those cabins are even available. A PVP can see the availability of any cabin. This is important to me because I like the forward cabins that are almost midship.

 

A second thing, promotions like bounce backs never show up on the website. Since my last cruises have been free bounce back offers, a call to Carnival or a TA is required to book them. May as well call my PVP, although anyone at Carnival can help.

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Agreed...IF you are content with the cabins listed on the website. For instance, if you select FORWARD, it will list the first 10 available cabins going fore to aft. What if you want a cabin that is part of the FORWARD cabins but is almost to the MID cabins? Unless the ship is already pretty full, you cannot find out on the website if those cabins are even available. A PVP can see the availability of any cabin. This is important to me because I like the forward cabins that are almost midship.

 

A second thing, promotions like bounce backs never show up on the website. Since my last cruises have been free bounce back offers, a call to Carnival or a TA is required to book them. May as well call my PVP, although anyone at Carnival can help.

You know, I do have to agree with that statement. Because when I was considering booking a sunshine spa cabin I wanted a specific deck and couldn't get it to pull up online. But a call to a PVP and they were able to access those cabins. So, yes you can call "anyone" at carnival but I guess it's nice to have someone who knows you and is familiar with you and you with them.

Personally, I think they are a nice change from a true travel agent where you have no access to your account on carnival.com and can't talk to carnival if need be. At least with a pvp you still get online access and can call anyone at carnival if need be.

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What are the pros and cons of using PVP vs. booking online? Are there any specific benefits? They can find rooms that don't show as available online.

What method do you usually use? PVP but this time I used my TA as I always get OBC

And if you use a PVP, do you have any recommendations and extension # of someone who really knows their stuff and works for you? If you aren't allowed to post that directly, feel free to PM me. Cant PM, sorry Or even just general feedback of what I should expect from a "good" PVP.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

added in red

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Most of the Pros have been listed but it is great when you get a PVP who truly knows your likes and dislikes. Like others I do poke around on the website to determine which cruise we want and to get an idea of how much we could be looking at for price

 

The pros: she knows what type of room we want, will point us in the direction of possibility a slightly larger or quieter room that we couldn't see on line, if a great deal comes up - she'll call us but unlike others our PVP doesn't call every time we look on line. She'll also call us if she knows there is a great deal coming up for something we've been dreaming about. We have had issues with our bounce back casino offers and has been great being the "go between" to get the issues resolved.

 

The entire family: mom, brother, daughter, friend of family, use her so she knows all the "players" and takes excellent care of us.

 

Since there is no cost to use her why not?

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You can look on Carnival funville website, folks can recommend good pvp's on that website. Just do a search. That is how I found mine, and I have been very pleased. She is always looking for ways to increase my OBC and contacts me if she finds something of interest but does not bug me.

 

 

I did a search on CCL website and I got 'zero' results. It is a shame that a good PVP contact info cannot be shared on this site. I think people that work hard at their job and do it well, should be rewarded by more 'customers'. I wish CC agreed, I can't imagine why it would matter.

 

I have used TAs, booked myself, and used 3 different PVP. Each of the PVPs called me and told me THEY were now my PVP. I keep trying the 'new' ones that call because I have not found one yet that I really click with. The one I used for my November '14 cruise had called me over and over and over. So, when I was ready to book I called him and did so and was never able to get ahold of him again. Each time I called to book an excursion, or with a question, etc... I was told he was 'unavailable' and whoever answered the phone was 'taking his calls'. The one I used to book my next cruise also called numerous times (every time I would login to CCL). She seemed competent but no rapport or suggestions...very hurried. I felt rushed and a little pressured. So, maybe it has just been my bad luck of the draw....will keep trying but sure wish I could get one recommended by one of you :)

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There is no guarantee that you will find a TA or PVP that knows much more about cruising than you do. Some have never even been on a cruise. PVP's have people they can consult. The prices are exactly the same. Major market TA's can sometimes offer pre/post hotel rooms, extra OBC etc. But - once you book with a TA, no cruise line representative will deal with you. period. end of story.

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