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To use a travel agent or not???

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I am not seeing much advantage to using a travel agent to book my next cruise as far as cabin pricing. The pricing differences between what they are offering and what I am getting myself online seem to be negligible. Am I missing something? If I use an agent do I still control my excursion and dining reservations? Am I giving anything up by using an agent? Other than the price of the cabin, what will they do for me? Please understand that I am not picking on travel agents in any way... I just want to understand the advantages and disadvantages of using one. Thanks for any help/opinions.

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The main benefit of a TA is the perks they offer. We book with a TA or with the cruise line and then transfer to a TA. We usually pick up pre paid gratuities, matching OBC, a specialty dinning for two, and one TA we use has started adding a limited insurance policy. Should be easy to pick up 10-15 % of your cruise fare in perks. In case of problems you have a multi million dollar agency behind you instead of dealing with a cubicle dweller at the cruise line. happy cruising

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I am not seeing much advantage to using a travel agent to book my next cruise as far as cabin pricing. The pricing differences between what they are offering and what I am getting myself online seem to be negligible. Am I missing something? If I use an agent do I still control my excursion and dining reservations? Am I giving anything up by using an agent? Other than the price of the cabin, what will they do for me? Please understand that I am not picking on travel agents in any way... I just want to understand the advantages and disadvantages of using one. Thanks for any help/opinions.

 

I have used the same TA for my last ten sailings, he always finds better prices than I see on the website. I track prices and if by chance it goes down, 9 times out of 10, he's already been alerted and has gotten me the cheaper fare. PLUS he deals with all the contact and frustration with RCI.

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It depends. Shop around. Frequently you will get room credits or other perks especially from the bigger travel agents. We got quite a few perks and a cash card back from Costco, BUT, it required time on the phone and waiting. I would not do excursions, specialty restaurants or extra packages with them. Wait till you get your reservation and then deal directly with the cruise line for the extras. You can usually get the same excursions or even better at the port BUT if there is a problem getting back you are pretty much on you own. You pay for conveninece and certainty when you deal directly with the cruse line. Some times suites are not available to some of the budget TA.

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I used an online travel agent for the first time on my recent cruise and I have to say it paid off. Saved about $250 off the fare, plus $225 OBC and a spa massage credit. You can still access the cruise planner for dining and entertainment reservations. There really was no downside in my experience.

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I'm trying out a new travel agent. I'm getting a discounted fare, additional onboard credit, and they monitor for price drops. So far so good.

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I just booked my December 2019 cruise on Harmony with a TA for the first time. She told me that she’s going to monitor my sailing for price drops as well as other benefits (i.e. OBC).

 

 

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We are not allowed to mention the names of our TA's here . Our TA gives free insurance for all cruises of 5 nights or more . She also gives Loyalty points for every cruise we book which can be saved to use for OBC .

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Hi, I am a travel agent, no I'm not soliciting my services at all, but wanted to say what I do for my clients/families so you can see the potential benefits. I'm a small agency so I am not always able to give many perks but I do generally give some. The biggest advantage is my ability to help guide my families in what they do need as well as what they don't need which could save them money. Like others have said, I watch for prices to go down and always try to get the best price for my clients even if it means that I get less for the effort. It is the way I would want to be treated and it increases loyalty. Once you have used an agent, you can establish a good relationship and they keep your particulars for your family and your wants and desires for your cruises and every cruise after is more easily booked than the one before. Essentially, agents make it as easy as possible for you to book a cruise and you trust them to take good care of your reservation while possibly saving you more time and money than you would have without them. You are the one that books your own excursions and handles any on board account and you do the pre-cruise documents. There is no fee to use an agent. By utilizing an agent and getting the advantage of all they know, you are also helping to employee someone. Win, win, win. Hope this helps and hope you find an agent that proves all of this to be true. Again, not soliciting. I have plenty of great loyal families. Don't need to solicit. :-)

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Am I missing something? .

 

Yes.

 

Ask your TA if they have a group rate for your specific cruise... if they do you will know why to use a TA, especially a large TA that likely have many group rates on many different ships on many different cruise lines... and on top of that they still give an obc :).

 

 

The biggest advantage is my ability to help guide my families in what they do need as well as what they don't need

 

An excellent post from a TA with many more reasons than just the bottom line

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I always use a TA. She has a real office where I can visit her, not sure faceless on line thing that may or may not be legitimate. If I have a problem, I call her and she takes care of it. If price goes down, she's on it. She gets us great up grades, OBC, does the transfers. I get a packet with everything i need. I send her a check and my life is good! I would never do all of this myself and muddle through making mistakes when there is a wonderful professional who knows how to do it right?

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I am not seeing much advantage to using a travel agent to book my next cruise as far as cabin pricing. The pricing differences between what they are offering and what I am getting myself online seem to be negligible. Am I missing something? If I use an agent do I still control my excursion and dining reservations? Am I giving anything up by using an agent? Other than the price of the cabin, what will they do for me? Please understand that I am not picking on travel agents in any way... I just want to understand the advantages and disadvantages of using one. Thanks for any help/opinions.

 

 

 

Yes, you're missing something. There's a zillion CC posts regarding the benefits of a TA, ranging from their commission sharing to problem resolution. Remember that a top producing TA for any particular line is a major booking generator while you're DIY expenditure is a "rounding error."

 

 

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I always book and retain ownership...Not interested in the perks that some may offer and having a 3rd party involved. After 25+ cruises it's worked for me.

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I always book and retain ownership...Not interested in the perks that some may offer and having a 3rd party involved. After 25+ cruises it's worked for me.

 

 

 

It's hard to believe that you'd forgo a four figure refundable OBC on an expensive cruise with a complex itinerary.or somehow expect that your "ownership" of the booking will get you better service or problem resolution when you're dealing with a low level phone rep and one of the cruise line's top selling TAs has the regional sales rep as a "speed dial" on his/her phone.

 

 

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Being in the UK we don't seem tomhave the same luxuries as yourselves of being able to take advantage of price drops etc. regardless of whether we use a TA or not. We have done around 37 cruises with 95% of them being booked direct with the cruise company, the odd occasion we have used a UK travel agent I can't say we have had any cabin deals, OBC or any extras thrown in. Would be interesting to see if we could use a TA from over the pond and still get the same deals as you all seem to be able to secure.

Happy Cruising :-)

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Depends on what you're looking for. If all you want is some OBC or free tips, etc, then shop around... but good luck. The TA owns the reservation. If you want to switch cabins, the TA has to do it. If you want to cancel the cruise, there may be a TA penalty. If you find a lower rate, the TA has to get it for you.

I ALWAYS use a TA. I've been using her for years. No perks, but she works very hard for me. I find a cruise, email her, cruise is booked in cabin I want. I want to change cabins, I email her, it's done. Lower rates? Quick email it's done. I am eligible for Interline Rates (airlines). I can only book them through an Interline Travel Agency. So my situation is different. But even without the Interline Rates I'll still use her. She fights for me. We were booked on Oasis in 2012 in a Junior Suite. Three week before the cruise the Crown Lofts took a HUGE price reduction, but for "New Bookings Only." This was on Memorial Day! I emailed her and she fought for a very long time with RCCL to get me the rate, one I knew I wasn't qualified for. She got it anyway. For a TOTAL of $300 I upgraded from a JS to a CL-1! That one time alone was worth more than tips on the cruises I have been on. A "big box" TA wouldn't have done that for me. I wouldn't have been able to get that rate for myself. And I have more examples like that.

So, like I said, if all you're doing is chasing $100 OBC, good luck. The TA "owns" you. You better make sure it's worth the $100.

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I live in upstate New York. My TA is in Miami. I have been using her for 15 years. I have never met her in person but we have developed a great relationship over the years. If I could recommend her on these boards, I would. She does a great job for us. Her prices are always lower than what I can see on the web site. I am very diligent about searching for price drops but she has found some that I have missed. The perks she gives vary but there is usually something.

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Hi, I am a travel agent, no I'm not soliciting my services at all, but wanted to say what I do for my clients/families so you can see the potential benefits. I'm a small agency so I am not always able to give many perks but I do generally give some. The biggest advantage is my ability to help guide my families in what they do need as well as what they don't need which could save them money. Like others have said, I watch for prices to go down and always try to get the best price for my clients even if it means that I get less for the effort. It is the way I would want to be treated and it increases loyalty. Once you have used an agent, you can establish a good relationship and they keep your particulars for your family and your wants and desires for your cruises and every cruise after is more easily booked than the one before. Essentially, agents make it as easy as possible for you to book a cruise and you trust them to take good care of your reservation while possibly saving you more time and money than you would have without them. You are the one that books your own excursions and handles any on board account and you do the pre-cruise documents. There is no fee to use an agent. By utilizing an agent and getting the advantage of all they know, you are also helping to employee someone. Win, win, win. Hope this helps and hope you find an agent that proves all of this to be true. Again, not soliciting. I have plenty of great loyal families. Don't need to solicit. :-)

 

totally agree with this post, I am also a TA, spend a while talking to a client (first time cruiser) about the advantage/disadvantage of the drink/soda package, she didn't know that ice tea, coffee, flavored water were all readily available and free during the day and in the MDR. the documents she received made it sound like she had to pay for anything other than water!~

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I've booked with Royal Caribbean for 3 years now and I've always use a travel agent they do do a lot for you and I wouldn't turn that away for anything

 

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Hi, I am a travel agent, no I'm not soliciting my services at all, but wanted to say what I do for my clients/families so you can see the potential benefits. I'm a small agency so I am not always able to give many perks but I do generally give some. The biggest advantage is my ability to help guide my families in what they do need as well as what they don't need which could save them money. Like others have said, I watch for prices to go down and always try to get the best price for my clients even if it means that I get less for the effort. It is the way I would want to be treated and it increases loyalty. Once you have used an agent, you can establish a good relationship and they keep your particulars for your family and your wants and desires for your cruises and every cruise after is more easily booked than the one before. Essentially, agents make it as easy as possible for you to book a cruise and you trust them to take good care of your reservation while possibly saving you more time and money than you would have without them. You are the one that books your own excursions and handles any on board account and you do the pre-cruise documents. There is no fee to use an agent. By utilizing an agent and getting the advantage of all they know, you are also helping to employee someone. Win, win, win. Hope this helps and hope you find an agent that proves all of this to be true. Again, not soliciting. I have plenty of great loyal families. Don't need to solicit. :-)

 

Welcome to Cruise Critic. ;)

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Welcome to Cruise Critic. ;)

I rather be in control of my booking and just do it myself.............less problems......

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It's hard to believe that you'd forgo a four figure refundable OBC on an expensive cruise with a complex itinerary.or somehow expect that your "ownership" of the booking will get you better service or problem resolution when you're dealing with a low level phone rep and one of the cruise line's top selling TAs has the regional sales rep as a "speed dial" on his/her phone.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

I agree 100%.

 

After a only a few cruises you know all you need to know about how to reserve a cruise. Don't need any hand holding.

 

 

Jimbo:)

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I rather be in control of my booking and just do it myself.............less problems......

 

Ditto to that! I am a control freak and also like being in control of my travel plans.

 

Unfortunately have had bad experience with a travel agent we had, though many adore them....I did not have good luck.

 

To each their own, it's a personal choice. :) I am happy doing my own travel plans.

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I keep seeing posters claim they don't want to give up control over their reservations so they won't use a travel agent.

 

Would someone please enumerate how you lose control if you use a travel agent and why these items are important?

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... Would someone please enumerate how you lose control if you use a travel agent and why these items are important?

You can no longer contact the cruise line or use the cruise line's website for these actions:

 

Cancel the cruise

Get a price drop

Add/delete a guest from the cruise

Change between traditional and MTD dining

Add prepaid gratuities

Make payments

 

I'm sure there are more.

 

Of course, you can do all these things through the travel agent, assuming the agent is open for business (some don't work on weekends) and is responsive.

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