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bluecookies

I want to put a group cruise together

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I'm looking to book 15-20 cabins. Is there an advantage of going through a TA as opposed to the group department at RC? If so, how do I find a TA who genuinely has strong experience catering to groups and not just claims it. I really want to hit a home run on this one and get the most bang for my buck.

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We found our travel agent via recommendation from experienced cruisers.

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…..and this website does not permit people to share the names of travel agents or agencies.  But that other BIG social media platform does.  😉

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Absolutely use a TA! I am leading a group cruise this upcoming week on Jewel. I wish I could share my TA info, but  rules is rules. 😕

Edited by SamTimeDining

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15 minutes ago, fla gang said:

If you can get the TA to share the TC with you!

 

A good TA should share what are called the TCs with you (one free berth for every 8 cabins booked.) He/She should also be able to get you some additional benefits: starting with $50 per cabin in on board credit. The TA fields all of the calls and questions from group members so you don't have to, and handles all of the little details for you.

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I go about it a little different than most would. I have the travel agent do all the work great the best deal they can. Then I go back with that information and see what I can get direct. Whoever gives me the best deal gets the business. 

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I agree with using a TA but I would not recommend the big online TA's or the Big Box Warehouse TAs. I'm booked with one of them now and just to make a payment was an ordeal. There is no customer service which is what you want when booking a large group. They will have to go through the travel agent for everything as Royal Caribbean or any other line won't be of any help since you are booked through a travel agent. The only things you will have control of are items that can be booked or purchased through the cruise planner. There will be some here that swear by the big box travel agents but they are experienced and are only looking for any OBC offered and not service. I'm ok with that if I'm just booking for my family but a large group needs someone who they can actually speak to and not just someone to take the booking. Also consider booking through Royal Caribbean. At least see what they can offer for a large booking.

Edited by Iamcruzin

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Remember. That the TC (tour conductor credit/group organizer) that the TA gets for your every 8 cabins booked and paid in full

is based upon the category of cabin that has the most bookings. That is the credit that will be given, minus taxes, fees and what are commonly called non commisionable costs.

 

Otherwise find a great TA and have fun.

 

As for the previous poster who suggested that you try doing what he does (gets a TA to do all of the work and then goes direct to see who has a better deal) well, as an owner of a travel agency I can tell you that TA's don't get paid for doing all of the work for free (we get paid a commission on the sold cruises). I would ask him if he goes to work for free. I think not. A great TA is worth every penny that they earn.

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51 minutes ago, GEORGIEGIRL said:

As for the previous poster who suggested that you try doing what he does (gets a TA to do all of the work and then goes direct to see who has a better deal) well, as an owner of a travel agency I can tell you that TA's don't get paid for doing all of the work for free (we get paid a commission on the sold cruises). I would ask him if he goes to work for free. I think not. A great TA is worth every penny that they earn.

Sorry never found a travel cruise agent who is worth using. As for you get paid, sorry you only get paid like real estate agents when the sale is made.  So you would do all the work because it is the only way to get the business and if you would not ten other agents would. Your in a business that is a dinosaur and dying.  What I said would work and has worked and the greatest thing about it is that the real winner is the customer because they have the best deal.  

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Thank you for the responses so far. Does anyone have experience booking a group directly through RC? I'm a little afraid many of our group members would prefer booking direct through RC. If I organize the group directly through RC can those who use a TA still use them?

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1 minute ago, bluecookies said:

Thank you for the responses so far. Does anyone have experience booking a group directly through RC? I'm a little afraid many of our group members would prefer booking direct through RC. If I organize the group directly through RC can those who use a TA still use them?

 

No, if you have a group, then the group must all book the same way.

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4 minutes ago, bluecookies said:


I have one in mind.

 

Ok cool 🙂

 

Just so you know you don't HAVE to book with the posted group rates. Sometimes the website price is better. Your TA can book it as a normal booking then transfer it into your group. This also works well when the particular sub-category of room you won't isn't offered at a group rate. Do you know about GAP points?

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I have booked a group cruise myself direct with Royal Caribbean and a couple of other lines.  I got a free cabin and everyone received OBC.  10 or 12 cabins each time.  I would have split the savings for my cabin with everyone but they all insisted that since I was doing the work, I should get the perk. I was willing to do it because I trusted everyone that I was sailing with and knew all would pay timely and all would not complain about anything.  If I did not know the individuals well, I would not have done it.

 

It is a lot of work, not really setting it up with the cruise line but everything else I felt I needed to do before and after the cruise.  I scheduled flights, made transportation arrangements for airport to hotel, hotel to cruise, airport after cruise as well as found a hotel and made all the reservations for the hotel.  And provided port information, cruise ship information, etc. to everyone in advance and gave detailed instructions about what they needed to bring, what was included in the cost, etc.  All they had to do was give me money and show up.

 

I enjoyed doing it and had a great time with my friends.  This was a great group of no drama people.  Anything less, I would have had a travel agent handle it and left everyone on their own to make their arrangements.

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51 minutes ago, SamTimeDining said:

 

Ok cool 🙂

 

Just so you know you don't HAVE to book with the posted group rates. Sometimes the website price is better. Your TA can book it as a normal booking then transfer it into your group. This also works well when the particular sub-category of room you won't isn't offered at a group rate. Do you know about GAP points?


I'm familiar with them, but don't fully understand how it works.

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49 minutes ago, galfromkazoo said:

I have booked a group cruise myself direct with Royal Caribbean and a couple of other lines.  I got a free cabin and everyone received OBC.  10 or 12 cabins each time.  I would have split the savings for my cabin with everyone but they all insisted that since I was doing the work, I should get the perk. I was willing to do it because I trusted everyone that I was sailing with and knew all would pay timely and all would not complain about anything.  If I did not know the individuals well, I would not have done it.

 

It is a lot of work, not really setting it up with the cruise line but everything else I felt I needed to do before and after the cruise.  I scheduled flights, made transportation arrangements for airport to hotel, hotel to cruise, airport after cruise as well as found a hotel and made all the reservations for the hotel.  And provided port information, cruise ship information, etc. to everyone in advance and gave detailed instructions about what they needed to bring, what was included in the cost, etc.  All they had to do was give me money and show up.

 

I enjoyed doing it and had a great time with my friends.  This was a great group of no drama people.  Anything less, I would have had a travel agent handle it and left everyone on their own to make their arrangements.


Thank you for the info! So this meant that you had to make payment to RC for everyone in your group and then your group members paid you? I was hoping for something like a group booking number they could provide when they make their own reservation that we would get credited for. 

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1 minute ago, bluecookies said:


I'm familiar with them, but don't fully understand how it works.

 

For example, for my upcoming cruise, I had 4 GAP points to spend (that's the typical amount). I chose to spend 3 of them on a private, 1 hour, open bar cocktail and canpes party on our first sea day. The remaining 1 point I spent on a surprise cupcake delivery to everyone's cabin on day 2! You can use them to give everyone OBC or other fun deliveries too!

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2 minutes ago, bluecookies said:


Thank you for the info! So this meant that you had to make payment to RC for everyone in your group and then your group members paid you? I was hoping for something like a group booking number they could provide when they make their own reservation that we would get credited for. 

 

You will have a shared group number in addition to everyone's individual reservation numbers. I just told my interested guests to call/email my TA and they did the rest. They processed the payments to Royal, handled requests, told the cruise line group department what I wanted, did all the dining stuff, even helped with some of my guests flights and hotels!

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4 minutes ago, bluecookies said:


Thank you for the info! So this meant that you had to make payment to RC for everyone in your group and then your group members paid you? I was hoping for something like a group booking number they could provide when they make their own reservation that we would get credited for. 

They could have paid direct but instead everyone had me do everything..............................

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If I recall correctly cruise critic use to have a spot that they offered group cruises rates. I haven't seen that in several years that I can think of. 

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9 hours ago, Expat Cruise said:

Sorry never found a travel cruise agent who is worth using. As for you get paid, sorry you only get paid like real estate agents when the sale is made.  So you would do all the work because it is the only way to get the business and if you would not ten other agents would. Your in a business that is a dinosaur and dying.  What I said would work and has worked and the greatest thing about it is that the real winner is the customer because they have the best deal.  

Wow, just wow. Of course, you have the ethics to tell them upfront that you have no intention of using them, just want them to do legwork for you, right?

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7 minutes ago, gerif said:

Wow, just wow. Of course, you have the ethics to tell them upfront that you have no intention of using them, just want them to do legwork for you, right?

I did not say I would not use them, only said they need to have the best deal. If they can beat whet the cruise line offers then use them. But I always give the cruise line the last chance to match the price. FYI they never have had the best deal.

 

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