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Book through travel agent vs Royal?


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We have always books our cruises directly through Royal Caribbean or at NextCruise.  We've been told if you book through a travel agent or transfer your reservation to a travel agent, you can get extra perks.  Can anyone share if this is the case and what kind of perks can you get by going through a travel agent?

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31 minutes ago, JDPCruisers said:

We have always books our cruises directly through Royal Caribbean or at NextCruise.  We've been told if you book through a travel agent or transfer your reservation to a travel agent, you can get extra perks.  Can anyone share if this is the case and what kind of perks can you get by going through a travel agent?

Depending on what the TA is offering you can get OBC, free specialty dinner, champagne or wine in your room, free lunch and/or free gratuities. One thing to be cautious of is when using a TA they own your reservation and RC will not even talk to you about it, they will tell you your TA has to call. The only thing you can do if using a TA is order from cruise planner. 

Edited by tennislvr8
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Usually Yes  . I used to be TA , gave it up do to my wife having Brain Cancer , , I did it  cause I am control freak and like control of my reservation . But I always gave my clients some OBC you were allowed to give up part of your commission to and my agency would match what I gave you so if I gave you $50 they gave you that so you Had $100 OBC. Nice perk , Trust me agents don't make that much but if you come back it makes it worthwhile . 

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I use an online cruise booking site because it is the best browser to find cruises.

 

I find what I want and then call them to make the booking.

 

This way I will never have to deal with that RC website or phone inept  phone agents.

 

Plus I get  extra OBC, prepaid tips, and misc other perks.

 

If I ever need to make changes, I call and tell them.   They deal with RC instead of me.

 

I have no idea why anyone would do otherwise...….

Edited by matj2000
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I use an agent for my cruises.  I go to a site where agencies compete for my business.  For my next cruise, in addition to what Royal Caribbean is giving as OBC for booking onboard, the agency is giving an additional $150 OBC.

 

For the one after that, the agency has a group booking and it is $300 less than what the Royal Caribbean website cost was the day I booked it.  It also comes with an additional $130 OBC over the $50 from Royal Caribbean.  

 

I don't need to have more control over my reservation than I have.  I look daily for price drops and if there is one, I call and get the new price.

 

We have gotten things like OBC, free specialty dining, free gratuities and free shore excursions by using agencies.  I don't see the point of using Royal Caribbean.  If I do book with them, such as onboard, I transfer to an agency.  I still get whatever benefits Royal Caribbean offers.  To me, it's the best of both worlds.

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3 minutes ago, katiel53 said:

I use an agent for my cruises.  I go to a site where agencies compete for my business.  For my next cruise, in addition to what Royal Caribbean is giving as OBC for booking onboard, the agency is giving an additional $150 OBC.

 

For the one after that, the agency has a group booking and it is $300 less than what the Royal Caribbean website cost was the day I booked it.  It also comes with an additional $130 OBC over the $50 from Royal Caribbean.  

 

I don't need to have more control over my reservation than I have.  I look daily for price drops and if there is one, I call and get the new price.

 

We have gotten things like OBC, free specialty dining, free gratuities and free shore excursions by using agencies.  I don't see the point of using Royal Caribbean.  If I do book with them, such as onboard, I transfer to an agency.  I still get whatever benefits Royal Caribbean offers.  To me, it's the best of both worlds.

Well said, I use the same website 

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1 minute ago, sabhoy said:

So I could still book all my dining and shows etc on the cruise planner without the TA?

You can do everything on your own wxcept

make payments and change the actual booking.  I’ve never had any need to control any more than that. You still have FULL control of your cruise planner and everything that goes with it. 

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3 minutes ago, sabhoy said:

So I could still book all my dining and shows etc on the cruise planner without the TA?

You can book things through the cruise planner if you use an agent or not.  It doesn't matter to that part of the reservation.  I book my shows and dining all the time.

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Up to this point I've used a couple of TA's depending on which had the best price or perks.  

 

Two disadvantages I have found.  Sometimes a cabin opens up and I want to upgrade or switch within the same category.  By the time I get in contact with my agent and they call Royal the cabin is gone.    Second, when a cruise is cancelled and Royal offer's FCC you don't get the full percentage they offer when you go through an agency.  For a cancelled Navigator cruise the offer was 50% FCC but I'm only getting 37% because my FCC is only based on cruise fare less agency portion which was unknown to me when I booked.  

 

Reaching 340 in C&A points also adds some challenges using a TA.  The reduced single supplement is not available in the system that agencies use to price.  They have to call Royal for each price quote.  Royal liaison agents often have never heard of that discount so they have to escalate and engage C&A until they find someone at Royal who knows what they are talking about.  That takes time.  Much more time compared to the average booking a TA does.  TA's don't like dealing with it because its a lower fare (lower commission) and it takes more work and time.  One agent I've used for years takes days to respond now to a price request because Royal has made it a PITA for her.  Hint, hint, go away.

 

At this point I have to call C&A to price a cruise with the reduced single supplement and at that point if I'm doing all the work I might as well book direct.  Agencies can't always ingest a direct booking and provide all the same perks if you booked through them, it depends.  

 

The recent loss of FCC was an eye opener for me and serious disadvantage of using a TA.  On the other hand I've been lucky 99% of the time and haven't had cruises cancel so it may be worth the risk using a TA.

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