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jjeffjb

Best Travel Agencies for HAL Good Pricing/Perks

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Posted (edited)

I understand that there is rule on cc that does not allow the mention of specific travel agencies.  Is there is a way to find out which agencies offer the best prices for HAL cruises?  We're experienced cruisers so we really do not need help with the details.  We are most interested in getting the best price/perks.  Thanks in advance for your help.

Edited by jjeffjb

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Here are some places to get started 

 

https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=62

 

https://www.frommers.com/tips/cruise/5-insiders-tips-for-finding-the-best-cruise-deals

 

Pick a few agencies - visit a big box - ask them for quotes on the same cruise.  

 

The only way to find out is to do the research - even if you could post agencies - you would get 30 different recommendations....you need to do the research

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Good advice about shopping around.  Yes, its alot of work, but can save you alot of money.

 

One thing - when you get quotes, be sure to ask for all the "details".  Are all the fees/taxes included, are there any agency fees, and what "perks" are you getting (like free drink package, onboard credit, etc).  Need to compare apples to apples as they say.

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Here is a list of questions for your interview of an agent

1.  how many cruises do you book of "X" cruise lines a month?

2. Are you on a list of their top agents, club, group ?

3 Where can I see that listing

4 do you offer or can you create for me group sailings that offer extra, non published amenities ?

5 Do you offer personal rebates based on a % of what I book with you ?  

6  Do you have references  I could talk to

There are good agents out there.  Remember, that the better the line the more the agent gets in commission    HAL is at the low end  so do not expect big things  unless you spend way more than you should

Cardinal rule.... do not book direct

Second Rule,    if your shopping for a more luxurious experience,  rather than up grading to upper cabins, consider changing lines...  and compare the value     As an example  Sailing  On HAL in a veranda suite... may cost you more than getting a ocean view room on a Premium line.  You have to add all the things your going to have to pay for on HAl  ( restaurant,soda, juices,port, tax,shore ex, liquor, internet.      Thats the number you need to be well aware of and compare  Many times HAL will be more expensive....as shocking as that seems

 

 

 

 

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To add to Hawaiidan's list, "do you charge any fees for changes (price drops etc.) or cancellations?"  We found out the hard way, and the TA is highly respected and recommended here. 😡  Live and learn, never used that TA again.

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Picking up on both Hawaiidan's list and Crusing-along's post, I would add that you get in writing the on board credit (OBC) when you book.  There is a large agency that books cruises exclusively, they have grown and continue to grow, but they refuse to put the on board credit in writing when you book.  I did not, fortunately, learn "the hard way" with them, but when I cancelled the reservation (at no charge), I got the same great price from another agency with a great agent--and $200.00 more on board credit per person, $400.00 for two, on a 21-day cruise!

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Absolutely.   We ask for all the details in writing prior to paying. And we only deal with TA's who have the payment billed through the cruise line not the travel agency.  We never, ever pay cash or debit card for travel products.

 

Never had a problem.

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On 3/22/2019 at 1:53 PM, Hawaiidan said:

Here is a list of questions for your interview of an agent

1.  how many cruises do you book of "X" cruise lines a month?

2. Are you on a list of their top agents, club, group ?

3 Where can I see that listing

4 do you offer or can you create for me group sailings that offer extra, non published amenities ?

5 Do you offer personal rebates based on a % of what I book with you ?  

6  Do you have references  I could talk to

There are good agents out there.  Remember, that the better the line the more the agent gets in commission    HAL is at the low end  so do not expect big things  unless you spend way more than you should

Cardinal rule.... do not book direct

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawaiidan,

 

We booked our first cruise this past Thursday 3/28/19 for a 12/1/19-12/8/19 Eastern Caribbean through HAL.  My mother went a couple years ago with some friends and has been after us since then to go.  She kept bringing me flyers she got in the mail and I called the lady using maritime number (she's going with us).  After discussing a few packages we got what I thought was a good deal.  I'm not sure if I'm allow to discuss it, but if I am I will in the next post.  

 

My question is is two part.  I put in bold your cardinal rule because I obviously broke that unknowingly.  I've seen on here a few times you can move your booking to a TA within 60 days of booking.  Is that the norm and/or can you do that easily?  My reason for asking and shame on me because I should have waiting, but I had my mom and wife in my ear telling me to go ahead and book it.   I should have spent a week on here first.  I always, always research, but I didn't this time.  

 

Thanks 

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There is a website that is not a TA but you can enter a given cruise and a cabin category and you will get bids from a variety of TA.  I've used to to check prices but I caution you that not all the TAs are equal,so I would never recommend booking the cheapest rate, you may get what you paid for...  but as a research tool it's been useful to me.  Cruise compete. 

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18 minutes ago, kantonburg said:

I've seen on here a few times you can move your booking to a TA within 60 days of booking. 

Unlike some other cruise lines, HAL allows transfers up to final payment.  We usually do it about a week before final payment. It's very easy, TAs and HAL all know the drill.  🙂  

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10 hours ago, RMLincoln said:

There is a website that is not a TA but you can enter a given cruise and a cabin category and you will get bids from a variety of TA.  I've used to to check prices but I caution you that not all the TAs are equal,so I would never recommend booking the cheapest rate, you may get what you paid for...  but as a research tool it's been useful to me.  Cruise compete. 

That is good info.  I'll search around to figure out which. 

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10 hours ago, Cruising-along said:

Unlike some other cruise lines, HAL allows transfers up to final payment.  We usually do it about a week before final payment. It's very easy, TAs and HAL all know the drill.  🙂  

That's good to know.  Will it matter what TA I try to contact?  We have some that are semi-local.  I've never used them, but started looking around last night based on a link from another thread.

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1 hour ago, kantonburg said:

That's good to know.  Will it matter what TA I try to contact?  We have some that are semi-local.  I've never used them, but started looking around last night based on a link from another thread.

It shouldn't matter.  Always ask the TA first, just to be sure.  Also be sure to ask if they charge fees for any changes (price drops, cancellations, etc.)  Some TAs want final payment a few weeks before HAL does, so check that too.  It's for their insurance that it will all be taken care of before HAL's final payment date. We transfer ours about a week before final payment which is more than our TA needs.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/22/2019 at 4:14 PM, iancal said:

Absolutely.   We ask for all the details in writing prior to paying. And we only deal with TA's who have the payment billed through the cruise line not the travel agency.  We never, ever pay cash or debit card for travel products.

 

Never had a problem.

 

Stupid question: how do I tell whether the TA has the payment billed through the cruise line or the agency? 

Edited by Sailor Taylor

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Posted (edited)

1.  Ask the agent prior to booking and providing your cc information.

2.  After booking, go online and check you credit card statement or call the credit card company.

 

You should get, within 24 hours, a cruise line booking reference number.  You can then go on the cruise line site, validate your reference number and agree your understanding of the booking, dates, price, cabin type, cabin number, etc to what is on that website and to the written details that the TA has provided

Edited by iancal

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17 hours ago, RMLincoln said:

There is a website that is not a TA but you can enter a given cruise and a cabin category and you will get bids from a variety of TA.  I've used to to check prices but I caution you that not all the TAs are equal,so I would never recommend booking the cheapest rate, you may get what you paid for...  but as a research tool it's been useful to me.  Cruise compete. 

 

 

Thanks so much, I have always used same TA, time to shop!  😎

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9 hours ago, Cruising-along said:

We transfer ours about a week before final payment which is more than our TA needs.

 

Crusing-along,

 

I mean to ask you what the benefit of transferring the booking to a TA a week before final payment does typically?  Do you get better perks waiting till the end?

 

Thanks again

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1 minute ago, kantonburg said:

 

Crusing-along,

 

I mean to ask you what the benefit of transferring the booking to a TA a week before final payment does typically?  Do you get better perks waiting till the end?

 

Thanks again

No, the perks are no different whether you transfer immediately or later.  But I find it's just easier (quicker) to work with my PCC at HAL for things like price drops, upgrades,  or any other changes.  We like to get everything in order the way we like it before we transfer.  Not to say we've ever had problems having the TA do the changes we want, but it just takes longer because they have to contact HAL while we wait.

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23 minutes ago, Cruising-along said:

No, the perks are no different whether you transfer immediately or later.  But I find it's just easier (quicker) to work with my PCC at HAL for things like price drops, upgrades,  or any other changes.  We like to get everything in order the way we like it before we transfer.  Not to say we've ever had problems having the TA do the changes we want, but it just takes longer because they have to contact HAL while we wait.

 

Forgive me for maybe the obvious questions.  See I didn't realize the PCC (Personal Cruise Consultant?) would even do something like that.  I thought once you book that was it.  Will they contact you if there is a better offer or upgrade?  Or do you watch for them and contact them?

 

If the PCC handles everything till the end why transfer?  I'm obviously missing something here.

Thanks again

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, kantonburg said:

 

Forgive me for maybe the obvious questions.  See I didn't realize the PCC (Personal Cruise Consultant?) would even do something like that.  I thought once you book that was it.  Will they contact you if there is a better offer or upgrade?  Or do you watch for them and contact them?

 

If the PCC handles everything till the end why transfer?  I'm obviously missing something here.

Thanks again

Not Cruising-Along but the answer is that the TA gives perks such as OBC for transferring the booking. The PCC still gets the credit they need so it is a win for everyone.

 

Edited by richwmn

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10 minutes ago, kantonburg said:

 

Forgive me for maybe the obvious questions.  See I didn't realize the PCC (Personal Cruise Consultant?) would even do something like that.  I thought once you book that was it.  Will they contact you if there is a better offer or upgrade?  Or do you watch for them and contact them?

 

If the PCC handles everything till the end why transfer?  I'm obviously missing something here.

Thanks again

Some PCCs do, I think -- my DH is always on top of those things so sees them before anyone (PCC or TA) has contacted  us. So in our case it's us contacting them.  Our PCC does know our preferences, so that's nice to have that all taken care of too.

 

The reason people transfer is to get more perks from the TA (in our case it's always more OBC).  We use the Big Box store and have been more than happy with the perks we get.

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9 hours ago, Cruising-along said:

Some PCCs do, I think -- my DH is always on top of those things so sees them before anyone (PCC or TA) has contacted  us. So in our case it's us contacting them.  Our PCC does know our preferences, so that's nice to have that all taken care of too.

 

The reason people transfer is to get more perks from the TA (in our case it's always more OBC).  We use the Big Box store and have been more than happy with the perks we get.

That is good to know.  Being so new to this I didn't realize you could bring deals to the PCC after you made your booking.  On the plus side we have 8 months from today to sort these things out.

 

When you say big box store is that something like Costco or Sam's Club?

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29 minutes ago, kantonburg said:

That is good to know.  Being so new to this I didn't realize you could bring deals to the PCC after you made your booking.  On the plus side we have 8 months from today to sort these things out.

 

When you say big box store is that something like Costco or Sam's Club?

Forum rules prohibit talking about specific Travel Agencies, only types.

 

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2 minutes ago, richwmn said:

Forum rules prohibit talking about specific Travel Agencies, only types.

 

Ok.  I thought that may be a qualified question in this case.  My apologies.  I wasn't sure what "big box store" was.   

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3 hours ago, kantonburg said:

That is good to know.  Being so new to this I didn't realize you could bring deals to the PCC after you made your booking.  On the plus side we have 8 months from today to sort these things out.

 

When you say big box store is that something like Costco or Sam's Club?

 

2 hours ago, richwmn said:

Forum rules prohibit talking about specific Travel Agencies, only types.

 

As Rich says, we're not allowed to name specific TAs here...

But yes, you can definitely "fine-tune" your booking with a PCC after booking.  One time (years ago now) our Med cruise dropped 50% over time (I think it was 3 price drops) and our PCC handled it all plus anything else that came up.  🙂  

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