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lenquixote66

Cruise lines encourage use of TA's

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There are some people who will NEVER be able to accept the FACTS. Sometimes it's just better to let them be. 😳🙄😎

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Posted (edited)

We have been doing independent travel for years.  Since retirement about four month a year outside the country.

 

The ONLY time we use or need a TA is when we book a cruise.  Even then we use a TA because of the OBC's that we receive.

We book air direct, we try to book accommodation direct whenever possible.   We take advantage of travel vendors disparite

pricing practices between countries.

 

The web has really brought the world to our doorstep.  Information, pricing, making and confirming arrangements simple.   There are many good offers out there which can reduce the cost of travel or elongate your travel plans.  It takes a little keyboard work and searching advice to get them.

Edited by iancal

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If the cruise websites weren't so horrid, I would book direct instead of browsing around, finding the cruise i want, and then forwarding the link to my travel agent. I like my travel agent, don't get me wrong, but I'd really prefer an easy "buy now" button.

 

I'd prefer to save the travel agent for more complicated itineraries (potentially Africa in 2 years).

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Posted (edited)

We use a TA for cruises because of the incremental OBC's that we receive, because sometimes our TA alerts us to competing specials offers that we are not aware of or were not advertised, because she can give us legitimate,unbiased  feedback on various ships and cruise lines, and because two of our preferred cruise lines have terrible, user unfriendly and poorly performing web sites.

 

More than once she has recommended that we not book on a dog of a cruise ship (based on recent  feedback from her clients or her agency clients) or changed our late booking selection when she has told us of a more attractive offer on a different cruise line or different ship doing the same itinerary at the same time.   More than once she has advised us to hold off a few days when we were about to book inside the final payment window because she had advance notice of a price decrease.  Worth her weight in gold!

Edited by iancal

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Posted (edited)
On 3/25/2019 at 10:27 AM, Hlitner said:

My question, which has often been asked here on CC, is why on earth does anyone book directly with a cruise line. 

Here is why we have booked direct about half the time

-As a Canadian , we have gotten very a favorable exchange rate on a few of our cruises which TA's wouldn't offer.

-We have booked direct and then transferred to a TA for OBC . Not sure where that lies .

-Haven't found a great TA yet and my experience is cruise line reps usually know more about their brand then the agents at the mega TA's .

 

On 3/28/2019 at 2:06 PM, AdGuyMG said:

Cruises fare commissions run from about 10% -16%

 

The only travel component I can think of that would pay out a 30% gross TA commission would be Travel Insurance.

Although this is a different topic, this sure says a lot about the profits in selling travel insurance . It also confirms my choice to self-insure .

 

I have no reason to doubt that most people do not book direct with the cruise lines . I do believe that not so long from now commission rates of 20% will be just a happy memory for cruises . Cruise lines will follow the airlines, car rentals and hotels and drastically reduce the commission rates . This might change the %'s of cruises booked with TA's if they can no longer pay fat rebates to their customers .  

 

Edited by richstowe

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Posted (edited)

One thing that has always puzzled us about some cruise lines is how very poor their websites can be.  From a navigation and a performance perspective.

 

Seems to me the most cost effective way for a cruise line to receive a booking is through the internet - by the cruiser.  Just as we book hotels, air, AI's, ferries, transfers, whatever.  

 

One would think that all cruise lines would design and operate their customer facing websites  in such a fashion as to encourage self booking on line.  But some do not.  It is almost as though they discourage potential customers from using their web site, let alone book a cruise.

Edited by iancal

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1 minute ago, iancal said:

One thing that has always puzzled us about some cruise lines is how very poor their websites can be.  From a navigation and a performance perspective.

I absolutely agree.  After years of sailing Princess and having no issues with their website, we looked at Celebrity for a Galapagos cruise for 6 people last year.  Using the website was excruciating!  My hat is off to anyone who can navigate it for a Galapagos cruise.  I was relieved when my travel companions decided on an alternative cruise (US river cruise).  The thought of having to deal with that website turned me (the planner in the group) off Celebrity.

 

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We do not even bother going to either the Celebrity or the Holland America websites.    

 

The way we look at it is that if they cannot even bother operating a decent website then why should we waste our time trying to use it.

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I just booked an Antarctic cruise with Hurtigruten. It was so easy, I wish more cruise companies would follow suite.

 

Find itinerary I want.

Choose date.

Pick cabin.

Enter details and credit card number for the deposit.

Done.

 

It didn't even take 5 minutes.  Yes, I realize Hurtigruten is a very small cruise company. However, there is no reason on earth the mass market cruise companies cannot create a similar interface. 

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One advantage to a TA for the passenger and the Cruise line which has not been mentioned (that I've seen, in reading) is dispute resolution. Most TAs support their customers, and can and will help settle any disputes with the cruise line. And I think the cruise lines appreciate that fact.

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