Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
BigWI

Travel Agent or deal with Royal Caribbean directly

Recommended Posts

6 hours ago, Ashland said:

The inventory showed (RCI) online is very limited (not enough space so random)...just a phone call will give you all that's available to book. The older version used to allow you to enter/search a specific cabin number...but like all "improvements" that's no longer available.

Also gone are "printable deck plans" which I always printed to navigate the ship with ease.  I guess they never heard, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  The older version was far superior for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Ourusualbeach said:

Many travel  agents have access to group rates that can save many hundreds of $ per person and all group rates have fully refundable deposits.  

I have read this a lot on CC on all of the boards I follow. I have yet to find one of these agents. I know you can't name names but are they big box TA's that advertise on this site or smaller TA's?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used a travel agent for the first time recently and will never again. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Iamcruzin said:

I have read this a lot on CC on all of the boards I follow. I have yet to find one of these agents. I know you can't name names but are they big box TA's that advertise on this site or smaller TA's?

Large agencies with both and bricks and mortar stores and  an online presence 

Edited by Ourusualbeach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No easy answer...we check price and cabin availability with Royal and then use our agent...we are sticklers about cabin location, nothing above, below, or across hall etc...agent has always been same or lower, key is to keep monitoring price as time goes on. We book at least a year out and that has al

most always been best price. We cruise at popular times,so often ship is sold out.we also have to consider airfare and need to book that early as well for best deal. 

It can be a lot of work, but worth price drop or peace of mind...😎😎

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've attempted to use agents and the NextCruise office onboard with no success whatsoever.

I'll do a mock booking and then see what their numbers come out to. The agents prices were higher and the NextCruise office was unable to even find the cruise I was after, let alone price it. Took 2 mins on the RCL site to find it at home pre-cruise.

Our next sailing I'll book direct again then inquire about transferring it to an agent......... possibly someone on this site who is very knowledgable, helpful and on top of things. (completely unsolicited on their part also) I hope that's allowed?

I'm assuming it would benefit them in some way to get the booking. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we were on the Oasis TA cancelled by RCL. It was very apparent that if you booked with an outside agent, there was not much help, only people with airfare thru AIR to SEA bookings got refunds for their cancelled flights, nonrefundable fares ? out of luck!

no refunds for hotels booked privately, no reimbursement for fees charged on mileage cancellations. They want everything booked thru them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, BigWI said:

We are looking to book back to back Australian cruises in 2021.

 

From your experience, are there advantages to working directly with Royal Caribbean or working with a travel agent?

 

We had one unfortunate experience first cruise using a TA. After that, it never made any sense to me at all to have a "3rd party" involved. Now granted, a TA might get you a free excursion or something like that, but if that TA goes on vacay, you're screwed. You can't ask about price drops or make ANY adjustments because you booked via a TA. Ours decided she'd go on vacay, which left me high and dry and I missed a MAJOR price drop thanks to her not being available - and the company we booked the cruise through refused to intervene. Never again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Iamcruzin said:

I have read this a lot on CC on all of the boards I follow. I have yet to find one of these agents. I know you can't name names but are they big box TA's that advertise on this site or smaller TA's?

 

Well... like you said, we can't name names but my TA can always see rooms that I can't see. She is not with a big box. It's really too bad we can't help each other out here on CC by naming our TAs. I'm lucky to have found a good one as I'm sure many others have. Here's a tip. There are some TAs that post here quite regularly, they're just not allowed to present themselves on this site as a TA. Pay close attention when reading posts. Eventually, you'll be able to tell from the information they are giving that they "might be" a TA. Some even have their email address in their signature.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many use TA's others book directly, it comes down to what works the best for you. Larger companies can give larger OBC's. While some have had bad experiences using a TA others have not. Myself I use a local TA since 2002. I can speak with any of her associates if she is out and get changes to a room etc so have no problem if she isn't in the office. She will promptly get back to me. I use her office primarily because I trust her and know she will handle any issues quickly should they occur. Bottom line, if your happy with the way your booking was handled then stay with what works for you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Snit13 said:

If you a control freak like I am, you book directly with a Certified Vacation Planner at RCCL.  If a trusting soul who can go with the flow, you might go with TA.  I must control my reservation and be able to call Royal each time I have a question.  Only you can decide for you.

This is my issue, and of course a good friend just announced she's now a TA, and I know she'd go to bat for us if we needed something but losing that control isn't something I'm interested in so now I'll just need to tread carefully when she asks to help 🙂

Edited by ShillyShally

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, cactusmo said:

we were on the Oasis TA cancelled by RCL. It was very apparent that if you booked with an outside agent, there was not much help, only people with airfare thru AIR to SEA bookings got refunds for their cancelled flights, nonrefundable fares ? out of luck!

no refunds for hotels booked privately, no reimbursement for fees charged on mileage cancellations. They want everything booked thru them.

To be fair, and I always book direct with RCL, this has more to do about what they can see in their system and yes, what is booked directly through them.  They have no visibility on how/when passengers are getting to their ships otherwise.  That's where even if you get the RCL cruise insurance you should also consider outside insurance for other parts of your travel plans or insurance offered booking flights/hotels/etc.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Iamcruzin said:

Finding the perfect TA is the key point.  I have yet to find this person. I have booked with my warehouse club for the first time. They were offering  $250 dollars which is usually given in the form of gift card to the store. This time it was for OBC so I figured it was worth a try. I tried calling my booking agent several times and have not spoken to her since I booked over a year ago. I got a voice mail message every time no matter what day or time I called. I wound up just waiting on hold for the next available person to make payments or to ask a question. It was no different than speaking to several different cruise line representatives. The price was the same as Royal Caribbean. It was fine for me because I am experienced but I wouldn't recommend using them for any type of service. They are not going to be the ones that go to bat for you If the cruise line screws up. The last time that I had a real travel agent that gave service was before the internet.   Now anyone can be a travel agent and work out of their garage  or basement doing most bookings for relatives and friends. Those are the agents who have time to call to let you know that the price of your cruise has dropped. I have found that all of the big on line agencies  operate the same. My son and I used two different online agencies. However we discovered that the call back numbers were the same which brought me to the conclusion that it's just one big call center.

 

 

I just booked for a 3/21/20 cruise on Symphony with a warehouse club. For the specific rooms we wanted, 2 interior adjoining rooms for 4 people, it actually saved us about $700 from the RC website price. They said they had a small block of rooms with 6 rooms left that fit what we wanted. You don't have to be a club member either to book with them.

 

Our friends that wanted adjoining balcony rooms on the same cruise called the same travel agent for the warehouse club, but for them it was the same price as the RC website since they didn't have any balcony rooms in their block. So sometimes the warehouse clubs are cheaper if they have rooms in a block, otherwise the prices are about the same as the RC website. 

 

Our booking shows up when I login to my RC account now, so it seems at least at this point to be the same as far as managing the booking from this point forward.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, cactusmo said:

we were on the Oasis TA cancelled by RCL. It was very apparent that if you booked with an outside agent, there was not much help, only people with airfare thru AIR to SEA bookings got refunds for their cancelled flights, nonrefundable fares ? out of luck!

no refunds for hotels booked privately, no reimbursement for fees charged on mileage cancellations. They want everything booked thru them.

Many travel agents also book through air to sea and recommend this to clients for precisely this reason.  Many travel agents will also recommend booking hotels at the cancellable rate for a few $ more.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to always use my TA I use for all my land vacations. But when I did, I already knew the room I wanted & that it was available. I finally realized I had already done the leg work. So, for the last several cruises I have just booked directly through RCCL. Quite frankly I find it to be just as easy. Unless I am booking several rooms & want them all connected, I will just book myself from now on. If I am booking a large crowd I would rather someone else be responsible. 😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We book with a large TA, the price is the same as the cruise line.  They have online access, easy phone support. and I am getting almost $600 back in a gift card after the cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Snit13 said:

Also gone are "printable deck plans" which I always printed to navigate the ship with ease.  I guess they never heard, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  The older version was far superior for me.

I know it's a PITA but you can still copy image or save image of each deck and create your own document - I used to do that too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, CH5220 said:

 

 

I just booked for a 3/21/20 cruise on Symphony with a warehouse club. For the specific rooms we wanted, 2 interior adjoining rooms for 4 people, it actually saved us about $700 from the RC website price. They said they had a small block of rooms with 6 rooms left that fit what we wanted. You don't have to be a club member either to book with them.

 

Our friends that wanted adjoining balcony rooms on the same cruise called the same travel agent for the warehouse club, but for them it was the same price as the RC website since they didn't have any balcony rooms in their block. So sometimes the warehouse clubs are cheaper if they have rooms in a block, otherwise the prices are about the same as the RC website. 

 

Our booking shows up when I login to my RC account now, so it seems at least at this point to be the same as far as managing the booking from this point forward.

 

Oh this is interesting - I may try this in the future if I check pricing first and then see if there may be any deals or GC back through them and weigh it from there.  I really prefer the control of booking on my own but as we're booking more closer since our current life schedules aren't predictable far out this may have value.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to everyone who commented,  lots of goodcomments, even is some are contradictory with each other😀.

 

I know you cannot post the TA or online site you used,  if you are interested in Email me a suggestion (if this doesn't break the rules), I would appreciate it.

 

dstand_53146@yahoo.com.

 

Looking at back to back australian cruise and RCL is offering  50% off the 2nd passenger, which sounds like a decent deal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, BigWI said:

Thanks to everyone who commented,  lots of goodcomments, even is some are contradictory with each other😀.

 

I know you cannot post the TA or online site you used,  if you are interested in Email me a suggestion (if this doesn't break the rules), I would appreciate it.

 

dstand_53146@yahoo.com.

 

Looking at back to back australian cruise and RCL is offering  50% off the 2nd passenger, which sounds like a decent deal.

 

Last month they offered 30% off both the first 2 guests which was a better deal.  They have been offering one or the other for the past several years do it is really the true price and not a special.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The UK RCI website prices are extortionate. I’ve just booked through a US travel agent and for the same cruise, I’ve saved over $900 for ocean view balcony on Oasis May 2020. Got few extra OBC thrown in too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, ShillyShally said:

This is my issue, and of course a good friend just announced she's now a TA, and I know she'd go to bat for us if we needed something but losing that control isn't something I'm interested in so now I'll just need to tread carefully when she asks to help 🙂

The second and last time I used a TA it was a friend.  When the big price drop came, she was in Europe on vacation.

I can call or email my CVP and she will call as soon as possible.  I normally tell her which ship, cruise and cabin I want and she holds for me until she is able to call or email me.  It was worked without a glitch since 2008 so why would I want to change?  She also can see cabins that I can not see on site and will often hold what she knows is a better cabin than I selected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't taken a lot of cruises and my first ones I did everything myself through RCI's web site.  I did try to use a Certified Vacation Planner with them, but honestly?  I was promised things that were never delivered.  I didn't feel like that person was any better than just any random agent I'd get when I'd call.

 

I've also booked direct, then transferred to a TA because I get additional OBC, so that has worked out as well.

 

And I've told the TA what I was looking for (on our Alaska cruise) and let them do all the work.  I trust their advice because they do this a lot and I was travelling with my elderly parents.  I just didn't want anything to go wrong.  Much different than if it was just me and hubby.  That worked out very well.  We got a great price, loads of OBC, and really good service.  We did book Air through Royal (our TA advised us to do that) directly and everything was all in one nice, neat package.

 

I do think a good TA is worth a lot.  They do this for a living and they want to make their customers happy otherwise they won't stay in business.  And my TA has been the one notifying me of price drops, but so far the drops haven't worked out (lose OBC and end up with a NRD), but who knows?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, Snit13 said:

The second and last time I used a TA it was a friend.  When the big price drop came, she was in Europe on vacation.

I can call or email my CVP and she will call as soon as possible.  I normally tell her which ship, cruise and cabin I want and she holds for me until she is able to call or email me.  It was worked without a glitch since 2008 so why would I want to change?  She also can see cabins that I can not see on site and will often hold what she knows is a better cabin than I selected.

I expect it’s as with most business transactions in life, avoid doing them with those you won’t feel comfortable questioning or forcing an issue with when needed!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with the Coral Expeditions Team
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...