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I’ve contacted two travel agents about a Rccl cruise and both are higher than booking at Rccl myself. Any suggestions

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13 minutes ago, lpmom said:

I’ve contacted two travel agents about a Rccl cruise and both are higher than booking at Rccl myself. Any suggestions

Be sure you are comparing apples to apples.

 

Do both quotes (TA & RCCL) include taxes/fees?  Are they for the same category room?

 

Does the quote from the TA (or RCCL) include any perks that the other doesn't (drinks package, specialty dining, etc).

 

 

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1 hour ago, Shmoo here said:

Be sure you are comparing apples to apples.

 

Do both quotes (TA & RCCL) include taxes/fees?  Are they for the same category room?

 

Does the quote from the TA (or RCCL) include any perks that the other doesn't (drinks package, specialty dining, etc).

 

 

Yeah, I was interested & seeing how good my TAs booking rate was compared to others.  Solicited offers on a site where TAs email quotes to “compete” for your business.  

 

All the quotes were inclusive of taxes/fees & identical to my original booking after tax.  One quote did have a slightly higher OBC offer but would have been a wash with the change fee.  Sailing with Carnival, my biggest savings is the AARP gift card discount.  And I’m leary giving those card #s to an online.TA.

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Where great TA's shine is the sharing of commissions. Of course, if your TA is a top seller for your preferred cruise line, having that regional sales rep as a "speed dial" makes all the difference if there's a problem.

That said, recognize that the commission for the average short Carnival cruise is so small that many TAs don't want to handle them. And if they do, your "share" of any commission they may be willing to split will amount to peanuts.

 

The process for finding a great TA (described by myself and others about a zillion times here on CC and available by using the search feature) is time consuming detailed research. But, the first time you see a four digit rebate check for that big cruise you'll pat yourself on the back.

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Do both. Book direct and pick up the lower price. Then transfer to to a TA to pick up perks. Easy way to pocket a few hundred.  Have never seen a TA with a higher price. 

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19 hours ago, lpmom said:

I’ve contacted two travel agents about a Rccl cruise and both are higher than booking at Rccl myself. Any suggestions

 

You have to be doing something wrong, because I've never seen that.  Cruiselines would be cutting their own throats if they undercut TAs.  So they don't.

Make sure you are making an accurate comparison of everything, fare, port fees & taxes, and perks.  Somewhere in there you must be comparing apples and oranges.

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Went back to one of the TA and she recalculated and got me a room a little less than Rccl so I booked New England cruise in September. Plus she will keep watch for more perks

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, lpmom said:

Went back to one of the TA and she recalculated and got me a room a little less than Rccl so I booked New England cruise in September. Plus she will keep watch for more perks

 

And ask her to keep watch for price drops. Most cruise lines will honor a request for the lower price if it's before final payment. We do this on every cruise we rake and have saved thousands of dollars over the years. But be careful that the lower price doesn't eliminate any perks you have with the higher price, which might end up being a worse value in the end. A good TA can work this out for you. 

Edited by SantaFeFan

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We normally book with rccl , mostly while on other rccl cruises 

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One thing that I do not believe has been mentioned is that you should call travel agents. If they have a lower price, they are not allowed to advertise it; they can, however, quote it to you over the phone.

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On April 20, 2019 at 5:13 PM, ontheweb said:

One thing that I do not believe has been mentioned is that you should call travel agents. If they have a lower price, they are not allowed to advertise it; they can, however, quote it to you over the phone.

For the past few years we have been using a TA who has group cruises and she has been able to get us the group rate.Her agency offers free basic insurance.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, lenquixote66 said:

For the past few years we have been using a TA who has group cruises and she has been able to get us the group rate.Her agency offers free basic insurance.

 

I have been using a cruise only travel agent for many years now, and not sure that I will continue to do so.  Super nice person, but don’t see any perks anymore, though we are not one of her top clients, as we aren’t able to cruise every year.  I have a feeling that the cruise lines are continuing to cut commissions, and squeezing the TA’s even more.

Edited by A2Mich

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3 minutes ago, A2Mich said:

 

I Hubert been using a cruise only travel agent for many years now, and not sure that I will continue to do so.  Super nice person, but don’t see any perks anymore, though we are not one of her top clients, as we aren’t able to cruise every year.  I have a feeling that the cruise lines are continuing to cut commissions, and squeezing the TA’s even more.

No they're not. Do the research and find a better TA. As a baseline, you should expect no less than 5% (and aim for 10%) of the commissionable fare as a rebate or refundable SBC. 

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4 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

No they're not. Do the research and find a better TA. As a baseline, you should expect no less than 5% (and aim for 10%) of the commissionable fare as a rebate or refundable SBC. 

 

Nor getting anywhere near that.  We are booked in a cabin for 5, priced the same as what RCI lists when you call them, and have a OBC of $175 for a cruise that is costing us over $4K (not including port fees/taxes).

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, A2Mich said:

 

Nor getting anywhere near that.  We are booked in a cabin for 5, priced the same as what RCI lists when you call them, and have a OBC of $175 for a cruise that is costing us over $4K (not including port fees/taxes).

Yeah, 4% is low. We use the travel department of a membership warehouse store and they give back about 8% in the form of a store gift card - which is the same as cash since I would spend it there anyway.

Edited by NantahalaCruiser

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15 minutes ago, NantahalaCruiser said:

Yeah, 4% is low. We use the travel department of a membership warehouse store and they give back about 8% in the form of a store gift card - which is the same as cash since I would spend it there anyway.

 

If it’s the same place I’m thinking of, we have also considered using them next time.  If it’s the same store, they also can book complete resort packages, as well as rental cars.  At this point, a rental car is very helpful for us.

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While membership outfits can certainly get you something back, some real research will identify far better deals.

For OP: 4% from the current TA may be at the lower end of the spectrum. But it's better than the bottle of cheap wine some TA's provide. Of course, if it's some discount $1000 cruise (incl fees and taxes that are non- commissionable), that bottle of wine may be a reasonable deal.

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Definitely following this thread again as responses are picking up again.  For me there are 3 purposes for using a TA:

 

•Get a better net price than you can on your own.

 

•Get a better deal (last minute/non-published/group) than you can on your own.  Even find you a cruise you wouldn’t have considered on your own or thought attainable.

 

•Answer questions about your ship/itineraries or provide support if something goes wrong.

 

My situation is I will rarely book outside of basic interior or window view and no longer than 7 days.  That seems to reduce or eliminate the commission sharing.  And apparently no/limited commission sharing on airfare/hotels/excursions since those have little to no margin for the agent.  Correct me if I’m wrong.

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Years ago the cruise lines eliminated comm on airfare and port charges .

Comm's are still good for the cruise portion of the total fare , especially for the high volume agencies .

Always expect something better from your TA than the current offer booking direct.

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40 minutes ago, soonernstlouis said:

My situation is I will rarely book outside of basic interior or window view and no longer than 7 days.  That seems to reduce or eliminate the commission sharing.  And apparently no/limited commission sharing on airfare/hotels/excursions since those have little to no margin for the agent.  Correct me if I’m wrong.

 

Same here. I go off-peak season too. Our cruise fare hasn't exceeded $1300 yet. The best TA offer I have ever received is an extra $25 OBC. Most of the people bragging about their amazing TA or the insider deals they got, aren't telling you the price tag of their cruise. There has to be enough mark-up in the cruise for the TA to throw money at you.

 

For me, I just book direct or through my credit card rewards. It's a travel card that lets me redeem my points for my entire cruise fare at a great redemption rate. No out of pocket fare costs are worth way more to me than a $25 obc, cheap bottle of wine, or "speed dial."

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Joebucks said:

 

Same here. I go off-peak season too. Our cruise fare hasn't exceeded $1300 yet. The best TA offer I have ever received is an extra $25 OBC. Most of the people bragging about their amazing TA or the insider deals they got, aren't telling you the price tag of their cruise. There has to be enough mark-up in the cruise for the TA to throw money at you.

 

For me, I just book direct or through my credit card rewards. It's a travel card that lets me redeem my points for my entire cruise fare at a great redemption rate. No out of pocket fare costs are worth way more to me than a $25 obc, cheap bottle of wine, or "speed dial."

 

 

The big-box TA that we use lists the exact same price that the cruise line does. There is no markup. And this includes the same perks the cruise line is giving at the time. The benefit I get from this TA is additional OBC, or prepaid gratuities, or complimentary specialty dining, or a store gift card, or any combination of these depending on the cruise. On the last cruise we took we received $450 OBC and one complimentary specialty dining voucher for the both of us. That amounted to approximately $525 in extra perks. And that was on top of the $550 OBC we received from the cruise line for booking certain cabin categories with their promotion. 

 

You can accuse me of bragging, but facts are facts, and many people here have also received such generous perks by booking with TAs. That you aren't clever enough to find these TAs is not our fault! 😏

 

PS: and we also use our credit card reward points to cover the cost of our cruises. Since we use our credit cards for most purchases, about 70% of the cost of our last cruise was covered by those reward credits.

Edited by SantaFeFan

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11 minutes ago, SantaFeFan said:

 

The big-box TA that we use lists the exact same price that the cruise line does. There is no markup. And this includes the same perks the cruise line is giving at the time. The benefit I get from this TA is additional OBC, or prepaid gratuities, or complimentary specialty dining, or a store gift card, or any combination of these depending on the cruise. On the last cruise we took we received $450 OBC and one complimentary specialty dining voucher for the both of us. That amounted to approximately $525 in extra perks. And that was on top of the $550 OBC we received from the cruise line for booking certain cabin categories with their promotion. 

 

You can accuse me of bragging, but facts are facts, and many people here have also received such generous perks by booking with TAs. That you aren't clever enough to find these TAs is not our fault! 😏

 

PS: and we also use our credit card reward points to cover the cost of our cruises. Since we use our credit cards for most purchases, about 70% of the cost of our last cruise was covered by those reward credits.

 

You were "clever" enough to completely miss my point. I never said you can't get anything back from a TA. The price of a cruise that gives you $500 in stuff is likely no less than $5000. In those cases, yea you are better off doing a TA. It's very misleading to the average cruiser who is not booking a cruise this expensive, who sees these kinds of numbers, and expects this is what they can get. 

 

It's like saying this car dealership is the best because they took $5,000 off of the sticker price, and I didn't even have to haggle. Everyone runs over there because that sound's like an amazing deal. Oh, it was a $90,000 Porsche? I was looking for a $25,000 Honda.

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1 hour ago, Joebucks said:

 

Most of the people bragging about their amazing TA or the insider deals they got, aren't telling you the price tag of their cruise. There has to be enough mark-up in the cruise for the TA to throw money at you.

This is true.

Ten percent of a $30k cruise fare is a "chunk of change." At the other end of the spectrum, discount cruise lines like Carnival are avoided by some TAs who find the commissions not worth their efforts.

BTW, some earlier posts suggested asking friends for TA recommendations. That may not be the best advice depending on what has been their travel acumen.

The best TAs we have found (we "shop" among  three regulars for our preferred line) resulted from multiple recommendations we have received from "world cruisers" we met onboard. 

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