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Missmimi

Best travel agency for rssc

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Last time we cruised with Regent, we booked directly through the hotline. Once on board, everybody talled us it would be much better to book though a travel agency. How is your experience? Did you get the same conditions, per example cabin upgrades, and in addition further perks and benefits? Does it mean you have to go in an agency ( I mean physically), or is it also possible by phone? We live In Europe and I guess the TA are not really specialized in selling lots or rssc cruises. Thank you for your advices.

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The best TA is the one you're happy with and works for you.  You should get everything Regent gives and more.  Once you find an agent that you enjoy and that works and meets your needs, when you book directly you can transfer your booking to your TA.  We always book with an e-mail to our TA, it's that easy.

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Cruise Critic - being a travel agency themselves - do not like posts that recommend other agents and they delete them, which is understandable.  So I will just talk in general terms...

 

We live in Switzerland and so should book our cruises via whichever Swiss agents Regent has or via Regent Europe in Southampton UK.  For several cruises, when we started cruising, we did book via a Zürich agent.  Then our agent retired and someone I met on a cruise suggested using an agent in the USA.  We both lived in the US for a long time, have US bank accounts etc so this was not a problem for us and that is what we did.  We love our agent who is hyper efficient.  Only downside is that she cannot do flights for us because we originate from Europe.  You need to consider that too - some agents will give a "kick back" on the costs and others discount it heavily but if you then have to add flight costs as well you might pay more for your cruise than if you went directly to RSSC.

 

I would check the offerings on Cruise Critic UK via this site and then see what other deals you can get.  More than this I am not prepared to say on this site!!

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10 hours ago, Missmimi said:

We live In Europe and I guess the TA are not really specialized in selling lots or rssc cruises.

We live in the UK and there are a number of Travel Agencies who deal with all the luxury cruise lines, including Regent. I am sure the same is true for many other European countries.

Most TAs will give a reasonable discount off Regent's web price and/or other perks; this on top of any promotions that Regent are offering at the time.

The Agencies advertise on the internet and can be dealt with by phone and email.

You can always discuss your requirements direct with the Regent office and then have the booking transferred to your chosen TA for their additional benefits.

Obviously do your research and due diligence on any TA before using them as there are a few rogues out there; one check is to ask Regent how much business they do with them.

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We know people (one on this thread) that use a TA in the United States.  There are benefits to doing that but I'm not certain how it was arranged.  I'm also not sure if people that use a TA in the U.S. have that rule where deposits are non-refundable like they do in the U.K. but these things are worth looking into.

 

You definitely do not need to have a TA that you can visit.  Our TA is nowhere near where we live - we communicate mostly by email (which is nice because you don't have to "remember" what was said as it is in writing).   

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We've been using our TA for about 15 years, even after three or four moves.  He's now located about 1,500 miles away from us and although we book travel through him once or twice a year, we haven't set foot in his office since about 2009?  In fact, I think we only went to his office once or twice even when we lived close!

 

So no, your TA doesn't need to be local.   :-)

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When I am looking for an agent I find that it can be helpful to search the videos on YouTube for the cruise line and ship in which you are interested.  My reasoning is that if there is an agency that is interested enough to invest time and money into a video they might make a good agency.  Sometimes the video will be in a language other than English.

I gave this advice to a friend who lives in Germany and he found a very good cruise agency in that country by using this system.

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I use a TA in the US because my husband is a US national (Swiss as well though) and he worked for a very long time for a US bank consequently we have US bank accounts - from which we pay for our cruises.  I think because of that we were allowed to work with a US based TA.   I am very very happy with my TA!  That said, she warned me at the outset that her agency could not handle my flights.  At the time it didn't matter because Regent UK was not offering included flights.  Now they are - just like Regent in the US.  This could change things for us I suppose because flights are getting more and more expensive...

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4 hours ago, Hambagahle said:

I use a TA in the US because my husband is a US national (Swiss as well though) and he worked for a very long time for a US bank consequently we have US bank accounts - from which we pay for our cruises.  I think because of that we were allowed to work with a US based TA.   I am very very happy with my TA!  That said, she warned me at the outset that her agency could not handle my flights.  At the time it didn't matter because Regent UK was not offering included flights.  Now they are - just like Regent in the US.  This could change things for us I suppose because flights are getting more and more expensive...

 

You don’t need any American connection to use an American TA. I’m 100% European, but I have booked all our Regent cruises through an American TA based in Florida, as she offers good service and significant rebates. The USD 100 cancellation fee is also an incentive. 

 

Everything is done via email, and it works perfectly fine.  

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7 minutes ago, jmalux said:

 

You don’t need any American connection to use an American TA. I’m 100% European, but I have booked all our Regent cruises through an American TA based in Florida, as she offers good service and significant rebates. The USD 100 cancellation fee is also an incentive. 

 

Everything is done via email, and it works perfectly fine.  

When we switched from a Swiss agent to the US one years ago I was given a hard time by Regent for doing this.  Same thing happened with Oceania when we booked our first O. cruise.  Finally I told them that either I used the agent I preferred or I would find another cruise line...  that sorted it.   It does however help a lot to have a US bank account - no exchange rate problems.

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Posted (edited)

If you don't need hand holding then just follow the money and find the one that gives you the best deal. Trust me; if you spend a little time and make some phone calls you can find someone who will give you an excellent deal. Always call. Don't use email except maybe for and initial contacts. Many agents will never negotiate via email.  Keep shopping and don't be afraid to tell the agent if you found a better deal. Let the agent know that you could become a long time customer for the right deal. Also some Agents are part of different consortiums that  offer additional amenities, often in the form of onboard credit. (Sometime the onboard credits are like cash; in that you can cash it out from the purser when onboard. Others are use it-or lose it.)

 

J

Edited by JMARINER

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, amusea said:

 

When I am looking for an agent I find that it can be helpful to search the videos on YouTube for the cruise line and ship in which you are interested.  My reasoning is that if there is an agency that is interested enough to invest time and money into a video they might make a good agency.  Sometimes the video will be in a language other than English.

I gave this advice to a friend who lives in Germany and he found a very good cruise agency in that country by using this system.

 

In my opinion, it is much more important for a TA to have sailed on all Regent ships rather than simply doing a video (unless they have videos of all the ships that they took themselves while onboard.)

 

For us, the rebate is important as well as being on top of changes (our TA constantly looks for any changes/promotions offered by Regent).  We have called them with what we thought was a better deal than we had only to learn that what we had was actually better.

 

It is also helpful if the TA is not a one person agency.  One person agencies stand still when the TA is unavailable or on vacation.  Having an excellent team to help clients makes a huge difference.  If we need our TA on the weekends or at nights, they are available (of course, we would not contact them during these times unless it was important).

 

I understand that the laws in some European countries prevent TA's from offering what is offered in the U.S. and Canada but, if you can use a U.S. based TA, it is worth the effort.

Edited by Travelcat2

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Unfortunately my friend had a very hard time finding any agency that specialized in cruises in Germany.  I suggested that he use my agent but he did not want to use an agency outside Germany.  He travels extensively around the world but his travel agency does not focus on cruise travel.  Finally he did find a large German agency that specialized in cruises.   Actually he was about to give up on his quest but using the YouTube video as a source things turned out well.  He has been very happy with this cruise agency although it is not in his hometown.  Since he is very proficient on the internet (he is a lawyer) and had searched for several weeks this was a very happy result for him.  I also tried to search agencies in Europe and was surprised at the lack of specialized cruise agencies so it would have been even harder to search for an agent who had sailed on Regent.  The whole thrust of European agencies seems to be on package tours and although he lives in the biggest city in Germany he could not find any cruise specialist there.  So while your comments are valid for North America I don't think they necessarily apply to other countries which was the original inquiry.  In any case, I was delighted with his find because he and another person will now be joining us next year on our Regent cruise to the Middle East and I was just trying to pass information about this successful search.

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And what do you do if your tried and trusted travel agent doesn't offer any Regent cruises?  They offer Seabourn, Silversea and Azamara and nothing else in the luxury class!!!!

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56 minutes ago, babs135 said:

And what do you do if your tried and trusted travel agent doesn't offer any Regent cruises?  They offer Seabourn, Silversea and Azamara and nothing else in the luxury class!!!!

Sadly you need to consider another TA.

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3 hours ago, babs135 said:

And what do you do if your tried and trusted travel agent doesn't offer any Regent cruises?  They offer Seabourn, Silversea and Azamara and nothing else in the luxury class!!!!

 

Then, go on Seabourn!

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It is interesting that the TA offers only 2 luxury cruise lines and one premium plus (Azamara).  Obviously, both Regent and Crystal are luxury cruise ships.  Very strange!

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9 hours ago, babs135 said:

And what do you do if your tried and trusted travel agent doesn't offer any Regent cruises?  They offer Seabourn, Silversea and Azamara and nothing else in the luxury class!!!!

 

That's ridiculous, time to get another TA. I understand he/she is "trusted", but we're not talking brain surgery here!

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17 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

I understand that the laws in some European countries prevent TA's from offering what is offered in the U.S. and Canada

🤔 I am not aware of any laws in Europe that curtail TAs making offers to their customers.

Regent has promotions on some cruises that are only offered in certain countries. Sometimes the USA gets a deal; sometimes Europe; sometimes everywhere.

 

The main driver for price differentials is currency exchange rates, especially during periods of volatility.

It is also important to check what is included in the cruise fare. For example: Regent base fares in the USA include Business Air; base fares in the UK include Economy Air; in some other countries Air is not included

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10 hours ago, babs135 said:

And what do you do if your tried and trusted travel agent doesn't offer any Regent cruises?  

Does your "tried & trusted" TA offer discounts or other perks?

Although I cannot name them there are very good TAs in the UK that deal with all the luxury lines, including Regent, offer excellent customer service and provide healthy discounts 🙂

Maybe time for you to "shop around".

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, flossie009 said:

🤔 I am not aware of any laws in Europe that curtail TAs making offers to their customers.

Regent has promotions on some cruises that are only offered in certain countries. Sometimes the USA gets a deal; sometimes Europe; sometimes everywhere.

 

The main driver for price differentials is currency exchange rates, especially during periods of volatility.

It is also important to check what is included in the cruise fare. For example: Regent base fares in the USA include Business Air; base fares in the UK include Economy Air; in some other countries Air is not included

 

I did not post that there are laws in Europe that curtail TA's from making offers to their customers.  I did post that some laws in Europe/U.K. prevent TA's from offering what is offered in the United States and Canada and this is true.  

 

In recent years, sales in the Med. have been soft and it is likely more cost effective to lower prices for people in Europe since they do not have to include international business class airfares, etc.  

 

Perhaps sometime you may want to list the benefits offered in the U.K. (like lower fares) and posters can see which benefits in the U.S./Canada are the same and which are not.  

 

You mentioned Regent discounts that are sometimes country specific and sometimes are not.  I do not disagree, however, I thought that we were discussing TA offers rather than Regent offers.

 

Note:  I'm specifically referring to consumer protection laws in the U.K.  that we do not have in the U.S.  (at least not to the extent that they exist in the U.K.).  

Edited by Travelcat2

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8 minutes ago, Travelcat2 said:

I did post that some laws in Europe/U.K. prevent TA's from offering what is offered in the United States and Canada and this is true.

Sorry if I am slow on the uptake, but I am still struggling to understand what is being offered by TAs in North America that cannot, by law, be offered by European TAs.

 

Regarding your suggestion that I list UK benefits, the only detailed information I could give is the Regent web prices offered to us in the UK and the discounts offered by our UK TA.

I did not understand your reference to "benefits offered in the U.K. (like lower fares)"

 

Certainly most, if not all, additional offers made on Regent cruises by TAs in the UK emanate from Regent; either as a special offer to that TA and/or by the TA passing on part of their commission to the customer. Is this not the same as arrangements in the USA?

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