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MSC cuts special promotions with Travel Agencies

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1 hour ago, mickey89 said:

That’s not my experience.  When we book via a US travel agency the obc has always been non-refundable. We have $700 obc on a 14 night Seaside cruise in October 2020, so just contacted the TA and yes it was confirmed to be non-refundable. 

 

Interesting. I wonder if that's a UK thing? You are the only person I've ever heard of with that much OBC and it all being non-refundable. It would be hard to spend that amount, especially if the agent tossed in grats. That stinks for you, sorry :(. 

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11 hours ago, sverigecruiser said:

 

I agree with this.

 

I can't possible find a TA knowing more about cruising than me! At least not about the cruises I might be interested in.

 

Absolutely true for most of us I suspect. I use 3 agencies consistently. I have relationships with all three. They know I know a little bit about cruising (or at least I've been doing it for a long time). I offered to help the agents with weird questions before and believe it or not, two of the three call me occasionally. Of course, when they do, they also put additional OBC in my account for my troubles.  All of the agents I use also give loyality OBC and referral OBC. It adds up!

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20 hours ago, thetaro said:

 

I don't care about the OBC. I am just not interested in subsidizing middle-man. If you need middle-man to help you, pay for it yourself.

 

As I said, you do not seem to understand how this works.  You aren't subsidizing a middle man, HE subsidizes YOU.  What YOU are doing is, effectively, subsidizing the cruiselines by allowing THEM to KEEP the portion of the fare they would otherwise have paid to the TA.  And possibly shared with you in the form of perks.  

As to middle man help, I know some people need it, but the TA customer doesn't pay for it.  The cruiseline does with their commission.  Personally the only 'middle man' help I look for is a lower net cost.

You seem so bound up in the very words 'middle man' being evil because of your principles, that you are completely blind to the nature of the transaction.

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19 minutes ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

 

Interesting. I wonder if that's a UK thing? You are the only person I've ever heard of with that much OBC and it all being non-refundable. It would be hard to spend that amount, especially if the agent tossed in grats. That stinks for you, sorry :(. 

Never been a problem as it’s easy to convert back into cash in the casino.

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19 hours ago, thetaro said:

 

You pay for it one way or another. Nothing is Free. With enough customers not using a TA, the company would have more incentive improving the website and online customer service. 

People obviously use TA for the perks and I am not discouraging people to use one. I am just stating my reason for not using one. I don't care about the perks and found it a hassle having to deal with a middleman.


No we don't pay for it, ironically YOU end up paying for it.  We could take the exact same cruise as you, but pay several (sometimes many) hundred dollars less than you by using a 'middle man'.  

So, how did I 'one way or another' pay for using a 'middle man'? 

One of the reasons the cruiselines can pay the commission they do, from which all the perks - and a clue, perk is another word for money -come are people who book direct for whom no commission need be paid.  So, 'one way or another' you paying full fare to the cruiseline frees up commission money to pay my TA a better commission rate, and I get a share of that.

So, thank you for subsidizing my vacation.
 


 

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18 hours ago, tallnthensome said:

^^^^^ This and the one and the one and only time I used a TA for a cruise ended up being a waste of time. No OBC, no communication, had control of my booking and all she did was print our luggage tags. Never again and not for any small amount of OBC ..... Their expertise is no more than mine, probably less. 

 

Then you did it wrong.  Why would you have ever chosen them in the first place when it is pretty easy to get perks in the 5-10% range?    What made you choose an agency that gave you nothing, neither expertise nor money?

But thanks for subsidizing the vacations of many of us who do use TAs.

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11 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

As I said, you do not seem to understand how this works.  You aren't subsidizing a middle man, HE subsidizes YOU.  What YOU are doing is, effectively, subsidizing the cruiselines by allowing THEM to KEEP the portion of the fare they would otherwise have paid to the TA.  And possibly shared with you in the form of perks.  

As to middle man help, I know some people need it, but the TA customer doesn't pay for it.  The cruiseline does with their commission.  Personally the only 'middle man' help I look for is a lower net cost.

You seem so bound up in the very words 'middle man' being evil because of your principles, that you are completely blind to the nature of the transaction.

 

I am sure money grows on tree and Cruiselines want to give them away so TA can give you a kickback.

I never said Middle man is evil. I am saying it's obsolete in 2019 where everyone has internet.

TA does not provide added value to most people but is there to cost Cruiselines money which would be reflected in your fare. 

TA is a dying industry, so enjoy it while you can. 

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41 minutes ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

 

Interesting. I wonder if that's a UK thing? You are the only person I've ever heard of with that much OBC and it all being non-refundable. It would be hard to spend that amount, especially if the agent tossed in grats. That stinks for you, sorry :(. 

 

My experience has been that OBC provided by the cruiseline is non-refundable, and OBC provided by the TA is refundable.  I don't claim this is a universal rule, but it has consistently been my experience.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

Then you did it wrong.  Why would you have ever chosen them in the first place when it is pretty easy to get perks in the 5-10% range?    What made you choose an agency that gave you nothing, neither expertise nor money?

But thanks for subsidizing the vacations of many of us who do use TAs.

Sorry, the only thing I did wrong was go there. They were a cruise only TA and that’s all they “specialized “ in. It was way back when I first started cruising. To blame me for them doing nothing is asinine.

Edited by tallnthensome

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1 minute ago, thetaro said:

 

I am sure money grows on tree and Cruiselines want to give them away so TA can give you a kickback.

I never said Middle man is evil. I am saying it's obsolete in 2019 where everyone has internet.

TA does not provide added value to most people but is there to cost Cruiselines money which would be reflected in your fare. 

TA is a dying industry, so enjoy it while you can. 

 

I will.  And you enjoy paying more for YOUR vacation so I can pay LESS.

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2 minutes ago, tallnthensome said:

Sorry, the only thing I did wrong was go there. They were a cruise only TA and that’s all they “specialized “ in. It was way back when I first started cruising. To blame me for them doing nothing is asinine.

 

Well, you did more than go there, you booked with them.  Sure, anyone can have a lousy experience.  The problem is that you then extrapolated your rookie mistake onto everything.  You blame the world of TAs for your own initial naivete and lack of due diligence.

It is like someone saying, 'that mechanic did a lousy job so I am never going to a mechanic again.'


Do you think everyone is lying about the financial benefits they get by using TAs?  Why is it that we can get them but because of your first, bad, experience you can't?


But hey, it is no skin off my nose.

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32 minutes ago, mickey89 said:

Never been a problem as it’s easy to convert back into cash in the casino.

 

 Sometimes casino charges a percentage for the exchange. I much prefer to walk up to guest services and walk away with cash. However; I'd gladly go through the casino with a smile on my face if that were the only way. 

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11 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

I will.  And you enjoy paying more for YOUR vacation so I can pay LESS.

 

What proof do you have that you paid less than someone else for your cruise? None? 

4 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

Well, you did more than go there, you booked with them.  Sure, anyone can have a lousy experience.  The problem is that you then extrapolated your rookie mistake onto everything.  You blame the world of TAs for your own initial naivete and lack of due diligence.

It is like someone saying, 'that mechanic did a lousy job so I am never going to a mechanic again.'


Do you think everyone is lying about the financial benefits they get by using TAs?  Why is it that we can get them but because of your first, bad, experience you can't?


But hey, it is no skin off my nose.

No skin off your nose? Sounds like someone dragged you down the street on your face based on how offended you appear to be.

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15 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

My experience has been that OBC provided by the cruiseline is non-refundable, and OBC provided by the TA is refundable.  I don't claim this is a universal rule, but it has consistently been my experience.

 

This is my exact experience too. If the obc comes from the cruise line, it's non-refundable. Makes sense to me. Cruise line gives you $100 and you spend it on T-shirts (for example). The T-shirts have inherent mark up of 85% so the $100 only cost the cruise line $15 (rough numbers).

 

I don't recall ever getting OBC from a travel agent that is non-refundable. And $700 mentioned by the poster is quite a bit of obc. I suspect some of it is refundable and some of it is non-refundable and the agent doesn't really understand, but what do I know ;-). 

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5 minutes ago, tallnthensome said:

 

What proof do you have that you paid less than someone else for your cruise? None? 

No skin off your nose? Sounds like someone dragged you down the street on your face based on how offended you appear to be.

 

You confuse offended with astounded.  And yes, I do KNOW that I paid less than anyone who booked through the cruiselines because I always check to see what that cost would be.  It's called comparison shopping.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

I will.  And you enjoy paying more for YOUR vacation so I can pay LESS.

 

You CAP like you saved thousands. We are merely talking about 5%, or more like some OBC and perks.

I don't mind paying a little extra if that means they would improve the website and online customer service. 

Not to mention I find it a hassle having to deal with another human being.

You like it or not, some industries are obsolete and would be replaced by AI or Internet.

 

 

Edited by thetaro

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38 minutes ago, BermudaBound2014 said:

 

......... I suspect some of it is refundable and some of it is non-refundable and the agent doesn't really understand, but what do I know ;-). 

It is all non-refundable I can assure you, all $700 and it’s not a problem as you see it !

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10 minutes ago, mickey89 said:

It is all non-refundable I can assure you, all $700 and it’s not a problem as you see it !

 

Did you ask your agent why they are only offering you non-refundable? It is VERY DIFFERENT than the way most agencies work here in the US so I'm very curious what their rational is.

 

The only reason I can think of for US agencies to offer non-refundable obc is if they have some type of kick back arrangement with MSC.  I do suspect something going on below the surface to make your arrangement so vastly different than literally 1,000's of others. But like I said up there ^ .... what do I know 😉 odd things happen (especially with MSC). 

 

Please don't get me wrong, I'd gladly go to the casino for $700. Heck, I'd even pay the 4% most cruise line casino's charge for such a transaction (and beam said MSC does it for free, so bonus!). This is simply pure curiosity on my part and we know what that did to the cat.

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Posted (edited)

Most cruise lines will not allow you to exchange non-refundable obc directly into cash. Some did taking a 5% surcharge but that practice has long since ended. MSC definitely will not cash in your non-refundable obc.

Edited by mickey89

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1 hour ago, Beamafar said:

I've never been charged a percentage in an MSC casino.

That would apply to refundable obc only.   MSC will not allow you to cash in Non-Refundable obc into cash, they will only give you special chips to use in the casino.  All winnings are cashable chips, slightly different colour.

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2 hours ago, mickey89 said:

That would apply to refundable obc only.   MSC will not allow you to cash in Non-Refundable obc into cash, they will only give you special chips to use in the casino.  All winnings are cashable chips, slightly different colour.

Not if you do it through a slot machine...then it just shows up as a room charge against your OBC. 

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6 hours ago, thetaro said:

 

I am sure money grows on tree and Cruiselines want to give them away so TA can give you a kickback.

I never said Middle man is evil. I am saying it's obsolete in 2019 where everyone has internet.

TA does not provide added value to most people but is there to cost Cruiselines money which would be reflected in your fare. 

TA is a dying industry, so enjoy it while you can. 

In 2018, 68% of all cruises were booked through travel agencies. People who knew how to use the internet would have Googled the subject to get the facts rather than make such a silly statement. It’s cheaper to pay commissions to TAs than hire enough manpower to keep it in house. Wages, benefits, offices,  etc. Not everybody has the internet and some who do are afraid to use it for financial transactions.

A dying breed, not in this century.

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2 hours ago, grandgeezer said:

In 2018, 68% of all cruises were booked through travel agencies. People who knew how to use the internet would have Googled the subject to get the facts rather than make such a silly statement. It’s cheaper to pay commissions to TAs than hire enough manpower to keep it in house. Wages, benefits, offices,  etc. Not everybody has the internet and some who do are afraid to use it for financial transactions.

A dying breed, not in this century.

 

Corner travel agencies are a dying breed [along with local bookstores] – but the internet and big-box stores have taken up the slack very nicely.  I have never met either of my TAs – we deal via email and phone.  But I love those rebates!

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