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Transferring booking to online cruise TA

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I just booked a cruise on the Celebrity Apex for next summer and have been shopping around to find a good TA. I've tried numerous individual TAs but no one offers any additional perks like OBC so I'm currently looking for on online TA. I know members aren't allowed to suggest specific agencies, but could anyone share their experiences if they've used an online cruises only travel agency? I'd prefer to be able to talk to a TA, not just someone at a call center, and I tried my big box store but they weren't offering that much compared to some other offers I've seen. Thoughts?

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I almost always transfer my cruise bookings to one of the major online agencies. The perk that I get from them is a rebate of their commission in the form of an OBC. The OBC depends on the price of the fare. On my most recent Celebrity cruise (my first) I received the two Celebrity perks as well as $225 in OBC from the agency.

 

I contact the same agent with all my bookings. She is responsive and willing to check pricing for me even after I've booked.

 

Neal 

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9 minutes ago, WVU_Neal said:

I almost always transfer my cruise bookings to one of the major online agencies. The perk that I get from them is a rebate of their commission in the form of an OBC. The OBC depends on the price of the fare. On my most recent Celebrity cruise (my first) I received the two Celebrity perks as well as $225 in OBC from the agency.

 

I contact the same agent with all my bookings. She is responsive and willing to check pricing for me even after I've booked.

 

Neal 

Any suggestions for how to choose among them or are they all about the same?

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I found an online TA to be very useful and they generally get my booking. My latest booking, Alaska at the end of next month, I booked in February and got all four perks plus 10% of the fare back as OBC as well as a $50 loyalty bonus, making a total of $425 from my TA on top of the $300 provided by X. This means my specialty dining is taken care of as well as some nice on-board shopping (or a refund at the end of the cruise!).

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1 hour ago, caggfamily said:

Any suggestions for how to choose among them or are they all about the same?

 

Cruise Critic article updated May 29, 2019

Finding a Cruise Travel Agent

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1 hour ago, caggfamily said:

I just booked a cruise on the Celebrity Apex for next summer and have been shopping around to find a good TA. I've tried numerous individual TAs but no one offers any additional perks like OBC so I'm currently looking for on online TA. I know members aren't allowed to suggest specific agencies, but could anyone share their experiences if they've used an online cruises only travel agency? I'd prefer to be able to talk to a TA, not just someone at a call center, and I tried my big box store but they weren't offering that much compared to some other offers I've seen. Thoughts?

 

At the top of this page, next to the words "cruisecritic" is the word "Research".  Under Research is the word "Deals". When you click on Deals, there are four categories. You might want to look at these and see the ads from some large online agencies. You can try getting price quotes from them. (The agency I use doesn't happen to advertise there.)

 

I found my travel agent by asking people sailing with us whether they were very happy with someone they used. I've been with the same agent for many years, although I usually check that I'm getting the best deal I can find. Her agency has "group space" on many sailings so the price I get is immediately lower than any listed price. I always get additional OBC and other perks. If an agent tells you that nobody is allowed to offer additional OBC then KEEP LOOKING.

 

Keep in mind that you have a limited time to transfer a booking. Someone posting here will probably reply with the exact number of days. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, caggfamily said:

I just booked a cruise on the Celebrity Apex for next summer and have been shopping around to find a good TA. I've tried numerous individual TAs but no one offers any additional perks like OBC so I'm currently looking for on online TA. I know members aren't allowed to suggest specific agencies, but could anyone share their experiences if they've used an online cruises only travel agency? I'd prefer to be able to talk to a TA, not just someone at a call center, and I tried my big box store but they weren't offering that much compared to some other offers I've seen. Thoughts?

I do all my own research and pricing prior to contacting a TA so I have no need for TA assistance other than bookings, repricing or cancellations. Thus my big box TA provides all I need and offers about 8% or slightly less back on a store gift card - which is equivalent to cash to me. They have been easy to work with, made two repricings for me on one reservation and canceled another reservation for me with simple phone calls and no extra fees. And their website is generally easy to use.

 

For my next booking, I will probably do some more shopping around to see if I can get closer to 10% back if the extra 2% is at least $100 (less than that is not worth the effort) - but I will make sure that whatever TA I use has no fees for bookings, changes or cancellations.

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14 minutes ago, tgg said:

 

At the top of this page, next to the words "cruisecritic" is the word "Research".  Under Research is the word "Deals". When you click on Deals, there are four categories. You might want to look at these and see the ads from some large online agencies. You can try getting price quotes from them. (The agency I use doesn't happen to advertise there.)

 

I found my travel agent by asking people sailing with us whether they were very happy with someone they used. I've been with the same agent for many years, although I usually check that I'm getting the best deal I can find. Her agency has "group space" on many sailings so the price I get is immediately lower than any listed price. I always get additional OBC and other perks. If an agent tells you that nobody is allowed to offer additional OBC then KEEP LOOKING.

 

Keep in mind that you have a limited time to transfer a booking. Someone posting here will probably reply with the exact number of days. 

 

 

Currently 60 days or final payment date - whichever comes first. But it can take a couple of days to get the paper work through so I would allow a week for that and start the process within about 53 days.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, caggfamily said:

Any suggestions for how to choose among them or are they all about the same?

 

They are not all about the same, but whether or not it is worth spending your time checking around to compare offers will depend on a number of variables that can easily change from one cruise to the next. 

 

Different TAs are able to offer better deals for different cruises. 

In general, those that do a high volume business with a particular cruise line and/or hold group space on a particular cruise can offer the best deals.

 

The TA that offered us the best deal for our last cruise will not necessarily be the best one to use for our next cruise.

 

Usually (but not always) the more you are spending for your cruise, the more worthwhile it becomes to check around and compare offers from different TAs.

 

And with Celebrity, we now need to start the transfer process within 60 days of booking.

(We liked it a lot better when they used to let us transfer at any time up until the final payment date, but they no longer let us do that.)

 

You can use Celebrity's online transfer form.

Or some TAs will even handle the entire transfer process for you without your needing to do anything but give them your OK over the phone.

 

Edited by varoo

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Can anyone advise if you can do this with UK bookings?

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43 minutes ago, katie64 said:

Can anyone advise if you can do this with UK bookings?

 

See the answers on your other post

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Posted (edited)

I haven't checked lately, but last time I did (several years ago), the price was about the same as insuremytrip, but the coverage amounts were much higher.  You do not have to purchase the insurance at the same time as the cruise, so there would be time to compare.  If you do purchase within a certain timeframe (I believe within 21 days of booking) pre-existing conditions are covered at no extra cost.  

Edited by rebeccac

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, caggfamily said:

I just booked a cruise on the Celebrity Apex for next summer and have been shopping around to find a good TA. I've tried numerous individual TAs but no one offers any additional perks like OBC so I'm currently looking for on online TA. I know members aren't allowed to suggest specific agencies, but could anyone share their experiences if they've used an online cruises only travel agency? I'd prefer to be able to talk to a TA, not just someone at a call center, and I tried my big box store but they weren't offering that much compared to some other offers I've seen. Thoughts?


I've used two online agencies, along with the big box TA.  One online TA I've kept using because I've established a relationship with the agent that originally responded when I contacted them, and she's provided good service along with extra benefits like OBC or a rebate after the cruise.

Recently I booked with another online agency after I saw a great price in a travel newsletter I receive.  I told my agent the price, and she said she couldn't beat it, but cautioned me that it may not be a "full service" agency in that if we had any issues they might not be as available as she has been.  So far, I've found that to be true.  It was a great price on the cruise--I assume a group booking--but I don't have nearly the confidence level in the person I'm dealing with at that agency.  For a cheap Caribbean cruise that's okay, but for a pricey bucket list trip, I don't think I'd go with that agency.  Only my opinion, of course!

Edited by hiccups

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