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Toesinthewater728

New to RCCL; Best way to book?

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Hello fellow cruisers; we are excited to be sailing outside of Carnival for the first time in March of 2020 and we would love to know if you have any suggestions for the best way to book (directly online, directly over the phone, via an inside agent at Royal that you want to recommend via private message or any other suggestions). 
 

I would really appreciate your suggestions! 

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We used to book direct but switched to a TA a couple years ago.  He is fantastic and I wouldn’t go back!  We’re very low maintenance but he’s always very responsive to any requests or changes we may have.  That would be my recommendation and I’d be glad to give you his contact info!

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48 minutes ago, Toesinthewater728 said:

Hello fellow cruisers; we are excited to be sailing outside of Carnival for the first time in March of 2020 and we would love to know if you have any suggestions for the best way to book (directly online, directly over the phone, via an inside agent at Royal that you want to recommend via private message or any other suggestions). 
 

I would really appreciate your suggestions! 

 

There's no universal "best" for all people.  Some like to book direct and deal with the cruise line, others like using a travel agent for service and perks. 

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We book directly and then transfer to a TA.  We're not allowed to recommend anyone but ask your friends.  

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How did you book your cruises with Carnival? Were you happy with the process? If yes, book the same way with Royal. If not, change to another method and give it a try. There are advantages and disadvantages to booking with either. You'll have to decide what is best for you.

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I do all my research online and even know what cabin I want, then I go to my TA and book it with her.

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4 minutes ago, 2nsmom said:

I do all my research online and even know what cabin I want, then I go to my TA and book it with her.

 

Same here, I just send the our TA an email to book, no waiting on the phone, no dealing with Royal's website.

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As cruiseguy said, if you're used to booking directly with Carnival, book directly.  I use a TA that I've used for over 10 years.  I won't change until she retires.  But if you use a TA make sure it's one you can trust.  The TA "owns" the booking so if you want to take advantage of any price drops or cabin changes, etc. you must go through them.  But the good part is you won't have to deal with Royal Caribbean.  It can be good or bad.  We booked through Royal once (then transferred to our TA) and I actually had to sit on the phone and READ them their own rules on the rate to get the appropriate price and perks.  I swore I'd never book directly again.  The only reason I did it is because it was a Sunday and I didn't want to bother my TA on her day off.  That won't happen again.  

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Thank you for all the feedback... we are more concerned about best rate and promotions, with Carnival I always felt like booking directly got us to that goal, but I was not sure if booking directly with Royal would get the same results or if TA get exclusive perks. 

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3 minutes ago, Toesinthewater728 said:

Thank you for all the feedback... we are more concerned about best rate and promotions, with Carnival I always felt like booking directly got us to that goal, but I was not sure if booking directly with Royal would get the same results or if TA get exclusive perks. 

 

The promos and rates would be the same booking direct or with a TA, with some exceptions.  A TA can have group rates which can be significantly lower than booking direct with RC.  Also, some of the biggest travel agencies have opted out of the RoyalUp program, so you would not have a chance to bid for an upgrade.  Best to ask the travel agent about that before booking.

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We use our big box warehouse club travel department.  Their website is much more user friendly.  It's easy to search for a particular cabin that you want.  They also offer great OBCs and have always been able to negotiate price drops with the cruise line.

 

 

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We use a website that enables various travel agents to compete with each other. Usually, the cruise fare is very similar but the difference comes in with OBC and other perks. For example, we are on Freedom departing December 1 and we received what I thought was an excellent cruise fare plus OBC plus a specialty dinner for 2 and a spa treatment. Would have traded the dinner and spa treatment for free grats but you get what you get 😎

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