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5 minutes ago, Selbourne said:


Is that agent a certain cruise club based near Chesterfield Harry? If so, I had always heard that they were very good but friends of ours have had major problems with them recently. Re your last point, yes I have heard that from several people and I agree it’s daft. My contact at P&O clearly has a cunning ‘work around’ on that one, as we book at launch and have always had our first choice cabin!

It is indeed, Selbourne.  I’ve always used them, apart from the very first cruise, when we booked direct and P&O messed up the reservation.  
 

Always had excellent service from them and they’ve always managed to book one of the only two acceptable suites at launch dates. P&O won’t do that - unless you’re fortunate enough, as you are, to have a contact.

 

That’s not to say others haven’t had problems with them, but we’ve always found them impeccably good - with one fault. They simply act as post box when there’s a complaint, and add nothing. I have always succeeded against P&O when there have been problems, and with extracting refunds, but not with any help from the agent.

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1 hour ago, Selbourne said:

 


drsel - perhaps you could state which U.K. travel agents or cruise specialists offer 10% off P&O cruise fares on top of the P&O discounts (even if in a cryptic way)? I agree with wowzz. I know of none.
 

5% seems to be the norm and with the problems and delays to getting refunds that some who used them have experienced that seems a paltry discount to add the risks of using a 3rd party (as many posters on this site have now come to realise). I can understand people using TA’s and Cruise Specialists if they have a great personal relationship with someone there and have only ever had great experiences (including refunds), or their finances are such that 5% discount makes a significant difference to them. As 5% equates to only £50 in every £1,000 I wouldn’t say that people booking direct pay “much, much more”. 
 

I am lucky that I qualify for an additional discount booking direct with P&O that equates to 5%, but even if I didn’t I think I would still book direct. I have an excellent relationship with a former Personal Cruise Specialist who works there and have always had my first choice of cabin and quite a few extra favours over the years. My cancelled cruises were refunded in 45 days (still way above the 14 days that U.K. law dictates, but about half the time of many on this thread). 

We all know and appreciate your views Selbourne, but we fall into the highlighted category, and if you sail with more than one cruise line it makes perfect sense to use the same agent for all your cruises.

PS Just to add my rider to Harry's comment about his, and our, agents lack of help with problems, we have only had superb service from them.  Needing an accessible cabin we find it difficult to take advantage of late heavy discounting, but our agent has managed on 2 or 3 occasions to obtain the discount and retain our cabin even when needing to cancel and re-book to get the lower price. It seems that nothing is too much trouble to her when we request help.

Edited by terrierjohn
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18 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

We all know and appreciate your views Selbourne, but we fall into the highlighted category, and if you sail with more than one cruise line it makes perfect sense to use the same agent for all your cruises.

PS Just to add my rider to Harry's comment about his, and our, agents lack of help with problems, we have only had superb service from them.  Needing an accessible cabin we find it difficult to take advantage of late heavy discounting, but our agent has managed on 2 or 3 occasions to obtain the discount and retain our cabin even when needing to cancel and re-book to get the lower price. It seems that nothing is too much trouble to her when we request help.

Yes, everybody has their own reason for using an agent.

 

Our reason dates back to a time when we were booking non bog standard cruises on the release date. We’d tell the agent what we wanted, and they got it for us. As they always served us well, including some email exchanges when we were in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, we have stuck with them. 
 

However, we haven’t yet needed to take action on any cruises booked with them during the current crisis. So I can’t yet comment on their COVID19 performance. I’ll see what happens in a few months time. 

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I have never posted here as it is a P&O thread and my cancelled cruise was with Princess.   Our TA was the ice house  and  we found them very helpful.

Although our contact  was working from home most of the time , between us got our refund after 125 days.    That may not sound great but ours was a mid cruise cancellation  with  additional expenses and the original shipboard information was incorrect so landside Princess   took maybe a month just to get the percentage refund correct.    Several of our fellow cruiser s from the US and AU  have still not received all their refund, a month later.

So  whilst I did report Princess  UK to the CMA

I  had no problems at all with the TA, though I concede all  their  staff may not have provided the same service .

Edited by Aulanis
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49 minutes ago, wowzz said:

We use that "club" and have had no problems with them at all. Even in the heights of the pandemic they were easy to contact.

We are on the maiking list for another small independent cruise agency, and they have been saying that they have had considerable difficulty in dealing with a number of cruise companies,  due to the companies furloughing so many staff.  


That’s interesting as our friends just could not get responses from them (via email or phone) at the height of the problems and have vowed never to use them again. Their bookings were for Cunard and Silversea though. Perhaps they have different agents dealing with P&O? 

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33 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

We all know and appreciate your views Selbourne, but we fall into the highlighted category, and if you sail with more than one cruise line it makes perfect sense to use the same agent for all your cruises.

PS Just to add my rider to Harry's comment about his, and our, agents lack of help with problems, we have only had superb service from them.  Needing an accessible cabin we find it difficult to take advantage of late heavy discounting, but our agent has managed on 2 or 3 occasions to obtain the discount and retain our cabin even when needing to cancel and re-book to get the lower price. It seems that nothing is too much trouble to her when we request help.


And that all makes perfect sense to me John. To date, we have only cruised with P&O so life has been simple, but going forward......

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4 minutes ago, Selbourne said:


That’s interesting as our friends just could not get responses from them (via email or phone) at the height of the problems and have vowed never to use them again. Their bookings were for Cunard and Silversea though. Perhaps they have different agents dealing with P&O? 

No, same agents.

I would email them, and they would ring back later the same day.

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Had some dealings with the cold TA re our now cancelled Worldie.  

 

They called on day of cancellation (good), but they were clearly out to simply get a re-booking.  Having had an insight into the cancellation (thanks Molecrochip) we'd already decided what we want to do.

 

But the TA made out that the they were doing us a favour by giving 125% FCC on what we had actually paid, not the just the deposit (we'd paid some balance off pre Covid due to the overall cost).  They also made out that in order to receive the FCC on the amount paid, I would have to re-book with them.  Which was just the first of several other rather important bits of information.  At one point I was told that I had to use the whole of the FCC on one booking, and so would have to upgrade or lose the unused element of the FCC!!

 

When they realised I wasn't going to re-book during that call they lady said she would call be back when she is next at work, 09:00, today in fact.

 

Yesterday, I spoke with PandO, was told that the 125% FCC on monies paid over and above deposit prior to full balance is applicable to bookings via all TAs and direct, and is applied to future bookings by PandO.  Therefore the FCC can be used with any TA or booking direct.  She also clarified the correct situation re my other queries.  At worst the TA lied, at best they didn't know what they were talking about.

 

And the TA hasn't called me back so far, which is just as well as I won't be using them again.  Only used them in the first place as we wanted a specific cabin at pre-registration, and they discounted by a couple of hundred pp.  Will be looking to book Worldie 2023 direct.

 

 

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drsel - perhaps you could state which U.K. travel agents or cruise specialists offer 10% off P&O cruise fares on top of the P&O discounts (even if in a cryptic way)? I agree with wowzz. I know of none.

5% seems to be the norm and with the problems and delays to getting refunds

Hi Selbourne, is your name Selwyn and are u from Bournemouth? I have been there and have cousins in Poole.

 

 

My giant US Agency is the sole P&O agent for the whole of North America (that's what they told me).

 

 

They gave me a fabulous discounted price for Oceana, $420 pp for a 7 night Cruise, including all port fees and taxes. Quite an unbelievable rate.

Unfortunately the ship was sold.

 

 

But they were so fast and efficient, they refunded me in just 6 days after informing them that the ship was sold.

 

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The normal commission received by large US travel agents for most of the Cruise lines, is between 10 to 16% depending on their volumes and (I think) the cabin category.

This I read in a travel agent trade magazine.

They may also be having target based incentives, which would be over and above this commission.

So try the giant US travel agents, if you want the best price, discount or OBC.

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4 minutes ago, drsel said:

Hi Selbourne, is your name Selwyn and are u from Bournemouth? I have been there and have cousins in Poole.

My giant US Agency is the sole P&O agent for the whole of North America (that's what they told me).
They gave me a fabulous discounted price for Oceana, $420 pp for a 7 night Cruise, including all port fees and taxes. Quiet an unbelievable rate.
Unfortunately the ship was sold.

But they were so fast and efficient, they refunded me in just 6 days after informing them that the ship was sold.

I take it from your question to Selbourne that you are a doctor and your name is Selwyn? 😂

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16 minutes ago, drsel said:

Hi Selbourne, is your name Selwyn and are u from Bournemouth? I have been there and have cousins in Poole.

 

 

My giant US Agency is the sole P&O agent for the whole of North America (that's what they told me).

 

 

They gave me a fabulous discounted price for Oceana, $420 pp for a 7 night Cruise, including all port fees and taxes. Quite an unbelievable rate.

Unfortunately the ship was sold.

 

 

But they were so fast and efficient, they refunded me in just 6 days after informing them that the ship was sold.

 


Hi. No my name isn’t Selwyn and I don’t live in Bournemouth 😂 There are actually 67 million of us over here (an unsustainable 25% increase just in my 50 or so years, but that’s another issue) and we don’t all know each other, even though almost every American I have met asks me if I know someone or other in the U.K. 😂 

 

You certainly had a great deal on Oceana, a ship we like very much but sadly can’t go on now as she has poor accessible cabin options.

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Oceana was sold, that's why my Cruise was cancelled and I was refunded in 6 days.

My fabulous US agent has NO FEES whatsoever for booking or cancellation or refunding.

 

Cruise critic even mentioned them by name in a featured article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, drsel said:

Oceana was sold, that's why my Cruise was cancelled and I was refunded in 6 days


Of course - I should have said that we hadn’t been able to go on her in recent years! 6 days would be a record here in the U.K.  We were lucky compared to most in getting our refunds at 45 days but the average seems to be around 90 days and some are 120 days and more. Us Brits tend to be a bit too passive about these things and some companies have taken advantage of that!

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Don't let anyone take advantage of you.

Try the giant US cruise agents.

They get the maximum 10 to 16 % commission due to their huge volumes.

And they are kind enough to share a large part with you.

 

Who doesn't want a lower price or a bigger discount , along with excellent service and fast refunds?

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, drsel said:

Don't let anyone take advantage of you.

Try the giant US cruise agents.

They get the maximum 10 to 16 % commission due to their huge volumes.

And they are kind enough to share a large part with you.

 

Who doesn't want a lower price or a bigger discount , along with excellent service and fast refunds?

 

 

 

 

 

A lot depends on the fx rate of course.  Any saving you might plan to make, could be wiped out if sterling falls 10% between the time you pay the deposit and final balance payment. 

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A lot depends on the fx rate of course.  Any saving you might plan to make, could be wiped out if sterling falls 10% between the time you pay the deposit and final balance payment. 

It's more likely that the US dollar will fall, considering that 3 trillion dollars have been dumped into the system by the US government.   

 

 

In fact, due to the 3 trillion dollars Covid stimulus package, the US dollar has been steadily falling against both the pound and the euro.

 

 

The sterling used to be 1.71 US dollars in June 2014, (and even 2 US dollars long ago)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Selbourne said:


Is that agent a certain cruise club based near Chesterfield Harry? If so, I had always heard that they were very good but friends of ours have had major problems with them recently. Re your last point, yes I have heard that from several people and I agree it’s daft. My contact at P&O clearly has a cunning ‘work around’ on that one, as we book at launch and have always had our first choice cabin!

I wonder whether some of the problems have been caused by the fact that this particular TA took on a lot of former Thomas Cook employees many of whom won't have had much experience of booking cruises in addition to the fact that probably a good proportion of the staff have been  working from home?(we used to book with TC but with their Southampton office who were excellent as their staff made a lot of cruise bookings.)

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9 minutes ago, ann141 said:

I wonder whether some of the problems have been caused by the fact that this particular TA took on a lot of former Thomas Cook employees many of whom won't have had much experience of booking cruises in addition to the fact that probably a good proportion of the staff have been  working from home?(we used to book with TC but with their Southampton office who were excellent as their staff made a lot of cruise bookings.)

The TA  near Chesterfield was not the one that took over the TC shops and staff.

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7 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

The TA  near Chesterfield was not the one that took over the TC shops and staff.

I realise that but they  did advertise locally as having quite a lot of vacancies due to expansion and of the 2 TC agencies that were in Chesterfield one was taken over by another TA company but the other closed completely and I suspect quite a few of those staff got jobs as a result of advertising the posts in addition to others who formerly worked for TC in other nearby towns

Edited by ann141
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45 minutes ago, ann141 said:

I wonder whether some of the problems have been caused by the fact that this particular TA took on a lot of former Thomas Cook employees many of whom won't have had much experience of booking cruises in addition to the fact that probably a good proportion of the staff have been  working from home?(we used to book with TC but with their Southampton office who were excellent as their staff made a lot of cruise bookings.)


Could be. I was surprised to hear about all the problems our friends had with them as, if our contact at P&O moved on and/or P&O withdrew the small discount we get and I was ever tempted to move ‘to the dark side’ and use a 3rd party, they would have been my first port of call. 

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38 minutes ago, terrierjohn said:

The TA  near Chesterfield was not the one that took over the TC shops and staff.


That TA (based in Sunderland) is a classic example of how the industry is in turmoil at present. Following the takeover of the TC shops and right up until a matter of weeks ago, the couple that run that company were the darlings of the industry. They were on TV around 6 weeks ago proudly talking about how they valued young people and apprentices etc. Roll forward a few weeks and they are making all but a handful of their Bureaux de Change staff redundant, as well as all their trainee staff, who are mostly young people who have spent a year or more learning about their new industry. In all, around 800 job losses. Absolutely tragic for the people involved. 

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