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Travel agents vs booking direct pros and cons


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Have done both, but now strictly direct with Royal.  Got messed up once on a substantial price drop and the agent was not available before it went back up.  We had friends sailing that went direct and when I told them about the price drop they were able to call and get it.  
 

I have a lifetime membership to a web site that tracks cruise prices and sends me emails if I’m have a watch on a cruise.  I have made up the membership cost many times over.  If you google cruise and fish you will find the site.

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2 hours ago, RETNAVY1996 said:

I have a lifetime membership to a web site that tracks cruise prices and sends me emails if I’m have a watch on a cruise.  I have made up the membership cost many times over.  If you google cruise and fish you will find the site.

That site used to be fairly good back in the days of RCI (and other lines) having somewhat steady pricing and easy to integrate web sites, but the alerts and timeliness are lacking now.

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On 9/13/2020 at 12:47 AM, Ashland said:

I'll probably be in the minority here but since cruising from the early 90's I have always preferred to book everything myself directly.

 

I have rarely if ever after many cruises had any concern or problem I couldn't handle myself. I'm a bit of an OCD and am always on top of any detail my booking's may have. Having one client (or my extended family) makes it easy to be proactive.

 

Not interested in any OBC or so called "deals" they may offer.

 

JMHO and a personal response to the asked question...not looking for a debate.

I am in the minority too. This is exactly how I feel.

 

But then we only book 1 cruise a year, so very easy to manage it. For me, half the fun of cruising is the obsessive checking up on the cruise. 🙂

Edited by cured
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On 9/13/2020 at 1:23 PM, Sea Dog said:

I'm in that situation. I would love find someone who really knows the in's and out of Royal. I'd love to reach out to a certain person on these boards but I know that is not allowed.

If I could do that, I would change my mind on using a TA. But I am too skeptical of all the duds out there to risk my booking.

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8 hours ago, RETNAVY1996 said:

Have done both, but now strictly direct with Royal.  Got messed up once on a substantial price drop and the agent was not available before it went back up.  We had friends sailing that went direct and when I told them about the price drop they were able to call and get it.  
 

I have a lifetime membership to a web site that tracks cruise prices and sends me emails if I’m have a watch on a cruise.  I have made up the membership cost many times over.  If you google cruise and fish you will find the site.

I didn't even know they were still around.  I think I still have some credits left  That site has not worked well for a VERY long time

Edited by molly361
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2 hours ago, molly361 said:

I didn't even know they were still around.  I think I still have some credits left  That site has not worked well for a VERY long time

I also have a few credits left. Luckily  I only bought 10 at a time. And like the poster for your response, I’ve saved hundreds  or more over the years for a few dollar subscription fee. 
 

M

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3 hours ago, drsel said:

What do you think of the bidding site where many bid for your business?

We have used that site several times. You still need to do a lot of research to narrow down your choice to one specific cruise and cabin category.  Also, have a good idea of what the cruise line itself will charge you (and any perks).  We have received great OBC in the past and sometimes free trip insurance or free tips, etc. as an incentive to book with a specific company.  Before booking, we also check out the company.  

 

RCL prices are not as flexible as some other companies. But sometimes, you'll find a TA that already has blocks of cabins at a special rate (we currently have a RCL cruise booked with a balcony rather than the obstructed balcony we had intended to book because the company had a block of regular balconies at a better price- group rate).   Any savings helps!

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We have used that site several times. You still need to do a lot of research to narrow down your choice to one specific cruise and cabin category.  Also, have a good idea of what the cruise line itself will charge you (and any perks).  We have received great OBC in the past and sometimes free trip insurance or free tips, etc. as an incentive to book with a specific company.  Before booking, we also check out the company.  
 
RCL prices are not as flexible as some other companies. But sometimes, you'll find a TA that already has blocks of cabins at a special rate (we currently have a RCL cruise booked with a balcony rather than the obstructed balcony we had intended to book because the company had a block of regular balconies at a better price- group rate).   Any savings helps!
Thanks and I noticed that it is easier and better to go through this site, rather than directly to the bidder you have used before.
Do you prefer the virus bidder?
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Of course it depends on having a good TA, that HAS to be a given. 

 

With that premise, there is no downside to using a TA.  They can be a great advocate for you, and you usually can get a better deal than booking direct.  From my point of view I have never seen an advantage TO booking direct with a cruise line that a good TA couldnt do better.  Things like OBC are a nice bump too.  JMO.

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Never once booked direct.  And never would.  I lose nothing in control of my booking when it is handled through a TA.  Could care less if I can't contact the cruise line directly and make minor changes to my booking.  The TA handles that in a short amount of time, no fuss.

As for not caring about discounts or OBC, I'll take the 5 or 6 cruises we have taken (and we don't take cruises less than 10 days) that were 100% paid for by the savings provided by a good TA.  Look at the money you have spent on cruises, take 8-10% of that total, and that is approximately how much you have left on the table by booking direct.

I guess I am not that cavalier with my dough.

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1 hour ago, drsel said:

Did you choose or prefer the virus bidder who always gives the first quote?

 

I'm not really sure what you mean by "virus bidder".  I've always had multiple offers to choose from.  I typically give them the line, itinerary, and sailing date(s) im looking for and chosen the offer that best suits what I wanted.

Edited by NthernLgts
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I'm not really sure what you mean by "virus bidder".  I've always had multiple offers to choose from.  I typically give them the line, itinerary, and sailing date(s) im looking for and chosen the offer that best suits what I wanted.
The brown coronavirus who always bids first
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9 minutes ago, drsel said:
30 minutes ago, NthernLgts said:
I'm not really sure what you mean by "virus bidder".  I've always had multiple offers to choose from.  I typically give them the line, itinerary, and sailing date(s) im looking for and chosen the offer that best suits what I wanted.

The brown coronavirus who always bids first

Still confused.

And I've used the bidder site at least 2 dozen times.

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Forget bidding, mine saves me by seeing deals I cant see on rcl site. Another score. Irresistible deal on furthest out hump. Rcl site wasnt even showing them to me as a option. Itinerary I wanted too. 7 booked now. 

 

I dont know how he manages to find better cabins and pricing that what royal offers, but I'll take it. 

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20 minutes ago, firefly333 said:

 

I dont know how he manages to find better cabins and pricing that what royal offers, but I'll take it. 

I''m glad its working for you.  I see it happen all the time where TA's have better pricing than what the lines offer direct.  A lot of you cruise more than I, but for me its rare when a c/l has a better deal..

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12 minutes ago, NthernLgts said:

I''m glad its working for you.  I see it happen all the time where TA's have better pricing than what the lines offer direct.  A lot of you cruise more than I, but for me its rare when a c/l has a better deal..

The price royal gave me for a 6D was like $73? more than a premium, farthest out on the hump 2D premium balcony he just got for me. I dont know how he does it either. I just say its magic. 

 

No brainer. I guess I'll take your price for a hump. I'm still shaking my head, wondering how he finds better deals. 

 

I had been eyeing a JS but they went up, had what might have been a good price on a owners suite, but it went up too while I was deciding the past few weeks. Only 2 kinds of suites offered on rcl site, though if there were more kinds of suites open I'm sure he could find them. Just me, solo. But I had been watching the suites. But he seems to have better deals than what the rcl site offers me, and I put in my C&A number and everything. He beat the best price and found a higher category cabin for less. 

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