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If it's too good to be true, is it grounds for suspicion?


norn iron
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Like many others we have had major withdrawal symptoms from not cruising. Hopefully the opportunity will arise later in the year when we can take to the seas once again.

I have been looking at a number of options for late in the year. I had compared prices for a number of cruises and the market was very stable with very little fluctuation in price.

One Az cruise we looked at was coming in around £2650 pp from most TA's.

Now I appreciate TA's have had a rough time and I have read all of the dubious practices they have been up to on these boards, which makes me suspicious of an offer I have just received (from a large mainstream TA). This is were I would appreciate the greater wisdom of those who understand how the travel trade works.

 

The offer is, Az cruise, return long haul flights both ways, private transfers at both ends and an upgrade in the cabin for £2299. In my dismay I rang the TA and emphasised we live in Belfast and need additional flights on both legs of the journey, the price remained £2299.

I then went back and checked all the other TA's and few more and their prices haven't changed.


Am I right to be suspicious, or are there practices going on that I'm oblivious too.

 

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I’d be suspicious. I would imagine that the only way they can do this is to forgo most of their TA commission. The commission is quite high, but even so, to pay for the flight and transfers and give you a cabin upgrade takes a lot of money. To book the cruise through them I’d want to know a lot about the flights - what airline, what time of day, what route(as they’re likely to do these the cheapest way possible). I’d also want to be certain that the cruise would go ahead and that I would be happy to take it as you might find it difficult to get your money back in the event of cancellation (by Az, the airline or by you).

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I'd be suspicious as I fear there may well be some changes in the itineraries later in the year so it could even be a cruise you have to cancel out of down the line.  The cynic in me (oops) says yes a dubious tactic to get some cashflow in and possibly some improved MI sales data that their lenders are interested in.

I apologise in advance if you forgo this offer and it turns out to be genuine but I think your thread title says it all

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Thank you to both Grandma Cruising and Uktog, you have both helped with your greater knowledge of the travel trade.

I do agree itineraries may well change as cruising recommences. 

I am tempted to push the TA on the airline and the route to see if I can uncover any flaws in the routes.

 

There is no doubt TA's are desperate to generate sales, and good luck to them, every business need a break in these difficult times.

 

 

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Be aware that you might be asked to pay for a Charter flight if your cruise is cancelled.

This happened to us as we rearranged a cruise which had been booked as a package ie cruise & flight. We had booked this way before, as our thinking was if a flight was delayed, then  transport would be arranged to get us to the ship.

This included the flight which was from Rome to LHR  but the TA suggested that as we lived closer to MAN then we could fly direct to MAN from Rome, which we agreed with.

However, at no time were we told that it was a charter flight, or that if we cancelled, we would have to pay for the flight in full ( not the case for a scheduled flight  apparently).

The trouble occurred when our cruise on Century was cancelled, due to Century being redeployed. We rearranged our Cruise to a Baltic Capitals on Eclipse, as we were unable to go on one of the earlier Century cruises offered, due to work.

Celebrity then tried to charge us for the flight. As I eventually pointed out via Social Media, it was not our fault that the final Century cruise was cancelled and so we shouldn’t be expected to pay for the flight.

Edited by upwarduk
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I have contacted the TA and all flights are via Heathrow and with BA.

The only surprising piece of additional information was that they couldn't offer me connecting flights to Heathrow from Dublin.

Belfast City Airport is only six miles from home, but flying out of Dublin removes all UK passenger taxes and the price could have dropped further!!

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19 minutes ago, norn iron said:

I have contacted the TA and all flights are via Heathrow and with BA.

The only surprising piece of additional information was that they couldn't offer me connecting flights to Heathrow from Dublin.

Belfast City Airport is only six miles from home, but flying out of Dublin removes all UK passenger taxes and the price could have dropped further!!

DH and I are budget conscious and love a bargain.  We'd probably go for it.  It sounds similar to one that we have had a quote for from our local, reputable, TA, on AZ in December 21.  Just my opinion, obviously.  

 

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10 hours ago, norn iron said:

I have contacted the TA and all flights are via Heathrow and with BA.

The only surprising piece of additional information was that they couldn't offer me connecting flights to Heathrow from Dublin.

Belfast City Airport is only six miles from home, but flying out of Dublin removes all UK passenger taxes and the price could have dropped further!!

Now that makes it very tempting for you.  If you book using a credit card, you hedge a lot of the risk.  The only challenge you have is your travel insurance especially for non Covid risks. There’s so many exclusions of cover now that are quite wide reaching if you book at present but some shopping around might reap a good partner to the deal if you remain tempted. 

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Flights sound good, so no worries there (although you might want to check likely flight times). The only other thing to check is when does the balance become payable, if it’s similar to when you’d have to pay it directly to Az, then seems a good bet.

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49 minutes ago, uktog said:

Now that makes it very tempting for you.  If you book using a credit card, you hedge a lot of the risk.  The only challenge you have is your travel insurance especially for non Covid risks. There’s so many exclusions of cover now that are quite wide reaching if you book at present but some shopping around might reap a good partner to the deal if you remain tempted. 

It is sounding more tempting, so careful consideration will ensue.

I have had a letter from my travel insurance company prior to our annual renewal the only amendment was as follows.

"This means we won't cover -

Any new trips you book after your next renewal for cancelation claims caused by any Coronavirus (including COVID-19) or pandemic, eg due to travel restrictions imposed by the government, or cancelation by your airline or tour operator"

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17 minutes ago, Grandma Cruising said:

Flights sound good, so no worries there (although you might want to check likely flight times). The only other thing to check is when does the balance become payable, if it’s similar to when you’d have to pay it directly to Az, then seems a good bet.

Flight times are excellent and payment would be four months in advance, which as now know is the travel trade swinging the lead.

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8 minutes ago, norn iron said:

It is sounding more tempting, so careful consideration will ensue.

I have had a letter from my travel insurance company prior to our annual renewal the only amendment was as follows.

"This means we won't cover -

Any new trips you book after your next renewal for cancelation claims caused by any Coronavirus (including COVID-19) or pandemic, eg due to travel restrictions imposed by the government, or cancelation by your airline or tour operator"

That’s good. That’s what my insurer has advised me. 
Some insurers were saying cancellation for any reason which is a different matter and some were restricting overseas medical cover. 

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This wouldn't`t happen to be the 14 night Caribbean on 26/11? We got an surprisingly amazing deal on this including flights and hotel at substantially less cost than a Celebrity per night cost. 

We booked this also because Celebrity no longer have 14 night cruises in Caribbean.

Perhaps this lower cost is linked to the news of Azamara`s sale to the private equity fund?

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4 hours ago, govanguy said:

This wouldn't`t happen to be the 14 night Caribbean on 26/11? We got an surprisingly amazing deal on this including flights and hotel at substantially less cost than a Celebrity per night cost. 

We booked this also because Celebrity no longer have 14 night cruises in Caribbean.

Perhaps this lower cost is linked to the news of Azamara`s sale to the private equity fund?

That was the one. I don't think the pricing is relevant to the sale of AZ, I think it's TA's trying to generate forward bookings and some revenue.

We are undecided. I'm more concerned about healthcare,  and the unknown of ports being closed etc 

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45 minutes ago, norn iron said:

That was the one. I don't think the pricing is relevant to the sale of AZ, I think it's TA's trying to generate forward bookings and some revenue.

We are undecided. I'm more concerned about healthcare,  and the unknown of ports being closed etc 

I priced it with Azamara on their website initially and thought the price was very good. I approached my T.A. and asked for a discount which I got . I then , before booking , had them price flights and hotel and was given a price not far off my target price booking air/ hotel / cruise on my own. Oh, and I forgot...I also had an upgrade to premium eco with B.A. included . I`d priced at coach.

 ABTA covered too, and as a complete package I`ll get a full refund if no sale or major change to itinerary.

I`m confident I`ll be vaccinated by then.

I ahem the slightest inclination that there may have been a price drop to make the sale of Azamara  more attractive to buyers by  having a higher customer demand. Mibees Aye/ Mibees no.

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16 hours ago, govanguy said:

I priced it with Azamara on their website initially and thought the price was very good. I approached my T.A. and asked for a discount which I got . I then , before booking , had them price flights and hotel and was given a price not far off my target price booking air/ hotel / cruise on my own. Oh, and I forgot...I also had an upgrade to premium eco with B.A. included . I`d priced at coach.

 ABTA covered too, and as a complete package I`ll get a full refund if no sale or major change to itinerary.

I`m confident I`ll be vaccinated by then.

I ahem the slightest inclination that there may have been a price drop to make the sale of Azamara  more attractive to buyers by  having a higher customer demand. Mibees Aye/ Mibees no.

We've got of bit of the Mibees. There are a number of options we have to consider before the end of the month as our deal expires 31st Jan.

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