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Trying to pull together a group booking


ljk76
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We are looking at an Apex Caribbean cruise a year from now.  It’s looking as though it could easily be eight or more couples. Are there any advantages to booking as a group? Last time we all just called into the same online travel agency. It worked out fine but I’m wondering if there are any benefits to a group booking. Thanks for any help!

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I did a group booking on another cruise line and we got a reduced rate and each cabin also got some OBC.    You might want to talk to Celebrity Group Bookings their phone number is on the website.  Also you may want to compare what Celebrity will offer and what a large TA will offer in the way of perks or discounts.

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@jelayne is correct.

 

You may want to start here https://www.celebritycruises.com/groups-and-events

 

I would inquire via their group department but before making a commitment I would shop the group to one of the respected TA's to see what they might offer.

 

In the future if you can do it onboard there's info on that here

http://creative.rccl.com/Sales/Celebrity/General_Info/FCV_Groups_TCC.pdf

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4 hours ago, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

Yes, there are advantages.  Use a good travel agent to set up the group.  I've done it several times.

 

Lots easier to do it with a TA.  They can get the same Celebrity discount plus throw in some OBCR.  Better deals particularly if they already have group space.

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If you decide to do it yourself—more power to you but expect it to take over your life. The logistics can be a royal pain. Next, find a LOCAL travel agent who has done groups (especially with X) and work with them.

 

Not only will you get what are called GAP points GAP is a certain amount of benefit per person that you can use for a number of things if you want or you can rebate to everyone in the group as OBC. We have used it for a private cocktail party, a dinner in a specialty restaurant with everyone. You will also get one free berth (not stateroom) for every 8 people who go in your group. So the 8th stateroom will be free but you still have to pay taxes and port fees on that person. some groups give that berth away (it turns into a free stateroom when you get to 16, and more for every 8 stateroom after that). 

The TA's services will be free of charge (or should be) but unlike the other posters, I don't subscribe to the idea that you should ask TAs for OBC or pretty much anything. If they are doing a group, they will work their butts off for you and in many cases, they won't make anywhere near what they would make if booking your folks separately.

 

For those who advocate asking the TA for freebies, I have a question for you. When you go to a store and buy something, do you ask the person who helped you to put their hand in their own pocket and give you some money back?

 

For instance, when you buy a pair of shoes at a shoe store, a nice person helps you find just the pair you want. He or she brings you a number of pairs or shoes. When you find the pair you want, you go to check out and pay for them. Then would you turn to the sales person who helped you and say, “Could you please give me $10 out or your own pocket?” Not the shoe store’s money, the sales rep who just spent the last half hour finding you shoes you love personal money.

 

Expecting refundable OBC from a TA is pretty much the same thing. TAs make commission from the cruise line, not from you. And unlike that shoe salesperson, TAs don’t get paid an hourly wage. They work on commission only. If you ask them to do a ton of work, then book with someone else, they don’t get paid for any of that time. You are charged the same price whether you book through them or not. When they give you OBC, it comes out of their own pocket. Why would you expect them to do that? They are doing a bunch of work for you for free and yet you still think that a “good” TA will give you OBC out of their own pocket.

 

Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine.

 

Jim

 

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I agree with you for the group booking and for people who need hand holding. 

 

However on regular bookings I have no problem going to my agent with a large online agency and taking what he offers me as far as refundable OBC is concerned.  I usually go to him with my booking completed and finalized to the way I want it with any promos applied.  He just has to transfer it to his agency and take final payment and possibly do a room change or price reduction.   He has seemed very happy with the arrangement.  I do refer him to select cruising friends only when 1) I know their expectations compatible and 2) they will generate good business for him.

 

It's like I don't expect the same level of service or to pay as much from a big box store as I would from a boutique shop on main street.

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6 hours ago, wrk2cruise said:

I agree with you for the group booking and for people who need hand holding. 

 

However on regular bookings I have no problem going to my agent with a large online agency and taking what he offers me as far as refundable OBC is concerned.  I usually go to him with my booking completed and finalized to the way I want it with any promos applied.  He just has to transfer it to his agency and take final payment and possibly do a room change or price reduction.   He has seemed very happy with the arrangement.  I do refer him to select cruising friends only when 1) I know their expectations compatible and 2) they will generate good business for him.

 

It's like I don't expect the same level of service or to pay as much from a big box store as I would from a boutique shop on main street.

I understand doing that with a big online agency. Most of their bookers are not actual travel agents but phone sales people. For instance, 90% of the people working the travel lines at Costco travel have never cruised. But if you are booking your own and transferring, then that's fine. It's the people who expect hours of work finding just the right cruise, stateroom and perks for someone and then get asked, "So what are YOU giving me?" that drive me nuts. 

 

Jim

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Use a travel agent! And not a "Big Box" agent, as you won't get as good of personal service. These people are hurting right now and would love to help you out. I decided to become an Agent, as I had been doing this type of work for my family and friends for years, for free. Setting up a group involves a lot of details and check-ins, which a good agent will provide. I'd offer my services, but I am not allowed to. 🙂 

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1 hour ago, DrKoob said:

I understand doing that with a big online agency. Most of their bookers are not actual travel agents but phone sales people. For instance, 90% of the people working the travel lines at Costco travel have never cruised. But if you are booking your own and transferring, then that's fine. It's the people who expect hours of work finding just the right cruise, stateroom and perks for someone and then get asked, "So what are YOU giving me?" that drive me nuts. 

 

Jim

 

Yes I used a local agent for the first several years of travel.   She did a great job of guiding me toward Celebrity.   When I started to know more about the product than she did (which was quite a bit) I moved on for more benefits.

 

I've considered becoming an agent for myself to regain control as I often have to go to bat for myself with Celebrity when my TA gets the stiff arm from Celebrity but I haven't convinced myself it's worth it for a few percent yet.  I'm retired and have more time to argue with Celebrity.   I have felt bad for my agent given the lack of income and I did send him an Amazon gift card for the holidays.

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