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We have been looking at a Viking Homelands 15 day cruise in 2022.  The pricing seems straightforward and I am wondering what TA would actually do for us in re this trip.  Do they normally have add ons, discounts anything special that can be done for us?  I traveled for business internally for 20 years so I am used to making my own Rez by habit

 

At this point I don't see the advantage of making a reservation.  Covid not withstanding, there seems to be enough space on a variety of cruises, Viking's onerous prepayment policy and general lack of discounts

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Viking does not normally permit TA's to sell for less than the fares published by Viking. They are also limited to the OBC they can provide, which is $500 pp on 15 night cruises and longer.

 

Yes, payment terms are onerous, especially for your first cruise with them, but once you get onboard it is well worth the effort. You can certainly delay booking until a time you are more comfortable paying in advance, but you will have less cabin choices and could possibly miss a desired sailing,

 

The 2023 World Cruise sold out in 6 weeks, almost 2 years in advance..

 

Here is a link to the TA policy. 

 

https://www.vikingcruisescanada.com/terms-conditions/advertising-and-commissions-policy.html

 

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tfred, I am usually with you and don't book years out.  I am so glad Andy and others pushed me to go ahead and book our cabin on the '22/'23 World Cruise.  By any means I have checked it is really sold out.  Of course there will be a cabin or two free up at final pay or closer but my point is there is a huge demand out there for cruises and Viking cruises in particular.  Something about a rather small window between getting to the point in life where you have the time and funds to travel and that point where you are too old to get much out of it.  So we did what we normally don't do and are really glad of it.  The frustrations of 2020 and now 2021 have been building up in all of us.  We need to get out there.  I need to see if the beaches at Bora-Bora are still wet.  Make sure the kangaroos in OZ still know how to jump.  And most importantly, investigate the Pubs in London with Andy and Lefty and Nick.  🍺

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24 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

tfred, I am usually with you and don't book years out.  I am so glad Andy and others pushed me to go ahead and book our cabin on the '22/'23 World Cruise.  By any means I have checked it is really sold out.  Of course there will be a cabin or two free up at final pay or closer but my point is there is a huge demand out there for cruises and Viking cruises in particular.  Something about a rather small window between getting to the point in life where you have the time and funds to travel and that point where you are too old to get much out of it.  So we did what we normally don't do and are really glad of it.  The frustrations of 2020 and now 2021 have been building up in all of us.  We need to get out there.  I need to see if the beaches at Bora-Bora are still wet.  Make sure the kangaroos in OZ still know how to jump.  And most importantly, investigate the Pubs in London with Andy and Lefty and Nick.  🍺

I don't disagree with you.  I think that there is a pent up demand for cruising (or really any vacation) that things will go quickly

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53 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

Viking does not normally permit TA's to sell for less than the fares published by Viking. They are also limited to the OBC they can provide, which is $500 pp on 15 night cruises and longer.

 

Yes, payment terms are onerous, especially for your first cruise with them, but once you get onboard it is well worth the effort. You can certainly delay booking until a time you are more comfortable paying in advance, but you will have less cabin choices and could possibly miss a desired sailing,

 

The 2023 World Cruise sold out in 6 weeks, almost 2 years in advance..

 

Here is a link to the TA policy. 

 

https://www.vikingcruisescanada.com/terms-conditions/advertising-and-commissions-policy.html

 

does VO offer OBC as part of the deal if I work with them direct?  Don't really know any travel agents around here (or anywhere) 

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7 minutes ago, tfred said:

does VO offer OBC as part of the deal if I work with them direct?  Don't really know any travel agents around here (or anywhere) 

 

Whether VO provides OBC depends on the cruise and the specials being offered that month. The World Cruises receive extensive OBC, but don't believe it is available on many of the shorter cruises.

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Never really understood TAs myself, my DW does all that with someone she's dealt with for decades. But now the agency has closed due to Covid and the agent retired. Can one go "TA shopping" based on OBC usually granted? Or switch from one to another?

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When booking our first Viking cruise, I asked the local TA if they would provide the max OBC Viking permits. She replied yes, and since we had a good feeling with her during the meeting, we let her transfer the booking and confirm it.

 

With other cruise lines, you can negotiate with the TA how many perks they will provide out of their commission.

 

Have never tried to change TA's after a booking is confirmed, so can't comment on that part.

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54 minutes ago, duquephart said:

Never really understood TAs myself, my DW does all that with someone she's dealt with for decades. But now the agency has closed due to Covid and the agent retired. Can one go "TA shopping" based on OBC usually granted? Or switch from one to another?

Is this Jacques? If so check your email. 

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Oops. Werent we on the aborted transatlantic together last spring?  If not, sorry.  I was going to share my thoughts on travel agents via email since there are so many rules on here about doing so. 

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Oops my bad-not sure how I confused the CC “handles”.   Oh well, I agree with the Previous Posters, definitely worth finding an agent like the one we have that provides the max allowable OBC that Viking allows. In our case it’s refundable so we use it to pay the daily service charge (if you’re in the UK yours may already be included in your fare) and leaves us enough to pay for the occasional cocktail.  We usually board with some liquor for the room for pre dinner drinks so on our last cruise we got a check post cruise for $160 or so.  

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8 minutes ago, Clay Clayton said:

Oops my bad-not sure how I confused the CC “handles”.   Oh well, I agree with the Previous Posters, definitely worth finding an agent like the one we have that provides the max allowable OBC that Viking allows. In our case it’s refundable so we use it to pay the daily service charge (if you’re in the UK yours may already be included in your fare) and leaves us enough to pay for the occasional cocktail.  We usually board with some liquor for the room for pre dinner drinks so on our last cruise we got a check post cruise for $160 or so.  

 

Clay - we had a similar experience with the TA's OBC being refundable, as with our aborted WC last year, we had minimal opportunity to use the credits. We received a cheque from Viking and the TA's OBC was included in that amount.

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We booked our first VO cruise through our TA (large online outfit).  Had an issue with Viking Air where 30 days from sailing they still hadn't paid airline for our tickets so we couldn't change seats.  Viking Air refused to speak with me directly saying I had to go through TA.  Did so and problem was resolved.  Have no problem with Vikings stance, just need to recognize that using TA means less direct control over your reservation.  When we booked our Viking River cruise last year (sadly cancelled) we booked direct with VR, and waited until plane reservations were finalized before  transferring reservation to TA.

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FWIW, it is my understanding (from our travel agent) that the booking has to be transferred within 30 days (might be 60?) in order for them to be able to provide us with the OBC. 
 

obviously YMMV. 

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2 hours ago, Baron Barracuda said: Viking Air refused to speak with me directly saying I had to go through TA.  Did so and problem was resolved.  Have no problem with Vikings stance, just need to recognize that using TA means less direct control over your reservation. 

It seems to be normal procedures, at least with 2 other cruise lines experienced, that once the trip has been booked with a TA or transferred to a TA, the passenger is not allowed to deal directly with the cruise line.  It’s a good policy for all 3 parties.

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50 minutes ago, Clay Clayton said:

FWIW, it is my understanding (from our travel agent) that the booking has to be transferred within 30 days (might be 60?) in order for them to be able to provide us with the OBC. 
 

obviously YMMV. 

We transferred to TA within 30 days.  Believe deadline is 60.  This is just the trade off you need to decide on, TA perks vs having full control over reservation.

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Everyone has ssome sort of opinion so here is mine-

1-First I agree with Clay about the 30 day time limit for transferring a cruise.  That has been told to me by my TA.  Once you do book directly with Viking, there is no need to wait to transfer.

2-Heidi (in post 2) said the OBC would be $500.  It's actually $600. 

3-Yes, once you transfer a booking to a TA you cannot officially speak to Viking.  However, I always do.  How you ask?  I'm glad you did.  I speak to the agent I booked the cruise with.  I believe in loyalty.  I tell that to the agent.  He will gladly speak to me as a result.

4-The OP (what exactly is an "OP"?) asked about negotiating the OBC. Oh, what a rookie.  There is no negotiations.  If you have taken a number of cruises thru your loyal agent, you might ask what the minimum wage for loyalty is these days.  Worked once for me.

5-You asked about "specials"-  I am not one of those individuals booking a 2022 cruise in Feb/March of 2021. There will generally be a cabin to your liking even if your patient. What you could and should do, is request a Viking brochure.  You will get one at least monthly.  Then look for the secret offer for that month that is not on their website.  But come prepared.  Viking will send you the brochure sometime during the second or third week of the month with the "offer" expiring the end of the month.

Hope this helps or confuses you.  I'm easy.

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1 hour ago, MikeyB said:

 

2-Heidi (in post 2) said the OBC would be $500.  It's actually $600. 

 

 

That must be a new increase, as the Viking Policy posted on the website still shows a max OBC of only US $500. Since we pay in CAN $, we actually only get about US $400, depending on the exchange rate.

 

Out of interest, where did you see where the max OBC is now $600, as I will definitely follow up with our TA.

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I have found a great TA and was extremely happy with her service when our cruise was cancelled in March 2020 (NZ to Australia). When we were told when and where we would be disembarking the ship in Melbourne, I sent her a text message and email with our flight confirmation numbers.  Within 30 minutes she had us rebooked on flights from Melbourne to ATL. She also got airline to waive change fees. She gives us OBC and does not add any booking fees for booking our air flights.

The cruiseline,  hotel or tour company is not giving you a discount to book directly with them. The commission will be retained by the cruiseline or it will go to the cruiseline agent who made the booking.

 

One question to ask if you are looking for a TA, How many cruises with VO or similar cruises do they book?

 

Changing booking to a TA.  Yes there is a 30 day limit.  I

If you book a future cruise while on board the booking will go to the TA of your current cruise.  To change that booking to another TA, the first TA must give permission to transfer the booking to another TA.

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21 minutes ago, MSEm said:

If you book a future cruise while on board the booking will go to the TA of your current cruise.  To change that booking to another TA, the first TA must give permission to transfer the booking to another TA.

 

Not sure if all the cruise consultants do this, as when we booked on board, we were provided the option of sending it to our TA. We could have declined, or provided another TA, as we wouldn't have been home within 30 days.

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13 hours ago, MikeyB said:

Everyone has ssome sort of opinion so here is mine-

 

2-Heidi (in post 2) said the OBC would be $500.  It's actually $600. 

 

 

MikeyB

I’m with Andy on this-where did you see this? Are you sure you aren’t confusing the $300 per person/$600 per cabin max obc for cruises under 15 nights?  The $500 pp/$1000 per cabin is for cruises longer than that...or has been in the past.  If you can point us to the new amounts it would be loved by all!

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Discussions on using TA’s are kind of all over the place sometimes. Mainly because there are so many types of TAs and now we use them. 

 

To me, there are different types of ‘TA’s’: 1-800 and Online booking agents. You notice I called them ‘Booking Agents’, not Travel Agents; Agents who work for a specific Cruise Line, and classic TA’s and when they are true professionals, they are a Travel Advisor. 

 

I used 800/online agents when I first started cruising and yes, for some Lines that allow organizations to discount their cruises, the Bookers have cheaper deals sometimes, and many times more OBC, so you may not payout as much. they get group bookings and you can get the ‘savings’ from that. The problem with these is they are Bookers, and many dont have any real knowledge beyond making reservations. And when you call back, you get someone else, even if they give you a name and contact number. And they Never contact you if ther are changes, price drops, and pretty much anything else. You are on your own after you give them your money.

 

I then started booking on my own. I’d do the research and find what I wanted and then usually go to the Cruise Line and book with them. More ‘professional’ and knowledgeable than the 800/Online but obviously set for that one Line. You usually can get the same agent and they can help, but all the ‘help’ is from the perspective of the Line, and if you want to stay prior or after, or do private tours, they don’t have that info except what the Line provides. So I’d book with them, then I’d research my own hotels and tours and so on. Did OK. 

 

Both 800/Online and with a Line is fine.......unless there are issues and you could get stuck. The booker’s can help with what they did for you and thats it. And changes such as flights, hotels, cars, tours, etc.....you are on your own.....obviously.

 

Now I’m using a local TA who has an office with assistants and more capabilities beyond just cruising, and booking for that specifically. They do provide the ‘best pricing’ most of the time, and in fact beat many of the above. The help with pre/post stays that aren’t the standard cruise line hotels; they know about private tours and what transportation to use to various ports and so.

 

Example: My TA got us a nice local hotel in Amsterdam right near the art muesuems; city tickets for the tram and free accesses; hotel in Basel and train tickets to Munich after the river cruise and a nice local hotel (not the classic American hotel) there for a week. She got us very cheap airline tickets for one cruise through a package with a car and so on; I told her I didn’t want a car and she told me not to worry about it and just to cancel it when I got there. And it all worked. I would have never found that.. 

 

And the biggest point of a personal TA is when things change or go south. If pricing changes they see it; if dates change, they can make all the impacted changes; if you have trouble an you are ‘over there’, you can call and you get someone who assists. We flew back from Dublin in March 2019 and there was a snowstorm in NYC; our flight was in danger of not getting out She set us up with a backup even before we knew there we’re issues. And if there were ‘issues’ or changes, the TA handled it.

 

Enough. I still pretty well make my decisions on what we will do, what cruises and so on, but a true TA is there to go beyond, and tactfully let you know there is a ‘better way’! 

 

Enjoy whatever you do.

 

Den

 

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On 2/24/2021 at 7:00 AM, tfred said:

does VO offer OBC as part of the deal if I work with them direct?  Don't really know any travel agents around here (or anywhere) 

Do you need OBC on Viking? Other than spa treatments and a beverage package to get drinks before dinner everything else is pretty much included.

 

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