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Always Included Not Quite!


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On my recent booking with my TA she offered me Always Included with a Refundable deposit or a Non-Refundable deposit and quoted me the difference.   She said that sometimes she has group rates which are usually better or about the same as the NRD rate but do have a refundable deposit and all the perks.   She didn't have a group rate in my category so we went with the refundable deposit.  She says that she will fare monitor for me and we might be able to change to the NRD right before final payment if it is still lower than the refundable rate.   Quite often she has that group space where she can get me a better rate than what is on the Celebrity site.  I would never ever book directly.  The information is so misleading.   For example, my TA did a chart for the number of days of a cruise and the amount to do the elevate and indulge upgrades.   I have a 14 day cruise booked through her for Celebrity and she did the math in that spread sheet, it never ever makes sense to do those packages on long cruises as it is cheaper to upgrade the bev package through the cruise planner or on board.   She often does wine themed groups and on those cruises she has great rates!!!

 

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55 minutes ago, WesternBroncoCruiser said:

 I have a 14 day cruise booked through her for Celebrity and she did the math in that spread sheet, it never ever makes sense to do those packages on long cruises as it is cheaper to upgrade the bev package through the cruise planner or on board. 

Exactly what I found!  I'll upgrade to premium when I get on board unless I find a cheaper way.  That usually makes the server happy!  Maybe they get a portion?  CTBob

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, WesternBroncoCruiser said:

On my recent booking with my TA she offered me Always Included with a Refundable deposit or a Non-Refundable deposit and quoted me the difference.   She said that sometimes she has group rates which are usually better or about the same as the NRD rate but do have a refundable deposit and all the perks.   She didn't have a group rate in my category so we went with the refundable deposit.  She says that she will fare monitor for me and we might be able to change to the NRD right before final payment if it is still lower than the refundable rate.   Quite often she has that group space where she can get me a better rate than what is on the Celebrity site.  I would never ever book directly.  The information is so misleading.   For example, my TA did a chart for the number of days of a cruise and the amount to do the elevate and indulge upgrades.   I have a 14 day cruise booked through her for Celebrity and she did the math in that spread sheet, it never ever makes sense to do those packages on long cruises as it is cheaper to upgrade the bev package through the cruise planner or on board.   She often does wine themed groups and on those cruises she has great rates!!!

 

 

I'm not sure that I would book with the TA if they did not offer me a group rate.  You should still be getting a 7 - 10 percent price reduction.  If not through the group rate, there should be some large refundable OBC.  If there isn't an existing group, the TA can often open a new group.

Edited by ipeeinthepool
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26 minutes ago, ipeeinthepool said:

 

I'm not sure that I would book with the TA if they did not offer me a group rate.  You should still be getting a 7 - 10 percent price reduction.  If not through the group rate, there should be some large refundable OBC.  If there isn't an existing group, the TA can often open a new group.

I have asked her about that, and she says that it is not her business model to refund part of her commission to her clients.   She has however given me tons of price reductions that she catches coming from Celebrity, helps with all kinds of issues like air logistics, independent shore excursion planning, online check-in, private transfers, cabin upgrades and through this pandemic she has been nothing but proactive and supportive as we have had to cancel and rebook numberous times.  I called her once at 3 in the morning her time and she answered the phone.  I was stuck at an airport at 6 am with a cancelled flight and not sure what to do, and she helped me re-book new flights.   Over the years with all time, effort, and money she has saved me with those price reduction and her attention to details making sure that every bit of vacation was perfect, she has more than earned her keep.  I would not even think of asking her to kick back some of her commission as I know the long hours she works and the efforts she puts in.   I tried one time going with an agency that bribed me for their business.  Never again, every time I called I got a different person.  I could only get through to them via phone call their business hours,  they didn't know me when I called. Yes their price was lower, but I actually watched the prices go down, and my gal could eventually match them and I moved the booking over to her.  There are lots of different reasons for different people to use a travel agent, and I'll go for service over OBC any time.

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1 hour ago, CTBob said:

Exactly what I found!  I'll upgrade to premium when I get on board unless I find a cheaper way.  That usually makes the server happy!  Maybe they get a portion?  CTBob

It is my understanding the server gets a share of the upgrade...I always do it this way.  You'll have a friend at the bar for  the entire cruise.  

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39 minutes ago, WesternBroncoCruiser said:

I have asked her about that, and she says that it is not her business model to refund part of her commission to her clients.   She has however given me tons of price reductions that she catches coming from Celebrity, helps with all kinds of issues like air logistics, independent shore excursion planning, online check-in, private transfers, cabin upgrades and through this pandemic she has been nothing but proactive and supportive as we have had to cancel and rebook numberous times.  I called her once at 3 in the morning her time and she answered the phone.  I was stuck at an airport at 6 am with a cancelled flight and not sure what to do, and she helped me re-book new flights.   Over the years with all time, effort, and money she has saved me with those price reduction and her attention to details making sure that every bit of vacation was perfect, she has more than earned her keep.  I would not even think of asking her to kick back some of her commission as I know the long hours she works and the efforts she puts in.   I tried one time going with an agency that bribed me for their business.  Never again, every time I called I got a different person.  I could only get through to them via phone call their business hours,  they didn't know me when I called. Yes their price was lower, but I actually watched the prices go down, and my gal could eventually match them and I moved the booking over to her.  There are lots of different reasons for different people to use a travel agent, and I'll go for service over OBC any time.

 

Great if 7 - 10% of the cruise fare is worth these services.  Most people don't feel this way.  Many would find a TA that gives them a better prices.  

 

Enjoy your cruises.

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Yes I would gladly pay that in order to get the kind of service she offers.   I don't know how it works when the cruise line has a price drop with your agent, but with mine, she notifies me and if the perks are the she automatically lowers the price.  Over the years I would says that she has saved me 10 to 20% off the original price I booked.   The hassle she saves me is worth twice the price of the cruise. 

But everyone uses travel agents for a different reason and as I learned the ones that often have those kick back have very little in the way of personalized service, so I see it as a trade off.   I'd rather have a hassle free vacation that save 10%.  For some folks that savings is more important, for me she is worth every penny!!!

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I booked a Bermuda cruise for 2022 on the phone directly w Celebrity. The price included tips, WiFi and Classic beverage for less than the website.  
I didn’t understand his description of the “up to 48hr. Cruising cancellation?  As you had to pay in full 90 days prior to sailing.  

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I noticed this last night when I did a mock booking for a cruise we are considering to replace the one that has not been cancelled yet on the Apex.  When I went in, the box was checked for gratuities.  I went to my TA's site to check what was what.  Celebrity's website leaves a lot to be desired.

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1 hour ago, HardyVA said:

I booked a Bermuda cruise for 2022 on the phone directly w Celebrity. The price included tips, WiFi and Classic beverage for less than the website.  
I didn’t understand his description of the “up to 48hr. Cruising cancellation?  As you had to pay in full 90 days prior to sailing.  

Probably is a non refundable, is that what you wanted?

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A few weeks ago I complained about an issue but never received a reply.

 

When  you book on line you get a price to start with.

 

When I get to the page with the non refundable vs refundable, I picked non refundable.  What happened next was the price of the cruise went up--before deducting  the price of refundable-

I said it was confusing because here I am booking a cruise with a price, then I am opting for the non refundable but the price does not change.

 

The old way 14 months ago was if you opted for non refundable the price went down.

 

Now its an upcharge for refundable

 

Obviously its the bottom line that matters, but it makes it look like a marketing ploy.

 

I have yet to find a TA that I feel has my best interest at heart.

 

And I have learned to shop for deals -and am aware that full service TA will discount less than a no frills discount TA.

 

Hopefully you do get what you pay for.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I only check prices on line but I never book that way.  Although we do book with Celebrity as it gives us a lot of flexibility w/o having to wait for a TA to call us.  We changed a booked cruise to another one which of course has the All In but the agent also wanted to add in the gratuities as an extra charge & she said the back office takes it off.  My DH said why bother when it’s included anyway so she didn’t but we have had this go in & out by different amounts many times. I guess my question is how many people notice this happen on a regular basis.
 

Edited by If only
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50 minutes ago, If only said:

I only check prices on line but I never book that way.  Although we do book with Celebrity as it gives us a lot of flexibility w/o having to wait for a TA to call us.  We changed a booked cruise to another one which of course has the All In but the agent also wanted to add in the gratuities as an extra charge & she said the back office takes it off.  My DH said why bother when it’s included anyway so she didn’t but we have had this go in & out by different amounts many times. I guess my question is how many people notice this happen on a regular basis.
 

When the April 2022  cruises (I think we are on together,) were first offered  (to the general public)  we did the B2b and I wanted the same cabins and specific cabins so I grabbed them & then did the details afterwards.

 

On Royal I booked just 2 weeks ago  and it was a just offered cruise and I go on line and  just a handful of cabins were listed as available. So I then called the Royal line and I was able to get the 4 cabins I wanted for the family. But the hold was expiring  so I went to the TA I have been using. I cancelled the old  held cruise and the TA secured the same cabins. One day the price went up 100, and then the next day the prices came down 150.  For a minute I thought I was on a trading floor where prices change by the second

 

 

Then I started calling TA's to check prices and perks and they showed different cabins open etc.

I was surprised only in that it became apparent RCL shows few cabins to the public on line and different levels of cabins to different TA's and even their on internal staff, which I think Royal would like to phase out.

It did become rather cumbersome and If I had not locked up the cabins I wanted on line I think I would not have gotten them.

 

The problem with TA's unless they are proactive, is you cannot just go back to the cruise line, you have to go thru Agent.

 

Celebrity and RCL use the same system designed differently. I like how celebrity shows all the cabins in your selected category, then shows upcharge for "better" cabins.

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1 minute ago, HMR74 said:

When the April 2022  cruises (I think we are on together,) were first offered  (to the general public)  we did the B2b and I wanted the same cabins and specific cabins so I grabbed them & then did the details afterwards.

 

On Royal I booked just 2 weeks ago  and it was a just offered cruise and I go on line and  just a handful of cabins were listed as available. So I then called the Royal line and I was able to get the 4 cabins I wanted for the family. But the hold was expiring  so I went to the TA I have been using. I cancelled the old  held cruise and the TA secured the same cabins. One day the price went up 100, and then the next day the prices came down 150.  For a minute I thought I was on a trading floor where prices change by the second

 

 

Then I started calling TA's to check prices and perks and they showed different cabins open etc.

I was surprised only in that it became apparent RCL shows few cabins to the public on line and different levels of cabins to different TA's and even their on internal staff, which I think Royal would like to phase out.

It did become rather cumbersome and If I had not locked up the cabins I wanted on line I think I would not have gotten them.

 

The problem with TA's unless they are proactive, is you cannot just go back to the cruise line, you have to go thru Agent.

 

Celebrity and RCL use the same system designed differently. I like how celebrity shows all the cabins in your selected category, then shows upcharge for "better" cabins.

I agree, I prefer dealing with Celebrity, I just wish their computer system was updated but with a pandemic I realize that will not happen.  We find it's always interesting to see what errors there are on our copies when we receive them from Celebrity, very rarely are they correct, but they always do fix them.    Yes, I believe you are on the same cruise as us in April look forward to meeting you both.  

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3 minutes ago, If only said:

I agree, I prefer dealing with Celebrity, I just wish their computer system was updated but with a pandemic I realize that will not happen.  We find it's always interesting to see what errors there are on our copies when we receive them from Celebrity, very rarely are they correct, but they always do fix them.    Yes, I believe you are on the same cruise as us in April look forward to meeting you both.  

when I moved my 4/18 and 5/2 cruises to the agent, there was mass confusion from Celebrity's side and I suggested we get on a 3 way and I could explain that Celebrity made a mistake, originally against me, but in fixing it they went, well, overboard.

 

I am pretty sure they would have found it anyway, but I am old school and if there is an obvious mistake, fix it. I am sure, cough cough, Celebrity would indeed rush to fix a problem against me.

 

There is a final solution if you feel things are getting out of hand-cancel the cruise. That can be costly too.

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1 minute ago, HMR74 said:

when I moved my 4/18 and 5/2 cruises to the agent, there was mass confusion from Celebrity's side and I suggested we get on a 3 way and I could explain that Celebrity made a mistake, originally against me, but in fixing it they went, well, overboard.

 

I am pretty sure they would have found it anyway, but I am old school and if there is an obvious mistake, fix it. I am sure, cough cough, Celebrity would indeed rush to fix a problem against me.

 

There is a final solution if you feel things are getting out of hand-cancel the cruise. That can be costly too.

oh no would never do that, once we are on the ship all is good its getting past their website that is the problem. We enjoy cruising too much.  If we meet you in April I will tell you all about it.

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3 minutes ago, If only said:

oh no would never do that, once we are on the ship all is good its getting past their website that is the problem. We enjoy cruising too much.  If we meet you in April I will tell you all about it.

It's a deal. As we get closer, we will figure out a place  and time to meet the first day.

 

After all the confusion, and with  my help and being polite , Celebrity sweetened my "non refundable" OBC.  Its gonna be hard to use it all.

 

and I wholly agree--once you step on board, it a different world. The front office should make the experience great from the time they answer phones-which by the way sometimes go into never never land and not so clear reception because so many are working from home.

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