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my travel agent mistakenly cancelled my cruise


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13 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

 One has do proper research on the travel agency, their agents.  

 

And there in lies the rub- that process takes time and effort and one has to balance any potential cost savings and other benefits of booking with a TA against the time it would take to find a good one. 

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1 hour ago, sparks1093 said:

And there in lies the rub- that process takes time and effort and one has to balance any potential cost savings and other benefits of booking with a TA against the time it would take to find a good one. 

And, OTOH, once you have found a good one stick with him or her.

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11 minutes ago, ontheweb said:

And, OTOH, once you have found a good one stick with him or her.

Well yes, why do all that research for nothing?😀

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5 hours ago, ontheweb said:

And, OTOH, once you have found a good one stick with him or her.

 

The problem with bad ones, though, is that someone has to be the first victim and all the research in the world won't find anything out. When the biggest cruise forum forbids sharing information about TAs, it sets up other people to unwittingly make the same mistake.

 

The silliest advice I have seen to new cruisers is to talk to people on your cruise. That still leaves the first cruise to be arranged with little information. I have also discovered a number of cruisers who keep their TA a jealously guarded secret due to the "special" perks they (claim on CC) to get. 

 

This is why I focus on the TA's contracts, and if they feel one-sided or contradict oral promises, no dice. (The same rule as any other service I purchase.)

Edited by mayleeman
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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, sparks1093 said:

Probably not, but you would likely avoid the restaurant that gave you a bad meal (and I doubt that the meal came anywhere near close to costing what a cruise costs, which also factors into things).


Yes, but OP was using this singular event to discredit all travel agents.  

"I regret ever using a travel agent! Learned my lesson"


See, "a" travel agent, not "this" travel agent.

My cruising days are likely over, but I still appreciate all of the money I saved by using a variety of travel agents.

Edited by Toofarfromthesea
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21 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

Yes, but OP was using this singular event to discredit all travel agents.  

"I regret ever using a travel agent! Learned my lesson"


See, "a" travel agent, not "this" travel agent.

I've been cruising since 2003. I've taken more than 25 cruises and used a TA for 5 of them. The jury is still out on the agent for my 2022 cruises since they haven't happened yet. After my first cruise where I was helped to choose a cruise and cabin by the agency, the other agents I used (in Massachusetts, FL) saved me no money, got me no perks, and basically booked the cruise I researched and the cabins I chose. They provided no useful advice that I couldn't get from my online research. "Bad agent" who cancelled my Mariner cabins has me booked on a river cruise in 2022 that I'm supposedly getting $50 OBC for but it's only in an email and not in my confirmation from Avalon, so who knows if it will happen.

The times I chose to use an agent were when it was a more complex vacation involving air and pre-cruise hotels and transfers. As I've gained confidence in vacation planning I have relied on agents infrequently. 

Someone asked me how I found "bad agent". Certain river cruise companies give your contact information to an agent instead of letting you see prices and book directly with them. At least that was the case a few years ago. Bad agent got in touch with me after I asked for a quote online for a river cruise. I decided not to book the river cruise but enjoyed the emails and several phone calls I had with her. Eventually I did book a Viking river cruise with her, but then it got cancelled due to the pandemic. I felt sorry for her so I gave her my FCCs from a March 2020 cancelled cruise to help me find a new cruise to use them on before they expired. I was quite shocked to learn she had cancelled my 2 cabins the day before she left the country and left me with no backup agent to contact. So far she has put a backup agent in contact with me and, since April 5th, not checked in once to see if/how her screw-up was fixed.

 

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7 hours ago, BAYA said:

I've been cruising since 2003. I've taken more than 25 cruises and used a TA for 5 of them. The jury is still out on the agent for my 2022 cruises since they haven't happened yet. After my first cruise where I was helped to choose a cruise and cabin by the agency, the other agents I used (in Massachusetts, FL) saved me no money, got me no perks, and basically booked the cruise I researched and the cabins I chose. They provided no useful advice that I couldn't get from my online research. "Bad agent" who cancelled my Mariner cabins has me booked on a river cruise in 2022 that I'm supposedly getting $50 OBC for but it's only in an email and not in my confirmation from Avalon, so who knows if it will happen.

The times I chose to use an agent were when it was a more complex vacation involving air and pre-cruise hotels and transfers. As I've gained confidence in vacation planning I have relied on agents infrequently. 

Someone asked me how I found "bad agent". Certain river cruise companies give your contact information to an agent instead of letting you see prices and book directly with them. At least that was the case a few years ago. Bad agent got in touch with me after I asked for a quote online for a river cruise. I decided not to book the river cruise but enjoyed the emails and several phone calls I had with her. Eventually I did book a Viking river cruise with her, but then it got cancelled due to the pandemic. I felt sorry for her so I gave her my FCCs from a March 2020 cancelled cruise to help me find a new cruise to use them on before they expired. I was quite shocked to learn she had cancelled my 2 cabins the day before she left the country and left me with no backup agent to contact. So far she has put a backup agent in contact with me and, since April 5th, not checked in once to see if/how her screw-up was fixed.

 

So have you emailed the CEO of the cruise line as I suggested?

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16 hours ago, Toofarfromthesea said:


Yes, but OP was using this singular event to discredit all travel agents.  

"I regret ever using a travel agent! Learned my lesson"


See, "a" travel agent, not "this" travel agent.

My cruising days are likely over, but I still appreciate all of the money I saved by using a variety of travel agents.

Since she's making a decision that only impacts herself, so what? (I don't read her post as an attempt to discredit all TA's.) The first Wendy's hamburger I ever had (back in the mid-70's) was the worst hamburger I had ever had, greasy and full of gristle. I didn't swear off hamburgers, but I didn't set foot in another Wendy's for 10 years (and wouldn't have if a good friend hadn't talked me into it). If this had been my first experience with a TA, after doing a lot of research to find one, then I very likely would never use another TA for a very long time, if ever. 

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Unfortunately, there are 3 players in this and 1 of them has 0% obligation (RCL). This is between you and your TA. This will come down to who has the best documentation. If you do not have an email or something indicating that you did not authorize cancelation, it will become He Said She Said. Based on the way the TA is acting, they are not going to do anything in your favor.

 

All I can say is get your documentation in order and prepare for a fight with the TA. 

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Interesting discussion.  While we are big proponents of using cruise agencies (have done this for over forty years) we always say to shop around for reputable "high volume" agencies and be careful to read all their information regarding policies, cancellations, repricing fees, etc.  If you choose correctly you will save at least 7-10% on nearly every cruise and for those of us who take longer more expensive cruises the savings can be greater (we have saved thousands of dollars on a single booking vs booking direct with a cruise line).

 

But my question for the OP is what caused your agent to cancel your bookings?  Did he/she simply do this out of think air for no reason or had he/she reacted improperly to some instructions (from you).  It makes no sense that an agent would just cancel a reservation for no reason as they would be sacrificing their own commission.   

 

In any event I do agree with the other advice that you should directly call the cruise line, ask to be elevated to a supervisor and explain the situation.  Ask if it is possible to reinstate the reservation and have the booking kept with the cruise line (not the agent in question).   If all this fails then you are simply back in the marketplace and will have to shop around for the same or another future cruise.  The cruise/travel situation is still so messed up that booking any cruise for 2021 (and even into 2022) is very risky.  Having had 5 cruises cancelled (by cruise lines) and 3 more bookings in jeopardy is there anyone who would question why we are off to an All Inclusive later this month :).

 

Hank

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If I understand your post correctly, you e-mailed your travel agent (good, got documentation) with instructions.  Key to me, if I were the TA or Royal Caribbean or the BBB, would be specifically what were the instructions and how might they be reasonably understood / misunderstood?

 

Not asking you to quote us from the e-mail, but just something to consider when pursuing action or redress.

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On 4/7/2021 at 11:21 AM, BAYA said:

I've been cruising since 2003. I've taken more than 25 cruises and used a TA for 5 of them. The jury is still out on the agent for my 2022 cruises since they haven't happened yet. After my first cruise where I was helped to choose a cruise and cabin by the agency, the other agents I used (in Massachusetts, FL) saved me no money, got me no perks, and basically booked the cruise I researched and the cabins I chose. They provided no useful advice that I couldn't get from my online research. "Bad agent" who cancelled my Mariner cabins has me booked on a river cruise in 2022 that I'm supposedly getting $50 OBC for but it's only in an email and not in my confirmation from Avalon, so who knows if it will happen.

The times I chose to use an agent were when it was a more complex vacation involving air and pre-cruise hotels and transfers. As I've gained confidence in vacation planning I have relied on agents infrequently. 

Someone asked me how I found "bad agent". Certain river cruise companies give your contact information to an agent instead of letting you see prices and book directly with them. At least that was the case a few years ago. Bad agent got in touch with me after I asked for a quote online for a river cruise. I decided not to book the river cruise but enjoyed the emails and several phone calls I had with her. Eventually I did book a Viking river cruise with her, but then it got cancelled due to the pandemic. I felt sorry for her so I gave her my FCCs from a March 2020 cancelled cruise to help me find a new cruise to use them on before they expired. I was quite shocked to learn she had cancelled my 2 cabins the day before she left the country and left me with no backup agent to contact. So far she has put a backup agent in contact with me and, since April 5th, not checked in once to see if/how her screw-up was fixed.

 


I think I see the problem.  This is not intended to be mean or harsh, but you are bad at selecting agents.  It sounds like you have used brick and mortar local agencies and an agent you were steered to by a river cruise line.  These are not the best places to find agents. 

There are a lot of online TAs that will give you significant perks and/or discounts.  Personally I use a site that allows me to specify the sailing and cabin class and get quotes from a variety of agents (to whom I am anonymous unless/unlit I contact them).  Then I look at the best offers and vet the agent - which means looking at reviews and Better Business Bureau complaints and complaints/responses.

Using this approach I have saved 8-10% on average over the price I would have had to pay by booking directly.  Once I book the cruise I generally never talk to the agent again.  Unless I have to cancel or I should happen to select the same agent a second time.  And although level of service is a hard thing to vet, I haven't had any problem with having my instructions followed.  When the cruiseline cancelled me on a cruise they provided me with all of the information about my options.  When I cancelled a cruise a couple of weeks ago I just dropped them an email and that was it.  And none of them hasvever canceled a cruise out from under me.

What happened to you is very unfortunate, but it really isn't representative of today's travel agents.  And while you can certainly restrict yourself to only booking directly with the cruiseline, you should at least be aware that there are other roads not taken which might be worth looking into.

Best wishes

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I have no idea if this would work but if you paid the TA via a credit card maybe you could challenge the payment in that the TA is not providing the service/item you paid for.  Just a thought.  I am truly sorry you are having to deal with this issue.  

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2 hours ago, imola said:

I have no idea if this would work but if you paid the TA via a credit card maybe you could challenge the payment in that the TA is not providing the service/item you paid for.  Just a thought.  I am truly sorry you are having to deal with this issue.  

Hopefully the payment went directly to the cruise line & not to the TA

 

 But since the OP  used an FCC it is  a moot point

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 20 plus cruises.  All but two or three booked with an on line TA.   

 

Never, ever a problem.  Opposite is true.  We got excellent unbiased feedback, good advice,  8-10 percent fare reductions in the form of OBC's. and the occasional gratis shore excursion.

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On 4/8/2021 at 6:10 PM, Toofarfromthesea said:

It sounds like you have used brick and mortar local agencies and an agent you were steered to by a river cruise line.  These are not the best places to find agents. 

 

That's too broad of a brush to paint with some local agencies.  My first two agencies were all local; both excellent; both went out of businesses when their principals retired; one of those two--their agents migrated to another well known national automobile related travel agency.  I worked with my agent there until she retired, account transferred to another good agent; she left and my account was transferred to another agent whom I did not care for.  

 

Meanwhile, I became connected with a well known national cruise specific agency as a result of conversations with many of my fellow cruisers.  I discovered that the pricing, perks, amenities, and service were often better than what I had been receiving.  I switched agents and agencies.  That company had some "internal problems", apparently, a new company was formed and my agent, along with others, joined the new company.  Service, perks, amenities, pricing:  all remain the same.  

 

Shopping for a travel agent is much like shopping for a new car.  One ought not be too hasty in making a decision in what to do.  

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3 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

That's too broad of a brush to paint with some local agencies.  My first two agencies were all local; both excellent; both went out of businesses when their principals retired; one of those two--their agents migrated to another well known national automobile related travel agency.  I worked with my agent there until she retired, account transferred to another good agent; she left and my account was transferred to another agent whom I did not care for.  

 

 

 

We have also had exceptional service from a local brick & mortar T/A, who we have used for over 20 yrs. The ownership has changed and the first agent we used has since retired, but our new agent and the agency keep providing the same great service.

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20 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

That's too broad of a brush to paint with some local agencies.  My first two agencies were all local; both excellent; both went out of businesses when their principals retired; one of those two--their agents migrated to another well known national automobile related travel agency.  I worked with my agent there until she retired, account transferred to another good agent; she left and my account was transferred to another agent whom I did not care for.  

 

Meanwhile, I became connected with a well known national cruise specific agency as a result of conversations with many of my fellow cruisers.  I discovered that the pricing, perks, amenities, and service were often better than what I had been receiving.  I switched agents and agencies.  That company had some "internal problems", apparently, a new company was formed and my agent, along with others, joined the new company.  Service, perks, amenities, pricing:  all remain the same.  

 

Shopping for a travel agent is much like shopping for a new car.  One ought not be too hasty in making a decision in what to do.  


Which is another way of saying that the "excellent" agents you were using initially were not getting you excellent deals.  Which kind of demonstrates my point.

The difference, for the most part, is that brick and mortar agencies operate in a low information, low volume, not very competitive environment, so they don't come anywhere near the deals that high volume hyper-competitive online agencies offer.

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35 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:


Which is another way of saying that the "excellent" agents you were using initially were not getting you excellent deals.  Which kind of demonstrates my point.
 

So if you used the same doctor for years  & /she/he retired  are you saying they were  not giving you the best care ?

 

Not all online agents  are good or giving the best deal either 😉

 

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I think they are trying to explain the concept of "economy of scale". A B&M agent can provide you personal care but it is at a higher cost to them which translates to less they can offer you. They may do 50 bookings a month @ $100 agent fees collected (for lack of any real data). OTOH, an online agency with agents working from home each can do 100 bookings @ $50 per agent fee and pass the other $50 to the customer. They have lower overhead costs and no expenditures for that B&M store. The bigger company makes its money based on a much higher volume. 

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17 hours ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

The difference, for the most part, is that brick and mortar agencies operate in a low information, low volume, not very competitive environment, so they don't come anywhere near the deals that high volume hyper-competitive online agencies offer.

 

Huh?  I don't need a hyperactive TA.

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, LHT28 said:

So if you used the same doctor for years  & /she/he retired  are you saying they were  not giving you the best care ?

 

Not all online agents  are good or giving the best deal either 😉

 


If I used the same Dr. for years, while suffering from a chronic condition, and when he retired my new Dr. cured that chronic condition then no, I wouldn't say I had been given excellent care by my old Dr..  especially if the new Dr. charges 8-10% less than the old Dr.

Your second statement, of course is true but irrelevant as there are bad apples in every basket. 

I'm not telling anyone what THEY should do, I am simply relating what has worked well for me.  I'm much more impressed with tangible savings than I am with amorphous 'excellent service'.   But that's just me.

Edited by Toofarfromthesea
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16 hours ago, Toofarfromthesea said:


Huh?  Reading comprehension?

hyper-competitive =/= hyperactive

 

My reading comprehension is excellent.  I was playing off your words.  I don't want a boiler room agent.

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