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booking through TA or NCL direct?


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We are looking at booking NCL Pride of America (Dec 2022). We have booked NCL before but it was many years ago, so this is something like a first booking with NCL and likely to be our only NCL booking.

 

When looking at pricing, I really don't see a difference between on-line TA and NCL pricing unlike with  some other lines. There is a small cashback with the TA.

 

I guess I am wondering if there is any advantages to booking one way over another. We are using a TA for other bookings, so am leaning that way  We are also likely to use the flight promo in this booking if that matters. I guess the last factor is we are Canadian - and pricing on NCL is Canadian, but we are using a  US based TA for American pricing (it appears NCL's exchange rate is fair, so not sure that matters).

 

Any thoughts or opinions?

 

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Just now, casofilia said:

If you book with the TA they own the booking and you have to deal with them not NCL.   That becomes a real pain if you have a serious problem.

Thanks.

Also, If I understand correctly, I won't have any online visibility to my booking on NCL site if I used a TA to book, so can't so things like book dinners  or excursions. Is that correct?  

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1 minute ago, rodndonna said:

Thanks.

Also, If I understand correctly, I won't have any online visibility to my booking on NCL site if I used a TA to book, so can't so things like book dinners  or excursions. Is that correct?  

Incorrect, you still have your access to your NCL account, however I have found lots of T/A don’t have upgrade advantage.

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4 minutes ago, Trimone said:

Incorrect, you still have your access to your NCL account, however I have found lots of T/A don’t have upgrade advantage.

 

Do you mean we have a better chance at 'free upgrade". I guess the last piece of info is we will be booking the cheapest grade inside room for this one as it is a little higher in our normal cruise budget and I understand the POA sails mostly in the dark(-:

 

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, rodndonna said:

 

Do you mean we have a better chance at 'free upgrade". I guess the last piece of info is we will be booking the cheapest grade inside room for this one as it is a little higher in our normal cruise budget and I understand the POA sails mostly in the dark(-:

 

No free upgrades. You bid on upgrades. 
 

Yes. You are in port every day (two overnight port calls). No sea days. Cabins are for sleeping only.

 

To answer your question, a TA will often give you extra perks (if they don’t, find another TA). Big warehouse stores also often give you store credit/gift cards. 

Edited by BirdTravels
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3 minutes ago, BirdTravels said:

No free upgrades. You bid on upgrades. 
 

 

I guess they are as free as NCL's Free at Sea and BOGO Free airfare - lol.

 

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Just booked back-to-back cruises on Jade out of Athens in October. Used our new to us TA we just started booking with in the before times. She was knowledgable, had sailed the same ship in Mediterranean so gave valuable guidance with cabin selection, and is giving us $250 OBC for 1st leg and $300 for 2nd. The amount was higher than expected for balcony cabin. NCL has a great website for planning so we lose no control over meal reservations, shore excursion etc. Obviously I'm a proponent of using a (good) TA. 

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Personally I never use a TA.

 

However, you state that you are using one for other bookings, which suggests that you are happy working with them, so I don’t see any particular reason not to do the same here.

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1 hour ago, KeithJenner said:

Personally I never use a TA.

 

However, you state that you are using one for other bookings, which suggests that you are happy working with them, so I don’t see any particular reason not to do the same here.

 

Generally I prefer to do my bookings direct  as well - but  in recent HAL bookings I was swayed by the price discount and OBC. There does not seem to as much of an incentive with NCL bookings though and just wanted to hear that I wasn't missing anything there.

 

If we book POA in December, we are now leaning to booking through our Canadian airline vacation agency, as it seems like the largest risk for us in terms of problems on the trip would be the flights in and out of Toronto in winter.

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I don't much care for either of your options.

I have a TA that I contact directly and have developed a relationship with over the last 20 years and 16 cruises.

Any time I have a problem or question, I just call or email her and she does all the work and comes up with answers in short order. No sitting on the phone on hold or waiting for answers. She works for me, not the cruise line.

I don't really see any big price difference and I don't have to worry that the person I am working with has 'moved on'.

See if a friend, neighbor, co worker or family member could recommend someone you can trust and easily get in contact with.

Good luck.

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15 hours ago, Trimone said:

Incorrect, you still have your access to your NCL account, however I have found lots of T/A don’t have upgrade advantage.

I have always used the same TA and we have been offered the opportunity to bid on upgrades through NCL that have been emailed to us by NCL.

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In short, there are no disadvantages to using a good TA.  By good TA I mean an experienced, connected cruise TA, as opposed to the person in the neighborhood travel agency, who may of may not have specialties in cruises.  I have used a cruise broker for 30 years.  It used to be more advantageous in the old days, before the internet kind of evened the playing field, but even now our TA can provide a lot of insight, give valuable advise on promotions, handle the booking itself, and deal with the cruise-line whenever you have an issue, need to make changes, or deal with problems.  TA's have separate contact lines with the cruise-lines, and resources you might not. Mine is part of a couple groups which buy cabins in bulk, which can also provide value.  We also get separate "perks" or rebates through our TA every time we book a cruise.

 

Even though we book through our TA, I still have the same access to NCL customer service that I would if I booked directly; and I have called them many times on matters where I chose not to go through my TA.

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Personally, I’ve found a good TA.  She’s with a large American Discount vacation and cruise agent, but is very good.

 

She has gone above and beyond for me, to the point where she actually helped me get home at 3:00 a.m. when NCL finally cancelled a cruise because of a hurricane the day (night?) of the cruise.  She takes care of everything.  And, she gives me a generous OBC for booking with her.

 

I used to book with NCL’s PCC.  Good luck getting one who sticks around long enough to provide decent service.  And, the ones I had seemed to disappear right after booking (or at least were difficult to reach).

 

My TA has been a godsend for me during the last couple of years helping me with COVID cancelled cruises and working on my behalf to keep the refunds, deposits, FCCs, discounts, etc straight for me, too.

 

The other nice thing is the fact that no matter the cruise line I’m booking (I’ve sailed NCL, RCCL, Carnival, HAL, MSC, Celebrity), I always deal with the same person who knows what I want almost without me telling her.  I’m not dealing with a different cruise consultant for each different cruise line.

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Although there are many benefits of using a TA, I did in the past but I don't now.

 

TAs don't make a lot.  During the past year I've booked, been canceled, changed cabins/categories, re-booked....too many times to count.  And then thing gets canceled so the TA makes nothing for his efforts (and I've been charged fees which I could use as credits in the future).

 

It's really just easier for me to deal directly than call the TA and wait for the TA....during these times.  I also "feel guilty" asking the TA to do something, knowing that it's most likely in vain.

 

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1 minute ago, MsTabbyKats said:

Although there are many benefits of using a TA, I did in the past but I don't now.

 

TAs don't make a lot.  During the past year I've booked, been canceled, changed cabins/categories, re-booked....too many times to count.  And then thing gets canceled so the TA makes nothing for his efforts (and I've been charged fees which I could use as credits in the future).

 

It's really just easier for me to deal directly than call the TA and wait for the TA....during these times.  I also "feel guilty" asking the TA to do something, knowing that it's most likely in vain.

 

I understand that.  I’ve done the same...booked-cruise cancelled-rebooked-canceled again-rebooked, etc.

 

I know my TA’s parent company did go through a significant layoff last year.  But, although it’s a big cruise agent, they are still a family owned business.  My TA is one of their top performers.  Not sure if they paid her enough to make up her missed commissions she would have received from the cruise lines.  But, she’s still there.

 

From what I understand, she doesn’t have to do much in the way of getting new customers, as she has a pretty large clientele base, already.

 

She told me she’s busier now than she was before COVID hit.  People want to cruise.  Plus, as more and more cruise lines find ways to get their ships sailing, and more and more people are getting the COVID vaccines, more and more people are trying to book.

 

Add to that, at least in NCL’s case, they’re voluntarily sailing at much less than full capacity, so the initial sailings are selling out quickly.

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Use a TA. We always do, and if there's every anything to change or something goes wrong, he does the calling and the waiting, not me. 100% recommend using a TA. Not a day goes by that I don't see a comment from someone who's frustrated with a cancellation, a missing promo or OBC and says "I keep calling but no one answers, calls me back, answers my emails," etc. Use a TA!

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1 minute ago, DCGuy64 said:

Use a TA. We always do, and if there's every anything to change or something goes wrong, he does the calling and the waiting, not me. 100% recommend using a TA. Not a day goes by that I don't see a comment from someone who's frustrated with a cancellation, a missing promo or OBC and says "I keep calling but no one answers, calls me back, answers my emails," etc. Use a TA!

Well...not always true.  I had one "within the pandemic era" who had me waiting on hold while he called the cruiseline (30 minutes!).  In addition, his computer skills were rather limited when it came to e-mails.  I should have read those Yelp reviews.  I found him on that "competition" site and he had the lowest price/obc.  

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Just now, MsTabbyKats said:

Well...not always true.  I had one "within the pandemic era" who had me waiting on hold while he called the cruiseline (30 minutes!).  In addition, his computer skills were rather limited when it came to e-mails.  I should have read those Yelp reviews.  I found him on that "competition" site and he had the lowest price/obc.  

Ours is a personal friend and also a cruise fan. We've had good luck but like all service providers, YMMV. But time is money, and I absolutely don't have the time to research multiple cruise lines, destinations, prices and dates like my TA can. All we have to say is when we can cruise and he takes it from there. Worth his weight in gold!

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24 minutes ago, DCGuy64 said:

I absolutely don't have the time to research multiple cruise lines, destinations, prices and dates like my TA can. All we have to say is when we can cruise and he takes it from there. Worth his weight in gold!

 

I think that is one of the major differences for people that prefer TA's and folks who generally prefer on-line and direct bookings. Some of us REALLY REALLY enjoy the researching of all the options and the planning stage, and it helps that some of us are lucky enough to have the time as well.

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Just now, rodndonna said:

 

I think that is one of the major differences for people that prefer TA's and folks who generally prefer on-line and direct bookings. Some of us REALLY REALLY enjoy the researching of all the options and the planning stage, and it helps that some of us are lucky enough to have the time as well.

That's wonderful! I hope to have that kind of time one day. But working full-time, singing part-time, maintaining 3 rental properties and attempting to adopt a child pretty much eats up all my time. Perhaps come retirement I can do that.

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2 minutes ago, DCGuy64 said:

That's wonderful! I hope to have that kind of time one day. But working full-time, singing part-time, maintaining 3 rental properties and attempting to adopt a child pretty much eats up all my time. Perhaps come retirement I can do that.

 

Being retired and COVID - quite a recipe for lots of YOUTUBE cruise video watching  - lol.

 

Good luck with your adoption!

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