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Windstar Agent or Travel Agent


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We usually book a cruise with a travel agent, but after speaking with an agent in the Windstar Office, I am not sure whether one is preferable to another. The Windstar agent seemed very cooperative and helped me select our cabin based on our needs. He was also able to immediately apply a new discount that was offered to us by Windstar. What is your opinion? Any up or downsides to booking with one over another?

 

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If you use a TA, Windstar will not speak to you directly about your booking; it all must go through the TA.  TA's will sometimes offer OBC or some other perk.  They can be helpful if there's a problem, and sometimes they can offer better pricing.  Discussion of specific TAs on this site is not allowed.

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I usually have had the same beliefs about using a TA - let them handle problems and perhaps  get some OBC -  but I have had much better luck getting things resolved by going through Windstar directly. I had some issues my TA was not able to get resolved so I asked her to transfer the booking back to me and I was able to resolve a very complicated issue that my TA never would have been able to do. A few times with upgrade offers by the time my TA got back to me and then called Windstar back the opportunity was gone. When I get the email directly and reply right away I have gotten the upgrade. I have not found that a TA was able to get me better pricing very often. I guess with normal bookings a TA would be better but I now have lots of new friends with Windstar direct! Again, the exceptions are not the norm and I still value a TA for most bookings.

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Out of our fourteen Windstar cruises, I tested using a TA twice and I was not pleased. At times, one TA was not available when I needed her. There were problems when the TA did not properly communicate what I wanted passed on to Windstar. Some TA’s hold back for future bookings, their commissioned part of your payments when cruises are cancelled. If things got complicated as in the case with r&rd, I felt my resolution was much more successful when I dealt with Windstar directly rather than getting a third party involved.
Maybe you got a bit better rate, maybe you got a little OBC, but in my experience it wasn’t worth the hassle

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We have been using a TA for our Windstar bookings. For some cruises, we have gotten a better fare with her than the one on Windstar's website. We usually get some OBC; sometimes the amount is small and sometimes it has been pretty large. 

 

2 hours ago, Barrycat said:

Some TA’s hold back for future bookings, their commissioned part of your payments when cruises are cancelled. If things got complicated as in the case with r&rd, I felt my resolution was much more successful when I dealt with Windstar directly rather than getting a third party involved.

I'm not sure what you mean about TA's holding back something. Also, what is "r&rd"? 

 

We are fortunate in our TA. She has always been available when we needed her and she has been helpful when something went wrong and needed to be straightened out. E.g. when Windstar changed our room assignment in the process of getting a fare reduction. 

 

Booking directly with Windstar is probably better than booking through a lackluster TA. With a good TA, there are advantages to booking through a TA instead of booking directly. 

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2 hours ago, Barrycat said:

Out of our fourteen Windstar cruises, I tested using a TA twice and I was not pleased. At times, one TA was not available when I needed her. There were problems when the TA did not properly communicate what I wanted passed on to Windstar. Some TA’s hold back for future bookings, their commissioned part of your payments when cruises are cancelled. If things got complicated as in the case with r&rd, I felt my resolution was much more successful when I dealt with Windstar directly rather than getting a third party involved.
Maybe you got a bit better rate, maybe you got a little OBC, but in my experience it wasn’t worth the hassle

Barrycat, a rare case where I don't agree with you.

 

We used an agent for our Wind Spirit Tahiti cruise. Aside from the fact that they essentially split their commission, for a substantial financial savings, when Windstar cancelled our May 2021 cruise, they REALLY went to bat for us.

 

Windstar just would not budge on the price for rebooking for the same cruise in May of 2022, doubling the amount. of the cruise. I took at as far as I could, but no matter how high I went, they would not give a penny.  After a lot of back and forth, we finally gave up and asked to cancel. Our TA worked behind the scenes and eventually won a concession from Windstar that gave us the same cruise, at the same price in 2022, plus a cabin upgrade. Even with that, we're still getting a cash-back rebate direct from her when the cruise actually takes place.

 

I've never been a big advocate of travel agents, and usually handle all of my own bookings, but I've found a keeper with this one.  Even for a Caribbean all-inclusive, which we booked as a consolation for missing Tahiti this year, she took over the booking and is splitting her commission for a substantial savings.

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I suppose just as there are some travel agents who are better than others there are also Windstar representatives who are better than others. There are a few from Windstar that I will not try to deal with on complicated issues but call back at a later time. 

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To New cruiser

r&rd is a previous poster

The hold back I referred to is a policy of one of the largest TA’s which they call a “15% cancellation service fee” I won’t go into detail about this but basically when you cancel they will impose this fee which is held by them and can be used towards future bookings. It’s complicated and when the agent explained the justification for it I hit the snooze button on the conversation and decided they were not for me. I’ve never been a fan of someone else holding my money.

I agree again with r&rd. There are good and not so good Windstar reps and TAs. We obviously been pleased with our Windstar people over the years and the more we sail the more they say “thank you”

Our experience was similar to Zukini without the hassle. We got our original Tahiti price transferred to 2022, upgrade, OBC plus all of the perks of level 4 alumni status.

Whatever or whoever gets  gets us on board at this point is ok with me.

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