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better to use TA or just book online


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We have never cruises HAL is it better to book through one of the vacation planners or just book it online?   we've only ever used some kind of planner person with princess.   we have mostly been in carnival and were told on a cruise a couple weeks ago that we should have one of carnivals PVP because we can get slightly better deals and more OBC.  

 

just wondering

 

thanks in advance

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PCC’s with HAL do not issue OBC.  They just give you the price that you see on the website.

 

There are good TA’s out there that will fight for you (mine is right now for me) and also give you OBC or a discount on your cruise.

 

I’ll take my TA any day but lots of people are perfectly content with their PCC’s.

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3 hours ago, kazu said:

PCC’s with HAL do not issue OBC.  They just give you the price that you see on the website.

 

There are good TA’s out there that will fight for you (mine is right now for me) and also give you OBC or a discount on your cruise.

 

I’ll take my TA any day but lots of people are perfectly content with their PCC’s.

Totally agree, a good TA is worth their weight in gold and a mediocre TA isn't worth their weight in air. I absolutely swear by mine but may try the PCCs after she retires (which I hope doesn't happen for a long time).

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My TA added 2 extra complimentary dining credits and a $50 drink card, per person, for our 7 day Alaska explorer cruise.

I have tried to call HAL myself and been put on hold, not getting resolution to my questions.

My TA has called them, sat on hold, and taken care of everything.

I will always use a TA. I would pay extra for their service but pay the same as I find online.

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Absolutely use a TA! They do all the work, at no cost to you. It's a no-brainer. Especially during COVID-times, when everything is changing on a daily basis. They work hard and make your life easier. 

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A good TA is worth their weight in gold, besides getting you deals & OBC if there is a problem they can fight for you and sort things out.

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4 hours ago, stickey_mouse said:

Absolutely use a TA! They do all the work, at no cost to you. It's a no-brainer. Especially during COVID-times, when everything is changing on a daily basis. They work hard and make your life easier. 

And they really need the business these days. They are not paid until you are on the ship, so they have gone a long time without income. At the same time, they have done a lot of work with cancelled cruises and rebooked cruises.

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I use a HAL PCC and have for many years.  I have gotten very good service from them and even once in awhile will get an extra OBC from them (got $50 pp on an upcoming cruise).  I like being able to email them with a request and get an answer or the change done quickly (10 minutes often).  Plus, if there is a problem, they seem to know who at HAL to contact to get it addressed.

 

On the other hand, I understand that some TA or large agencies online can get you better deals sometimes, so you should check that out in your area.  Of course, these agencies sometimes have limits, such as the time delay as already mentioned.  It really depends on your situation which is best.

 

We have 2 main reasons that we stay with a PCC.  First, since we often get a casino discount or free cabin offer, the TAs or online agencies have a tough time beating the price.  Second, we normally use the "upsell" process to score better cabins at very attractive prices (we have done this on most of our cruises), so it works better through a PCC.  Some of the larger online agencies do not bother to pass these upsell deals on to their customers (too much work I guess) and also the time delay (the offer has to go through them to get to you versus a direct email to me from HAL), makes it alot tougher to get get done - these offers go VERY FAST, often in a few minutes.

 

Again, one size does not fit all, so do your homework for your situation.

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I use online booking for hotels, flights and car rentals in almost all cases.  Cruises are a different story, and HAL is definitely not user friendly for online booking.  I give my TA the basic requirements for a cruise of interest and ask him for the best selection of available cabins in my category.  It also helps that I get some OBC when booking with my TA.

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Posted (edited)

We would use a good TA even if there were no OBC's etc.   But...we are not loyal to any one cruise line so we appreciate dealing with a knowledgeable TA who can give us independent feedback and advice on the ships/cruise lines that we happen to be considering. 

 

 This has saved us money and potential grief in the past.

 

 When we ask a question or look for some feedback  we hardly want the answer to be something read by the cruise line employee straight off their company  stock PR/Sales data sheet.

 

Edited by iancal
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1 hour ago, iancal said:

We would use a good TA even if there were no OBC's etc.   But...we are not loyal to any one cruise line so we appreciate dealing with a knowledgeable TA who can give us independent feedback and advice on the ships/cruise lines that we happen to be considering. 

 

 This has saved us money and potential grief in the past.

 

 When we ask a question or look for some feedback  we hardly want the answer to be something read by the cruise line employee straight off their company  stock PR/Sales data sheet.

 

 

Agreed. I have a non-TA day job, so my TA work isn't the end all, be all for me. I would much rather lose a sale and get no commission than suggest a lackluster product to my customers. I am honest with them from the get-go. Also, if I see something cheaper online if they book directly, I tell them and let them decide. 

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Posted (edited)

Our TA is a pit bull… don’t know how she manages this, but more often than not we get something more than what’s posted online, plus there’s all the little details she remembers (extension cord for a CPAP machine, no Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay if the line is giving us a comp bottle of white wine, our birthdays, our anniversary, etc, etc)

 

She’s great as is her husband, son, and office person. Other than airfare, we give them a shot at all our travel arrangements.  They get 100% of our cruise business and about 50% of our other travel stuff. 

Edited by DenGNNJ
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Posted (edited)

Our TA saved us from booking a last minute cruise on what was, at the time, a real dog of a ship.   There is no way that cruise line's employee would have been so direct.

 

Caused us to look at the CC reviews on the ship.  Pre and post. 

 

They were awful.   Poorly maintained, unhappy staff, AC/Plumbing issues. You name it.  Not everyone of course but  enough to make us realize we had dodged a potential bullet. 

 

Had a wonderful cruise on one of the alternates that she suggested.  And at what turned out to be a better value.   Very thankful for independent advice/feedback from her recent customers.

 

And...she definitely was a bit of a pit bull.   Sorry she left the business.  I was very fortunate to have a business travel TA for many years who was much the same. 

 

It is fairly easy to distinguish the pros from the others IMHO.  The 'others', in our experience, tend to want to be your new best friend.  The pros get right down to it and ask the salient questions.  None of  this small talk.. do you have grandchildren, etc.  business.  We view booking a cruise as a commercial transaction not a social event.

Edited by iancal
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Today we just booked a follow-up cruise to our fantastic 7/24 Alaska cruise. We were eligible for a casino discount from that trip and tried as hard as we could to run it through a TA. In the end, we ended up booking direct since HAL wouldn’t transfer the booking. I hope that is just a short term issue due to the restart as I see from my fellow CC members how much help a TA can be. 
 

Bob

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1 hour ago, stickey_mouse said:

 

Please don't confuse "cost" with "savings." A TA does not charge your more, for their own sake. The cost might be more, but you're paying for better service, and the TA is not setting that price. A TA's service should always be free of charge. If not, run for the hills. 


No confusion here. 

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