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Throwing in the booking towel: no longer going to use my TA, and book directly with C&A


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I hit the phone wall last week.  I had phone on hold experiences that were truly awful.  I know it's due to labor shortages, etc., but I have an additional wrinkle that adds extra pain.

 

I called my TA last week to do a price check and cabin change on 3 cruises.  I was on hold for 1.5 hours before I even got to talk to anyone.  Why, you ask, do I put up with that.  Because it's been this way for over a year, and I sort of got used to 30+ minutes on hold.

 

But, this entire hellacious call lasted 4.5 hours!  The TA on hold with RCCL, the RCCL rep didn't know what a DP340 promo code was (Diamond Plus solo discount), the RCCL rep disconnected because he didn't want to bother being on hold INTERNALLY at RCCL, and we started over.

 

Another call took 45 minutes total to pay a $3 remaining balance for a cabin change:  the TA's payment system wasn't working, and I couldn't do it myself.

 

I've had it finally, and called the C&A number and confirmed in 5 minutes total time on the phone, that I could book with them in the future.  They, at least, know immediately what a DP340 is.  I may transfer to my old TA if the perks are good, but that's only if I don't want to get price drops, because then I'm right back in on hold hell.

 

Good thing my Verizon calling plan is generous........................

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I’ve never CALLED my TA for a price drop or really anything.  Quick email, she normally gets back to me within 24 hrs with whatever I’ve asked answered/fixed/adjusted usually later the same day.  Why would you want to be on hold while they’re on hold with RCCL?  

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Fully understand your pain.  I stopped using a TA last year.  I still have one cruise booked through them, but it’s painful to get anything accomplished.  They try, but the communication with Royal is rough and holds are long.  On the other hand, other than a few disconnections, I’ve been fairly happy booking direct.

 

I won’t say I’ll never use a TA, but certainly not until things stabilize a bit more.

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3 way calls stink. But I was on hold with Royal Caribbean for over an hour yesterday. It was to get a FCC re-issued and applied to a future cruise. So Customer Service had to call Post Cruise Guest Relations. (Which I used to have a phone number for). It all worked out eventually. It was fine, I just read a magazine and listened to the ads. :classic_biggrin: What I didn't like is that the clarity on their home cell phones seem to degrade and get all staticky. He eventually "refreshed" the line and the clarity was better. 

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It DEFINITELY depends on the TA.  A big box store or online agency is totally different than the experience you get with an individual TA that you actually know.  

I handle everything via email, maybe one phone call in the last couple years, and that was because he had some questions that were faster/easier to discuss on the phone.  Price drops, room changes, bookings, payments, weird questions -- I just send a quick email and it gets taken care of.  
 

I estimate that his agency affiliation has group rates on about 80% of the cruises I'm interested in, so I get some combination of a reduced fare and/or OBC in addition to a refundable deposit without paying the higher refundable fare.  

But if I had huge wait times like the OP, I'd be dropping my TA in a heartbeat.  What's the point of having a TA if you have to do a bunch of work / waiting on hold????

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19 minutes ago, Coralc said:

It was to get a FCC re-issued and applied to a future cruise. So Customer Service had to call Post Cruise Guest Relations. (Which I used to have a phone number for). It all worked out eventually.

I usually book direct, but I actually booked three upcoming 2021 cruises with a TA due to wanting to use FCCs within a very limited timeframe. They need to be issued (from a cruise cancelled on Aug. 3rd), applied to 1st cruise, re-issued, applied to 2nd cruise, re-issued, applied to the 3rd cruise.

 

Edited by Another_Critic
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So far she has:

Booked an OS Rhapsody W Caribbean for March 2021 for my family.

Booked a JS for my brother for same cruise.

3 price drops for me, 2 for my brother.

Did an L & S to Harmony WC March 2022 for our OS cuz it was such a deal.

Rebooked our OS on Rhapsody March 2021 same cabin (so we had both)

Convinced RCCL that we had originally asked for Harmony Eastern Caribbean & they moved us still under price protection.

Fixed the screw up I caused while playing around with my brother’s reservation (sent her a bottle of wine for that!)

Did the L & S for my brother’s cruise when March 2021 sailings were cancelled - got the JS right next to our OS.

applied the FCCs from our cancelled March 2021 to the Harmony March 2022.

Booked Explorer ABC islands for Oct 2022 to get to Diamond.

Did 2 price drops on that one.

Now this is all before any of our cruises have sailed so she hadn’t gotten a dime for any of this work yet!

Think she’s a keeper 🥰🥰

 

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There are a million TA's out there some are incredible like mine and some have no idea what they doing. I believe in doing business with a TA. It just takes some time finding the right one.

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I fired my TA years ago.  She always got curt with me when I would want a pre and she would get on    the phone call Royal and quote me some ridiculously high priced Royal Pre   .  I would tell her that it was  too much.  She said search the web and when you find something call me and I will book it for you.  She must have did that to other customers because she called me  out of the blue.  She was with a new agency and wanted to know if I was interested in the new travel agency.  I said don't call me again. We've been to Argentina 3 times.  Did the bed and breakfast in Ireland.  Three   city tour of Australia.  All our cruises.  All that  because she said search the web.  The Nerve!                                                                                                                                                     

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I have always booked directly with Royal... but this time for upcoming cruise in December I booked from a highly recommended TA whose rates were cheaper than Royal when we booked.  So we went with the TA.  The first and last time I will ever use a TA!  It has been an absolute nightmare.  She doesn't do anything on her own... I have to ask.  She doesn't check rates and say "hey, I saved you some money today" or "hey, let me check prices today and see what we can come up with".  Nope... nothing like that.  When the cruise had a price drop... I emailed and asked her to do a price adjustment so we could save $400 per cabin.  The response was... "I'll see what I can do, but don't think it will work".  Geez.  Such a positive attitude and experience.  She agreed to try the price adjustment was only able to save us $300 per cabin.  The response was "this is the best I can do" and "all this is a headache".  I'm told she can't see or get me the price I see when doing a mock booking.  There is currently another price drop of $100 per cabin... but I feel like I can't ask her for another price adjustment.  I want to pull my hair out.  I will never use a TA again.  Those who have fantastic experiences with TA's... kudos to you and your agent that works hard for you.  Not all agents are the same.  Lesson learned.

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13 minutes ago, 10th Anniversary said:

Those who have fantastic experiences with TA's... kudos to you and your agent that works hard for you.  Not all agents are the same.  Lesson learned.


Like in any profession, there are good ones and there are bad ones.  Sorry you got stuck with a bad egg!

 

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4 hours ago, Coralc said:

3 way calls stink. But I was on hold with Royal Caribbean for over an hour yesterday. It was to get a FCC re-issued and applied to a future cruise. So Customer Service had to call Post Cruise Guest Relations. (Which I used to have a phone number for). It all worked out eventually. It was fine, I just read a magazine and listened to the ads. :classic_biggrin: What I didn't like is that the clarity on their home cell phones seem to degrade and get all staticky. He eventually "refreshed" the line and the clarity was better. 

Is that number your're looking for (800) 256-6649

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15 minutes ago, Ashland said:

Is that number your're looking for (800) 256-6649

In the last week I have spent over 10 hours with post cruise... 4 hours Thursday alone!! 
Does Post Cruise have an email that they check and reply back? 

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36 minutes ago, Ashland said:

Is that number your're looking for (800) 256-6649

 

Thanks Ash. No. That one is Customer Service. They used to list Post Cruise on the website, but of course I didn't write it down. The only 2 they list now (probably Covid) are the one you listed and (866) 562-7625 for individual reservations. Which just seems like another general number. 

 

I still have the letter from the original issue FCC, (2019) and it is typical of their Cut & Paste. The letter says problem on Oasis. (we were on Vision-sewage flooding twice) The phone number is shown as 01 932 834 119. So I know I found a working number at the time. I just didn't write it on the dumb letter. :classic_biggrin:

 

EDIT: Thanks. Maybe I will try Customer Service next time. :classic_smile:

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6 hours ago, 10th Anniversary said:

She doesn't do anything on her own... I have to ask.


Yep, I have one exactly the same! We’re currently on Harmony and I’m still waiting for the final invoice showing a nil balance due!! 🙄

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I used a TA previously and wasn' t really happy so decided to book with Royal directly this time but it has been a real pain. Apparently, it takes them over a week to reply to emails (and my questions/requests were not complicated ones). Such a pain!

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I suggest the OP stop using THAT TA.  The TA I use is very accessible.  I just shoot an email to them and they handle whatever needs to be done with the cruise line.  I spend no time on hold.  

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Always book directly with RCL, then shop around for TA's that give you the greatest rebate or OBC. Transfer to the one you like best. The key is to already have the reservation made because then the TA's know there's not much work to be done. They tend to be more generous.

 

In August I booked a suite for $16,000.00. I shopped around to about a dozen travel agents and the best offer was a $1,700.00 rebate plus $350 onboard credit. All I did was give her my reservation number and it was transferred within an hour.

 

Just be mindful that you only have like 30 or 60 days or something like that after booking to transfer to a TA.

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