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Do you think online travel agencies are safe?


nikkin

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I was just about to book cruise on HAL site..but got hung up with the pre/post transfer thing and have to call them tomorrow if I want to book with them. I did find 2 sites with lower prices.. one is 3,301.00 for a B room on Veendam for Oct, 2010... I also found a price of 3,585.20 for same cabin on a better known online travel agency...HAL is asking 3,736.00 for this cabin. What makes me afraid is that one place online what went out of business and who took final payments from people and pocketed the money. With my cruise being so far out..anything can happen.. What would you do???? ANy advice will be appreciated!

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Like any other type of TA, there's nothing inherently unsafe about on-line travel agencies. Your local brick and mortar agency is no more, or less, safe necessarily.

The trick is to find one that you're comfortable with. You need to decide if you want the personal contact of telephone calls, does the TA return e-mails in a timely fashion, is the information you need included in those e-mails. Does the TA call when the type of give and take a phone call allows is what's needed.

Do you have friends/relatives who can recommend the TA.

I was reasonably satisfied with a local TA, but found nothing outstanding about him. Someone from this board was using a particular on-line TA for a cruise I was also on. His TA went out of her way to coordinate things for those of us traveling together---even if we weren't her clients. I was thrilled by that service, and have become loyal to her.

Perhaps you can be so lucky, too.

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I have booked twice thru online travel agent and had no problems. Just transferred my latest booking from HAL to same online agent and saved $1000.00. Just make sure that all money paid goes to cruise company and not to travel agency when booking is made. My online agency is backed by AMEX.

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When booking with an online agency, check to see if they have a cancellation fee. Also, ask if they charge you to process any price drops. Putting your deposits on your credit card does give you some protection. I would also suggest you do a google search with the name of the online agency. Type in their name and the word "reviews." I was considering booking a cruise for my daughter with a certain agency, but after I read the reviews I backed off. Do your homework and you should be fine.

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One of the reasons that I like using my TA is when I book (the deposit & finial payment) is put on my credit card directly from HAL. She call HAL and gives them my credit number and my card is charged right there. The charge on my statement is from HAL not from the TA. There are other TA’s that will take your money and put it in THEIR account. Then they will send the cruise line your deposit from their account. I believe that the online TA that people had problems with took the PAX money put it in their account and never cut the cruise lines a check from their (TA’s) account.

 

Maria

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We have used a Large on-line agency for our cruises, this agency advertises that they will match any lower fair for the same cabin type. We booked a holiday cruies while on the VEENDAM and had it transfered to this agency - the agency was 300 PP less than HAL, then I found the same cabin on another on-line agency for 310 PP less so I called my TA and he matched the other on-line agency so we ended up on the same cruise but for 610 dollars less PP than what HAL wanted.

 

This agency has been around awhile and also advertises up to 70% off on some cruises.

 

BTW all charges to our credit cards are made straight to HAL.

 

So research your agency and then go ahead and use them.

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I've purchased 20+ cruises using two online agencies. One I use gives great rates on HAL, the other is really good with Celebirty. All charges go directly to the cruise line and they both will adjust for any price drop. Of course, that means even after final payment with Celebirty.

I like the price, the instant feedback and control I get using an online agency.

 

Enjoy!

Kel:)

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Anything can happen but.......

 

The reality is that there are a lot of good online travel agencies and then there are a few which aren't so reliable. The economy is something else altogether and there is nothing that may stop a reliable long-existing business suddenly go bankrupt. However, there are always protection in place for some of the circumstances.

 

As for the charges being made straight to HAL.....wasn't there a recent thread where it was mentioned that HAL was changing the way they did the handling of the payment of fees in which the travel agency takes the charge card hit and then the fees are paid to HAL directly from the travel agency's account. The only reason I brought this up is that with my usual online agency I used to have all my charges go directly to the cruise line but just a few months ago it went to the agency. I was about to freak out about it but then someone wrote a thread indicating this change which helped explain what happened to me. As far as I know I am still booked on this HAL cruise.

 

vbmom87 said it best - Do your homework. Read the reviews and check out the Better Business Bureau if you are not sure of a certain agency.

 

David

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:DMy TA is a one person Travel Agency, she gives great prices and almost always gives me an OBC also. She gives me great service and I can contact her 24/7. I cannot find her through Goggle because she does not have the budget for advertising. She has a very reputable company as her Host Agency. She gave me references, she only accepts credit card/debit card payment that she pays directly to the cruise line. She never charges any kind of service charge or cancellation fee, in fact she pays me and OBC for each referral that I make to her that books. She keeps track of my cruise and if the price goes down she takes care of it and gets the lower price for me. I have now booked my last 4 cruises with her. My friends did their honeymoon cruise with her and she booked their airfare, honeymoon cruise, the extra nights they wanted to stay in NYC, their transportation to and from ship and airports and tour tickets, etc. Now they are booking their first anniversary cruise with her because they were so pleased with her service and the pricing she got them.

 

She even sent them a wedding gift! I have never had a TA that I was so pleased with.

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Anything can happen but.......

 

The reality is that there are a lot of good online travel agencies and then there are a few which aren't so reliable. The economy is something else altogether and there is nothing that may stop a reliable long-existing business suddenly go bankrupt. However, there are always protection in place for some of the circumstances.

 

As for the charges being made straight to HAL.....wasn't there a recent thread where it was mentioned that HAL was changing the way they did the handling of the payment of fees in which the travel agency takes the charge card hit and then the fees are paid to HAL directly from the travel agency's account. The only reason I brought this up is that with my usual online agency I used to have all my charges go directly to the cruise line but just a few months ago it went to the agency. I was about to freak out about it but then someone wrote a thread indicating this change which helped explain what happened to me. As far as I know I am still booked on this HAL cruise.

 

vbmom87 said it best - Do your homework. Read the reviews and check out the Better Business Bureau if you are not sure of a certain agency.

 

David

 

That sounds like a travel agency's policy, but it's clearly not a HAL policy. I booked Maasdam thru a TA only a month ago, March 9th, and the charge directly from HAL hit my credit card March 10th.

 

If you have a booking number that accesses HAL's on line check in, then HAL obviously received the deposit.

However, be aware that if your final payment does not arrive at HAL on time your booking will be canceled with no notice from HAL.

That would cause a bit of a problem with your travel plans. That's not a fanciful scenario, other postings have reportedly had this happen to them.

 

Personally, I would never deal with an agency, be it online or bricks & mortar, that "passed on" the charge.

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Anything can happen but.......

 

The reality is that there are a lot of good online travel agencies and then there are a few which aren't so reliable. The economy is something else altogether and there is nothing that may stop a reliable long-existing business suddenly go bankrupt. However, there are always protection in place for some of the circumstances.

 

As for the charges being made straight to HAL.....wasn't there a recent thread where it was mentioned that HAL was changing the way they did the handling of the payment of fees in which the travel agency takes the charge card hit and then the fees are paid to HAL directly from the travel agency's account. The only reason I brought this up is that with my usual online agency I used to have all my charges go directly to the cruise line but just a few months ago it went to the agency. I was about to freak out about it but then someone wrote a thread indicating this change which helped explain what happened to me. As far as I know I am still booked on this HAL cruise.

 

vbmom87 said it best - Do your homework. Read the reviews and check out the Better Business Bureau if you are not sure of a certain agency.

 

David

 

Does anyone know the answer to her question about HAL changing handling of payments from travel agencies where it will not say it is to HAL , instead TA. I tried to call online TA to ask if they put the charged went directly to HAL.. but the travel agency is not open today.

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Does anyone know the answer to her question about HAL changing handling of payments from travel agencies where it will not say it is to HAL , instead TA. I tried to call online TA to ask if they put the charged went directly to HAL.. but the travel agency is not open today.

 

 

The agency we use is still charging direct to the cruise line. My TA stated that they have not been told to change how they are doing the charges.

 

Gary

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I was just about to book cruise on HAL site..but got hung up with the pre/post transfer thing and have to call them tomorrow if I want to book with them. I did find 2 sites with lower prices.. one is 3,301.00 for a B room on Veendam for Oct, 2010... I also found a price of 3,585.20 for same cabin on a better known online travel agency...HAL is asking 3,736.00 for this cabin. What makes me afraid is that one place online what went out of business and who took final payments from people and pocketed the money. With my cruise being so far out..anything can happen.. What would you do???? ANy advice will be appreciated!

 

Make your initial deposit with HAL and you can always transfer since it is before final payment. Make sure your credit card is charged directly to the cruise line with any online agency and make sure they send a pdf from HAL showing the final payment has been received.

 

Btw, I had a booking with that agency that went out of business and had a final payment the week before they closed and even than insisted that payment go directly to the cruise line. I did eventually get back other monies due by transferring to a new agency prior to the commission being paid. It was mainly the people who paid by cashiers check, personal check etc that had the major problems.

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As for the charges being made straight to HAL.....wasn't there a recent thread where it was mentioned that HAL was changing the way they did the handling of the payment of fees in which the travel agency takes the charge card hit and then the fees are paid to HAL directly from the travel agency's account.

 

Does anyone know the answer to her question about HAL changing handling of payments from travel agencies where it will not say it is to HAL , instead TA.

I believe the conclusion was that that was a misinterpretation of the new policy.

The policy that a TA could collect the money to it's own account, and then forward it to HAL, was a new option for TAs. But it is not a requirement.

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