Alaska Cruise Travel Agents

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Mar 7th, 2009, 05:05 PM
  #1
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Alaska Cruise Travel Agents

I'm new to cruising - only 1 cruise 3 years ago. I booked with AAA because I didn't know anything. I didn't really see a lot of benefit in using te agent - most of the information I could get online. Most of my regular travel I locate and book online so I know who's good and and who's not. I don't know about online cruise travel agents.

We're planning an Alaskan cruise in Sept (33rd wedding anniversary). I've searched online with Kayak, Crusiecompete, Carnival and Discover (we have reward points). I've identified seveal online agents that seem to have the best prices. They are listed below. Does anyone have any experience (good or bad) with any of them or others?

Cruises.com
Vacationoutlet.com
cruisevacationoutlet.com
Crowncruisevacations.com
Cruises-n-more.com

Thanks.
martink88 is offline  
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Mar 7th, 2009, 08:08 PM
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I always use http://www.vacationstogo.com/ to check out prices and then use cruise-connections.com to book it. (I have used cruise connections for quite a few cruises and they have always met the vacations to go price and given me an upgrade)
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Mar 8th, 2009, 06:22 AM
  #3
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Have you ever used Kayak.com? Their TAs are offering a free 8-catetory update (I've never heard of such) and 15% off of all shore excursions. What do I need to what out for with this kind of an offer?
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Mar 8th, 2009, 01:17 PM
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Opps. I mean 8 category upgrade.
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Mar 8th, 2009, 01:53 PM
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Kayak doesn't sell cruises, they gather vendors websites and prices, something like cruisecompete. And if their agents offer free upgrade, most likely it comes from cruise line so you can get it everywhere. Check also [email protected], it is my agent I've been using for many years.
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Mar 8th, 2009, 01:54 PM
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I have used Kayak to check prices in the past. As I say I have a good relationship with an agent at cruise-connections.com. They are in Vancouver so I can physically go into their office (although I have never had to and they do service all of North America not just Canada) I always shop around - but I like to use cruise.com because you can actually go through the whole process and see what cabins they are offering. Then if their price was better than I can do with Cruise connections I just call my agent there and tell him and they have either met the price with an upgrade or given me a better deal. They do advertise that they won't be undersold. So if I were you - use cruise.com and go through the motions of actually choosing the cruise and category and see what cabins they have in the category you want. You can shop from there knowing what the price is for the category. I always go back to cruise connections because of their good service in the past - I have probably booked over 20 cruises with them and always had the documents in good time etc etc. I can recommend the agent if you like but I don't usually post that as I am not trying to advertise for them - just report on good service.
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Mar 9th, 2009, 03:20 AM
  #7
 
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I have not use any on line agents but have used AAA.
I thought the price difference is not that great and I would like to support my local AAA.

Ask your AAA agent about their special crusies. Every agent has special deals (group bookings) for specific crusies. Find out whch one AAA offers and you will generally get some of the following (depending on the trp): onboard gift, bottle of wine, on baord credit, free hotel room, luggage set etc.

Agents always showcase their best deals so it seems on line agents have better prices. If you pick a crusie that they do not have a group rate, you will find that all travel agents charges the same price unless they are willing to give up part of the commission and give it back as on board criedts.

On line agents have much lower overhead (no store front) and therefore may afford to give back a bigger cut of the commission and still makes mroe money.

Yes, you may save a few bucks with an on line agent but I will support my local business first any day. The on line agents are call centers and could be off shore.
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Mar 9th, 2009, 04:19 PM
  #8
 
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A personal, private, local travel agent is, I think the best bet. They will find good prices, usually keep you from the worst pitfalls and have your interests at heart. We have done both, and have been most satyisfied with someone we know.
They are also ready to help you if trouble occurs overseas.
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Mar 11th, 2009, 10:15 PM
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Aritotle, I am with you 100%. Nothing beats doing business with someone you know and do it face to face. Some on line agents offer cheaper rates but adds hidden fees. A fellow passeneger mentioned that she got a 7 day Mexican cruise for $299 but they wanted to charge her $200 "administration fee", plus port charges, plus tax, plus, plus, plus .... so what's the bargin? My TA usually quote me one rate and that's it, with no additional fees.
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Mar 12th, 2009, 08:17 AM
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Administration fee is a ripoff but not port charge or tax, you must pay that no matter where you book. In this age of technology, it doesn't matter whether your agent's office is next to your home or thousands miles away. I communicate with my agent over e-mail and only talked to him once over the phone, but always get great deals and service.
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Mar 15th, 2009, 12:11 PM
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My point is not the technology. It's supporting your local business. I book my air travel on line all the time, with the airline direct and not through on line agents.
When you get into a problem area such as non payment to the cruise line, you really don't have much choices with an on line agent. If they book the wrong category, wrong time for dining etc, you maybe able to fix with the cruise line.
Administration fee is rip off, and I know you have to pay fee and port charges, a good TA will tell you all the cost up front so you won't have any surprises. New travellers may not be aware of the fee and port charges and get enticed by the lower price tag when the local agent is quoting all the cost.
After they put the deposit down, then there is no return. There are no free lunches.
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Sep 23rd, 2009, 09:39 PM
  #12
 
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I always check out www.cruisevolution.com for reviews of ships and stuff like that, but then I actually buy the cruises from www.americandiscountcruises.com since they have the best deals and I haven't had a problem with them.
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Sep 23rd, 2009, 09:39 PM
  #13
 
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I just realized the time gap between my post and the previous ones, but hopefully this helps someone out anyway!
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