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Any need for a travel agent when booking a cruise?

Any need for a travel agent when booking a cruise?

Jun 24th, 2009, 07:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,837
Any need for a travel agent when booking a cruise?

I have found the cruise I want and talked with Carnival agent who helped answer all my questions. Why use a travel agent? Any thoughts on this?
annikany is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,109
I haven't sailed in a long while but recently just booked a cruise. I've been doing our travel bookings independently for over 10 years now and haven't used a travel agent in that time. However, in my research for a cruise, I noticed that booking on-line directly with the cruiseline (for Princess, at least), was more expensive than using an agent. Plus an agent was able to give us an OBC. Just my 2 bits.

klam_chowder is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 08:34 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 5
There really is no need to use a T/A, the perks you may receive through them may be of value to you, but not to others. They are not allowed legally to discount them any cheaper than the rates of the cruise lines themselves. So, they make up for it in onboard credits and what-not.

Personally, i prefer to have full control of my booking where i can just jump online or call the cruise line and get things changed, updated myself vs. having to call and or wait for the T/A to reply.

Just a personal preference is all.
Luv4dacruise is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 08:38 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 5
Also, check out www.cruisecritic.com, this boards information is way out of date.
Luv4dacruise is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 08:44 AM
Original Poster
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Posts: 1,837
Thanks for the replies. I also like handling things myself. Carnival website guarantees the best price and if you find a lower price before you sail they will honor it with a credit (onboard).
annikany is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 08:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Pro: you may get perks and/or discounts (or may not!)

Con: you lose control over your reservation, and you cannot call the cruise line with questions
Dayenu is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 04:27 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 68
Well here are my two cents.

T/A's can discount lower than the price you see on the cruise lines website. It just depends on the Travel Agency you work with. I know of one that will discount any cruise. Plus most T/A have perks like upgrades and money added to your cruise account.

You do not loose control of your reservation with a Travel Agent. In fact most cruise lines have web sites that allow you to many things to your reservation.

Remember that T/A's have access to many deals and other little pricing that you do not. The cruise line if you call or if you book on their web site might not give you that special rate. I booked with my agent and got a rare from a direct mail piece that I never saw and saved $65 per person.
Bon_Bon is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 231
klam_chowder, as prior posters have stated, for internet-savvy travelers (of which you are obviously one), the choice is between full control of your reservations (i.e., booking directly with the cruise company) and perks/discounts that you can get from a good travel agent. As of 5 or so years ago, travel agents can no longer discount cruises and, instead, offer onboard credit.

The credit amount varies depending on the agent and a cruise line. To give you an example, two years ago our travel agent gave us back $350 on a Celebrity Eastern Mediterranean cruise priced at around $5,000. The price of the cruise went down a few times within a short period and, every time, we had to go through our travel agent to get the refunds. Same goes for changing cabbins, dining options, etc. I thought that $350 was a high enough amount to give up some control.

By the way, notice that I said "some" control. Not sure if this applies to all cruise lines, but with Celebrity we were able to register on their website, fill out all papers, book on-shore excursions, etc.
EugeneNY is offline  
Jun 25th, 2009, 02:21 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 309
While everybody has an opinion, the fact is that most cruise lines (including Carnival and their family which are Princess, Holland America, Costa, Cunard, Windstar) allow travel agents to discount their prices. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney do not. Here are 3 major reasons I book through TA:
1. Large agencies have group incentives on most cruises and offer either lower rates or perks like onboard credit, free insurance, wine etc.
2. Even if there is no group, good TA always gives you a discount from cruise line price. And if discounting is not allowed with this specific cruise line, you get onboard credit instead - that's basically same as cash as you need to pay at least gratuities on board anyway.
3. Good TA will watch for rate reduction and will give it me. Cruise line wouldn't unless you watch it by yourself and ask them.
Now, speaking of control over my booking: I have it through the agent. Either by e-mail or phone, I get almost instant respond. And I don't really need it since I know my agent always acts in my best interests so I don't need to spend any of my time. This is my opinion and I realize other people have different approach. But, frankly, I don't see a single advantage of booking directly with cruise lines.
spurs is offline  
Jun 29th, 2009, 11:38 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 5
Spurs: Hardly an opinion, it is a FACT that T/A'a are no longer able to discount any cruise line. What you may see as a discount is the T/A taking a cut in there commision.

1. You are correct, but this is in no way them getting you a discounted price through the cruise line, they are still paying the same price, just taking a cut in there commision.

2. This is not a rule, you do not always get some sort of incentive from a T/A.

3. A good T/A will watch for a fare reduction, that is true. But, so won't a good PCP (or whatever the respective cruise line your booking with calls them).

I have to say (this is really off topic) but everyone on this board is really misinformed about things compared to other cruise boards
Luv4dacruise is offline  
Jun 30th, 2009, 06:03 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 31
I used to bypass travel agents and go directly to the cruiseline website. However, last year I tried to book (well in advance) a cruise with Princess and found that all the outside cabins were wait-listed. I ended up looking at HollandAmerica, which I then went through a travel agent for. I ended up booking the HAL cruise but learned that there were plenty of outside cabins available through Princess, but they were apparently only available through distributors.

Don't know how often this sort of thing goes on, but it may be worth comparing.
SDGlenn is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 510
"They are not allowed legally to discount them any cheaper than the rates of the cruise lines themselves."
What law and what country?
norrisken is offline  
Jul 1st, 2009, 11:40 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 351
I like an agent that I can sit down and talk to. They know me and I know them. They can get a good price, they hope for repeat business, they watch the changes and opportunities, and they are available to help if you have trouble while away.They may not be the cheapest, but if you are taking a cruise, the implication is that you are not destitute and need not squeeze the last nickle out of a deal.
Aristotle is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2009, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,730
Book driect or book through TA is same price most of the time.
Advantgae of TA - personalized service and can book you cruise tours outside what cruise line offers and customize.
TA watch for price drops (someone had said that already)
TA has group rates - on selecetd cruises, they have better than what ship offers direct (The cruise line has told me to book through my TA as my TA has better rates)
TA can discount, if not, offer "extra gifts" such as bottle of wine, on board credit, pre-paid grats etc.
Eschew is offline  

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