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Do you book cruises through a travel agent?

Do you book cruises through a travel agent?

Dec 29th, 2004, 12:53 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,122
FYI-Many online (reputable) agencies are all handled by the same company..i.e. you can compare several brands but all the service personel you call and converse with are all the same people who handle sales and service for many different companies...I can only say this as my identity is hidden inside secret...I guess what I am saying is go with the best price...more than likely unless it is a small new website/company...the service should be the same... example, Cruises Only, Cruises.com, Priceline, Orbitz-all the same people behind the scenes handling cruises so you can book with confidence....
Wednesday is offline  
Dec 30th, 2004, 03:25 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 228
I still contend that if you're looking at luxury cruise lines, you should book with an agency that specializes in luxury cruises only (not just cruises only). If you're considering Carnival, NCL, Princess and most others...it doesn't much matter and you can go with a reputable, solvent company that gives you the best price. Kathyngs did mention Radisson so my original advice still stands IMO.
newyorkgolfer41 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2005, 09:38 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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I am do all my own travel EXCEPT when it comes to Radisson... this is the top line in the world. It isnt like a carnival or Holland ship wher you can pick up a bargin your self at Vacations to go.... Radisson is in a different class all by it's self.
For Radisson I use an agent... my Radisson agent saved me 48% of the Radisson list.....and threw in ship baard credit and several shore excursions..... I used an agent with Carlson Travel...Cruise Experts , because Carlson owns Radisson... these folks deal......its the only time I use an agent is with the exclusive luxury lines.....it pays off
nss4704 is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2005, 01:21 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 480
Since my earlier comment, I had a new development regarding my upcoming cruise that relates to this thread.
When my Royal Caribbean cruise documents hadn't arrived as expected, I discovered on Cruise Critic that others on the same ship had gotten theirs. I called and e-mailed my sales agent at www.cruise.com but got no reply. I then called Royal Caribbean, who informed me that my agent had decided (who knows why)to have my docs held for me at the pier on the day of sailing. Unfortunately, RC couldn't change this; I had to call the agency. When I called back I discovered there was a different extension for customer service, so luckily I could bypass the sales agent (who two weeks later still hasn't returned my messages), and I got someone else at the agency to contact RC and have the docs e-mailed to me. I now have them.
I think the ideal is to find a reliable full service agent who is willing to meet the discount agency rates to get the repeat business and referrals. I haven't found one yet.
mscarls is offline  
Feb 9th, 2005, 02:43 PM
  #25  
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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I contacted petlover's travel agent (she's in Dallas so is probably the same person newyorkgolfer41 mentioned) and couldn't have been more pleased. In most cases she replied to my e-mail within minutes, and her attention to detail was superb. I'm confident we're in good hands and will enjoy our first cruise: July 13 on the Mariner, from Whittier to Vancouver. Many thanks to all for the good advice!
Kathyngs is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 03:00 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 478
Good going Kathyngs! I just have to mention the most important reason you should book through an agent because I did not see it listed here in direct terms. It is actually more important than price if you can believe it! It is representation!!! What if something goes wrong?? Something is wrong with how it is booked, name misspelled, wrong dining...etc. OR, something goes wrong on the cruise itself! Your travel agent has a lot more pull than you do alone. He/she has a district sales manager that they know well that can literally pull a lot of strings to take care of a problem. They want to keep the agents happy and booking their product. Also, they can go directly to the source to correct a problem fast. You may think you are doing great booking a cruise for a great rate on your own until something goes wrong. Calling the cruise line directly can all of a sudden become a nightmare!
wtggirl is offline  
Feb 13th, 2005, 03:52 PM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 262
There are a lot of important things I do in life that I don't need someone else doing for me. I just finished working with a contractor who built a new house for me. When I had problems (and you know I did), I didn't employ someone to run interference for me - I dealt with it myself. I recently bought a new car - all by myself. I understand there are middlemen that will barter for you when you buy a car - but I don't think many people do that. I just got back from a business trip with several colleagues and I arranged the air, hotel and rental car. I had some problems with one of the hotel reservations and took care of it myself. Why in the world do all the travel agents out there think that we need their help to resolve problems that might come up with a cruise. What difficulties are so sophisticated and complicated that we need them to help us?

Peter
PumpkinEater is offline  
Feb 14th, 2005, 05:54 AM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 478
I beg to differ with Pumpkineater...sorta. It is true that when booking independant travel, you can usually do just as well working out problems with your travel as a travel agent. However, with tour vendors and cruise lines it is very different (and political). This is especially true if you travel WITHOUT travel insurance. If you book a cruise for example with insurance then the insurance company can help you in many cases. But, I have two prime examples from my past to mention. One is of a couple who could not get across the Canadian border due to proof of citizenship problems the weekend of their cruise. They did not make the cruise and if it had been up to the cruise line it would have been totally nonrefundable. The travel agent in this case along with the DSM for the cruise line worked a deal with the line to get them future cruise credit. Example number two is another couple without travel insurance that could not get out of an airport due to an ice storm. Of course the airline allowed them to change their travel with no penalty. However, the land portion at a Caribbean resort was booked through a tour company without insurance. This took a lot of work on the part of the travel agent to change through the tour company. It had to be changed twice as there were two delays. Now, possibly this could have been done on their own, but who wants to sit on the phone for what could be hours to do this in a time of stress???
I could go on with examples in my past that I have seen, but I suppose I have made my point.
wtggirl is offline  
Feb 15th, 2005, 02:02 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Kathyngs,

Congrats on your Alaskan cruise on the Mariner! We went last June and had a great time. I also use the travel agent that Petlover recommended and she is wonderful to work with. It really helps to have a knowledgable agent help with the details especially when you are new to cruising.

I plan all our land trips on my own but use an agent for cruising. I just feel more comfortable that way - works for me.

Ginny
gopack is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 09:01 AM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 836
CondeNast Traveler magazine does an annual listing of top travel agents, broken down by categories (luxury ships, as one for-instance). Since the trans-Atlantic crossing we will make late next summer is our first-ever cruise experience, I chose to use a TA mentioned in last year's Traveler listing. She came up with a price that was significantly lower than the cruise line...OR an on-line agent (and we gained $250 in shipboard credit). I've only used a TA once before in my reasonably well-travelled life - and we ended up with a bolloxed up reservation in Liverpool. But while I'm also of the control-freak genus that a few others admit to in this thread, I'm puzzled by Peter's almost bitter put-down of travel agents. (And just for arguement's sake, I wonder by whose standards Radisson is judged the "top line in the world" if that world also includes Seabourn and Silversea?)
tuckerdc is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 02:25 PM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 262
The bitterness comes from years of reading their posts, mostly on this website, scaring and misinforming readers about the devastation that will be theirs if they stray from the all-knowing travel agents. They have a condescending tone implying we are helpless without them. I have heard statements from them like "you must take the ship's excursions in Europe or you life will be in danger" to the always ridiculous "if you don't take the ship's excursion and you're late they will leave without you so you'd better be back three hours before sailing".

As for price, I've said it before, and I'll say it again; there isn't a non-online travel agency that can beat the on-lines for price. I would challenge you to go to cruisecompete.com and see what kind of prices you can get for the cruise you booked and report back if you still think you have the best price.

Peter
PumpkinEater is offline  
Feb 20th, 2005, 04:09 PM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 478
Peter, right you are...there are some agents with bad advise and some who make mistakes-they're human. AND, there are some people who really don't need a travel agent and those are the ones who already know everything! I think travel agents are not unhappy about this. When something does go wrong the person who knows everything will most surely need to find someone ELSE to blame and without a travel agent, that leaves one less person! ;0
wtggirl is offline  

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