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If a travel agent makes reservation for you,

If a travel agent makes reservation for you,

Dec 28th, 2010, 12:34 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 19,814
If a travel agent makes reservation for you,

how do you know you get the cabin you want?

For me it's important where the cabin is, when I make my own reservations I first of all check which cabins are available, and reserve the one I want.

With an agent, how do you know s/he will not sign you up for an "upgrade" that will move you to a different part of the ship? I've met people on the ship who's agents messed up their reservations, and they were far from happy!

I do want all the perks and discounts, but how can I be sure I will get the cabin # I want?
Dayenu is offline  
Dec 28th, 2010, 12:54 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,087
I have been using the same agent for years - they are on the Internet but have a physical office as well. When I book a cruise he hooks up a three conversation with the cruise line's customer service agent (I prefer HAL and have over 500 days with them) and we discuss cabin preference and choose one at that time. I never take the guaranteed with chance of upgrade because I am adamant about getting midship and relatively low on the ship. We've experienced too many rough sea days to take a chance on that.
traveller69 is offline  
Dec 28th, 2010, 01:02 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You sit down and tell your travel agent what you do and do not want and clearly understand each other. It should be that simple. My TA always sends me a copy of the cruise line's confirmation. I know my TA will do all possible to keep me happy and wants me to come back each time I travel. That is the name of the game.
charli is offline  
Dec 28th, 2010, 01:33 PM
  #4  
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So... the deal-breaker is to find a trustworthy agent. HOW? How do you know if this agent is trustworthy? Maybe I should check the cruise website to see if there is a list of agents?
Dayenu is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 05:22 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
have done my last couple at great discounts on

www.priceline.com software that allowed me to

pick the prcise cabin I wanted.

Good agents who work with you with problems

probably saved 70% on a Balcony Western Carib cruise

Carnival Legend paid $400 per person an awesome deal.
qwovadis is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 12:16 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I prefer to have a local TA who is a real person I can see and talk with, not someone on-line who may be thousands of miles from me and not really care if I ever come back or not. Like any other business person, you can get references, talk with other clients of theirs, but best of all you know fast enough if someone is "good" or not by their business with you and looking at you in the eyes. I may not get all the "deals" some people rave about, but I am a firm believer that nothing is FREE and I believe I do not pay any more than the average traveler. I am happy and that is what is important to me.
charli is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 01:08 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 453
You can also pull up the deck and cabin diagrams, see what is still available, and choose the one you want.
1965 is offline  
Dec 29th, 2010, 01:26 PM
  #8  
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If an agent makes a reservation, can you see it on the cruise line website? How are you sure "upgrade" is not marked?
Dayenu is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 04:41 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I always work with an online travel agent (in my case, Best Price Cruises); have never had problems with picking my own cabin and having the agent book it and mark it "no upgrade." Once the booking is made, the agent has always provided the cruise line booking number (different from the agent's confirmation code). I go online to the cruise line website, verify my booking, and complete any online information the cruise line wants, book excursions, and whatnot. I've even called the cruise line to confirm the no upgrade designation on a few occasions when I really wanted to make sure the cabin would not be changed.
eenusa is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 12:10 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
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Dayenu, I always deals with a local TA. Support your local business or else they will all disappear. You have to support your local community even if it mwans a few dolalrs more. What dollar value do you place on service and a vibrant community? If everyonedo everything on line, there will be no more stores, no more sales staff, cashiers etc, no more jobs, no more community.

The easy answer about finding a good TA is to post a problem and see how they solve it for you. You can tell the good from the bad real easy from how do handle the sitaution. Once you find them, hold on to them. Instead of a TA sending me a Christmas card or thank you card trying to get my repeat business, I send my TA flowers (or choclates) after a trip and thank them for making all the arrangements.

I usually deal with 3 different agencies and depending on what and where I am booking for, I go to different ones as they all have different expertise. A good TA doesn't just saves you money, he or she saves you time (and hassles) as well and they should be able to spot trouble a mile away.

I find myslef dealing more and more with one aprticular agency as the have up their service level another notch, and the price is reasonable.

I am trying to book a cruise for Jan 2011 (last minute) and I went on cruisecomplete. There were 9 agents sending me quotes. They are all within $100 of each other for the same cabin category. There was one quoted much lower but when I called they said the cabin is gone and the price is higher now, re-quotingme the same rate as everyone else.

My TA's price is in line with everyone else. For $50 differnce (total cost of the travel with air/cruise/hotel etc is going to be well over $5,000 an dthat is not couting expenditure such as food/beverage/exciursions etc), would you cheap out and book with the lowestr for $50 less, or you should support your local community for the $50 difference?

The keyword is "TRUST". You have to trust your TA and that's why I said if you find a good one, hold on to them.
Eschew is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 12:39 PM
  #11  
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"Once you find them, hold on to them." - this is the problem! I am afraid to spoil my cruise. Heard too many stories...

Maybe I should start with Expedia that gives a discount, but there I can choose a cabin myself? I will probably try for the next cruise.
Dayenu is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 01:27 PM
  #12  
 
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Since you have to start somewhere, let's start with your local TA down the street from where you live or where you work. Heck, even go to your local mall or even you AAA travel department. Go meet them face to face. You go on-line, you are killing the community that you are living in.

A TA can't spoil your cruise, you can. Who makes the decision? You or the TA? Who is on the ship? If you are a happy go lucky carefree type of a perpon, and usually can make the best out of a worst sitaution, no one can ruin your holidays.
Eschew is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 02:03 PM
  #13  
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San Francisco? What community In our apartment building I don't even know the neighbors!

If I am in the wrong cabin my vacations will be spoiled, I can easily get sea sick, cabin location is the most important thing on the cruise. I've met people who were "upgraded" by their TAs. This is what scares me the most.

I won't be able to call the cruise line to make sure I will get the desired cabin - if the reservation is made by a TA, they wouldn't even talk to me.

I will probably not be able to check on-line as the reservation will be made by the TA. Hmmm... I wonder if I can make the reservation, and later "release" it to a TA like they allow to do it with bus tours?
Dayenu is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 04:35 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Sorry, I am beginning to think you are not for real. So much panic over nothing. I would not want to be your travel agent, just call the cruise line.
charli is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 06:59 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
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I book all my cruises through my TA. Most time, I sat across from them at their desk, she has the deck plan in front of us. She told me what is available based on the inventory shown on the computer, she is talking to the cruisie line at the same time on her head set. I picked the cabin I wanted and then she ask them for the upgrade, paying for a lower category but keeping my higher category cabin selected. They go back and forth for a bit until I am happy with my selection (price, category and lcoation) She booked it and confirmed a cabin number. She marked down no further changes. That's it!

My TA helps me with cabin selection as well. I might have thought a cabin is good until she pointed out that casino or night club or whatever is right above or below or next to the cabin I picked and made alternate suggestions, knowing what my needs are. You have to communciate with them on what you need and what you want.

I can always access the cruise line web site and managed my booking and do the pre-cruise planning & documentation thing. My TA usually looks after the documentation, print my boarding pass, get luggage tags, travel advisroies, and anything else I need into a nice package and send it to me (or I'll pick it up).

On the cruise line web pages, I can check the cabin number etc. No issues. All you need to do is register yourself with the cruise line web page and have an on-line account, which is free, and it is tied into your customer number.

I am not sure what is the issue with booking through a TA (on line or not) and not able to check your cabin number. Even if you book through Expedia, the cruise ship will not talk to you about your reservation anyway (actually they will talk to you about everything, except for the money part).

With the on-line TAs, when they charge your credit card, is it paying to the cruise line or to their own bank account? It is safer and easier to deal with a "live" person than the phone or web.

You can always google yellowpages or san francisco travel agent review and find one near you and with good reputation and reviews.
Eschew is offline  
Dec 30th, 2010, 09:09 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 309
"I will probably not be able to check on-line as the reservation will be made by the TA." Yes, you will. You'll get your reservation number from TA and online check-in is your responsibility.
As for supporting your local community, I think we should support good agents, no matter where they are. I wouldn't overpay or settle for sloppy service only to support local agents. If they are not competitive, they will eventually get out of business anyway.
spurs is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 08:56 AM
  #17  
 
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i believe eschew meant cruisecompete.com.

Faina! Get yourself over to cruisecritic.com, and climb the learning curve over there. Then let's talk.
Betsy is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 11:20 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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I have used a great TA to book cruises - have never met her. What initially impressed me was how active she and others from her company have been on Cruise Critic. Advice was also sound and she wasn't afraid to recommend independent touring and private guides. She always took into consideration my preferences and was pro active in contacting me when a better location cabin (based on our prefernces) came open. If you want a particular cabin, look at the ship's plan first and then tell the TA. I've always found my reservation at the cruise line's site by logging in. Cruise Critic is a great source for info on cruising.
patandhank is online now  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 11:33 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,020
We haven't had a TA for years because too many times we didn't get what we asked for, not on cruises but other trips. We booked cruises twice through cruisesonly.com and the first was fine, much lower price, etc. However, the second cruise we wanted the same room we had on the prior cruise (it was the same ship) and they upgraded us without telling us. I periodically checked our reservation and discovered what they had done. I told them I wanted my original room back. They said it had been reassigned. I told them to give the upgrade to those people or we would cancel the reservation. We got the room we wanted back again.

The only thing I can suggest is to keep track of your reservation to make sure everything is as it should be. You might also specify at the time you reserve you don't want an upgrade unless it's to a suite or something really superior to what you have and in a part of the ship you like. Some travelers love their TAs and wouldn't think of planning a trip without them and that's great. We've just had better luck planning our own trips, reserving hotels, rental cars, train and plane tickets, etc. Our last two cruises were reserved through Costco Travel and no complaints on either.
Giovanna is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2011, 01:55 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
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To each their own ... whatever works. I just favors my local TA, support the local business community vs using an on-line TA.
Eschew is offline  

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