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Questions on booking cruise/cruise agency

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Aug 15th, 2011, 06:03 PM
  #1
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Questions on booking cruise/cruise agency

Hi all. I am researching our second cruise. I contacted our prior agent, who I was happy with, but also sent in a bid to cruisecompete. The cruisecompete bids are all $200 cheaper than my prior agent's, plus come with larger on board credits.

I keep reading to check for hidden fees - but what exactly should be checking for? Taxes and port charges? Anything else?

Also, I believe it is best to purchase trip insurance separately?

Lastly, if anyone has specific experience with Cruise Adventure Travel, I'd love to hear about it.

Many thanks.
karens is offline  
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Aug 16th, 2011, 04:21 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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good personal experience with them in past nothing hidden

always book my comp travel cover separately

www.quotewright.com from $1 pppd usually Patriot or Amex

get better prices these days priceline.com vacationstogo.com

Happy Travels!
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Aug 16th, 2011, 08:04 AM
  #3
 
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Karens, don't be afraid to call and talk to the agent that sent you the quote on cruise compete. I found my current agent with them. One question to ask is if the agent charges a cancellation fee. Most cruise lines do not charge one until final payment. Some agents will charge one. I always pay with a credit card (leaves a better paper trail if there is a problem). If you use a credit card, make sure the agent/agency passes your cc number on to the cruise rather than charge it through the agency. Ask if the quote through a "group" booking. If so, what are the ramifications. If yo don't like the answers to your questions or get a bad vibe, don't book with them.

My local travel agencies can't even come close to the deals I get with my current agent (I live in CA and my agent is in FL). Good luck.
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Aug 16th, 2011, 01:15 PM
  #4
 
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Karen,

I am reluctant to purchase insurance through the cruise line because it may include coverage I do not want, or exclude coverage I want. E.g., I usually make my own air arrangements. On most cruises, I will book before or after cruise land arrangements. Those are not booked through the cruise line because those bookings are very expensive for same or similar arrangements. If you go to insuremytrip.com, you will be able to find insurance that meets your particular requirements at lower cost than the cruise line's package.
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Aug 16th, 2011, 04:56 PM
  #5
 
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One thing to look for is the "category". Make sure it is the same category. Otherwise, you will be comapring apples to oranges. They may be the same type of cabin (inside/outside), but different category are different in price.

Hidden cahrges are admin fee, change fee, booking fee, shipping charges etc. The best question to ask is what would be the total amount you have to paid, including port charges, tax, fuel surcharges, fess etc.
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Aug 17th, 2011, 11:35 AM
  #6
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Thanks, all. I couldn't figure out why all the cruisecompete quotes were at least $300 less than the agent who we used last time. The difference was the cabins - once I asked one of the agencies if the quote was the same for same cabins (on the same deck) my agent was quoting me, I learned it would have been higher.

The other agency could get me more on board credits, but I think I'm going to stick with my current agent b/c I've worked with her successfully once in the past.
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Aug 17th, 2011, 04:07 PM
  #7
 
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Karen, support your local business. It is not all about price. A lot of people don't make the right comparison.
Here is a tip, ask your agent to book you on a lower category and then ask the TA to ask the cruise line for an upgrade.
Depending on the season, it may not work. On low season, it works everytime. But you don't know about the upgarde until later. On our last cruise, we were upgraded twice.
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Aug 18th, 2011, 04:42 PM
  #8
 
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Karens, a good agent is as difficult to find as a good dentist. Once you found one, stick with him/her.

As for insurance, go to InsureMyTrip and do a comparison shopping there.
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Aug 22nd, 2011, 08:38 PM
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Dayenu, we send my TA flowers and choclates ... Of course, DW signed her name on the card too. Our TA had done so much for us and saved us lots of hassle plus saving us money. She is only one phone call or an email away and she arranged a last minute tour (outside the ship's excursions) for us last year while we were in Europe. She also finds last minute deals for us.She knew where she can get free upgardes and book thing accordingly.

She arranged a trip for us to Peru and the Galapagos for October this year. After we booked everything and paid the deposit, we ask for a discount & upgarde. So far, she got us $450 off before final payment. We will find out about the upgrade later.

She looks up air fare and airline schedules for us knowing that we won't book air from her as we use points or book direct with the airline. It is just part of the service she provides.
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Aug 24th, 2011, 10:00 AM
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Wow, Eschew, is she for real
Dayenu is online now  
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Aug 24th, 2011, 04:12 PM
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Yes, Dayenu, she is awesome. For $25 worth of flowers, in exchange for $450 discount and all the work checking airline schedule to Lima; booked all the hotels in Peru for us and more. We told her where we would like to visit and she did the home work. For this Lima trip, she had checked out 4 or 5 tour companies and we ended up picking this one as as she has other clients who used them before. She called them and ask them for their opinions.

Typically, 2 weeks before departure date, she will send us travel bulletines and alerts. Not that we will change our mind ... She will call a week after we got back and asked us how are things. It is a relationship that took some time to build.
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