To book direct or through agents?

Dec 10th, 2003, 03:51 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 38
To book direct or through agents?

We are planning a Star Clippers cruise in Greece in July. By booking direct through Star Clippers we are able to take the early payment discount ($575). Is there any economic or other advantage to booking through an agent?
TAD1 is offline  
Dec 10th, 2003, 05:42 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 651
I can't speak specifically to Star Clippers, but in general you get the best deals through TA's. Shop around and see who is offering what.

http://www.cruisecompete.com is a good place to start--you can get multiple quotes from competing agencies. See how these compare to the offer you got--maybe you have a great deal already, maybe there's something better out there.

The other main advantage to having a TA is, that if something goes wrong, you have a person who can act as an advocate for you with the line. If the TA's company sells a lot of Star Clipper business, they have more leverage than you do when complaining.

Cheers!
triathlete is offline  
Dec 10th, 2003, 05:43 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 100
good question. Almost all cruise lines will credit you the difference if the price drops after you buy your tickets. Buying early allows you to get good deals in the cheap cabins that will go early on. (For example, you will not find the category Q or M cabins a month before departure but you can get them several months before departure).

However, I have ALWAYS been able to find prices cheaper than what the cruise line offers. Even when the cruise line solicits you DURING A CRUISE to book your next cruise, I have always remembered that price and found something cheaper later on.
snorkelman is offline  
Dec 10th, 2003, 09:42 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 55
If you are novice cruiser, you may want to use an agent. Unless the agency specializes is Star Clippers, they will have to do the same work you do and investigate.

I book myself online and then call the cruise company directly with questions.
MsWitty1 is offline  
Dec 10th, 2003, 10:00 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,399
In my experience booking direct through the Cruise line has always been at least $100 more expensive per person. It pays to shop around. Sounds like fun!
travelinwifey is offline  
Dec 10th, 2003, 10:50 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 36
I'm looking at booking a cruise with Star Clippers. Was the discount $575 per person or per couple or booking?
sgibson123 is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 02:58 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 686
I always save booking through my agent since she doesn't take as large of a commission when cruise lines charge the full commission.
Theresa is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 09:37 AM
  #8  
DMG
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 478
An agent should be able to get you the early booking discount as well. I actually often call the cruise line, hold the cabin I want, then call my travel agent and assign the booking to her. She often gets me a better price than I was quoted by the line. Also you may get a shipboard credit by paying with Visa and American Express Platinum Card on certain lines.
DMG is offline  
Dec 11th, 2003, 12:10 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 100
Don't let the shipboard credit fool you. Almost always I can end up spending less money if i shop around and get the best price on the cruise than if i accept the shipboard credits offered. Even with shipboard credits, you can almost always find a price that is the same or slightly less than whatever you were quoted when they offered you that ship-board credit (even when you include the value of the credit!)
snorkelman is offline  
Dec 12th, 2003, 12:13 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 38
Thanks for all your advice, I'll try a few agents and see what they come up with.
In response to SGibson - the $575 discount is per person on the Athens summer 2004 itinery, if booked by March 31 (published in the Star Clippers brochure).
TAD1 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:50 AM.