Using AAA Travel Agent for Cruise

Old Aug 5th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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Using AAA Travel Agent for Cruise

We are trying to decide which Alaska cruise to take (May-June 2008). We talked with someone at AAA yesterday and she was very helpful but did not give us any rates. She provided us with cruise line printed brochures showing their published rates and said that there would be early booking discounts, etc. I would like to know if any of you have booked through AAA and if the savings was significant. I have looked on-line and the rates I saw are very close to the published rates of 2 of the cruises we are considering (Sapphire & Diamond Princess). Never used a travel agent before, but this cruise thing has been intimidating.
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Old Aug 5th, 2007, 02:37 PM
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When I decided to take my first cruise earlier this year, I went to the AAA Web site. It touted a special "sale" on the cruise I was considering, and the price seemed good. So I made the booking. Or at least I tried to. After I entered all my information, chose a cabin, and entered my credit card, I got a screen that said Unknown error message contacting your cruise line. I tried several more times and got the same message.

I decided I would get into work early the next day so I could stop at the Auto Club so that a live human being could try contacting the cruise line. But first I went to the cruise line's Web site to see whether the AAA "sale" really was anything special. It didn't say anything about a "sale," but it came up with exactly the same price. I made the booking there, and I didn't have to get up extra early the next day.

Doing your shopping and booking on-line can be useful if you know exactly what you want. If you're not sure what you want, it's worth going to a travel agent. But in a case like yours, I would also look around on-line to find out if the price the travel agent eventually quotes you is really a bargain after all.
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Old Aug 5th, 2007, 03:49 PM
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Deb I cringe when I remember back in the day using AAA travel agent. I feel like I was so ripped off back then, I know much better now.

Use the Cruise line's web site. You'll get much better deals. Trust me on this.
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Old Aug 5th, 2007, 05:04 PM
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You can not possibly get a better deal with cruise line than with travel agency (excluding agencies like Orbitz which sell at cruise line price and add their service fee). Good travel agencies would give you any deal offered by cruise line, and on top of that, most of the times would discount the price.
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Old Aug 5th, 2007, 08:38 PM
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To get the best deal, you'll want to go to http://www.cruisecompete.com. This is a site where you select a cruise than various agencies compete to offer you the best deal.

You'll probably much better here than directly with the cruise line or a AAA agency (where you'll generally pay full price).
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 06:47 AM
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Not true at all about AAA pricing. You are all wrong.
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 08:58 AM
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I've spent the weekend shopping on-line & I look forward to going back to the AAA Agent. I expect them to be able to compete, based on my experience with them and hotel rates.
ohboy - sounds like you have experience with AAA. I'd be interested in hearing more.
Thanks
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 12:56 PM
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I travel all the time and never have seen any bargains with AAA on cruises. Always have been able to do better with online discounters.

I DO suggest, however, you do your homework first and make an informed choice on cruising Alaska.

With your Princess choice, with a one way, I highly recommend you consider adding on time for interior Alaska touring. I have nothing good to say about Princess cruisetours, but if you do consider those. BE CERTAIN you know EXACTLY what you are purchasing- most people do not and neither do the agents. Go for as long as you can afford, short tours have way too much time in transit and little at the destinations, and ONLY consider a tour with the Tundra Wilderness tour at Denali Park. The Natural History tour is completely worthless.
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 01:06 PM
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BQ - We were seriously considering a CruiseTour, but decided that we didn't want to be on a bus, not able to stop when we wanted (photo-ops). It just didn't seem to be what we were looking for. We are already planning another trip to see other parts of Alaska. Our plan is to spend 4-5 days hiking in Washington before meeting up with friends (we'll all be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversaries next spring)for the cruise.
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Old Aug 6th, 2007, 01:08 PM
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Second recommendation for cruisecompete.com. I have spoken to several different travel agents and they admit it is the lowest because they have to compete against each other!
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Old Jan 20th, 2010, 10:19 AM
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Cruise Line TIP of the day.
Call the cruise line direct. Some offer discunts if you're a veteran, costco member, union member, etc. The KEY word here is " SOME "
Ask!!!
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Old Jan 20th, 2010, 03:37 PM
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We used AAA a few years ago for a cruise and had no problems. The agent was professional, made some good suggestions and even sent a "thank you" gift to our cabin. The bad news for us was she got promoted. After that I went back and one thing I learned is that AAA has "preferred" cruise lines and these are the cruise lines they want to sell first. I was asking about a non-preferred line and the agent had to send away for a brochure (not stocked as not preferred) and as a result I didn't find her very well rounded on her knowledge of cruise lines. Had the same experience 2 more times so I gave up on AAA. Now use an agent who will proactively send me e-mails about the cruises we have signed up to take (e.g. a new cabin with a better location has opened up in your category would you like to move?) and provides info very quickly in response to my e-mails.
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Old Jan 21st, 2010, 05:26 PM
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We have used AAA and they provided great service and decent rates (not necessary the lowesst). They also offered extras such as coupon booklets you can use on the ship, a souvenir tour guide book, a bottle of wine, on board credit etc. It all depends on your TA and what the promos are.

When I was at the future cruise desk, wanting to find out the rate for a specific cruise, they told me that my agent (AAA) has a better rate than their published rate due to Group discount on the one that I am interested.

I guess when an agnecy committed to a certain number of cabins, they get a big discount and they in turn pass that discounts off to the customers or offer extra goodies.

Your local AAA is only as good as the TAs they employed. Where I am at, I have dealt with 2 different TAs and they have not let me down yet. Between the 2 of them, I am well looked after.
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Old Jan 24th, 2010, 05:14 AM
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You NEVER pay the price in a ship's brochure! We figure both of us should pay that, for both of us, if not a lot less. Check with cruise.com, vacationstogo.com and the cruise line itself. Always have found AAA to be a lot more than other agencies. Or call Ann Stilson, 888-800-1177. She has been a cruise only TA for almost 20 years, has very good prices and is now independant. She is so busy she only does referrals, past passengers & groups. You must tell her Bonnie fron NC said to call her. Shop for cruise prices!
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