Where to book cruise?

Jun 14th, 2004, 12:46 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 167
Where to book cruise?

On-line or travel agent?
Sara8374 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2004, 02:33 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4
You should get the same rates whether you go online or thru an agent. The main difference is service. Rates on cruises can drop and the online service will not notify you if the price drops, but a good agent will. Do keep in mind that when you book "online", you are actually booking with an agent, but their service stops at the point of sale. A "live" agent will help you determine what cruise line / ship will best suit your needs. Most likely, the agent has been on several cruises and has first hand knowledge. For instance, if you are in your early 20's and you booked a Holland America sailing, you would probably be unhappy, as the average age is 55 +, even though food and service would be outstanding.

luv2tvl is offline  
Jun 14th, 2004, 06:03 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 270
Also, the travel agent I last used to book a cruise was able to find some extra discounts I'd never have known to look for. She specialized in the cruise line I was using, so I expect that helped.
crys is offline  
Jun 14th, 2004, 06:22 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 262
Here we go again.

Definition: Travel Agent = works for "brick and mortar" agency like in the mall, downtown next to the barber shop, etc.

There isn't a travel agent anywhere in the world that can beat the lowest internet cruise fare. That's why they will always brag that they provide better service. They'll send a cheap bottle of wine to you cabin and look lovingly at your photos when you return. They'll call you "sweetie" and send you a Christmas card. But they won't beat the internet price.

Let me ask you this. Do you now bank online? Do you find yourself sending fewer letter and more emails with pictures attached? How do you book you hotel room for a shopping weekend in the city? When was the last time you used a travel agent for your airline tickets to see Grandma? I'll bet your last rental car for personal business was booked online. Get the picture?

Peter

PumpkinEater is offline  
Jun 14th, 2004, 08:52 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 42
I like to book travel by myself on net. And I thought just like Peter that no agent in the world can beat the lowest Internet price. Until one day when TA gave me 30% lower price than I could get on the net. I learned that every once in a while they have sale prices that are only availble to TA. It is called happy hour sale or flash sale. My advice is to do both net and TA shopping. Good TA can be invaluable.
happycruiser is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 06:11 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 262
happycruiser - tell us a little more about the cruise you took where the price was 30% below the lowest internet price. When, to where, on what and how much? Credibility is everything.

Peter
PumpkinEater is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 10:06 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 42
It was Rhapsody of The Seas on 06/06/04 to W. Caribbean which I booked for my friend's family. Two ocean view cabins cat. H gross total paid $1341.50 for each. The lowest Internet price I found was $1898.50 per cabin.
happycruiser is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 02:23 PM
  #8  
esd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 261
Anything is possible and all rules have an exception but, day in and day out, I've decided that the internet is very hard to beat price-wise.

We are booked on the Galaxy..12 nights in November out of Galveston. My TA was somewhere in the middle amongst the 5 internet prices I got but she was a few hundred dollars higher than the lowest internet price. Last year she was just a few $'s higher than the lowest on line price for the Sky to Alaska so we booked with her. But on the 3 cruises we've taken since I discovered the online sites, she has never given me the lowest price.

This has just been my experience.
esd is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 04:40 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 262
Early June is about equivilent to pricing in September. You can go to any online site and book the Rhapsody for $625 per person including port taxes.

Peter
PumpkinEater is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 05:04 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 42
Aha, looks like we got another Texan here, don't we, esd? We too are booked in November from Galveston, but on Grand Princess. I am exited to cruise the largest ship ever sailed from any Texas ports. Too bad she only starts in fall, I would rather have done it in summer when kids are out of school.
happycruiser is offline  
Jun 15th, 2004, 10:53 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 63
You should use www.cruisequick.com. They beat everyone, but only email, no phone contact.
narob is offline  
Jun 18th, 2004, 02:18 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 32
I use my travel agent and have always been pleased with both the price and service. As I have been doing business with her for over 12 years she knows just what I want. Unlike some of the anti agents here, I prefer the human touch. The upgrades are nice too.
In other words, if you want to do the work, do it. If not, find yourself a good agent and relax.
heretoday is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2004, 04:47 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 153
Cruisequick is NOT always the lowest. Many times they are, but not always. I have seen others beat their quote more than once.
One "On Line TA" will not be the lowest for every single cruise out there. You have to do lots of research and get a lot of quotes.

You can save hundreds of dollars using on line.

Starfish is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2004, 04:13 AM
  #14  
jd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 591
I just booked 2 cabins with Cruisequick. I found 1 other online agency that matched their quote after much research, but then charged a $75 cancellation fee for each cabin. I went with Cruisequick and hopefully all will go smoothly.
jd is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2004, 08:10 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 651
What does an "Internet travel agent" look like? Does she have a modem cable sticking out the back of the skull? Are "bricks and mortar" agents actually made out of bricks? If you call them on the phone, do they morph into "phone agents"?

Look, folks, just because somebody has a web site doesn't mean they're not a travel agent. What do you think Expedia and Travelocity are, anyway? They're travel agencies--no more, no less. And you can bypass their web sites and talk directly to a live huuman travel agent anytime you want.

Just because someone sits in a little storefront office is no guarantee that you'll get better service from them. Some I'm sure are wonderful, others aren't--but having or not having a web site has absolutely nothing to do with it.

As to who has the best prices for a specific ship and sailing--the answer is: you never know until you shop around. The little agent on the corner may have group space reserved from a year ago on exactly the cruise you want and have a lower rate. But the odds are that the large, sophisticated, Internet-savvy agencies who are doing larger volumes of business and get the biggest commissions and overrides and the most group inventory from the cruise lines are going to do better.

An easy way to shop around is to use http://www.cruisecompete.com

Pick your cruise, and let agents compete to offer you the lowest rates. If you get a better deal on your particular sailing, great. If not you've only invested a small amount of your time--and you get the confidence that the deal you had previously was a good one.

Cheers!
triathlete is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2004, 10:09 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1
A greta place to book a cruise is @ www.bookingbuddy.com This website is a great search site, in which you type in your departure city and date and they search all the major travel sites for the best fares. They search orbitz, expedia etc. and only show you the lowest fares on each of the sites. Therefore you get to compare prices and packages and make the best decisions for your cruise.
travellots is offline  
Jun 27th, 2004, 08:18 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 83
For my last three cruises I have used www.cruisecompete.com and saved a BUNDLE! (I got my last cruise over 600.00 cheaper PP!) What you do is go to their web site, make up a screen name, put in the cruise & date you want, and put in 2 cabin categories). Then all reputable companies e-mail you their best offer for that particular cruise. Then different companies give you their best prices for that cruise in the 2 categories you requested (inside, balcony....) You have no obligation to book with any of the companies from cruise compete, but I always do. I would never use anything else to book a cruise, I always save so much and get to compare rates. Also, there is haggling involved, if you want to use one campany (ex; Best Priced Cruises) but (Vacations To Go gave you the best rate), you can e-mail or call Best Price Cruises & tell them you got a better offer, & usually the company will match it to get your business.
I always shopped around for great priced, but I never got such good deals before I used www.cruisecompete.com. (There was an article about them in the NY Times Travel Section (on getting great cruise deals). Also, my friends who also cruise use cruisecompete and save so much and swear by them too.
Hope this info helps,
Marina

6/03 - Celebrity Horizon ~ Bermuda
7/03 - Carnival Paradise ~ West. Carrib.
7/04 - Disney Wonder ~ Bahamas
7/04 - RCCL Explorer of the Seas ~ West. Carrib.
8/04 - NCL Pride of Aloha ~ Hawaii
2/05 - Golden Princess ~ Southern. Carrib.
oceanolympia is offline  
Jun 27th, 2004, 09:38 AM
  #18  
jd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 591
I think cruisecompete is a great site, but so far all the quotes that have come in have not beat cruisequick.com., for both the cruise I booked, and another I was interested in. It does pay to shop around.
jd is offline  
Jun 27th, 2004, 07:25 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 83
yes, but with cruisequick you don't get to specifically pick your cabin. What I do is once I know the voyage & category I want, I call the cruise lines diretly & pick the best available cabin im my category. The company does a free courtesy hold, & then the company I book with takes over my booking #. This method enables me to get a specific cabin I want while getting a much reduced price.
oceanolympia is offline  
Jun 28th, 2004, 04:06 AM
  #20  
jd
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 591
Yes, with cruisequick you can pick your cabin, but you have to know which ones are available. I go onto the cruiselines website, plus a couple others to see what cabins are available, and then I asked cruisequick for the cabin # I want. Just booked 2 cabins this way, and they gave me both #'s that I requested.
jd 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 08:46 AM.