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charlie000
Traveler


Joined: 03/20/14
Posts: 5
are there benefits working with a travel agent?
      #1577417 - 03/24/14 02:16 PM (50.105.147.3)

Thinking of doing a cruise. Have read that some online travel agents give 10 to 20% discounts off the posted rates of the cruise lines plus they also give different credits to use while on the ship, wine and other gifts. So, is it a better deal to book directly with the company or do you call different travel agents and ask what they can do for me. If I get a better deal at one, should I go back to the other and ask if they can match it or do better.

I have a friend that took a cruise last year and she said the travel agent she used charged the same price as the cruise lines website. And she knew exactly what she wanted so the travel agent just had to book it. Now she is wondering if she got a bad deal.
Thanks for any help.


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Nutmeg
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Joined: 09/15/01
Posts: 5884
Loc: St. Thomas, USVI
Re: are there benefits working with a travel agent? [Re: charlie000]
      #1577438 - 03/24/14 03:29 PM (204.11.157.92)

Charlie: When we decided to take a cruise, we called TTOL sponsor Bonnie Buchanan. What we got was inside information on cabin selection, personal assistance in planning, and a great price. Personally, I believe in loyalty to those who provide good service.

--------------------
NUTMEG
Today is the tomorrow you talked about yesterday.


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swg
Traveler


Joined: 10/20/03
Posts: 327
Re: are there benefits working with a travel agent? [Re: charlie000]
      #1577440 - 03/24/14 03:34 PM (24.152.255.162)

Absolutely yes use a travel agent. Booking cruises can get very complicated--learned that the hard way when we booked ourselves. Will never do that again.

It is also very important that you use an agent that either specializes in just cruises or one that is a certified cruise agent. Again, because booking a cruise can get complicated, a good cruise agent will make sure that you get the best price and the best perks.

We just booked a cruise and got a discount that we never would have known about had we booked ourselves.

Bonnie Buchanan who is one of the sponsors here has booked a lot of cruises for TTOL members. If we didn't already have a great agent, we would also use her.

Sue


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charlie000
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Joined: 03/20/14
Posts: 5
Re: are there benefits working with a travel agent? [Re: swg]
      #1577491 - 03/24/14 07:44 PM (50.105.147.3)

May have to check her out. What about the discount she gives you? What percent is it? And do you also get other perks from her?
Thanks


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Snorkeller
Traveler


Joined: 05/06/04
Posts: 1038
Loc: Virginia
Re: are there benefits working with a travel agent? [Re: charlie000]
      #1577662 - 03/25/14 12:42 PM (108.4.121.156)

Just me, but I do not understand people who do not use a travel agent for cruises and some other things. I like being able to catch Bonnie B with questions when she is busy or out of town. More seriously, if you have an established relationship with a TA, they can help you when a problem arises - it is a kind of insurance in my mind. Until I found Bruno and then Cecile in SXM, for a number of years, I used Sandy Molloy for SXM hotels and some other things - she jumped in to help my daughter and her friend when they had problems getting to St Thomas years ago, and I was very glad we had her there to help. I have not booked with him, but Jim Ruos has provided good information over the years. Particularly , when there is zero increased cost, I do not understand why people would not book SXM hotels through a TA - although I do know that some people just like the direct connection and if that is what you like, then go that way. With cruises, I think that I might be able to save a few bucks here and there by shopping around and not going through Bonnie, but I am not going to spend the time doing it and I appreciate the service that Bonnie provides.

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Temery
Traveler


Joined: 08/31/06
Posts: 520
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Re: are there benefits working with a travel agent? [Re: Snorkeller]
      #1577997 - 03/26/14 01:29 PM (216.31.145.20)

when we used AAA to book our cruise we didn't get a discount but we did get a free upgrade (1 floor higher and closer to the center of ship, there was a bar steps from our room door which was great/convienent). They also left a gift basket in our room with some fruits/candies which was a nice surprise (not sure if all TA's do that tho).

(sorry, didn't mean to respond to you snorkler but to the OP)

Edited by Temery (03/26/14 01:29 PM)


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PelicanPirate
Traveler


Joined: 08/03/12
Posts: 684
Re: are there benefits working with a travel agent? [Re: charlie000]
      #1578958 - 03/29/14 07:48 PM (107.9.16.124)

It depends.....a good agent can be invaluable if they know the ships and ports and can go the extra mile.

I've found, lately, as a repeat customer of certain cruiselines, that when I login I get much lower fares that offered straight to the public.

Clearly, before you commit to buy from an agent, compare the cruise line website direct and other internet cruise outlets.

For the most part, we have not seen cheaper rates than the cruise lines offer direct when we are logged into our cruiseline account.

--------------------
Just the other night I was sleeping under a bridge and now here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people.
Jack Dawson - Movie Titanic


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COACHIE
Traveler


Joined: 09/12/13
Posts: 56
Re: are there benefits working with a travel agent? [Re: PelicanPirate]
      #1579816 - 04/01/14 08:53 PM (96.250.7.12)

I have cruised every year for the past 15 years and have used travel agents about half of the time. If you are experienced and know where you want to go, are familiar with the cruise line you want to cruise on and all the options offered regarding your cruise experience you don't really need an agent, but if you need advice, assistance and don't want to do the work involved with planning your vacation you should consider using a cruise specialist. They know the best cabins, personality of the cruise line and how to navigate your pre cruise planning for your best experience. They can also answer all your questions before you begin your voyage.

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Nutmeg
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Joined: 09/15/01
Posts: 5884
Loc: St. Thomas, USVI
Re: are there benefits working with a travel agent? [Re: charlie000]
      #1580848 - 04/05/14 05:13 PM (204.11.157.92)

Charlie: I don't remember what the percentage discount was, but it was a very fair price. We also got some extras from her that helped make the cruise even better!

--------------------
NUTMEG
Today is the tomorrow you talked about yesterday.


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RonDon
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Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 2258
Loc: Rhode Island
Re: are there benefits working with a travel agent? [Re: Temery]
      #1581105 - 04/07/14 06:15 AM (72.87.65.87)

Quote:

Temery said:
when we used AAA to book our cruise we didn't get a discount but we did get a free upgrade (1 floor higher and closer to the center of ship, there was a bar steps from our room door which was great/convienent). They also left a gift basket in our room with some fruits/candies which was a nice surprise (not sure if all TA's do that tho).

(sorry, didn't mean to respond to you snorkler but to the OP)




It depends on the agent one uses. A friend of ours used AAA and wanted us to join but I said no. Armed with their info on time, ship etc we went to our agent and got the same cruise for 1/3 what AAA charged them plus we knew their rm # and got put at their dinner table aboard ship. When I asked them what level they'd be on they said they didn't know rm # or dining option. Since we planned to surprise them I couldn't tell them that info was available so I just said ask AAA. They did several times and was told ---won't know until 1 week before.

That treatment coupled with the high price they paid (never told them what we paid for the cabin right next to them) I'd never use AAA.

Rosemay


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charlie000
Traveler


Joined: 03/20/14
Posts: 5
Re: are there benefits working with a travel agent? [Re: RonDon]
      #1582258 - 04/11/14 07:38 PM (50.105.151.239)

Thanks for all your comments. I still am confused. I would think that a cruise to the Caribbean in the spring or Alaska in the summer would be something that you could book by yourself but a cruise to Japan and the Orient would be one that I would want the help of a TA.
Last week I called the TA that my sister has used before (they want to go with us)and her price was exactly the same as what was on Princess's site (they had the itinerary to Alaska that we liked). I felt uncomfortable asking if she would give me any OBC's or if she was giving a discount.

I have been reading other forums and the following stuck out because she is talking about the same line I want to go on. Here is part of a quote from someone who posted about cruise prices:
"Second, you're comparing Princess fares at the equivalent to MSRP. Princess allows TAs to discount fares so with some high volume TAs, you can save 10-20% and get OBC and other perks."
This lady mentioned high volume TA's - how do you know if they are high volume. And do "high volume" ones have the time to give you special treatment.
I would like to hear from some TA's or this Bonnie about how and when they give discounts. If you are a TA, please post.

My wife and I have talked about this many times and both agree that after we talk to a TA and they spend time trying to help us, we almost feel we have to use them so I really hate to call around - reminds me of getting bids for a house project.

I think this is bothering my wife more than me but she is starting to drive me nuts about it. I'm to the point that I just want to book something.


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Temery
Traveler


Joined: 08/31/06
Posts: 520
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Re: are there benefits working with a travel agent? [Re: charlie000]
      #1583348 - 04/16/14 01:46 PM (216.31.145.20)

may be on the next call start the conversation with "Hi, I'm trying to comparison shop this Princess cruise, can you beat XX price?" then see what the TA says. =) (that way you have no guilt, you've been up front)

Edited by Temery (04/16/14 01:47 PM)


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Nutmeg
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Joined: 09/15/01
Posts: 5884
Loc: St. Thomas, USVI
Re: are there benefits working with a travel agent? [Re: charlie000]
      #1586075 - 04/29/14 04:48 PM (204.11.157.92)

Charlie: Why don't you look under the TTOL sponsors page here and give Bonnie a call? She can give you the information you seek.

--------------------
NUTMEG
Today is the tomorrow you talked about yesterday.


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