I feel for you and for all workers who work on a commission. It must be very stressful. That said, as a consumer I will always seek out the best price for the same product. With all the research available online, its a shame consumers are not more proactive in their own reseach. There are however people who, rather than being bothered with their own reseach and bookings, will employee the services of a travel agent. I enjoy doing my own research and exploring online. I booked my Alaska cruise for approx. $1400 less by doing it on line than by doing it with say Liberty Travel (a travel agent chain). That $1400 savings pays for the round trip airfare for 3 ($917) and still leaves over $500 for excursions. As a consumer, would you not do the same for any other service you are looking to secure? Once again, it takes a special person to work so hard for so little!
I have a hard time believing that any internet site would be $1,400 cheaper than a Travel Agency. Especially a Travel Agency as big as Liberty. Many people that book on the internet are comparing apples and oranges. Sometimes their listening skills aren't up to par and they only listen to the price. They don't listen to "Catagory BC on the Aloha deck, or "a flight with one connection",or "transfers included". Instead they listen to the bottom line--price. Then they go on the internet and book Category BG Baha deck, a flight with double connections, and have to get their own transfers when they get to the destination. Apples and Oranges. Frankly, Travel Agents don't want "shoppers". They aren't dedicated or loyal, and would stab you in the back to save $5. Travel Agents do however; appreciate people that value their expertise knowledge, and recognize that Travel Agents provide a valuable service.
Feel free to call Liberty travel and request a quote for two adults and a child of 9 for the Aug.19 sailing on the Oosterdam in the VE category. Then when you have your quote come back to me and I will be happy to e-mail you my invoice. BTW, my flight is on Song NON stop each way. The quote I had received last October was $4790 for cruise only W/O insurance. I booked through cruise value center after I did a cruise compete, for $3490. Your right, it was $1300 less. So I stand corrected.
You say apples and oranges. Most times, I dare to say I have more cruise experience than the average travel agent. In addition, I know the Oosterdam like the back of my hand as I have sailed the sister ship, Zuiderdam, twice.
Again, as I said in my previous post, if you are not a savy traveler, then by all means pay the fare and book with a good travel agent. So if you are a frustrated travel agent, I do feel for you and hope you get many bookings in you career.
I am not quite sure where this TA discussion stems from, but I can tell you that I researched the internet, compared Apples with Apples (category 1A Guaranteed stateroom) got some quotes from different TA and websites. The cheapest was Vacationstogo at $1,007US p.p tax incl. with return airfare to YYZ. Our office travel agent was able to match this quote, and I booked with her as I was worried to book with an american-based website. I really appreciate the work of TA, especially for cruises as I can their input on ships they might of been on and tell me more about the port of calls. If the pricing is drastically different between the TA and the website, I would ask my TA to match it or get close to it. If they can't, I'd just book online.
Obviously it would be superfluous to do a cost comparison today on something that was booked last October. It would be comparing Apples and Oranges again. Yes, I agree with you there are a lot of TA's that don't have as much experience as some of the clients they deal with. But then there are those that have alot of experience, have cruised the world, been on just about all the major cruise lines, attend conferences, do ship inspections, and keep up their certification.
If when you say cruise compete you are talking about the website cruisecompete.com it is a website made up of 150 member travel agencies. Sadly, a website like that devalues the product. TA's that participate in that are giving up some of their pay to do it. The cruise lines frown on that procedure. Would you want to give up part of your pay? Fortunately I am not that desperate nor frustrated. It is interesting when I compare rates on Cruise Value, Vacations to Go, Cruise Only, it is always the same as a TA rate.
If you don't place a value on all the time you spend on the internet and enjoy it, then to each his own.
Have a great cruise Feb 12th.
ArcKAC... You WILL LOVE THE ADVENTURE!!! I am so Jealous, I wish I was there again!!!
If you go to Marigot in St-Martin, go to a restaurant in the Marina called La Main a la Pate! The waiters are so much fun, we've been there twice in two years and we spent hours having cold beers on their patio! Hummmm!
Well, I am back from the AOS. I wasn not on the french side on this trip to St. Maartin. As far as the ship goes, it is as beautiful as advertised. However, having only two sections (both side of the ship) made for longer walkes from one end of the ship to the other. If I had to do it again I would of selected a room aft of center instead of forward of center. I was in room 8554. Most of the things to be utilized by my family was in the aft of the ship. The kids club, the the windjammer and the resturants, The sports deck, the way off the ship at each port It made for quite a bit of walking. The lyrics theater was the only place really accessable from the forward elevators that we made use of.
I still enjoy the Holland America experience more so than RCCL I have sailed each equally 4 times with HA about to take the lead. I am also looking at doing my 3rd Zuiderdam cruise in April, 07. As far as the things that I did not like about the AOS was the family trivia games. Families include children. They were held in the schooner bar and it is a smoking venue. I believe during family times, should be suspended or should be moved somewhere else!
I was also on that same cruise last year during the "Armenian cruise week" & will go again. It was wonderful. We made friends with a great couple & enjoyed the music & the company. We were not bothered al all by this as you call it "ethnic" group & as a fellow Canadian I am rather emarrassed by your arrogantcomment, unless of course you are of First nation (American Indian) descent, we are all ETHNIC on this continent. I am glad you enjoyed your trip to some extent since chocolate dipped strawberries are also my favorite!