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MiketheKid 11-08-2007 12:34 PM

If I were to use a TA to book my next cruise, do I pay more? I know that TA's get commission for each booking, but does that come out of my pocket, or the cruiseline's? If the cruiseline pays the commission, what incentive do they have to use TAs at all? Also, why would I not use a TA?

MiketheKid 11-08-2007 12:34 PM

If I were to use a TA to book my next cruise, do I pay more? I know that TA's get commission for each booking, but does that come out of my pocket, or the cruiseline's? If the cruiseline pays the commission, what incentive do they have to use TAs at all? Also, why would I not use a TA?

Jim C. 11-08-2007 12:44 PM

Mike, Its probably best to wait until one of the TA's on this formun answer your question, but as I understandit, they get a commission from the cruiseline. You also get the same price as if you called them yourself and booked with their agents.

What is the incentive? Well, many of us old folk are not comfortable using the internet (actually I'm talking with tongue in cheek here as I book through the cruise line, but go with this for a bit) Its just a cost of doing business for the cruise line. Also, if you use a cruise line TA, you are only going to get offered cruises with that line. Many people go to a TA not knowing anything about cruising and need someone to help them choose a cruise line that's right for them and then to arrange everything. That is where the TA comes in. And that is how the cruise lines benefit (by getting new people into cruising)

Why would you NOT use a TA? Can't think of a reason. If you can find a good one, then great. I just happened to find a good CCL cruise specialist and use him to book my cruises. But in RCCL's method, I can't call the same booking agent each time. You call into the main line and are given the next available agent. No personal service. I'd much rather use a TA in that case.

Dave 11-08-2007 12:45 PM

You don't pay more to use a travel agent. The commission is paid by the cruise line. We have many agent members here, who can explain it in more detail to you. However, one thing to note is that if you call a cruise line directly to make a booking, it is quite possible the cruise line employee you talk to is also paid by commission and not strictly a salaried worker.

I always use an agent, and in fact I have filled the role of an agent a few times under the blessings of my agent - making my own bookings. In fact, I plan to increase my participation in this soon and may eventually be considered a cruise agent myself.

An agent is more than someone taking your order. They are an advocate for you, which may not always be true for direct bookings made with the cruise line. My agent takes care of me. When prices go down she gets me a refund for the difference credited to my booking. I don't have to ask. She gets me shipboard credits and other perks. And it doesn't cost me a penny.

Sonny V 11-08-2007 01:54 PM

It's a no brainer; use a travel agent. I too, like Dave, have a great travel agent that really takes care of me. She finds the specials and discounts that I would likely miss. It's best if you have an agent that specializes in cruises.

Dave, I've been asked to become a travel agent. I don't think it would be a good idea for me. I'd probably spend my whole cruise soliciting.

Cruise Fanatic 11-08-2007 02:13 PM

Jim C and Dave have given some good points. It should not cost you extra to book with a TA. A TA is there to assist and provide service throughout the whole cruise booking. Before, during, and after. They will act on your behalf if issues arise. Many of the agents that work in the cruise lines reservations are just order takers. Their goal is to fill the ships. The majority of them haven't even been on a cruise. A good TA that specializes in cruises will give you unbiased recommendations on the pros and cons of different cruise lines. They can match you up with the right cruise line and the right ship. TA's do ship inspections, they do seminars at sea to experience the ships, they attend conferences and constantly keep updated with all the changes in the industry. TA's also can make recommendations and book your air on the airline you want, book pre/post hotels, arrange for transfers or limousines to pick you up. They can save you money over what the cruise lines would want for their "specific" hotel. Also TA's may have special pricing because of group sailings, or cruise space blocked with a host agency or consortium they may belong associated with.

bizzybee 11-08-2007 04:27 PM

Our travel agent was able to make some calls and find us a cabin with a balcony on our May cruise, which is sold out in all categories except inside rooms.

TrvlPro 11-08-2007 07:19 PM

Everyone has made the point so well I don't know why I'm typing except to echo their sentiments. I'll agree with a couple of folks who said find someone who is a cruise specialist. Those who deal with cruiselines, know the ships, cruise themselves, get regular client reviews of ships and peoples experiences, etc. have a good way of steering you the right direction. There is a big difference between many of the cruiselines. Even between ships and sailing dates. Length of cruise, children friendly, formal or informal, freestyle or fixed dining, avg passenger ages. All these things vary greatly. If you have an idea what the important criteria is to you a good agent can help match you to the right line, right ship, right budget.

Just being on Cruise-Chat give you a huge leg up on most cruisers to start with as far as a basis for finding the right cruise for themselves. This site is a great source of friendly, knowledgable and helpful information.

I've learned a lot from my fellow cruisers/chatters here. For that I thank you all.

Cheers, Neil

gdjoslin 11-08-2007 08:27 PM

We use a local TA, she is great.
Another reason to use a TA is that they can help you out with your non-cruise vacations. We handle many of the land vacations ourselves, but at times we turn to our TA. If is nice to have a good one working for you.

MiketheKid 11-09-2007 06:19 AM

Thanks for all the info everyone!

My next question is how do I pick a TA?

My friend's mom is a TA and booked my last cruise. She did a GREAT job - who would complain about a free upgrade from an inside room to an extended balcony (anyone getting sick of me talking about that yet? haha). But, lets say in the future I can't use her for some reason - where do I begin to look?

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