Go Back   Cruise Reviews Forums > General Cruise Chat Questions > General Cruise Chat
Register Forgot Password?
New! Use your Facebook, Google, AIM & Yahoo accounts to securely log into this site, click logo to login  
Search

Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2006, 07:55 AM
Demented Avenger's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 15
Default
Sandy and Carol,
Thanks for the great info! I think you two are right on the money. We use a cruise only travel agent and so far, she has been able to book us cruises for MUCH less than I can find anywhere online. Most times she calls us with good deals she has found.
We probably would not have cruised Tahiti if she had not called us and told us of the great deal she had.
I love reading your posts. Keep up the good work!
Dennis
__________________

Caribbean Weather

Sea Princess - 2001
Tahitian Princess - 2002
Golden Princess - 2003
Sapphire Princess - 2004
Carnival Paradise - 2005
Celebrity Summit - 2006
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2006, 10:41 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 157
Default
I think you can get it both ways. We use a site where you can compare prices from online agencies and they had MUCH better deals than my local TA for our September cruise.

However, for our Jan 2007, our TA was the same price as the online agencies (and had the same shipboard credit + she added a photo voucher), so we booked with her.

I was a little unhappy with the service last time because it was our second cruise booking with her and there was no little gift (bottle of wine?) for us. I'm hoping she will do so this time because we booked ourselves + 4 other guests.

It's always good to compare your prices and have a TA you can go to.
__________________




RCI Sovereign of the Seas 2005
Caribbean Princess 2005
Carnival Paradise 2004
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2006, 11:07 AM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,010
Default
I'm curious did the internet booking give you a bottle of wine?
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2006, 11:22 AM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3,870
Default
I think we are comparing apples with oranges here. I want to expand a bit on what Cruise Specialist (Carol) and Cruise Fanatic have said so well.

The point that so many have told me is not that they can get a cruise cheaper online than they can with a travel agent. The point is that the service a good and experienced travel agent offers is worth minor price differences you may find between the two.

Let's say you are an experienced cruiser and know just what you want, and you buy your cruise online because it's a little less expensive than going through a travel agent. Will the online site check to see if the price of your cruise goes down before you sail? Will the online site send you a gift, know your preferences and be able to tell you if you're trying to buy a cruise that's completely wrong for you? Even a cheap cruise is a waste of money if you're on the wrong ship. Will an online site contact you, as Demented Avenger said, with a cruise deal that's perfect for you? Will an online site deliver your cruise documents personally and answer your questions at the same time, or invite you into their office to do the same? If your desired dinner seating is full and you're on the waitlist, will the online site call the cruise line every day, trying to get you cleared from the waitlist? If your ship's itinerary changes, can you be sure the online site will contact you before final payment is due, when you still have the option of cancelling or changing ships? I could go on and on...

If you're not an experienced cruiser and you book online because you think you know what you want, or you want to go on the same cruise your friends went on, you're taking the biggest chance of all. Even if you enjoy the online research process and think you've hit on the right cruise line and ship, you still could be making a costly mistake. And, while these chat boards are a great resource, there is an inherent flaw. If you come onto this board after looking online, and post a message saying, "I can't decide between the Carnival Valor and the Fascination," you'll get very accurate impressions from people who have sailed both ships. But you may be looking for something completely different than what those cruisers were looking for, and in fact, you shouldn't be looking at a Carnival ship at all. If you contact an online site, will they tell you you're looking at the "wrong" cruise line for you?

One other point I feel compelled to make, a point that was brought up in another section a few weeks ago. Travel agents are selling their experience, expertise and knowledge, and in many or most cases, it's not even costing you anything. (Warning: run on sentence to follow! ) If you call, email or visit a travel agent who spends a lot of time talking to you, getting to know your likes and dislikes, deciding which cruise(s) are the best fit for you, researching various options for you, calling cruise lines, working up a proposal that involves the itinerary, price, options etc for one or more cruises, and then you buy the cruise from an online site because it's a little cheaper, many would argue that's very similar to stealing! You've taken the travel agent's time and expertise from him or her without compensation. You've used information that was part of the sales process without completing the sale. You couldn't call a lawyer without the meter starting to tick on minute one of your phone conversation. Travel agents work on a narrow enough margin when they do make a sale that they can't afford to spend valuable time on a futile process. If you know that the lowest price is your absolutely only criterion, then please do buy your cruises online. But if a travel agent's services, some of which I have outlined above, are the least bit valuable to you, including the recommendation process, be willing to complete the sales process and get not just a competitive price, but more value for the money you've spent than going it alone.

<>

Sandy
A proud, hard working travel agent
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2006, 12:49 PM
Carlalena1's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 495
Default
Sandy said:

If you call, email or visit a travel agent who spends a lot of time talking to you, getting to know your likes and dislikes, deciding which cruise(s) are the best fit for you, researching various options for you, calling cruise lines, working up a proposal that involves the itinerary, price, options etc for one or more cruises, and then you buy the cruise from an online site because it's a little cheaper, many would argue that's very similar to stealing! You've taken the travel agent's time and expertise from him or her without compensation. You've used information that was part of the sales process without completing the sale.

I agree! But the first thing that came to mind when I read that was... if I have to have these constant conversations with a TA I'll go out of my mind! Been there! For me, IMHO, just por moi, I LIKE doing this stuff myself on line. I like the comparison shopping, the dreaming, the trolling of cruise sites, etc. I am not talking about a couple of senior citizens accidentally booking a classic rock themed cruise, I'm talking about your average internet savvy person who probably knows precisely what he/she wants, and how to enter appropriate search terms almost better than he/she can verbalize them.

Don't get me wrong- I love TA's and have used them in the past. Just, IMHO, waiting in a chair, holding a few brochures while the TA is on the phone, and then sitting there trying to put into words what I am looking for- all the while staring at the same screen the TA is, and then lots of phone calls back and forth... AHHHH! BAD KARMA ALERT I know this site is full of TA's and I don't want to say anything that would offend you!

I'm sure I will magically learn my lesson one day when Expedia goes bankrupt (oh wait- that was the big travel agency based here... bad example) or something bad happens but meanwhile I am saving $$ and spending time doing my own obsessing.

No bottle of wine necessary, cruisefanatic. I can buy one with the grand I saved on last summer's Carnival cruise.

Sandy also said: You couldn't call a lawyer without the meter starting to tick on minute one of your phone conversation.

WOW! How did lawyers get into this! Lawyer bashing! AHHH! I can't avoid it! Trust me, the clock does not tick on minute one or we would all be millionaires. We give out PLENTY of FLA (free legal advice)- we call it a "consultation." We also call it Christmas with the relatives, a ride in the elevator, stopping to buy a gallon of milk... why in fact, every conversation that starts with "Hey, can I ask you a question?" is most likely a free conversation with a lawyer!
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2006, 01:39 PM
Dave's Avatar
Administrator
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 17,747
Default
Cartalena1,

You really saved a grand on an internet booking versus a TA? Depending on when you made the booking, that could be a violation of Carnival's pricing policy which does not allow commission rebating by any seller - Expedia included - and that is the only way a price cut of that magnitude could happen unless a special deal had been approved by Carnival.
__________________
Dave
Editor, CruiseReviews.com
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2006, 02:07 PM
Carlalena1's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 495
Default
Dave: since you just came on board a month ago you missed my 100+ posts about my Elation cruise. I took 4 kids from Buffalo to Galveston and did the 7 day W Carr cruise. Other price related variables included: my mother and my great aunt deciding to come along 3 weeks and 4 weeks before we left- but refusing to share a cabin. That involved switching a fourth and fifth passenger from my cabin into two seconds in theirs for the ppdo rate. Expedia was great about this- not that I want to have "Cheerleader for Expedia.com" on my headstone by any means.

The TA consistently quoted me higher prices than I found on line for the 3 other cruises I was considering. Then the Elation cruise was AT LEAST a grand more for the five original pax via the TA- plus every single time I asked something little like what the bunk configs were or something similar she would have me hang on while she called CCL. She is a great girl AND has handled MANY trips for my mother and stepfather, but... am I repeating myself?

Back to the lawyer first minute post: every time I have some long involved conversation with someone about what a bad mother their wife is or whether they can even afford to divorce after the bankruptcy or whether I think their spouse is cheating I do not walk away worrying that I spent my "free" time adding to my stress level and future ulcer. I really hope they work it out and have a happy marriage for the rest of their lives. I would far rather that than make money off of their divorce. HOWEVER, I ALSO know that they will network my name around and that is part of building and maintaining a practice. If someone can get a better price on line, and price is very important to them, they are well within their rights to do so.

Dave: surely you acknowledge that the price a random TA, the cruise line itself, and a major on-line travel site offer for the same booking can vary widely?
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2006, 02:55 PM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3,870
Default
Quote:
WOW! How did lawyers get into this! Lawyer bashing! AHHH! I can't avoid it! Trust me, the clock does not tick on minute one or we would all be millionaires. We give out PLENTY of FLA (free legal advice)- we call it a "consultation." We also call it Christmas with the relatives, a ride in the elevator, stopping to buy a gallon of milk... why in fact, every conversation that starts with "Hey, can I ask you a question?" is most likely a free conversation with a lawyer!
I was using lawyers as a random example of professionals who, rightly so, charge for their time. If I engage a lawyer and need to spend a half hour on the phone with him or her several days in a row, will I not get charged extra? Once a client engages a travel agent, agents hold the hands of many clients over long periods of time, sometimes years, without ever asking for any money from them. We're just asking for the chance to get paid by the cruise line, such as it is!

I know about giving out free advice at Christmas parties or in elevators. Folks love talking about the trips they've taken and asking me to tell them, off the top of my head, the price of an airline ticket from Secaucus, NJ to Timbuktu. Or tell them why cruise prices are so much higher than when they took their first cruise in 1974 on the Mardi Gras. I don't begrudge people for asking for advice or opinions. What I do begrudge is someone coming to my office and asking for a 7-night cruise for a family of 5 on Celebrity for under $500 total, and when I can't produce that, asking me to investigate 9 other ships on 12 different sailing dates, knowing full well all along that they plan to buy it on the internet because they heard they could save $5 per person.

As far as not all lawyers being millionaires, not all travel agents are millionaires, either. We are not in travel for the money, but because we love it, we love to talk about it, we love that, when we do our job correctly, 99% of our clients come home happy. We just want to be thought of as the professionals we are.

If you had a good relationship with a travel agent, you wouldn't have to sit there and explain your wants and needs every time you wanted to take a trip! You could just call the agent and tell him/her where you want to go, or where you're considering going. They'll already know the rest. I love having clients like you, who like to do their own research and are an "informed consumer" as SYMS likes to say. I'm just pointing out that, even to experienced travelers, there are benefits to using a good travel agent. But, it's perceived value, and if one doesn't see it as a value added prospect, there's no reason not to do the bookings onself.

Sandy
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2006, 03:12 PM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3,870
Default
Quote:
I do not walk away worrying that I spent my "free" time adding to my stress level and future ulcer. I really hope they work it out and have a happy marriage for the rest of their lives. I would far rather that than make money off of their divorce. HOWEVER, I ALSO know that they will network my name around and that is part of building and maintaining a practice. If someone can get a better price on line, and price is very important to them, they are well within their rights to do so.
Agreed! Those of us on this and other chat boards who make our living selling travel, also very happily and willingly give out as much advice as we can on these boards, obviously for free. Does it sometimes lead to new clients? Of course, but that's not why we do it, nor do we worry that we're giving away something for which we should be getting paid. And, as my last posts have stated, I agree as well that if "bottom line" is the only bottom line, folks should be booking online if they find the lowest price there and do not need the additional services of a travel agent.

Sandy
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 02-20-2006, 04:02 PM
Carlalena1's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 495
Default
Quote:
I know about giving out free advice at Christmas parties or in elevators. Folks love talking about the trips they've taken and asking me to tell them, off the top of my head, the price of an airline ticket from Secaucus, NJ to Timbuktu. Or tell them why cruise prices are so much higher than when they took their first cruise in 1974 on the Mardi Gras.

LOL! That is really funny. Kind of like "I just want to know if it is legal for my wife to tell me she's going to file a custody petition." It's like: okay, where do I begin. I wish like hey I was still practicing maritime law- you have no idea.

ANYWAY: it seems like maybe TA's are for each end of the spectrum- those who are completely clueless about cruise travel and those who are planning an intense cruise overseas with airfare, lodging, shore excursion ideas, etc, necessary- and necessarily handled by an expert. WHICH I AM NOT! If I were I would have a far more original song to sing than Expedia.

TTYL ladies... thanks for the feedback and again, I hope I didn't alienate you or treat your work dismissively - I have learned a LOT from you over this last year (maybe you are making yourselves redundant!)... I'm sure I'll come crying to you when I screw up handling things on my own (now THAT is a lawyer's life!).

Carla
 
Closed Thread

Tags
advocacy, book, carnival, client, compete, cruise, cruises, expedia, good, higher, one, price, priced, prices, sites

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
priced up over 700 overnight! yikes! wendy_woo2 Princess Cruises 3 03-26-2009 08:25 AM
Any good three-day cruises over the Summer out of Fl? Pmosskie All Other Cruise Lines 3 03-28-2007 06:12 PM
Need GOOD reviews of Hawaii cruises rescue911chick Norwegian Cruise Line 8 02-16-2007 05:20 PM
Bad News, Good News, Very Good News! Carnival Cruise Line 0 03-11-2005 08:47 AM
Good books about cruises/industry? Scott H General Cruise Chat 1 12-12-2002 02:18 PM


Thread Tools
Display Modes

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 On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On
 

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:50 AM.

Contact Us - Terms of Use - Cruise Reviews Home - Archive - Privacy Statement - Top

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.5.2