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Old 02-19-2006, 03:13 AM
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Anyone know a website I can go to so I can get a good price for a cruise........I went through a private travel agent once and a Carnival agent once and both times I paid more than most of the people I talked to!!!
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Old 02-19-2006, 05:50 AM
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I've booked three through Expedia and I have been very pleased. I just saw that they have ten and eleven day cruises- balconies- for less than a thousand bucks a person. Wow! The TA's have been very helpful- they send email responses back within 24 hours and are always available by phone.

Good luck!
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Old 02-19-2006, 09:53 AM
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Who are these "people" you are referring to? Passengers on the cruise? You cannot believe everything you hear. Would you believe there are some unscruplous companies that hire people to go on cruises and purposely tell people they got their cruise for $$$$ (some ridiculously low price)just to get the people to book through that company. There are a lot of factors that determine the price. How far in advance you book, how full the ship is, what category and deck. There are always specials that are thrown in if a ship isn't filling the space by a certain timeframe. Also sometimes they may offer a special "residents offer" for one state and not another. So whoever you are talking to I wouldn't get so upset when they tell you their price. They may be giving you the price before taxes. They may have an outside cabin on the bottom deck. Where your outside cabin is 4 decks up. They may have booked 10 months prior and you booked 3 months prior. It is unfair to really compare prices with someone else when you don't have all the facts. I have compared prices on the three big internet sites Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia, plus many big cruise sites, and I often find their prices equal to a Travel Agents.
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Old 02-19-2006, 06:30 PM
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I have run my current reservation for next January through many different sources and everytime I got the same price as my TA gave me. I have read where some company's book groups of rooms and have a little better prices but I have not encountered that yet.
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Old 02-19-2006, 07:45 PM
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Rick and Cruise Fanatic,

You're both so right on all points made. There are so many advantages to using your own travel agent, especially if s/he is an experienced cruise seller. For example, on occasion the price of a cruise goes down between the time you buy it and the time you sail. Cruise lines do not call customers or travel agents to tell them the price has gone down. A good travel agent will check your reservation periodically to make sure you're still getting the best possible price. If the price has gone down, the travel agent can request a refund of the difference for you, or get you upgraded to a higher category. This is something your travel agent will keep track of for you. Will a big online site that doesn't know you at all do the same thing? Especially when it means less commission for the site? I don't think so! But your travel agent will do it because s/he wants to do the best job for you so that you'll keep coming back for future trips.

The price doesn't frequently go down, but that's just one example of the value of a travel agent, among many examples, that transcends price alone.

Sometimes big agencies block group space on a lot of sailings. However, no agency can block group space on every sailing of every ship of every cruise line. On top of that, some cruise lines' group price is the same as their individual price, with groups getting other perks, so even if a big agency does have group space, it doesn't always mean they can offer a better price than your travel agent.

Also, in the past, some agencies lowered their prices to the consumer by rebating some of their commission. The cruise lines do not like this practice and have started cracking down on those agencies. If the cruise line finds out that an agency has been rebating commission, they may not allow that agency to book their ships any longer. This has leveled the field tremendously between small to mid-size agencies and their mega-agency competitors, and has also equalized much more the price the consumer will get for a cruise, no matter who he buys it from. Also leveling the playing field recently is the move from cruise lines to offer their product at the same price to all travel agencies, no matter how big or small, no matter how much business that particular agency does with them. Many cruise lines have started doing this and many others are following. The days of mega-agencies getting a better price for a cruise from the cruise line are rapidly ending.

Travel agents not only offer experience, counsel and advice, but they are the cruiser's advocate before, during and after the cruise, should anything go wrong. I'd be really uncomfortable plunking down several thousand dollars to an anonymous online site, but I know people do it.

Shopping around for the best deal is fine, but price alone should not be the only determining factor. Value for the price paid is different, and the value of having the advocacy of a travel agent should not be overlooked.

Sandy
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Old 02-19-2006, 10:55 PM
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Well I guess I'll probably go back to a travel agent because that does sound like the best option.
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Old 02-20-2006, 05:30 AM
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Seriously- try Expedia when you get a quote from a TA. I am not speaking of anyone specifically but I know there are a lot of TA's on this site. Obviously they are going to see the "whole picture" and put a lot of weight in the other advantages a TA can offer... but for me I want the best price. I can easily see whether a cabin is ok by looking at the deck plan... I can also get my own air...

Expedia as I mentioned has really done a good job for me. They have done everything a local TA would have done IMHO. No worries with them- and I planned an entire trip to Scotland- all hotels and B&B's, transportation, airfare- not to mention two cruises totalling eleven passengers- plus countless other vacations over the years- so, all I am saying is: run it by Expedia (or Travelocity or that other one I now forget) before you buy.

Just my opinion!
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:16 AM
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Sandy.. Great reply I couldnt agree with you more.

Carlalena.. Yes those internet sites are great for someone who has traveling experience, BUT..and this is a large BUT..I have spent countless hours helping booked clients straighten out the reservations they have made through these internet sites. Anyone who is new to cruising should definetly use a TA since a TA is experenced in qualifying a new client to the correct cruise. Some people are looking for price only...and they book that way but the ship was not for them. One would have to know what each ship offers for those in their traveling party...we wouldn't put a senior who is looking for a quiet laid back cruise on say a Carnival or Royal Caribbean unless that is what they request. A good travel agent will qualify that client to the cruise that fits their requirements. Expedia and the other internet sites do not do this. Example: Recently I had a client who let me know that he was pricing only..he had never been on a cruise but he did state to me that he wanted to take his wife on a 10th anniversay cruise. Price was a factor, so inside was fine with him. I quoted him a price for a 4A guarantee on a Carnival based on what he was looking for. He told me he would call me back, he then called either Orbitz or Expedia and told them the same thing, they quoted a price which was around $40.00/pp less. He called me back and asked me if I could at least meet that price. I looked it up and guess what??? It was a 1A-bunk beds. I told him I could get him that same price, but I did not quote it originally since he stated it was his anniversary cruise. He again stated he would call me back, he called them back and questioned them about this...and yes it was a 1A. He asked why they would even quote that to him and they stated it was because he said he wanted the "cheapest" cruise. Needless to say, I got the booking and got him upgraded to a 5A so they would at least have a little sunshine.

So it is not always to the persons advantage to use an impersonal online agency when they can use a travel agent who is looking out for their best interest.

Just my $.02.
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:38 AM
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I took the challenge. Just priced a cruise with a TA and Expedia. Expedia lost. They were $11 higher plus they charge you $15 booking fee for the privledge of you spending all your time doing the work. So $26 higher than TA. Who says you can't still get your own air when booking with a TA? You trust pictures on an internet over a TA who is more up to date? To each his own.
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Old 02-20-2006, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cruise Fanatic:
I took the challenge. Just priced a cruise with a TA and Expedia. Expedia lost. They were $11 higher plus they charge you $15 booking fee for the privledge of you spending all your time doing the work. So $26 higher than TA. Who says you can't still get your own air when booking with a TA? You trust pictures on an internet over a TA who is more up to date? To each his own.
Thank you Cruise Fanatic, and you are correct, there are times it is to the clients advantage to book their own air, a full service agency can help you book air, but you will pay a booking fee. I personally will offer the air that the cruiseline has, and let the clients know that this also includes the transfers from airport to ship and back again, then we look at their options, many times it is to their benefit to go straight to the airline and book. I do recommend that if the client books their own air that they at least plan on flying in a day early..just in case things could go wrong.
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