I was just wondering if anyone has booked a cruise through American Discount Cruises & Travel. I am considering booking a cruise through this site for June 2009. I've never booked a cruise before, so I thought I should hear from others who book online before I go ahead with it. Thanks
If you never have booked a cruise before (this is your first cruise)I would recommend finding an experienced TA who books a lot of cruises. Many times they can match or beat any price on the web. Plus, they can give you very important advice that you will need for your first cruise.
This is coming from someone who has booked his last two cruises on line.
By the way, be prepared to become a cruise-addict !
If you do use any online agent, be sure to find out about "booking fees" and "cancellation fees". Many online agencies have one or the other or both. I have been stung for a cruise we cancelled well in advance, so I speak from experience.
We book lots of cruises (about 70 days of cruising a year) and always use on-line major cruise-only agencies. Over the years, we have developed a "short list" of agencies we favor for their price. Most of these agencies allow web booking via computer, which goes directly into the cruise lines computer. For example, today we booked a 26 day Holland America cruise for next spring. I searched our usual 6 agencies and than decided to look at a few others. The price difference for the same category of cabin varied by over $700 on this approximate $6000 booking. We simply went with the cheapest, booked online, and our booking showed on the Holland America site within seconds. This is perfect for those of us who know exactly what we want, but many cruisers still need advice and "hand holding" to plan their cruises. But, be advised that these services do come with a price.
But, be advised that these services do come with a price.
That hasn't been my experience. For the cruises I book the price my agent quotes is the same as can be found on-line. There is more variance in the longer cruises, but not necessarily so for the more normal itineraries.
I've booked over 40 cruises, a couple on line, and the rest with a travel agent that specializes in cruises. I would suggest using a travel agent. There were a few times my agent called me after booking with a better price because the cruise line lowered the price—I don't think that would happen if I booked on line. You can check with the cruise line for prices before you talk to an agent or look on line.
We have a couple of on-line cruise agencys that we book through, and there is usually a specific agent who deals with the booking. You can call them if problems arise. Luckily, we have never had to cancel or change anything in our reservations, so I can't tell you how good they are at solving problems. Be sure to read the fine print about cancellations, etc.
Unfortunately we have only one travel agency where we live and we have had problems using them, so on-line works better for us.
An agent doesn't have to be in your town for you to use them. My agent is in Texas and I am in Alabama. Many agents work by phone or internet and don't have a brick-and-mortar office. But even those with an office will be happy to work with someone who doesn't live close by.
How's this one... my agent is in Arizona and I'm in Massachusetts!
The key is to find someone with whom you are comfortable and who has a great deal of knowledge about the industry. Whether that's Internet-only, long-distance brick-and-mortar, or local agent is up to the individual. Yet, for a first-timer, I strongly recommend going the TA route, as a good TA can help sort through the many variables involved to narrow down the cruises that are right for you.
I also recommend using an agent certified through CLIA (Cruise Line International Association). To find one in your area (or beyond), click on the CLIA site, and use the search function on the bottom right.