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-   -   Choosing a TA (http://www.cruisereviews.com/forum/general-cruise-chat/36494-choosing-ta.html)

MiketheKid 02-04-2011 12:54 PM

Choosing a TA
 
how does everyone pick their travel agents? for our last trip, we choose the large chain that we see everywhere - Liberty Travel....in the end, our experience with them was pretty bad....there were relatively minor problems that were completely exacerbated by the staffs unwillingness to help and horrible attitude....my wife and i are pretty much furious with them, but thats not the point of this post

so do most of you use friends? or have you had good experience with the large "coporate" TAs? are there small "mom and pop" type shops that I can use? i know some specialize in cruising, but as long as they are helpful, honest, knowledgeable and willing to stand up for the customer when something goes wrong, I will be happy

Cruise Fanatic 02-04-2011 01:23 PM

Mike,
You've hit upon some of the criteria important in selecting a good travel agent to work with. You have to feel comfortable working with that agent, and feel they are listening to you and meeting your needs. A good travel agent will be your advocate to assist you if things go wrong. There are many ways to find a good travel agent. Referrals from family or friends, looking for a cruise agent at Cruise Lines International Association which is the Cruise Line International Asssoc., or calling a few and asking questions about their background and services. Don't write off an agent because they work from home. This is common practice now days.

Dave 02-04-2011 04:53 PM

Our first cruise was a theme deal and we had to book it with a large Atlanta cruise agency. This was in 1992. They messed many things up and I decided I'd never do that again. I found a great agent on the web in the mid-90s. She had been doing travel forever and worked out of her home in Florida. But she retired and recommended that I contact another home-based agent she knew, who lived in Texas. That was in 1997 and I've booked our cruises with "Linda" ever since then. She has an office over her garage and it is just her. We've since become friends and we've never had the slightest problem with our bookings. She takes care of us without our having to ask for something. I think the world of her.

Dwayne 02-04-2011 05:16 PM

I have a Home Based Agent too. He really knows his stuff and I've never had any problems. Excellent service and he takes care of things before I even have to ask. My first cruise was booked with a big "Brick and Mortar" Agency. The service and advice was pitiful. I wouldn't book a boat for a day on the lake with them again. The lady told me to take a T-shirt for a tip to my cabin steward!:eek:

The best advice is what Cruise Fanatic gave.

LisaP 02-05-2011 05:07 AM

Quote:

The best advice is what Cruise Fanatic gave.
Agreed. I always refer people to the CLIA site, as well. From what I understand, the requirements to earn the various CLIA certifications are very rigorous, including seminars, courses, exams, ship inspections, and taking cruises themselves.

As for my own situation, I use a TA who is an Elite Cruise Counselor through CLIA and who works from her home. I heard of her the old-fashioned way...word of mouth. She and I have worked together for six years. Prior to that, I used another home-based agent until she retired, and then tried some local and Internet options.

Keep in mind that no one method is right for everyone.

Something else to consider is the advice a TA can give you regarding your destinations. This isn't as important if you are going to the Caribbean for the 10th time (for example), yet I found it critical when starting to explore Europe.

Good luck in your search!

peter l 02-05-2011 05:41 AM

Great topic and very timely as for our last couple of cruises I have done my own homework and booked directly with the cruise line. I found that locally, the travel agencies that I worked with did not do much for me during the process and I found that I had to call them to take advantage of reduced cabin prices each time..I felt if I had to do the work myself it wasn't worth the hassles. On one occassion, the agent quoted me a price for 2 for our cabin, only to call back two days later to tell me a different price? Not only that but it had been backed up by an email for the agency. I found that a little difficult to swallow, but did.
I think I will take a look at CLIA and see what comes up for my area or perhaps talk with some other local cruisers to see what they are doing.

Peterl

Cruise Fanatic 02-05-2011 06:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by peter l (Post 285271)
Great topic and very timely as for our last couple of cruises I have done my own homework and booked directly with the cruise line. I found that locally, the travel agencies that I worked with did not do much for me during the process and I found that I had to call them to take advantage of reduced cabin prices each time..I felt if I had to do the work myself it wasn't worth the hassles. On one occassion, the agent quoted me a price for 2 for our cabin, only to call back two days later to tell me a different price? Not only that but it had been backed up by an email for the agency. I found that a little difficult to swallow, but did.
I think I will take a look at CLIA and see what comes up for my area or perhaps talk with some other local cruisers to see what they are doing.

Peterl

Peter, Since we don't have all the information on your situation above, it is hard to determine what actually happened. However; if your TA quoted you a price on Tuesday and you didn't book and deposit at that time; then it very well could be a different price two days later. In fact; it can even be a different price an hour later.

Jim C. 02-05-2011 11:52 AM

I agree that word of mouth and referrals is the best way to pick a TA. I used to book all my own via a Carnival PVP. The PVP was great but never seemed to be 100% on my side. Meaning that if there was a price reduction I had to find it, if there was a better choice of cabins, then I would have to suggest it. I am sure with the volume of bookings they handle its not practical to give the service level one would expect from a personal TA. I'm not saying NOT to book directly with a cruise line, as it does work for people. But I changed over to a TA recommended here and have not looked back. They offer the same prices as the cruise line AND I feel they are looking out for me.

I would avoid the big "discount" booking companies. They may offer a great deal but if something arises, once they have that booking, they have no reason to be helpful after that.


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