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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2007, 09:55 AM
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I'd like to think that travel agents are somewhat trustworthy, (following the rules,) if not, what prevents them from screwing over their customer?
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 02-16-2007, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by JasonG:
Shop around and do your research. Many of the folks on this website are travel agents. Dave's quote alone implies that the rules are not always followed. Right?

Also look at land based destinations and compare your costs and what you get for your dollar. Don't forget to add in all of those on-board fees and excursion costs (double the price if booked through the cruise line or most agents). If you want a "canned vacation" a cruise is fine. If you want " romantic heaven on earth" shop around - it is out there trust me. There are also possibilities of taking cruises on much smaller boats ( 100-250 ppl) - a really cool alternative indeed! Each option has its own advantages. Think about what you want from the experience and look at what each will offer. Don't just settle for the vacation in a bottle - this is too important for you and your honey.

J
Jason G
This is a "Cruise Chat" website. If you want to keep talking about land vacations than you need to find a different website.

I don't know why people don't support their local Travel Agents more. If you get a rate of $549 from the cruise line and $549 from an agent, then why not book with the agent? The cruise lines pay the agent commission on that $549. But the cruise line doesn't pass that savings on to you if you book direct. They still charge the $549. Your Travel agent will get your documents to you in a timely manner, be there to answer all you questions and probably explain everything ten times better that any cruise line reservation agent. Your agent will be there to address any problems you might have before, during, and after your cruise. A Travel Agent can tell you all the pros and cons of choosing one ship over another, or one itinerary over another. They can be a wealth of information.
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Old 02-23-2007, 04:34 PM
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So, what I don't understand is, why then are prices so different from one online agency to another? I have booked with Travelocity because they were cheaper than Vacations to Go. Then I booked with Vacations to Go because they were cheaper than Travelocity. This year, I booked with Best Price Cruises, because they were cheaper than any other online TA as well as Princess direct. Doesn't make sense to me. Who do you trust? So, you all are saying that if I go to a land based TA, I should be able to get the same price as what I find online? This is so baffling to me. Last year, on our 10 day on the Sun Princess, we met some passengers from Canada that received over $200 off of what we paid. Of course, they booked at the last minute and took what they could get. Turns out they wanted an inside anyway, and ended up getting a handicap room because it was not taken. Very large room indeed! So, my assumption is that, if you book at different times, prices change. If you want a specific room, then you should book far enough in advance and pay the price. It's enough to drive you mad!! I'd like to know everyone's thoughts on how they book to get the best price. What's a little secret sharing between friends, huh?
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Old 02-23-2007, 07:21 PM
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I don't think there is any secret to it; you have to shop around, just as you do. You just have to be sure you are comparing apples to apples, oranges to oranges.
I think what confuses a lot of people (it did me) is the games that can be played with the numbers. For example, I just randomly picked up one of my Princess brochures and I am looking at no less than 13 fare columns for the same 12 day cruise, but on different dates; and there are 34 different cabin categories--8 inside categories; 9 oceanview categories, etc.
That's a whopping 442 different prices for the same cruise on the same ship. Not to mention some agencies include taxes and port charges in the fare, some list them separately.
It's not really all that different from grocery shopping; you decide exactly what you want, then see who has the best price on it. It takes a little work, but it's worth it.
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Old 02-25-2007, 05:24 PM
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Thanks, F-Mattox, but I'm still confused on how some people get different fares from different TA's. If prices are to be the same, then why the differences? I just think it's when you book and when the cruise line wants to open additional rooms available to book. It can really be a mind game. Kind of the same when it comes to getting an upgrade. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. It's baffling.
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Old 02-25-2007, 05:47 PM
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According to my TA Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are the ones that absolutely do not allow TAs to differ on pricing. I was told that this is not the case with Princess (and I assume not with the other companies affiliated with Princess). That is why you can find a variety of quotes with Princess. I usually find that cruises-n-more.com, surecruise.com, and sometimes travelocity.com have good prices, but when I give her the info on them, my TA always meets those prices.
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Old 02-25-2007, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by choochella:
Thanks, F-Mattox, but I'm still confused on how some people get different fares from different TA's. If prices are to be the same, then why the differences? I just think it's when you book and when the cruise line wants to open additional rooms available to book. It can really be a mind game. Kind of the same when it comes to getting an upgrade. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. It's baffling.
The whole booking process and different rate codes and prices can get very confusing. One reason you may get different rates by calling different agents on the same day is because one agent may have group space blocked on a sailing or belong to a consortium that blocks group space on numerous sailings. Cruise rates are based on the availability of the category at the time and day you are booking. The cruise lines will sell so many rooms in a category at an assigned cabin rate, and so many at a "Guarantee" rate. The Guarantee rate is usually cheaper. Cruiselines start out selling a sailing at a good discount for "early booking". As the ship fills up and gets closer to the sail date the discount gets smaller. If the ship is not selling to the cruise lines expectations then they may have specials to generate sales. If the ship is selling well the price may continue to get higher as categories sell out. Rates can fluctuate as group space that had been block is unsold and put back into the inventory. When someone tells you they got a cruise for XX amount of dollars it most likely is comparing apples to oranges because you really don't know all the variables involved. All they are telling you is they got their balcony for XX dollars, but you don't know if it was through a group rate, or a guarantee rate and they got upgraded, or booked 9 months in advance. Sometimes they don't know themselves that an agent booked them into a group sailing. Many people get confused and don't understand the whole concept of the assigned cabin or guarantee cabin either. It is suppose to be a level playing field, but yes, you may find some agents that aren't playing by the rules. Unfortunately.
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 02-25-2007, 06:55 PM
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Thank you, Cruise Fanatic;
that's the clearest explanation of the pricing jungle I've ever seen. It seems to be pretty much of a crap shoot. I go back to what I said earlier--you really have to shop around.
 
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