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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 07-30-2007, 07:15 PM
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f-mattox, hope you don't mind my jumping in here. Yes the ships pretty much sail at 100% capacity. The days of showing up at the pier on the day of sailing and getting a "good deal" are pretty much gone. Sure, there might be a no show or last minute cancellations.

Jack2007, a good Travel Agent isn't just about what freebies they give you. It's about the service they provide.
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:27 PM
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Cruise Fanatic, don't mind at all--I love hearing from you professionals.

That's what I thought; there's no point in wondering how full the ship is--It's FULL!
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Old 08-02-2007, 06:29 PM
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Sorry for missing the questions, been away for a little while. Cruise Fanatic gave a better answer than I'd have come up with anyway, great reply CF, I agree.

Cheers, Neil
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Old 08-02-2007, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TrvlPro:
Sorry for missing the questions, been away for a little while. Cruise Fanatic gave a better answer than I'd have come up with anyway, great reply CF, I agree.

Cheers, Neil
Dang, Neil, I was beginning to think you had abandoned us!
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 08-02-2007, 06:55 PM
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Nope, thanks for noticing I was gone though. Absence was not cruise related so not worth addressing. Happy to be back though.

Cheers, Neil
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Old 08-03-2007, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cruise Fanatic:
Jack2007, a good Travel Agent isn't just about what freebies they give you. It's about the service they provide.
ok...I understand that, but how do you know if an agent gives you good or just moderate service without some sort of guide ?Yes you can probably tell if the service is rotten but sometimes its hard to know who gives great service & great prices.......jack
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 08-03-2007, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by f-mattox:
Neil, don't most ships sail at near 100% capacity? With all the retirees able to travel at the drop of a hat I can't imagine any ship sailing at much less than 100%.
Look I hope you don't think I'm being a pain but I got my fourth cruise through a major american cruise clearing house who regularly show offers of over 50% on all sorts of cruises in all catagories & some of these just under a month or two before sailing...so to my eyes it doesn't look like the cruise is really that full especially if they offer over 60% off.As I said before I quite like the idea of a cruise not totally full...for various reasons including less grabbing of seats in the theatre or entertainment bars.
But though I got my cruise from this clearing house I still don't know if I would be better off with a proper cruise travel agent...and as you all know USA is such a huge country where to begin ..........regards jack
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Old 08-03-2007, 02:25 PM
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Jack, I am an agent at one of those huge clearing houses. There are also a number of traditional T/A's on this board. Great service is not hard to determine, just like poor service, you know it when you get it. There are things the traditional agents provide that I can't. Those little things they do over and above are very important to many who cruise. Sonny recently posted about his agent who spent hours locating outside airfare when a flight was cancelled or delayed (I can't remember all the details). That is above and beyond service. I think Sandy and others here keep an eye on their clients bookings on a regular basis and if it goes down they adjust it and notify their clients, that is above and beyond. Because of the volume of bookings with an agency like the one I work for those little perks are beyond my ability to perform and still keep up with my employers expectations for volume. The clearing houses do have advantages as well. We buy block of cabins (Group space) and sell it individually on thousands of sailing each year. We get rates from some lines below what can be found elsewhere (not on all sailings or lines). Aside from the pricing issues I believe I and many agents in this mass market approach can still provde service at a very high level. Part of that ability is technology. Programming can inform me when to follow up, send docs, notify of itin changes, etc. Things I'd have no ability to do without a great support team including IT people to allow me an auto-pilot approach without the chance of human error in some aspects of my job.

There are very good and very bad internet agencies and online agents. There are, I'm sure very good and very bad traditional agents and agencies. They perform different functions and have different benefits and draw-backs. Everyone has to determine what is the best fit for them. Just like each cruiseline has fans and detractors different agencies do as well. Freestyle dining is not right for everyone, some swear by it. The multitude of choices for who books your cruise is even more varried than the cruiseline choices. That's a good thing, there is a great fit for everyone you just have to find the perfect fit for you. Shop a few of the differnt types of choices out there. When you find an agent that knows their business and shows they care about your wants, needs and lifestyle enough to direct you through asking the right questions to the right cruises and cruiselines you'll know you've found a good one.

Cheers, Neil
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 08-03-2007, 03:47 PM
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Neil, thanks so much for your response, it made very interesting reading and I'm sure that other members will find it of use as well as me.
What I found really useful using an americam agent was the fact that on my princess cruise in europe,I was able to purchase cruise only & get a really good price but all the british cruise agents I enquired to said that I had to have flight included but I found I could do alot better booking myself on one of our low cost airlines.
Now I'm looking at cruises for next year and from what I've read from other members ,it looks like its better to book as far in advance as possible....regards jack
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 08-03-2007, 03:53 PM
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Jack, this year especially, early has been better. The last couple of years the booking for Caribbean were a little soft and last minute pricing was often the best. This year the opposite is true. Last minute sailings are commanding huge pricing and they're still filling the ships. Many of the August 3-5 nighters are selling for more than 7 night itins on better ships were selling for last year. Guess with Baby Boomers retiring last minute bargains are a thing of the past, even with all the new ships being released.

Cheers, Neil
 
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