We booked our first two cruises through our local travel agent and paid nearly full fair. Since then we've been using a discount cruise source off the internet.
I have a little problem with the nature of "cheap" versus inexpensive. It makes no sense to pay more through your travel agent, as Tom points out, than through an on-line source. If you really like using a local agent (which may be good if you ever have to litigate any issue with the cruise line) then by all means you should pay the extra amount and book in that fashion.
In my view people who are regular cruisers do themselves a disservice by not using an on-line agency because (1) they know what they want, (2) they know what it should cost; and (3) they are not relying on the "expertise" of the travel agent to get these things for them. Thus the value the travel agent brings to the experienced cruiser is limited.
My wife hates being awakened by the sun. As a general rule, we book an inside cabin every time. This next time we have an oceanview only because there were no inside cabins left. I got it for an inside cabin price, so what do I care? We'll take along a clothespin and shut out the light.
If you book inside, you're not at the staff captain's table or captains table. Those are reserved for the people who shell out the big bucks for the suites. But how much time, REALLY, do you spend in your cabin on a cruise? For us, about 8 to 10 hours a day. The majority of that time our eyes are closed. Does it make sense to pay $1,300 more for a bigger room? We don't think so. This because (1) the food is no different; (2) the ports are no different; and (3) the general amenities are no different in an inside cabin as opposed to a suite. I say this with some experience because I've been in a suite for 14 days and in an inside cabin for 7, and I was just as happy in the inside cabin. The difference in real estate didn't much matter to me.
I guess I am what the cruise lines would call "value" conscious. I'm an attorney so I gamble all day on cases. The last thing I want to do is throw money away by buying additional dining or plunking down the hard-earned green at a blackjack table where the odds are, from the get-go, stacked against me. I don't buy booze (I don't drink) and we buy a soda card to fix our exposure on that score. We use the shipboard laundramat instead of the cleaners. And we have a whale of time.
Just one man's opinion, FWIW.