I have only ever booked directly with Royal Caribbean directly, but is it better to get a travel agent? I am budget conscious (at 24, I dont have the highest salary, but I have some funds I set aside every year for travel. Any help or guidance would be appreciated.
There are lots of good arguments on both sides of that question. For one thing, it won't cost you any more to use a travel agent, and possibly less. They sometimes reserve blocks of cabins and offer incentives the cruise lines can't or won't.
But if you can do it yourself, why not? Travel agents are professionals and if you need professional help, get it. You don't need a doctor for a common cold, but you wouldn't try to take out your own appendix.
A cruise from a U.S. port with domestic air and a hotel stay I can do myself. When I took my family to the Baltic on a different cruise line than I usually use, with international flights and stays in new foreign cities, I got professional help. And yet there are many here that could have done even that themselves.
It's all up to you--what you are comfortable with.
I am thinking ahead for next year. It wil be a transatlantic from Ft. Lauderdale to Southampton, England. I have never been to Europe, and never out of the country or coming back to the US via air. I trust Royal Caribbean, but I am nervous in general about the flight back.
I always book my airline tickets and hotels on my own, but I have a travel agent that is a cruise specialist. I book all my cruise while on a cruise to get the on board credit, but I turn my booking over to my T.A. before the final payment is due. F-mattox is right about it not costing any more if you use a travel agent, but you really need a good agent. I've been on a lot of cruises so I don't need my T.A. for advice, but at one time I did. Sometimes prices drop and a travel agent is more likely to see a price drop before you will, because they are always looking up prices for clients. That has happened to me, and when my agent called me she was able to take care of everything. My agent also calls me then there is a special price on a cruise, she knows what months I can go on cruises. You should be able to get good price on a transatlantic. I'm going on my first transatlantic next week. It's by far the cheapest cruise I've ever paid for. RCCL drop the price by more than 50% a couple of weeks after I made my final payment, and my travel agent took care of everything for me.
I basically do the same as Sonny with flights and hotels. I have booked directly with RCI and never had any problems. Then I tried a travel agency and never felt very secure with them and swore off of them. Then we met one on a cruise, started using them and have been extremely happy.
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Serenade of the Seas Oct 23, 2011