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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 08-31-2009, 06:30 AM
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Because 2 times I have got nothing out of 2 different Ta's with 2 small problems. I called the TA's and they said they would call the cruise line and get back to me.Well,they got back to me with NOTHING. I turned around and called the cruise line and twice I got a discount on my next cruise by talking to a supervisor.

Mike,
Not knowing what your problems were, or the whole situation, it is hard to know whether your TA's came back with NOTHING because they didn't really do their job, or if the cruise line simply wouldn't cooperate with the TA. But I can tell you for a fact, that cruise lines will often tell a TA "no", and then turn around and say "yes" if a client calls direct. Why? because they want to cover their butts. They want to be the hero in your eyes and make the agent look bad. The airlines are notorious at doing this.

Finding a good TA is like finding a good Doctor, Dentist, Lawyer, or Accountant. When you find the right one they can be worth their weight in gold. They are a wealth of knowledge. Good TA's are continuously learning. They learn from seminars, webinars,supplier specialists courses, destination courses, conferences, and ship inspections. Most important, they learn from each other on a daily basis by participating in TA social networks and forums.

An individual may do some research and think they know everything they need to book the cruise direct. They may even book a few and have no problems. But the majority of cruise line reservation agents don't have the background and knowledge of most TA's. A good example would be on an Alaska/Vancouver one way cruise. It's not likely the cruise line agent will ask an important question about law violations that could prohibit you from entering Canada. But a good TA will. Finding and booking with a good TA can save you in the long run.
  #22 (permalink)  
Old 08-31-2009, 08:14 AM
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A problem is there are too many people running around out there calling themselves agents and they have no training or experience. It is a puppy mill of sorts.

Efforts to reign in on this and establish standards for being an agent are being undertaken by some. Isn't that a goal for Tom and Joanie Ogg?
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:22 AM
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did you get to meet richard and kyle ?
Yes. It was a 7 night theme cruise with the Petty family back in 1992 when Richard retired from driving. Got to talk to them every day, Richard always found time to spend a minute or two with all the passengers. Great guy. Great family. Ned Jarrett was very much the gentlemen he is known for being.

Perspective on that cruise which is back on topic: It was a large group booking (700 people) that was initially set for one ship but suddenly that fell through and we had to be moved to another ship barely a month before the cruise. A large travel agency in Atlanta was managing this - back in the time when it was all paper, telephones, and using the post office or Fedex to do anything. The cruise included air so they also had to jump through hoops on rebooking that too. They did a great job and it went off without a noticeable hitch, although I have no doubt there were many sleepless nights at the agency office.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:11 AM
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Yes, Tom and Joanie have been strong advocates on helping the professional and traditional Travel Agent. They continue to work on a standardization of the professional Travel Agent.

It seems the cruise lines have been rampant lately on booting individual and group bookings off ships in favor of charters. Charters, which are planned in advance, but the cruise lines continue to take bookings, only to announce a few months in advance that the ship is chartered. Leaving many to scrabble for alternate plans. Not good business IMO.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:18 AM
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It is at a minimum unethical, and perhaps illegal in my mind, to knowingly continue to accept bookings on a ship which has been chartered. Seems like a way to have the use of the deposit money or perhaps the entire fares for a while before refunding them.
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:25 PM
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I myself take an advantage of a little known secret. I belong to AAA and they have a travel section. As do other motor clubs
That is why you pay a membership to utilized their agents as well as their roadside service.
I have had nothing but wonderful experinces. I also know the agents are salary not and don't get money kickbacks, they if anything get bonus points for their personal travel plus salary paid by membership dues.
They have on all my trips gone above and beyond.
So maybe if you prefer not to deal direct with the cruise line and perfer not to use a TA that a travel club is the 3rd option. I have felt always that for them it was all about customer service.

Chris Webb
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Old 09-02-2009, 12:57 PM
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The important thing Chris is you feel you have gotten great customer service.

But on a small note, those of us who work on commission are VERY interested in customer service, otherwise we might not make another commission
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 09-02-2009, 01:04 PM
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Cristo,

Welcome to cruise chat. Having previously worked for AAA Travel for 15 months I know a little bit about how AAA Travel and the Auto Clubs work. It isn't a secret that they sell travel. They sometimes advertise in Sunday papers and have big neon signs on buildings and roadside stating AAA Travel. Each AAA Auto Club operates independently based on their region. I was part of AAA Auto Club South. Here's how it was in AAA Auto Club South. When you book a cruise through AAA Travel you ARE booking with a TA. They are no different than any other Travel Agency. AAA also has the auto side of the house that worked on the Trip Tiks (mapped out routes), and those counselors could also book hotels, rental cars, and Disney. Those agents were not Travel Agents. AAA uses preferred suppliers, and put their Travel Agents under sales goals. You worked on an hourly salary and if you met your monthly sales goal you got a stipend bonus. If you were one of the top agents in the region at the end of the year you may have gotten part of a bonus pot. The sales goals were unrealistic and you didn't get credit for half the stuff you sold.

Your region may operate differently as far as compensation.
 
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