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  #1  
Old March 28th, 2010, 11:35 AM
BetWes BetWes is offline
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Default Question, who to book with?

Is it better to book with cruise line direct or an agency if the price is the same?
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Old March 28th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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My advice is to book with an agent. The agent will work for you and not the cruise line. If there is a problem then the agent is there to be your advocate and not the cruise line's. When the rubber hits the road the cruise line representative will do what's best for the cruise line, and their job, and not what's best for you.

Also: Don't be afraid to ask the independent agent what "extras" they can add to the deal. It may be an onboard credit, free travel insurance, rebate part of their commission or just a bottle of wine.

The freebies aren't the most important thing and should not be "the" deciding factor you use to decide if you will book. The service the agent provides is the most important thing, especially if the prices are the same.

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Mike
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Old March 28th, 2010, 12:25 PM
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Thank you for your input.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 05:11 PM
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This is s popular question, and, I concur with Mike, completely.You could book with the cruise line and transfer it to an agent, but calling an actual travel agent, rather than the order taker who answers the cruise line phone, is the better way to go..imho.. I often wonder, why, when there is no continued support from the cruise line, in case of any issues that could arise, why people opt for the cruise line.....but different strokes I guess
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Old March 28th, 2010, 09:21 PM
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I booked through the cruise line as it saved us over $600 on the trip, plus they upgraded us to a much nicer room. The travel agent I got a quote from may just have been a bad one, but she didn't know about the resident rate that the agent on the cruise line phone number did. She did know about the senior citizen rate, since my Mom qualifies, but that rate is not as good as the resident rate and applies to fewer rooms.

On Travelocity, I was quoted a different amount than from either the travel agent or the cruise line agent, and it was still a lot more than what the cruise line agent got us.

He was on the phone with me for close to 45 minutes checking out ways to make our trip cheaper and more convenient in terms of connecting flights. The connecting flights he found were $175 cheaper than the ones the travel agent found and $150 cheaper than the ones Travelocity matched us up with.

Finally, I am not sure if travel agents have better pictures of room layouts than cruise line agents.. but our cruise line agent was able to tell us in detail exactly how the room would be laid out. The travel agent just showed us the teeny little graphics that are in any cruise line guide book. And then she said that the rooms aren't all set up that way, it was just a rough guess and we wouldn't know exactly what the room would look like until we got there.

Anyway, I am really happy I booked through the cruise line, but I definitely would say to get as many quotes as you can, though as many sources as you can.

Oh, and I have called the cruise line a lot more times than I expected I would have to, to make room changes and such, and every time I have had no issues whatsoever with them. I just give my reservation number and poof, they have my whole file.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 09:24 PM
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If you call a Travel Agency be sure to ask for a Cruise Specialist. If they don't know what you're talking about try another agency!

You want someone who has actually been on a cruise ship! Our TA's company often has a special price on certain cruise's (or cabin's) and we also get a little "something" from our TA in our cabin.

It's great to have someone to run interference if there's a problem!
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Old March 28th, 2010, 09:27 PM
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My TA solely books cruises . I believe that is the best type of TA to use
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Old March 29th, 2010, 11:45 AM
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another point to consider is that most times a good reputable travel agent will if they can match or beat the price the cruise line charges, their business depends upon repeat satisfied customers who will spread the word
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Old March 29th, 2010, 12:39 PM
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A travel agent may also have some group space and can pass that savings on to you, something you'd have to specifically ask. You can also book a catagory guarantee and save some money, although you could not pick out a specific cabin, but if that doesn't matter, its the way to book.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 02:09 PM
Amberderossi Amberderossi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaK View Post
another point to consider is that most times a good reputable travel agent will if they can match or beat the price the cruise line charges, their business depends upon repeat satisfied customers who will spread the word
Just a point about that. That type of customer has been proven to not be a loyal customer. When they are chasing price and price alone, there is always someone willing to discount a little more.
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