Best Way to Book

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#1
Rochester,NY
104 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
Looking into cruising early 2018. Have used a travel agent for all three - anyone see any more benefit book directly with the cruiseline? Would love any opinions!
#2
Southern California by way of Kentucky
18,710 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by GabbyKeira
Looking into cruising early 2018. Have used a travel agent for all three - anyone see any more benefit book directly with the cruiseline? Would love any opinions!
It's just a personal choice. 20+ cruises with RCI and I've always booked everything myself. I don't care to have a 3rd party involved...no reason for me to.
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#4
Virginia
20,242 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
I have always received some perk from a travel agent plus I am not a negotiator if problems arise so I always use a TA.
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#6
Fort Collins, Colorado
2,511 Posts
Joined May 2009
I personally use a travel agent, but we have known her for 20 years. Being that her services don't cost me anything extra, and we get OBS from her, I always book with her, as I would rather the cruise line pay her some commission and keep her employed rather than stuff their own coffers.
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#7
Southern California by way of Kentucky
18,710 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by A2Mich
I personally use a travel agent, but we have known her for 20 years. Being that her services don't cost me anything extra, and we get OBS from her, I always book with her, as I would rather the cruise line pay her some commission and keep her employed rather than stuff their own coffers.
What's "OBS" ?
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#8
12,285 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
Others prefer TA's for the OBC given to them. I usually book direct since I want to have control over my booking. With a TA, the cruise line will discuss your booking with them.
#9
Fort Collins, Colorado
2,511 Posts
Joined May 2009
Should have been OBC... sorry for the typo


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#11
Western Washington
4,783 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Always used a TA before but this time used a HAL PCC (Personal Cruise Consultant) direct with the line. Experience so far as been excellent and she has access to info a lot of TAs might not. Clincher on the experience was when HAL switched our ship from MS Amsterdam to the larger MS Oosterdam and she was able to make sure we got re-booked in a comparable handicap accessible cabin & location though later she also helped us switch to a balcony HC cabin. It was good the ship switch was from smaller to larger ship. I figured it can't hurt that she works from near HALs HQ and knows who to get info from. Sure we might be giving up some OBC but the hassle free experience has been worth it.
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#12
Rochester,NY
104 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
That's what I'm thinking of doing as well. We love Celebrity and was thinking about going through their cruise specialists. So glad to hear you had such a positive experience.


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#13
Southern California
1,469 Posts
Joined May 2008
Go with the cruise specialist, get your cabin booked, pick up perks offered by Celebrity. Then transfer to a TA giving perks such as pre paid gratuities. added or matched OBC, a specialty dining package . That way you get it all, plus some TA'S watch for price drops for you. Any problems you encounter will be handled through a multi million cruise agency rather the a Celebrity cubicle dweller. happy cruising
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#15
Southern California by way of Kentucky
18,710 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by taglovestocruise
Go with the cruise specialist, get your cabin booked, pick up perks offered by Celebrity. Then transfer to a TA giving perks such as pre paid gratuities. added or matched OBC, a specialty dining package . That way you get it all, plus some TA'S watch for price drops for you. Any problems you encounter will be handled through a multi million cruise agency rather the a Celebrity cubicle dweller. happy cruising
If the OP decides to take your suggestion....there is a time limit as you probably know and forgot to mention (usually 60 days from the date of booking) to make a transfer
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#16
New Cumberland,PA, USA
26,646 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by GabbyKeira
Looking into cruising early 2018. Have used a travel agent for all three - anyone see any more benefit book directly with the cruiseline? Would love any opinions!

When you factor-in amenities such as On Board Credits (OBCs), pre paid gratuities, etc. you should be able to save 7-10% by shopping around among reputable online cruise agencies. We have not booked directly with any cruise line for at least our last 100 cruise bookings...and figure we are 10s of thousands of dollars ahead . On one long HAL cruise we saved over $3000 (on a single cruise) by simply using a decent cruise agency. On a recent (last year) last minute Princess booking we paid about half the price...paid by most other cruisers...by simply shopping for a good last minute deal.

On the other hand, we do love those that book directly with cruise lines...as we own stock...and they really help contribute to the bottom line

Hank
#17
Rochester,NY
104 Posts
Joined Jul 2014
I love the way you think! Ended up booking tonight directly through the line. Prices were about the same when I looked online but I'll keep my eyes opened!


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#18
Point Richmond CA
4,390 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by taglovestocruise
Go with the cruise specialist, get your cabin booked, pick up perks offered by Celebrity. Then transfer to a TA giving perks such as pre paid gratuities. added or matched OBC, a specialty dining package . That way you get it all, plus some TA'S watch for price drops for you. Any problems you encounter will be handled through a multi million cruise agency rather the a Celebrity cubicle dweller. happy cruising

Even better, book onboard (particularly if that line provides added discounts, current extra OBC and price drop guarantees) and then shop around your transfer to a TA within the allowable window (e.g., 30 days), to get the added TA OBC and the snafu management that a top selling TA for that line can easily provide. For low end cruise lines, that OBC might not amount to much. But,the snafu management can be worth its weight in gold. For the other end of the spectrum (premium/luxury), that TA OBC can be thousands.
As for a cruise line's own "specialists," remember that they are the line's employees - not yours.


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#20
Edmonton
2 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
I was just at a Celebrity presentation and the rep said that you are better to book with a travel agent than the line itself because large travel agencies book large blocks and get good discounts. The larger the travel agency the potential larger discount. If you use the TA they get to know you and can offer better services tailored to your needs and likes.