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Knolmom

Booked OnBoard, booking automatically sent by Celebrity to the last TA You used

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Posted (edited)

I recently booked a cruise for next fall while I was onboard the Reflection. I usually use a large Big Box Agency to book my cruises or I have the cruise transferred to this agency after I get home. The Reflection Cruise was also booked onboard, and I asked to have it transferred to this TA That I knew little about, but it was an extended family cruise and We found it easier to get us all seated in the dining room together if we all used the same TA. They were good, but had I booked directly with them I would not have received the perks, OBC or cash back I was accustomed to receiving from onboard booking or even my usual TA They really provided no service to me other than seating.

When I completed this current booking, the future cruise consultant said, as a courtesy , that she would automatically send the booking to my ( last ) TA. Unless I was listening intently, I would not have heard this. Of course I asked her to keep the booking with Celebrity as I wanted to explore if any other TA would add additional perks to what I already had. I also did not know the other TA‘s policies for cancellation, and wanted to talk to my fellow cruisers on the voyage to be sure we were all on the same page with dates, seating, cabins, and other matters.

Fast forward, as soon as I got home, I got a note from the TA that they received word of my onboard booking but could not locate the deposit in their system. I replied that although I had booked the cruise, I asked Celebrity to hold the booking until I clarified their cancellation  policy, their policy for requiring additional deposits,  and to determine what additional perks they would offer ect, and that I would be in touch when I wanted to book through them. Prior to today, it was my intention to do so, although I think I could get an additional $300 cash card from the Big Box.

Today I received another e -mail from them, saying that they could not understand how Celebrity“ took the booking away from them“ . I found this annoying. 

Since when has it become Celebrity’s policy to automatically transfer the booking to your last TA? Is this new, because last year I had to ask to have my onboard booking transferred to a certain agency, even while onboard. Does Royal do this also? Do other cruise lines operate like this?

 There is really nothing that this TA can offer me, except a printout of my cruise itinerary and an additional $50 per cabin OBC. I am traveling with a group of friends, all of whom have different TA‘s. We all have select dining. We all booked our own air. We all secured our own travel policies. TA’s don’t send luggage tags anymore, and I understand they are not a part of the „move- up“ program, meaning you deal with Celebrity directly for this?

Is THIS TA being more than pushy?

 

 

 

Edited by Knolmom

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we have always been asked if we would like the booking to go to our specific TA when we book on board.  We have always said yes, except for the one instance where our original TA passed away and we did not want to use their agency.  While seated with the Future Cruise person, we gave then the specifics for the new TA we wanted to use.  You also do have the availability of leaving it with Celebrity and then completing a form at a later date (I believe within 30 or 60 days) to transfer it to your TA of choice.

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This changed a couple of years ago.  Now when you have them keep the booking with Celebrity they have you sign a form.  It sounds like Celebrity inadvertently sent the reservation to them and when they figured out they had done it in error pulled it back?

 

My response to the agency would be that you had made the booking specifying that it was to be held by Celebrity.  If Celebrity had done something different with them they need to take it up with Celebrity.  If the agency was aggressive like this with me they certainly wouldn't get my business.

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Not a new policy, but you have every right to request differently,

I do think that the Future Cruise staff should make this clearer,

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Posted (edited)

If X was smart their default would be to keep on board bookings in-house unless we instruct them to transfer to ta.  Could save them a lot in commissions.

Edited by Baron Barracuda

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They always kept my bookings with them in the past. I had to fill out a sheet and even call the Big Box to get a certain code when I wanted to transfer to them onboard in the past. I also had to fill out a form to do this with the referenced TA just last October. 

This time, no form, it was automatically going. 

Thanks for the replies. Guess Celebrity is trying to engender loyalty of some TA‘s by doing this.

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Celebrity will automatically transfer the onboard booking to the TA you used for the current cruise you're on unless you request it be held by Celebrity and sign a form to that effect. You then have 60 days to research your options with various TAs and transfer the booking to the one who offers you the best value. The TA you encountered seems really pushy and since you expressed that you didn't see any value added by using their service, you should act in your own best interests. Luckily emails are easily deleted and phone calls can be ignored, or terminated.

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Definitely not a new policy.    Going back over 20 years and it has always been that way.   All you have to do is ask to book it with Celebrity instead of agent.    They will have you sign a release and that is all that is requied.  

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We also had an unfortunate experience with a not wanted TA and have been wary of booking onboard ever since, so thank you so much for starting this thread.

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12 minutes ago, Jim_Iain said:

.......All you have to do is ask to book it with Celebrity instead of agent.    They will have you sign a release and that is all that is requied.  

 

This is how we do it also.  It gains you an additional 60 days to check around, compare offers and find the best deal for your next cruise before committing to any TA.

 

The TA used for the last cruise will not necessarily be the best to use for the next cruise as different TAs are able to offer better deals for different cruises.

If you keep the booking in your own name initially, it is very easy to transfer it to any TA of your choice.

 

But if you allow them to assign your booking to the previous TA automatically,  then you are locked in and lose all flexibility.

 

Once your booking has been assigned to a TA, it is difficult and unpleasant to try to get it back when you learn that a much better deal is available elsewhere.

 

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6 hours ago, wrk2cruise said:

This changed a couple of years ago.  Now when you have them keep the booking with Celebrity they have you sign a form.  It sounds like Celebrity inadvertently sent the reservation to them and when they figured out they had done it in error pulled it back?

 

My response to the agency would be that you had made the booking specifying that it was to be held by Celebrity.  If Celebrity had done something different with them they need to take it up with Celebrity.  If the agency was aggressive like this with me they certainly wouldn't get my business.

Doubt that the reservation was set to the current TA inadvertently; I have heard that Celebrity may have a policy of informing the current TA that you have booked a new reservation that is being held by Celebrity.

 

They are certainly doing their best to try and keep TAs happy!

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When we took our very first cruise, on Celebrity in 2013, we were so smitten with cruising that we booked a couple more plus a future cruise certificate (the one with the non-refundable $100 deposit). We had no idea how things worked and assumed the bookings stayed with Celebrity. They did not inform us that they were sending the bookings to the big online TA that we happened to use for that first cruise. When they finally mentioned it, we said that we didn't necessarily want to use the same TA again, but they said it was their  policy and it was already done. I ended up cancelling those other cruises, and although I've sailed many times on Celebrity since then, I still haven't managed to use that future cruise certificate...

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Just had this happen on our 2-22 cruise. Booked on ship and told agent we didn't want to use same agency,

When we returned home, contacted the agency we wanted to use and gave them the booking number. Company called back and said they could't take it as it was already assigned to another company. After 1 hour of phone calls and told them we would cancel cruise, they transferred us to resolution supervisor and she said what we had to do to get it bad. I said sorry, i don't have to do nothing , you have to do or I cancel that and another cruise we have booked. It took  5 days but they got it back and assigned to the new agency. They said agent on board make the mistake.

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2 hours ago, late2cruisin said:

When we took our very first cruise, on Celebrity in 2013, we were so smitten with cruising that we booked a couple more plus a future cruise certificate (the one with the non-refundable $100 deposit). We had no idea how things worked and assumed the bookings stayed with Celebrity. They did not inform us that they were sending the bookings to the big online TA that we happened to use for that first cruise. When they finally mentioned it, we said that we didn't necessarily want to use the same TA again, but they said it was their  policy and it was already done. I ended up cancelling those other cruises, and although I've sailed many times on Celebrity since then, I still haven't managed to use that future cruise certificate...

We had similar problems with a future cruise certificate that was never combinable with whatever promotion we selected. After 5 years of letting X hold our money and asking (read that pleading) that X just apply the dollar amount we spent for the certificate without any added benefit and being refused, our TA was finally able to convince X to refund the money we spent for the certificate to the original credit card we'd used to purchase it. I suspect the only reason this happened was that our TA was X's largest travel partner and it was done as a special accommodation to them. Needless to say, we'll never purchase another one of those. If we book on board it's a specific sailing to be held by X until we transfer it.  We make sure to sign the form to preclude them from transferring to the current agent or anyone else until we direct the transfer and keep a copy of all transactions. We often feel when visiting the Future Cruises onboard that we are better informed than the agents working there.

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1st, a disclaimer - I scanned the responses rather than read every word but believe I got the overall context. 2nd, while not in sales (though  13 years ago I was for a year) I HAVE been in the cruise industry - first CS now Operations for a cruise travel agency - since 2006. I am both quite familiar with the ins & outs yet have no underlying need to "sell" you here. 

 

if you book a Future Cruise onboard the agency you booked you CURRENT cruise is supposed to be notified, if for NO other reason to assist in making your next cruise. Yes, an agency will make commission on your next booking in that case, but SO will the cruise line itself. They'd be crazy to let a travel agent sell a cruise if that weren't true.

 

"Shopping" agencies.... not the payoff you're expecting.  Yes, sometimes an agency has exclusive promos to offer (like that extra $50 you made 20 phone calls around to get) but we're also not permitted by contract to discount anything with some lines. So no matter how many agencies you call you're getting the same quote. 

 

Bottom line, you can't be forced to stay with an agency, you can request a booking be transferred to another agency or back to the cruise lines directly. If you're not being treated well, for instance, take it and leave. But to make an agent spend a decent amount of time researching options, rates, etc to give you a quote and then you pull "let's see what's behind door #2" and just end up with the same ( or marginally more but you never asked) with another agency is a slap in the face to the one who's time you just wasted. And the ones willing to literally give up some commission to keep your business are the ones you've shown you'll be back again.  Because then you've become family to them. Just saying. 

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bx2boca, while what you're saying sounds logical, I've found that it's far from true. The price or extra perk differential between travel agencies has in some cases been hundreds of dollars apart, not $50 after 20 phone calls as you say. Also many of the large TA websites require not one second of the TA's time, but mine, and to save hundreds, (and sometimes more) I'll spend a bit of my time.  Some TAs do a much larger volume of business with a particular cruise line and so can offer better value added opportunities to their clients than do others. If you've cruised enough, and shopped over the years a savvy shopper knows where to look, what to ask and if a phone call is necessary takes only a few short minutes. 

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Posted (edited)

Hello again. I am the OP and the thread I started was about the TA that handled the cruise I was on being a little pushy about a future booking. It was my intention to let Celebrity hold the booking instead of transferring it directly so that I would not cause the agency any problems if I was going to cancel ( which is a possibility) or change the date, or need to change cabins or make other requests right away. I would rather see Celebrity do the work than have the booking transferred and have the agency do this work. In addition, I do not have to make 20 phone calls to see that right on their Website,  the Big Box TA that I usually use indicates what perks will be awarded for booking this cruise, and I can make a comparison without causing anyone to do any additional work. Although the cruise prices advertised seem pretty firm across the board, the difference is usually in the $ value of the perks, or on occasion, the cost reduction if the agency has a group fare.  If what one of the posters says is accurate about Celebrity informaing your last TA that you booked a cruise but did not turn it over to them, Celebrity has now put me in the position of having to explain to this TA why I did that. And by merely using the website of only one additional TA, whom I have also used  before, I can see that I will increase my perks by an additional $300 by shopping around. I was willing to forgo that because I did tell the original TA that I thought I would book with them once I reviewed their cancellation or change policies, which I still have not done. They actually whined today about the work it will take to get the reservation“ back“ when It was actually never theirs to begin with.

Celebrity ought to rethink their policies. And yes, you CAN get a better deal without making 20 phone calls.

Edited by Knolmom
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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, bx2boca said:

 

"Shopping" agencies.... not the payoff you're expecting.  Yes, sometimes an agency has exclusive promos to offer (like that extra $50 you made 20 phone calls around to get) but we're also not permitted by contract to discount anything with some lines. So no matter how many agencies you call you're getting the same quote. 

 

 

Although I agree with most of what you say, this is not necessarily true (I also work in the industry).

Larger agencies usually book large blocks of cabins on release day, they get the lowest price and the group perks, which can be rolled out to their customers in many forms. They can continue to sell those blocked cabins at the original price for months until the contractual date that they must turn them back into the cruiseline. Meanwhile, the prices keep on rising and smaller agencies need to quote the going rate. Cruiselines also "favor" large agencies with promos that may not be available through others.True that we are not allowed to reduce the actual fares, but you can reduce your commission, and give generous onboard credits, gift cards and perks. 

 

You are correct in that, customers loyal to an agent may receive better deals to keep their business. An agent will do their best to get you as a first time customer, and if bottom line is your only goal, then TA hopping is for you. If you are looking for exceptional service, find an agent that you know will do their best for you and stick with them. If you find a better deal, they'll bend over backwards to keep you.

 

Edited by sippican

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8 hours ago, sippican said:

 

Although I agree with most of what you say, this is not necessarily true (I also work in the industry).

Larger agencies usually book large blocks of cabins on release day, they get the lowest price and the group perks, which can be rolled out to their customers in many forms. They can continue to sell those blocked cabins at the original price for months until the contractual date that they must turn them back into the cruiseline. Meanwhile, the prices keep on rising and smaller agencies need to quote the going rate. Cruiselines also "favor" large agencies with promos that may not be available through others.True that we are not allowed to reduce the actual fares, but you can reduce your commission, and give generous onboard credits, gift cards and perks. 

 

You are correct in that, customers loyal to an agent may receive better deals to keep their business. An agent will do their best to get you as a first time customer, and if bottom line is your only goal, then TA hopping is for you. If you are looking for exceptional service, find an agent that you know will do their best for you and stick with them. If you find a better deal, they'll bend over backwards to keep you.

 

Since you are in the industry, perhaps you can share your experience.  When an agency blocks a large number of cabins initially, do they actually block certain cabin numbers?  Celebrity allows you to take a certain cabin number off the market without a deposit or passenger identified?

I thought it was just an allocation on non identified cabins in that category at that price.

 

Thank you.

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3 hours ago, jagoffee said:

Since you are in the industry, perhaps you can share your experience.  When an agency blocks a large number of cabins initially, do they actually block certain cabin numbers?  Celebrity allows you to take a certain cabin number off the market without a deposit or passenger identified?

I thought it was just an allocation on non identified cabins in that category at that price.

 

Thank you.

 

As a rule, the block bookings consist of categories, not specific cabins. Cabin numbers are chosen when making a booking from the block. So when a customer wants to book a veranda cabin, the agent goes into the system to see what’s available (or the customer makes a specific request) and  one cabin is deducted from the allocation. 

Not sure it works that way at every agency, for every cruise line. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, sippican said:

 

As a rule, the block bookings consist of categories, not specific cabins. Cabin numbers are chosen when making a booking from the block. So when a customer wants to book a veranda cabin, the agent goes into the system to see what’s available (or the customer makes a specific request) and  one cabin is deducted from the allocation. 

Not sure it works that way at every agency, for every cruise line. 

Thank you very much for the confirmation and detailed explanation.

Edited by jagoffee

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