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2xsin12mths

TA vs booking myself

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Those who use a TA .....do you think it’s still worth it? Are you getting a better deal then just going on carnivals website and booking yourself? I have used a TA for 10+ yrs but feel like I do all the work. I pick the ship, the dates and the room I want, then I call her and she books it. I don’t feel like the price is any better than what I see online?

She prints and sends my docs but really I can do that. So why am I still using a TA??

( oh and I don’t get any “freebies” as far as onboard credit, a bottle of wine etc. I know some ppl said they get those perks with a TA)

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25 minutes ago, 2xsin12mths said:

Those who use a TA .....do you think it’s still worth it? Are you getting a better deal then just going on carnivals website and booking yourself? I have used a TA for 10+ yrs but feel like I do all the work. I pick the ship, the dates and the room I want, then I call her and she books it. I don’t feel like the price is any better than what I see online?

Shoe prints and sends my docs but really I can do that. So why am I still using a TA??

( oh and I don’t get any “freebies” as far as onboard credit, a bottle of wine etc. I know some ppl said they get those perks with a TA)

I used to use them but anymore I do it myself .I research online and call the cruise line directly.i have gained nothing by using travel agents and actually saves me a headache from having to straighten out their mistakes when they enter the wrong information..I usually get a better price than they quote even with obc.

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Posted (edited)

I get the same price but more OBC. The last cruise I booked was when carnival was offering $50 OBC. My TA gave me $150.

 

 

Edited by Saint Greg

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Using a ASTA Travel Agency is usually best. Those train the staff well.

 

Providng better service and a much lower cost basis to uis.

 

Of all the cruises we have been on,  only once was the costy basis better directly with a cruise line.

 

This one coming next week we have great OBC, cabin, extras, etc..etc..

 

We get bids from multiple ASTA Agencies and choose the best for us.

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We use a TA.  Usually, she offers us more OBC than Carnival or other perks (like a free dinner in LeBistro on NCL).  Never had a problem.

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I have not used a TA since the 90s and have not used a PVP with Carnival in 10 years. I enjoy planning and putting vacation together myself in today's world it is easy to do. A little OBC is not enough incentive for me to give up handling things myself but that's just me. 

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To me, planning is half of the fun. I don't want a middle man involved in any of my travel plans. I run far away from TAs. That $50/obc or nasty chocolate strawberries aren't worth it to me. 

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I used a TA for my few couple of cruises.  The first cruise I booked with a TA she sent us an in room gift.  After that, nothing.  Also, my research showed it was the same price booked through her or Carnival directly.  I booked a few cruises myself through Carnival website, but the last 4 cruises I booked using a PVP.  I much prefer using the PVP because after I tell him which ship/itinerary I would like, he searches the system and gets me the best room based on noise level, and side of the ship for views.  He will also make sure I get the best Carnival promotion.  After the booking, he will always help change anything I need to.  I also found the PVP to be invaluable if you are booking multiple staterooms or a group.  I print my own docs as I certainly don't need someone to do that for me.

 

My PVP also has his own Facebook group so I always know what promotions are coming up.  Because of that, I found out about the European itinerary for Mardi Gras before it was widely known and jumped on that.  He helped me get that booked on a balcony room.  Some friends of ours decided to book that cruise as well, after we did, and they used him.  He was able to link our bookings to get us a MDR table together, and even got them in a cabin only 2 down from ours.

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Posted (edited)

Do you really want someone else picking your ship, room and when you go on vacation or do you want to have the choice. I may do the choosing of when, and where an what room but when it comes to a TA that is who I will pick. If there is a problem she knows far better then me. On my med cruise we had 9 cabins and our ship was cancelled twice and it was her that scrambled around getting us the same cabins in the back of the ship for all of us. We didn't have to do anything as she had all our info and took care of it all, this could never have happened with nine people trying to scrambling to try and find everything. I have had her for 20 years and she is the best and always finds me great deals. But that is your decision and only you can decide what is best for you

Edited by mafiadon

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 I use a small, local travel agency. I do all the research and she calls princess when I am ready to book.  I get the exact same price from her as I would booking it myself. The advantage is that if/when something goes wrong she works for me, not the cruise line.  I had to cancel a cruise several years ago when my father was dying and she took care of everything. It was nice not to have to worry about paperwork at a very sad and stressful time.  

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10 hours ago, Saint Greg said:

I get the same price but more OBC. The last cruise I booked was when carnival was offering $50 OBC. My TA gave me $150.

 

 

 

This is the one and only reason to use a TA

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14 minutes ago, elcuchio24 said:

 

This is the one and only reason to use a TA

 I do both  I do the research and then send it out for bid.  I see who has the best offer.  I don't use a TA if it's just a little better. I like having total control and not calling a TA for any changes.

 But sometimes the offer is so much better I live with giving up a little control.

Each cruise is different.

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We usually book directly thru the cruise lines,  since pricing is the "same" and mandated by the cruise lines as such.  We have used a TA when the 'perks' they are offering (such as significantly higher OBC, free beverage packages, dining packages, and sometimes even more).  Otherwise, we book direct as the one disadvantage to using a TA is that you lose 'control' over your booking, which means that the cruise lines will not talk to you, only to the TA.  So, if there is a price drop, you have to call the TA, and the TA then needs to call the cruise lines.  Sometimes, by the time the TA does this, the price has gone up and you are SOL!  We prefer booking direct with the cruise lines - price is the same!

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1 hour ago, Bases5 said:

 I do both  I do the research and then send it out for bid.  I see who has the best offer.  I don't use a TA if it's just a little better. I like having total control and not calling a TA for any changes.

 But sometimes the offer is so much better I live with giving up a little control.

Each cruise is different.

 

I do the exact same thing. I bet we used the same website that shall not be named. If it nets me a $150-$250 in OBC then I am happy to do it. 

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12 hours ago, 2xsin12mths said:

Those who use a TA .....do you think it’s still worth it? Are you getting a better deal then just going on carnivals website and booking yourself? I have used a TA for 10+ yrs but feel like I do all the work. I pick the ship, the dates and the room I want, then I call her and she books it. I don’t feel like the price is any better than what I see online?

She prints and sends my docs but really I can do that. So why am I still using a TA??

( oh and I don’t get any “freebies” as far as onboard credit, a bottle of wine etc. I know some ppl said they get those perks with a TA)

So....you want a TA to pick your vacation for you?  Other than that if you think you are doing the majority of work (I would not agree but the point is moot) than do it?  Why ask others?  Are there other components of the trip?  Air, re and post insurance?  The reason to use a TA is to use their expertise (and if you are asking the question you ask, then you cannot match that).

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The only reason TA’s give OBC is they are taking it out of their commission or they have group space. Large agencies can afford to do that, small ones, not so much. I have a TA that’s been a friend for a long time. I don’t get anything, because she works in a 2-3 employee brick and mortar place. Sometimes I use her, sometimes I book myself. 

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We check with multiple TAs as well as cruise line.  Sometimes large TA will have a block of rooms they need to get rid off and give better discount...sometimes not.  Sometimes more OBC, sometimes not.  So if they final $ is important to you then going thru the trouble is worth it.

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This is a good question.  I have used a TA for all my 15 or more cruises, although I do a LOT of research, telling her what ship/s, how many days, type of room, date, and then she gets back with me with the cost, etc.  I will say this travel agency has been in Kansas City for over 20 years, and do a lot of business, but for some reason, they do not promote Carnival in any way.  I think they had a falling out or something.  Anyway, normally I get an OBC of $50 per room, with each person getting $25.00. NOW if I knew contacting Carnival directly, would get me MORE OBC or something more free, then I would probably go that direction.  If you think contacting Carnival directly and having one of their people set up the cruise for me would be worth it, let me know!!!! 🙂

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11 minutes ago, beshears said:

This is a good question.  I have used a TA for all my 15 or more cruises, although I do a LOT of research, telling her what ship/s, how many days, type of room, date, and then she gets back with me with the cost, etc.  I will say this travel agency has been in Kansas City for over 20 years, and do a lot of business, but for some reason, they do not promote Carnival in any way.  I think they had a falling out or something.  Anyway, normally I get an OBC of $50 per room, with each person getting $25.00. NOW if I knew contacting Carnival directly, would get me MORE OBC or something more free, then I would probably go that direction.  If you think contacting Carnival directly and having one of their people set up the cruise for me would be worth it, let me know!!!! 🙂

 

I've never heard of being able to get more by booking direct with the cruise line but with all things in life there are those anomalies.

 

From what I hear Carnival doesn't pay as much commission as other cruise lines.

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19 minutes ago, beshears said:

This is a good question.  I have used a TA for all my 15 or more cruises, although I do a LOT of research, telling her what ship/s, how many days, type of room, date, and then she gets back with me with the cost, etc.  I will say this travel agency has been in Kansas City for over 20 years, and do a lot of business, but for some reason, they do not promote Carnival in any way.  I think they had a falling out or something.  Anyway, normally I get an OBC of $50 per room, with each person getting $25.00. NOW if I knew contacting Carnival directly, would get me MORE OBC or something more free, then I would probably go that direction.  If you think contacting Carnival directly and having one of their people set up the cruise for me would be worth it, let me know!!!! 🙂

Do you check your past guest offers with carnival on their web site.  You never know what's there.  I just got a casino offer with $500 OBC, Drinks on us and a discounted price  and we haven't sailed Carnival in a couple of years.  No TA could give me that. 

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Bases5, No, I have never checked to see what they would offer me as a past guest.  That sounds like something I need to check out, which "may" be more than what my TA would offer me.  I know, if Carnival's prices when down, my TA would not let me know.  In other words, I would have to be the one to watch for this, not her.  I guess I'm just a little leery of going directly, instead of a TA, as I have never done it before.  I don't think I would have a problem, as i always take out insurance for anything bad that might happen.

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If you fly, booking your cruise thru your preferred airline (they all have it available on their website) will get you a ton of miles for that airline.  You can book it yourself using their online system or call their 800 number and let an agent do the booking.  

I always do all my own research, pick my ship, date, and cabin and then call the agent I like with my airline's cruise department. 

I have a credit card with my airline so I get even more miles.  Using the airline's branded credit card I get a minimum of 7 miles per dollar spent (pre tax and port fees) and up to 10 miles/$1 when they are doing a promotion.  If you don't have the credit card it is usually 4 to 7 miles/$1 spent.  

Basically if you spend $2000 on a cruise (pre tax/fees) at 7mls/$1 you get 14,000 airline miles.  On my particular airline, it only takes 20,000 for a free domestic flight.  That is a pretty great bonus in my book and the overall cruise price is the exact same as going thru the cruise line.  Worth using an airline booking sight in my opinion.

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We used to book ourselves, but after being unable to get a consistent PVP on the phone (the one we liked left) we did switch to a TA.  We've had very good service for cruises on Carnival and other lines.  I do double check or have DW put in a request for certain cabins on ships so that we know what we're getting. 

 

The key with the TA is to find someone you trust or if never using one someone people you trust have used in the past with good service.  Once hey know you and understand your needs, they can be very good about getting you what you want  where as DIY you might have to scurry around to find it. 

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I've been using the same TA for years and he's great.   In addition to more OBC or stuff like free specialty dining one night, he stays on top of any changes or possible deals.   He also can alert me to less than desirable cabin locations.

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23 hours ago, Illbcruzn4life said:

 

 

From what I hear Carnival doesn't pay as much commission as other cruise lines.

My TA told me the same. Carnival has really cut their commission. In fact, when a certain unique sailing first came up, it wasn’t showing up for her, she told me to just book it online, since it was showing on Carnival’s website.

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