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rollie

Best way to book an Oceania cruise

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We're thinking of booking our first Oceania cruise.  We are loyal (Elite Plus) on Celebrity, and have most always booked right through the line.  Not sure if this would be to our best advantage on Oceania.

 

Rollie

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2 minutes ago, rollie said:

We're thinking of booking our first Oceania cruise.  We are loyal (Elite Plus) on Celebrity, and have most always booked right through the line.  Not sure if this would be to our best advantage on Oceania.

 

Rollie

Booking directly is not to the clients advantage on ANY Cruise Line.  

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Rollie - I'm "new to cruising", in comparison to you and your "Elite Plus" status with Celebrity.  So you've taken far more cruises than I have.  If you have not made all those bookings through a trusted regular Travel Agent over the years, then it seems to me that you've missed out on tons of ancillary/added benefits.  I.e., cash rebates, additional ship board credits, prepaid gratuities, complimentary bottles of" nicer wines" waiting for you in your stateroom, etc. which successful and high-volume agencies regularly give to their frequent (and even first-time) customers.  What did you feel was the benefit of booking directly?

 

You are not going to get those extra benefits by merely calling up the cruise line, no matter what your status is, and booking your cruises directly with them.  Others can chime in here, but it seems to me that you have really lost a lot of extra concessions over the years by not establishing an ongoing relationship with a good travel agency to do your bookings for you.  Regards.

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Recently booked directly with Oceania during their Memorial Day Sale after checking with my Travel agent who could not do as well.

 

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20 minutes ago, StanandJim said:

Booking directly is not to the clients advantage on ANY Cruise Line.  

Why is that?

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27 minutes ago, rollie said:

We're thinking of booking our first Oceania cruise.  We are loyal (Elite Plus) on Celebrity, and have most always booked right through the line.  Not sure if this would be to our best advantage on Oceania.

 

Rollie

Do your homework and identify several TA's who are top-sellers of Oceania cruises. Minimally, make sure they're members of Oceania's Connoisseurs Club. "O" pays TAs on a sliding scale based on their "O" sales volume. In addition, some of those TAs belong to travel consortia that have partnership agreements with Oceania - resulting in added perks. 

 

The net result of your research should net you some TA commission sharing (as refundable SBC or a rebate check ranging from 5-10% of the commissionable fare and/or, minimally, gratuities coverage). In addition, Oceania often provides preferred partner TAs with incentive funds (e.g., pass-through $ to new Oceania cruisers) and rotating "quiet sales."

 

BTW, we usually book onboard, which gets you an approx 5% discount and a price drop match guarantee plus some current SBC (usually $100). Instead of accepting its assignment to the TA who booked the current cruise, we assign it to ourselves and then "shop it around" to our several regular TAs for the added perks. You have 30 days from the end of the current cruise to transfer to a TA.

 

Related to all this is the chuckle-inducing claims of some CC posters (usually regarding other cruise lines) that they do their own bookings to maintain "control." Think about it: You're a "rounding error" in any cruise line's bottom line. That top-selling TA may book $ millions per year with your preferred line. Whose phone call gets answered and handled first?

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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shop around  see what agents will offer in the way of extras like OBC, some give rebates

A good TA is worth their weight in Gold 😉

 

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check the Oceania webpage. Oceania used to list their members of the Travel Agent consortium called Connoisseur Club as an option.   I would start there.   Experienced TA’s definitely offer a lot of insight to the specific line, and ships, and also can opt to share their commission with you as others have pointed out, by OBC and money back rebates.   

 

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2 minutes ago, Nymich said:

Recently booked directly with Oceania during their Memorial Day Sale after checking with my Travel agent who could not do as well.

 

Get rid of that TA. A call to his/her regional Oceania sales director could have gotten a price match. OR, you could book the O sale price and then transfer it to a TA for commission sharing.

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5 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Get rid of that TA. A call to his/her regional Oceania sales director could have gotten a price match. OR, you could book the O sale price and then transfer it to a TA for commission sharing.

Thanks for the info.  I noticed you seem to have all the answers whenever you post!   Lucky to have a guy like you around lol

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17 minutes ago, Nymich said:

Thanks for the info.  I noticed you seem to have all the answers whenever you post!   Lucky to have a guy like you around lol

If I can help save you a few dollars, I'm happy to do it. LO$

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1 hour ago, Nymich said:

Recently booked directly with Oceania during their Memorial Day Sale after checking with my Travel agent who could not do as well.

 

maybe your TA  does not do a lot of Oceania bookings  so they may not get the top commission rates  like TA's in the "Connoisseur Oceania  Club"

 

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1 hour ago, clo said:

Why is that?

Because  the cruise lines will offer agents incentives and extras they will not offer a passenger   Look at the fact  the agent is commission only...  O dosen't  pay  him unless he produces.  He is a  no cost employee /rep. To keep this free sales force  they want him happy... to undercut him  would  shoot them in the foot and they would loose a free salesman.

  Now, you are just you   your  a one fare or 2 fares a year revenue deal no guarantee of repeat. 

 

The agent, if O keeps him happy and  he makes his customers happy, is maybe 2-4 fares a week, 52 weeks a year .    Getting an Oceania " concierge  club" level  agent ( their top sales people) will open doors you never knew existed.     When perks are handed out  who do you think will be considered first..you or the agent who sells say 100-200 fares ????  

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1 hour ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Do your homework and identify several TA's who are top-sellers of Oceania cruises. Minimally, make sure they're members of Oceania's Connoisseurs Club. "O" pays TAs on a sliding scale based on their "O" sales volume. In addition, some of those TAs belong to travel consortia that have partnership agreements with Oceania - resulting in added perks. 

 

The net result of your research should net you some TA commission sharing (as refundable SBC or a rebate check ranging from 5-10% of the commissionable fare and/or, minimally, gratuities coverage). In addition, Oceania often provides preferred partner TAs with incentive funds (e.g., pass-through $ to new Oceania cruisers) and rotating "quiet sales."

 

BTW, we usually book onboard, which gets you an approx 5% discount and a price drop match guarantee plus some current SBC (usually $100). Instead of accepting its assignment to the TA who booked the current cruise, we assign it to ourselves and then "shop it around" to our several regular TAs for the added perks. You have 30 days from the end of the current cruise to transfer to a TA.

 

Related to all this is the chuckle-inducing claims of some CC posters (usually regarding other cruise lines) that they do their own bookings to maintain "control." Think about it: You're a "rounding error" in any cruise line's bottom line. That top-selling TA may book $ millions per year with your preferred line. Whose phone call gets answered and handled first?

YOU  said it better than I.....  good job.      Great urban myth...." Ill go direct to the cruise line  and cut out the middle man and keep control"      W C Fields  said it from the cruise lines perspective, " never give a sucker an even break"

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2 hours ago, rollie said:

We're thinking of booking our first Oceania cruise.  We are loyal (Elite Plus) on Celebrity, and have most always booked right through the line.  Not sure if this would be to our best advantage on Oceania.

 

Rollie

Also....if anything should go wrong with your booking (but it never has for me) you have someone to go to bat for you with the cruise line. If you have questions about most anything you can ask your TA to take care of them. My TA has notified me of savings and sales to help watch my pocketbook. She negotiates the best deals on upsells I'm offered, and even once got me a free category upgrade to an aft stateroom I'd been hankering for.

She too is a cruise "Oceania connoisseur club" TA with Oceania. Google that phrase and poke around for an agency that is part of it.

I don't cruise with Celebrity anymore but she would do the same with X as well back in the days.

 

Edited by Petoonya

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4 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

If I can help save you a few dollars, I'm happy to do it. LO$

Hey daysailor..... you mentioned some time back the O gave you a 5% discount off published rates when you booked on board...    I have heard of reduced deposit but, call me dumb, I never heard of a discount % on board.     I am embarrassed if I some how missed it...    What the scoop    I know the Silver benis are getting cut 50%  and  there is word on the free grats having a 250 limit       What can you tell me.... Dan

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3 hours ago, LHT28 said:

maybe your TA  does not do a lot of Oceania bookings  so they may not get the top commission rates  like TA's in the "Connoisseur Oceania  Club"

 

Thank you for the kind response and sound advice.  I am looking into it and that appears to be the case.  Nice to hear something more helpful than pompous remarks like "get rid of them".

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Once more for those having difficulty.

 

Oceania Connoisseur Club members are Travel AGENCIES, not Individual Agents. Travel Agents work for the Agency. 

 

Oceania pays the Agency the commissions earned. The individual Agents are compensated pursuant to their individual arrangements with the Agency. Some, as mentioned above, work on a commission based system, a POP ( % of proceeds). Some are strictly hourly employees, while others may be handling your account on a flat transaction basis.

 

Not sure why some have so much trouble with this! Just because one sees a single name on the OCC list it doesn’t signify a single person, it is an Agency , of that name, with multiple Agents. Here’s a hint , Proctor & Gamble has more than two employees! 

 

If you contact an OCC Agency make sure you inform them you want an Agent to work with that specializes with Oceania. They probably also have Agents that specializes in other cruise lines also! 

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5 hours ago, Hawaiidan said:

Hey daysailor..... you mentioned some time back the O gave you a 5% discount off published rates when you booked on board...    I have heard of reduced deposit but, call me dumb, I never heard of a discount % on board.     I am embarrassed if I some how missed it...    What the scoop    I know the Silver benis are getting cut 50%  and  there is word on the free grats having a 250 limit       What can you tell me.... Dan

5% used to be a very close number. Lately, O has  used a range of prices and associated a discount dollar number with it. In a very general sense, a balcony cabin still gets about 4+\- percent. But results do vary depending on the cruise retail cost and cabin level.

 

Hey, if you have a few minutes, please do me a favor and check the Oceania web fir any of your future bookings. I just checked and all my future cruises are gone. I've noticed this before whenever they do "web maintenance." But, I'm supposed to book my restaurants tonight for an upcoming cruise. Thanks in advance if you can do this for me and report back.

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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18 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Do your homework and identify several TA's who are top-sellers of Oceania cruises. Minimally, make sure they're members of Oceania's Connoisseurs Club. "O" pays TAs on a sliding scale based on their "O" sales volume. In addition, some of those TAs belong to travel consortia that have partnership agreements with Oceania - resulting in added perks. 

 

The net result of your research should net you some TA commission sharing (as refundable SBC or a rebate check ranging from 5-10% of the commissionable fare and/or, minimally, gratuities coverage). In addition, Oceania often provides preferred partner TAs with incentive funds (e.g., pass-through $ to new Oceania cruisers) and rotating "quiet sales."

 

BTW, we usually book onboard, which gets you an approx 5% discount and a price drop match guarantee plus some current SBC (usually $100). Instead of accepting its assignment to the TA who booked the current cruise, we assign it to ourselves and then "shop it around" to our several regular TAs for the added perks. You have 30 days from the end of the current cruise to transfer to a TA.

 

Related to all this is the chuckle-inducing claims of some CC posters (usually regarding other cruise lines) that they do their own bookings to maintain "control." Think about it: You're a "rounding error" in any cruise line's bottom line. That top-selling TA may book $ millions per year with your preferred line. Whose phone call gets answered and handled first?

 

How do you identify which TA's are top sellers of Oceania Cruises? 

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39 minutes ago, msears101 said:

 

How do you identify which TA's are top sellers of Oceania Cruises? 

This probably doesn't answer your question entirely but Oceania has a "find an agent" feature on their website that lists OCC agencies.

https://www.oceaniacruises.com/find-agent/

Edited by Petoonya

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11 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

5% used to be a very close number. Lately, O has  used a range of prices and associated a discount dollar number with it. In a very general sense, a balcony cabin still gets about 4+\- percent. But results do vary depending on the cruise retail cost and cabin level.

 

Hey, if you have a few minutes, please do me a favor and check the Oceania web fir any of your future bookings. I just checked and all my future cruises are gone. I've noticed this before whenever they do "web maintenance." But, I'm supposed to book my restaurants tonight for an upcoming cruise. Thanks in advance if you can do this for me and report back.

My reservation is still there, hope this helps.

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17 hours ago, pinotlover said:

Once more for those having difficulty.

 

Oceania Connoisseur Club members are Travel AGENCIES, not Individual Agents. Travel Agents work for the Agency. 

 

Oceania pays the Agency the commissions earned. The individual Agents are compensated pursuant to their individual arrangements with the Agency. Some, as mentioned above, work on a commission based system, a POP ( % of proceeds). Some are strictly hourly employees, while others may be handling your account on a flat transaction basis.

 

Not sure why some have so much trouble with this! Just because one sees a single name on the OCC list it doesn’t signify a single person, it is an Agency , of that name, with multiple Agents. Here’s a hint , Proctor & Gamble has more than two employees! 

 

If you contact an OCC Agency make sure you inform them you want an Agent to work with that specializes with Oceania. They probably also have Agents that specializes in other cruise lines also! 

Yes-  I should've been more clear about that distinction (agency vs individual Connoisseurs Club membership). And I agree that folks should ask for the Oceania specialist(s) at Connoisseurs Club agencies. 

 

That said, another poster asked how to find the top-sellers. Ask around while on a long cruise(s) with O regulars (e.g., those new recipients of gold O Club pins announced at the O Club cocktail parties). Once you start hearing the same TA names over and over (and over) again, those individuals are worth an e-mail and/or call, at which point you can ask them outright where they (or their agencies) consider themselves in the pecking order.

 

At the same time, however, remember that there may be "younger/newer" individuals at those agencies who aspire to be O top-sellers and will work diligently to get there (benefitting from the knowledge/contacts of their O-savvy coworkers). And, on the other hand,, some of the existing top-sellers may not be an ideal match for you. For example, we have occasionally used a guy in Florida who personally sells tons of O cruises. "I'll beat anyone's price" has its ups and downs (for all of the obvious reasons). 

 

The "bottom line" here is that choosing/using a TA (like a car salesman or contractor or anyone else who provides goods or services) is a constantly evolving work in progress. Your personal Rolodex should be written in pencil (wow, how old am I?!!!).

 

One last point - to anyone with questions/concerns (or the need to assign labels) regarding the common sense advice to "get rid" of a TA who appears to not have some very basic retail price-matching skills:

 

Any good TA, regardless of how much business they do with a particular cruise line, should know enough that it only takes a phone call or two to be able to have access to, at least, the line's currently published cabin prices/amenities (on sale or no sale). Yes, it may take some finesse to circumvent restrictions on price availability (e.g., new bookings, first timers, "quiet sales," et al.). But, at the very least, you want someone who will say: "let me make a call or two" and then provide you with very specific reasoning as to why s/he cannot match that price outright.

 

Note here that the "commission sharing" discussion is a whole other separate and additional part of this. And, while the cheapest "bottom line" cost isn't always the best (a whole other thread-worthy discussion) for your circumstances (e.g., the TA is your sister-in-law 😳), any demonstrated lack of basic knowledge/skill should be all that is usually necessary for a consumer to move on to a better situation (a.k.a. "getting rid of" a poor performer).

 

Edited by Flatbush Flyer

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13 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

5% used to be a very close number. Lately, O has  used a range of prices and associated a discount dollar number with it. In a very general sense, a balcony cabin still gets about 4+\- percent. But results do vary depending on the cruise retail cost and cabin level.

 

Hey, if you have a few minutes, please do me a favor and check the Oceania web fir any of your future bookings. I just checked and all my future cruises are gone. I've noticed this before whenever they do "web maintenance." But, I'm supposed to book my restaurants tonight for an upcoming cruise. Thanks in advance if you can do this for me and report back.

 

Yes amigo.... all  are there..         Thanks   the 4% looks good but the actual net  is  like  only $200-300 per cabin.      My tactic/ strategy   on R ships  is to book F inside 8. because of the unique position  steps away from an elevator that goes to the pool, Waves-bar, Gym, The smoking sections ( for wife) and Horizons only 20 ft away ( with morning coffee and  pastries) and shares the same as the penthouse crowd for access.     Too . I put my self open to move  upsell or down sell as you can get serious /better discounts on upper move and serious rebates moving down.    I am not cabin-struck  and after living on a Cal42 for months  insides work very well on O.

You may know this  but if you get free grats due to your O status, and you book a cruise that is offering free grats,  your agent can get that amount given to you as OBC !  In addition to your status OBC.

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2 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

 

Yes amigo.... all  are there..         Thanks   the 4% looks good but the actual net  is  like  only $200-300 per cabin.      My tactic/ strategy   on R ships  is to book F inside 8. because of the unique position  steps away from an elevator that goes to the pool, Waves-bar, Gym, The smoking sections ( for wife) and Horizons only 20 ft away ( with morning coffee and  pastries) and shares the same as the penthouse crowd for access.     Too . I put my self open to move  upsell or down sell as you can get serious /better discounts on upper move and serious rebates moving down.    I am not cabin-struck  and after living on a Cal42 for months  insides work very well on O.

You may know this  but if you get free grats due to your O status, and you book a cruise that is offering free grats,  your agent can get that amount given to you as OBC !  In addition to your status OBC.

Yes, the absent web bookings were a several hour block last night when there was web maintenance. Fortunately, all was normal when I went to do my restaurants for an upcoming Southampton-Reykjavik-NYC cruise.

 

I agree with you on always trying to score gratuities in the TA deal since it's worth an added $250 in O Club  loyalty SBC "in lieu" of the O Club gratuities.

We generally book B2 aft cabins on R ships and B3 aft extended balconies on O ships. Creatures of habit!

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