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Book directly with Celebrity or a TA - an example

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On 7/20/2019 at 10:50 PM, Shadow9612 said:

Thanks @Hlitner - I always appreciate your insights and experience. 

 

I have trouble finding those levels of benefits from Canadian TAs. I'd love to hear success stories from others in Canada, if they have been that successful ...

My big box warehouse store has a TA department in both Canada and the US. Just did a dummy booking using the Canadian website and their rebate via a gift card was 8.4% of the fare not including fees,etc. and 7.8% of the fare including fees, etc.

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4 hours ago, caggfamily said:

By "big box TA" are you talking about members only warehouse clubs or something else?


Yes, "big box TA" typically means one that will provide a cash back card, possibly in addition to OBC, when booking through them.  I meant cash cards from the big box TA only (although often they give a cash back card and some OBC).  Other types of TAs can provide OBC, cash back or other perks like trip insurance, a drink package, gratuities, etc.

Edited by hiccups

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On 7/20/2019 at 5:37 PM, Hlitner said:

Congrads to the OP (we have used a similar strategy in the past).  We suspect your post has the following impact.  1.  Those of us who routinely shop around (and usually save at least 10% on every booking) agree with your strategy.  2.  There is also a group of folks here on CC who seem to have no interest in saving money and will continue to book directly with the cruise line or a specific Travel Agent who does not offer great deals.

 

For several decades we have wondered about that latter group (it is no just with Celebrity but every cruise line) who dismisses the idea of saving hundreds or even thousands on each booking................

 

We have a family member like that. 

It is his comfort level and he enjoys the familiarity of booking with a local brick and mortar travel agency where he can go in, sit down and chat in person with people he knows.  It is almost like a type of social event for him, spending an hour or more visiting with them.

Pointing out that he can save a lot of money by booking elsewhere is useless.

 

 

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3 hours ago, NantahalaCruiser said:

My big box warehouse store has a TA department in both Canada and the US. Just did a dummy booking using the Canadian website and their rebate via a gift card was 8.4% of the fare not including fees,etc. and 7.8% of the fare including fees, etc.

@NantahalaCruiserthanks for this additional info...I will certainly look into that 

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Does anyone know if we can do this from the UK as about to book with Celebrity for 6 of us ( as beating the UK TA price ) but would be even better if we could get some more OBC as treating the grown up kids and their other halves.

 

thanks

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@katie64 You can book via a US TA from the UK most of the big online ones have a box to tick to say you are out of the US. Obviously exchange rates can be an issue and always check for final cost including taxes and fees.

 

We book with Celebrity direct as we get a 10% discount by using a Blue Light Card. If we are sailing from the UK we then transfer to our online TA as they give us port parking. We often book onboard to get some extra OBC and low deposit 

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Yes you can use an American agent BUT no-one can give you names on Cruise critic it is a matter of finding one yourself. As the previous poster says the exchange rate £/$ comes into it (think Brexit and how it will be affected).

US pricing adds taxes and fees after the price quoted and they have refundable and non refundable deposit schemes

 

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10 minutes ago, Alushar said:

@katie64 You can book via a US TA from the UK most of the big online ones have a box to tick to say you are out of the US. Obviously exchange rates can be an issue and always check for final cost including taxes and fees.

 

We book with Celebrity direct as we get a 10% discount by using a Blue Light Card. If we are sailing from the UK we then transfer to our online TA as they give us port parking. We often book onboard to get some extra OBC and low deposit 

thanks as for the first time we are cruising from Southampton so port parking would be ideal

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On 7/20/2019 at 6:37 PM, Hlitner said:

Congrads to the OP (we have used a similar strategy in the past).  We suspect your post has the following impact.  1.  Those of us who routinely shop around (and usually save at least 10% on every booking) agree with your strategy.  2.  There is also a group of folks here on CC who seem to have no interest in saving money and will continue to book directly with the cruise line or a specific Travel Agent who does not offer great deals.

 

For several decades we have wondered about that latter group (it is no just with Celebrity but every cruise line) who dismisses the idea of saving hundreds or even thousands on each booking.  We actually met one gentleman on a cruise who insisted that the deals do not exist (he became a believer when I later showed him an invoice).  On the HAL boards there are quite a few who have "bonded" with their Personal Cruise Counselor (PCC)  (a cruise line reservation agent) and happily (according to them) pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more for the privilege  with that cruise line employee.  And they sometimes express dismay that their favorite PCC will lose a commission if the cruiser books elsewhere.  As a stockholder we do salute those willing to pay more to help boost the bottom line :).

 

For those that are interested we simply suggest "shopping around among a few reputable high volume cruise agencies for the best overall deal."  In many cases you will not save money on the actual cruise price, but will get amenities such as on board credits which can be substantial.  We normally advise that one should look for savings in the 7 - 10% range although there are some deals that can far exceed that 10% amount.

 

Hank

I have contacted several different online TAs and no one has come close to offering a 10% discount. no one has come back with a better price, which is fine, but I already have $300 OBC and the most I'm getting is an offer of an additional $250 - $300. For reference, we paid $8K for our stateroom. I really had hoped to do better. I'm not really interested in credit for a big box store - OBC is more important to me for this sailing. Any suggestions?

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I have some free time...

 

If you post the cruise you are looking at...date/ship/cabin class....I'll look at the agents I use to see what they are offering.  If I find something that looks better than celebrity's posted fare plus 1 perk plus an additional $300, I'll post it.  CC won't let me post a TA by name but at least you'll know that there may be a better deal out there. Others will probably try as well....should be interesting.

 

(I am not a TA...I have no affiliation with TA's...I just enjoy finding/getting deals).

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1 hour ago, ghstudio said:

I have some free time...

 

If you post the cruise you are looking at...date/ship/cabin class....I'll look at the agents I use to see what they are offering.  If I find something that looks better than celebrity's posted fare plus 1 perk plus an additional $300, I'll post it.  CC won't let me post a TA by name but at least you'll know that there may be a better deal out there. Others will probably try as well....should be interesting.

 

(I am not a TA...I have no affiliation with TA's...I just enjoy finding/getting deals).

I booked the Apex on July 4 leaving out of Barcelona directly with Celebrity. there are 4 adults in a sunset veranda. We got 4 perks for first two people and rate was 50% off guests 3 and 4, and we got $300 obc. Thanks

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sorry, when it gets to more than 2 people in a cabin and buying additional perks (higher level packages), it's much harder to research quickly.  Quick look says your deal seems reasonable.

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4 hours ago, caggfamily said:

I have contacted several different online TAs and no one has come close to offering a 10% discount. no one has come back with a better price, which is fine, but I already have $300 OBC and the most I'm getting is an offer of an additional $250 - $300. For reference, we paid $8K for our stateroom. I really had hoped to do better. I'm not really interested in credit for a big box store - OBC is more important to me for this sailing. Any suggestions?


Is the $300 OBC one of your perks?  You mentioned getting four perks for the first two passengers, so just checking if that's what you meant.  So the only thing a TA has been able to offer you is another $300 on an $8000 sailing?

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22 hours ago, caggfamily said:

I see you have been a smart cruiser for some time. How has your experience been with an online TA and what kind of perks can one expect? I paid about 8k for 4 next summer on the Apex in Europe and was offered an additional $500 obc. is that good or should I shop around?

 

Which sailing? Of course offers come and go. I priced some Apex Med sailings for two coincidentally for a possible booking on board this month but went with a placeholder, I also got 2k per person for regular balcony with two perks and perhaps some more OBC, in the 650 range if I recall correctly. For four it would be more as the 10% offer is total fare.

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1 hour ago, hiccups said:


Is the $300 OBC one of your perks?  You mentioned getting four perks for the first two passengers, so just checking if that's what you meant.  So the only thing a TA has been able to offer you is another $300 on an $8000 sailing?

you are correct. i already have $300 obc from celebrity and most other TA are only offering an additional $200 - 300. i'm really surprised. i've contacted 6 or 7 so far.

 

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2 hours ago, caggfamily said:

I booked the Apex on July 4 leaving out of Barcelona directly with Celebrity. there are 4 adults in a sunset veranda. We got 4 perks for first two people and rate was 50% off guests 3 and 4, and we got $300 obc. Thanks

 

We booked 3 sunset verandahs on the Apex May 10, 2020 sailing with two perks each plus $200 from Celebrity’s for onboard booking. Our big box store is offering each cabin a cash back card of about $500 plus OBC towards specialty dining. Not sure yet if they have a group rate, am still shopping around before transferring to a TA.

 

ghstudio and the others, what do you think of this?

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29 minutes ago, caggfamily said:

you are correct. i already have $300 obc from celebrity and most other TA are only offering an additional $200 - 300. i'm really surprised. i've contacted 6 or 7 so far.

 


You have me so curious, I've started researching it on my own!  LOL.  I'll let you know if I find anything.  I wasn't sure of the age of your other two passengers, or if you've sailed with X before, so I'm looking at four passengers 13+ with no Captain's Club membership.  Slow day at work 🙂 

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Sorry, i'm a newbie when it comes to using agents (we just book stuff ourselves online when Celebrity has a good promo going).

 

So, agents buy up big blocks of rooms at a discounted group rate, so that they can give you a good discount or credits or whatever, and still make a decent commission in the end?

 

I guess that's why all the good rooms seem to get snatched up so fast, and then a bunch become available right before the deadline for your deposit's refund?

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17 minutes ago, tkline said:

Sorry, i'm a newbie when it comes to using agents (we just book stuff ourselves online when Celebrity has a good promo going).

 

So, agents buy up big blocks of rooms at a discounted group rate, so that they can give you a good discount or credits or whatever, and still make a decent commission in the end?

 

I guess that's why all the good rooms seem to get snatched up so fast, and then a bunch become available right before the deadline for your deposit's refund?

 

Yes, that’s how it works. Sometimes the group opens up only later, but our TA automatically puts us on it and sends us an email. We didn’t cruise last year but until 2017 they gave us refundable OBC, anything unused would go back on our CC. But now they give a cash card to be used in their store, works perfectly fine with us since in any case we shop there quite a bit.

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