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MandyMooToo

Still don't see why I should use a TA...

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21 minutes ago, SantaFeFan said:

 

We don't use big box stores for daily purchases. But we are fine with paying the $50 or so annual fee in order to gain discounts and better pricing on costly items such as cruises, land vacations, TVs, computers, etc., all which can be purchased on-line or over the phone without ever visiting a store.

 

When we can gain $200+ benefits on cruise perks alone by paying $50, we find that is a good return on the annual fee investment. 

 

 

Fair point!  I looked at one such store and the price was slightly higher than what I paid last night and the perk was a cash card/gift card for that same store. So it may be a decent trade off. 

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, JimnKaren said:

We use a local TA, it keeps the money in the community. I like the idea of supporting the economy where we live. It is almost like purchasing gasoline from a local independent dealer, rather than a national chair. It is gas and it keeps the car running, but more of the money stays in the community.

 

Jim

 

And this is why I always look locally first. I live in a smaller city and every dollar spent here in this city counts for those running a business. I try to but local when possible. 

Edited by MandyMooToo

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10 minutes ago, Toofarfromthesea said:

 

Do you think everyone here is lying about the benefits they receive?   And you are missing the fact that using a TA for a RIVER cruise is not the same as using one for an OCEAN cruise.  And I'd bet that most people booking their cruise through a TA do their flight and other bookings themselves.

One poorly researched experience with a TA is not a good basis for making a sweeping judgment.
 

 

Well no need to be rude. No, I do not think everyone here is lying, I even mentioned that maybe those getting the best perks are spending more money than I am. I just wanted to ask again, to get more details, so that maybe I would be better prepared/more knowledgeable about what others are doing and receiving. Obviously I know that using a TA for a river cruise is different from an ocean cruise, think I made that clear also, if not then please let me apologize!  

 

Also, this was not a “poorly researched” experience and I am not trying to make a sweeping judgement. I have done quite a bit of research but the stories I hear on CC compared to the quotes I am getting from the local TA and even some of the online quotes are vastly different. That’s why I posted this thread to see what I was missing. If you have to be rude or condescending to get your point across then you probably shouldn’t bother to reply to my posts. 

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33 minutes ago, h-sar said:

 

 Can you provide a hint? I’m having a brain freeze. 

Do you know how to do Boolean internet searching? Google provides instruction on use/combo of search terms. For example, xxxx AND xxxx. Want to find something that addresses TAs competing for your cruise dollars? Think about what words to use in a Boolean search.

That said, do know that there are far better deals to be had than what you find on sites with any sort of "competition" for your dollars.

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2 hours ago, njhorseman said:

There can be a benefit other than a better price. A good travel agent can get to know your needs and recommend the best cruise for you...something you may not even have been aware of. They can also be a lot of help in dealing with any problems that might arise...as sometimes they do. Travel agents can have better access to more knowledgeable people higher up on the cruise line food chain than you would be able to contact directly.

 

+1.  I like the perks but more important to me is that a good TA will work with or fight with the cruise company when they try to sc**w me.  Money is nice but having someone watching your back is just as important.  Our TA has done that several times.

 

DON

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2 hours ago, MandyMooToo said:

 

I read at least one post of yours about the agent you found on the west coast that saves you quite a bit. My issue is that there are only a couple of travel agencies anywhere near me, one is terrible and I actually thought they had closed, the other is half an hour away and the one I mentioned speaking to. I do not mind driving 30 minutes or handling things by phone but these are my “local” choices and I am not sure how I am supposed to find a super secret amazing TA that will save me hundreds on my bookings unless I find one online. And that makes me nervous really, I just don’t know how reliable an online agency is. 

 

When you get friendly w people on the ship, ask people on the ship.  That is how we found our TA - from a personal recommendation.

 

DON

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I use an airline site as my TA. I always get OBC but the airline points make it the best deal for me. I have worked with the same person for several years -- ocean cruise or river cruise we get the airline points and always more perks. I make my own air reservations even though my TA would be happy to do it, after all it is an airline site! 

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you do not have to 

if you are happy with the way you book cruises  then just continue

others prefer to get perks

 

YMMV

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3 minutes ago, LHT28 said:

you do not have to 

if you are happy with the way you book cruises  then just continue

others prefer to get perks

 

YMMV

 

Obviously I am interested in using a TA or I would not have posted. The whole issue with the post is that I have yet to find an agent/agency offering me any perks other than a store based gift card. 

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1 hour ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Do you know how to do Boolean internet searching? Google provides instruction on use/combo of search terms. For example, xxxx AND xxxx. Want to find something that addresses TAs competing for your cruise dollars? Think about what words to use in a Boolean search.

That said, do know that there are far better deals to be had than what you find on sites with any sort of "competition" for your dollars.

 

Found it - thank you! 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, JimnKaren said:

We use a local TA, it keeps the money in the community. I like the idea of supporting the economy where we live. It is almost like purchasing gasoline from a local independent dealer, rather than a national chair. It is gas and it keeps the car running, but more of the money stays in the community.

 

Jim

 

1 hour ago, MandyMooToo said:

 

And this is why I always look locally first. I live in a smaller city and every dollar spent here in this city counts for those running a business. I try to but local when possible. 

Paying less for your cruises and doing business locally are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The TA that we use most often for cruises is local...their office is in the same county as we live, less than 10 miles from our home. The owner of the agency lives in the area and I'm sure most of his employees are local residents too. They operate by internet and telephone so I don't physically visit their office, but I have the telephone extension of the owner, who has personally handled many of my bookings.

 

The agency happens to be a top producer for a couple of the cruise lines we use so they have the power to offer substantial saving via discounts, rebates or on board credits. Typically we get back about 8 to 10 percent of the base cruise fare and there are times when we've gotten prepaid gratuities on top of that. 

 

The key is to find a top producer. They get the best deals because the cruise lines reward them for their production.

Edited by njhorseman

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4 minutes ago, njhorseman said:

 

Paying less for your cruises and doing business locally are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The TA that we use most often for cruises is local...their office is in the same county as we live, less than 10 miles from our home. 

 

The key is to find a top producer. They get the best deals because the cruise lines reward them for their production.

 

Excellent points. I so wish we had more local agencies to choose from. Either way I will likely transfer this recent booking to a TA just to see how it goes. I suppose it cannot hurt! And if it does then I’ll go back to doing it myself 😁

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3 minutes ago, mafig said:

Princeton?

I didn't go to Princeton...I couldn't get in, and my son didn't want to go there even though he probably could have gotten in...:classic_wink: :classic_biggrin:

 

Yeah...you got it

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No obligation to book with a TA. If you don't mind the higher price the cruise line charges.

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2 hours ago, MandyMooToo said:

 

Obviously I am interested in using a TA or I would not have posted. The whole issue with the post is that I have yet to find an agent/agency offering me any perks other than a store based gift card. 

guess you are not looking in the right place then

google search for cruises comes up with many sites 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, paul929207 said:

No obligation to book with a TA. If you don't mind the higher price the cruise line charges.

 

From what I have experienced, TAs are not allowed to advertise lower fares than what most of the cruise lines advertise. Where the savings benefits come are from bonus perks such as pre-paid gratuities, OBC, or other benefits offered by the TA that end up saving a shopper money in the long run. Every on-line TA I have looked at had the same fares as on the cruise line's web pages. However, they offered additional prepaid perks to what the cruise line may be offering, which in the long run means less money is spent for a particular cruise. 

Edited by SantaFeFan

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18 minutes ago, SantaFeFan said:

 

From what I have experienced, TAs are not allowed to advertise lower fares than what most of the cruise lines advertise. Where the savings benefits come are from bonus perks such as pre-paid gratuities, OBC, or other benefits offered by the TA that end up saving a shopper money in the long run. Every on-line TA I have looked at had the same fares as on the cruise line's web pages. However, they offered additional prepaid perks to what the cruise line may be offering, which in the long run means less money is spent for a particular cruise. 

There is a difference between cannot advertise lower prices and cannot charge lower prices. I remember when we did an Alaskan cruise. We found 3 on our TA's website that met our criteria, all with different prices. The one with the highest listed price was with Princess, but when we called to get the actual price that would be charged, it was the lowest. It seems that Princess allows TAs to charge lower prices, but not advertise the lower price. (And it was a wonderful cruise.)

 

We also once did with the same TA a Baltic cruise that he was able to get a very good price because his agency had reserved several cabins.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, ontheweb said:

There is a difference between cannot advertise lower prices and cannot charge lower prices. I remember when we did an Alaskan cruise. We found 3 on our TA's website that met our criteria, all with different prices. The one with the highest listed price was with Princess, but when we called to get the actual price that would be charged, it was the lowest. It seems that Princess allows TAs to charge lower prices, but not advertise the lower price. (And it was a wonderful cruise.)

 

We also once did with the same TA a Baltic cruise that he was able to get a very good price because his agency had reserved several cabins.

 

Keep in mind that when you call them some TAs will quote you a price that does not include taxes and/or port fees, making their prices seem lower than their competition. While not being against the cruise line's fare advertisement requirements - they are quoting the actual non-fee price - they are low-balling the final price to give the shopper a perceived lower price. 

Edited by SantaFeFan

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Posted (edited)

There's another advantage to using a TA not with a cruise line.  And, that is when you're booking with multiple cruise lines.  The TA I use will book with any cruise line I prefer and still gives 8-10% discount.  And, yes, she will book River Cruises.  Same 10% discount.  I found her here on CC.    Once I had two cruises booked on two different cruise lines with her.  Well, life happens and I needed to cancel and rebook on another line.  Instead of calling three different cruise lines, I made one call and cancelled both cruises and booked the new cruise.  Took all of five minutes.  Now, how long would I have spent on hold with the cruise lines?  And, yes, I got discounts.  

 

She is a small business owner.  Her and another woman.  Her office is several states away.  I've never met her and probably never will.  

Edited by RocketMan275

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4 hours ago, MandyMooToo said:

 

Obviously I am interested in using a TA or I would not have posted. The whole issue with the post is that I have yet to find an agent/agency offering me any perks other than a store based gift card. 

 

Hi

 

I think that the whole issue with booking through a TA and getting some extra perks have a lot to do with which cruise lines you are booking on and how much you are spending.

 

I haven't really worried too much at what I may be missing out on. I do occasionally check online booking sites as well as those "big box" stores. My findings with local TA's is that they don't/won't give any preferred perks (at least that's what they say up front), and the online deals are minor at best. 

 

Over the years, reading some posts where people have told what they were given in perks from their TA's, I have seen amounts that were more than I have paid for a cruise. So, what are they spending. I have seen others where they say they typically will get a rebate of 10% ??. I always wonder, if these people still actually do research and they are getting 10% off the "best price" available, or are they just booking with their TA's because they anticipate that it is the best price. 

 

I think the question should be more like which cruise/cabin have you booked, what did you pay, and what is the expected "perk" you will receive. That way anybody would be able to assess if there is indeed a benefit from trying to find a "good" TA. While any information would be helpful, a current booking would allow an apples to apples research.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Nic6318 said:

 

Hi

 

I think that the whole issue with booking through a TA and getting some extra perks have a lot to do with which cruise lines you are booking on and how much you are spending.

 

I haven't really worried too much at what I may be missing out on. I do occasionally check online booking sites as well as those "big box" stores. My findings with local TA's is that they don't/won't give any preferred perks (at least that's what they say up front), and the online deals are minor at best. 

 

Over the years, reading some posts where people have told what they were given in perks from their TA's, I have seen amounts that were more than I have paid for a cruise. So, what are they spending. I have seen others where they say they typically will get a rebate of 10% ??. I always wonder, if these people still actually do research and they are getting 10% off the "best price" available, or are they just booking with their TA's because they anticipate that it is the best price. 

 

I think the question should be more like which cruise/cabin have you booked, what did you pay, and what is the expected "perk" you will receive. That way anybody would be able to assess if there is indeed a benefit from trying to find a "good" TA. While any information would be helpful, a current booking would allow an apples to apples research.

I understand your concern about apples to apples.  That's why I often post that my TA will give 8-10% discount of the base line cruise fare.   That's for any and every cruise line with one exception, Carnival, due to their low prices.  I've booked balconies and suites on multiple cruise lines.  Still 8-10%.  

 

And, yes, that's 8-10% of the advertised cruise line price.  Before, I call my TA I've looked at the cruise line websites.  I've selected the cruise line, the itinerary, the class of cabin, and the actually cabin number, as well as the date.  I'm picky about my cabins so I want to know if the cabin I want is available on the cruise I want before I call.  So, I know what the cruise lines will charge before I contact my TA.  Sometimes I call her.  Sometimes I just email her with the information. I'll have her invoice with the price I will pay within the hour.  I normally do this several months in advance.  Price drops are not a problem.  Usually, an emailed request and here comes a new invoice.

 

Now, here's the issue.  If you're booking seven day in the Caribbean, you could be paying as little as $330 PP for an inside guarantee cabin. That's $660 for the cruise.  A 10% discount might be as little as $66.  That may or may not be worth the hassle.  If you're booking a seven day cruise in a suite, you might be looking at $3500 PP or $7000 for the cruise.  A 10% discount might be $700.  In that case the discount is more than the cost of the inside guarantee cabin.  That's probably worth the hassle.

 

I hope that is an 'apples to apples' comparison.

Edited by RocketMan275

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Nic6318 said:

 

Hi

 

I think that the whole issue with booking through a TA and getting some extra perks have a lot to do with which cruise lines you are booking on and how much you are spending.

 

Yes, in a way that is true. But, in many cases, even the lowest priced inside cabin can have some perks offered. They may be smaller that what a balcony or suite may get, but that makes sense since the more you pay, the more they can afford to offer. 

 

Quote

 

I haven't really worried too much at what I may be missing out on. I do occasionally check online booking sites as well as those "big box" stores. My findings with local TA's is that they don't/won't give any preferred perks (at least that's what they say up front), and the online deals are minor at best. 

 

You just need to widen your search for TAs that offer more generous perks. They are out there. 

 

Quote

Over the years, reading some posts where people have told what they were given in perks from their TA's, I have seen amounts that were more than I have paid for a cruise. So, what are they spending. I have seen others where they say they typically will get a rebate of 10% ??. I always wonder, if these people still actually do research and they are getting 10% off the "best price" available, or are they just booking with their TA's because they anticipate that it is the best price. 

 

As I mentioned above, the more expensive the stateroom, the bigger the perks might be because there is more margin to work with.

 

We always do our own research, looking for the itinerary, ship, and stateroom we prefer (of which we always research the best locations). In most cases we book first through the cruise line to secure our stateroom, then transfer to a TA after doing our research of who is providing the best perk deals. We don't blindly book with a TA with the hopes they will have the best deals. We search out the one that we are comfortable with and has the best deals. The best deal may not always be 10%, but any deal is better than none. It does require some effort. But it often is well worth it, especially if the deals are generous. After all, any deal is better than none. Even a the only offer is a free specialty restaurant voucher, it is still an opportunity to try one and not have to pay for it. 

 

Quote

I think the question should be more like which cruise/cabin have you booked, what did you pay, and what is the expected "perk" you will receive. That way anybody would be able to assess if there is indeed a benefit from trying to find a "good" TA. While any information would be helpful, a current booking would allow an apples to apples research.

 

If people don't want to bother with searching for a TA with good perks, that is their choice. They are passing up an opportunity to save money or enhance their cruise with perks they may not benefit from if they had to pay for them. Just like booking and then never checking if prices have gone done, some people spend more money than they have to. Making a small effort can certainly result in savings or free extras. 

Edited by SantaFeFan

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My TA got me $400 obc and free gratuities on my upcoming Princess Cruise as well as a good mid-level balc, Iony plus great airfare and hotel. He monitors the prices on a regular basis............Oh yeah, that would be me, I do not use a  TA.

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3 minutes ago, Doug R. said:

My TA got me $400 obc and free gratuities on my upcoming Princess Cruise as well as a good mid-level balc, Iony plus great airfare and hotel. He monitors the prices on a regular basis............Oh yeah, that would be me, I do not use a  TA.

 

So what is your point? That you got perks that everyone else booking with Princess would get? If you used a good TA, you probably would have doubled the amount of perks you got. Not sure why someone would be proud about losing money!

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