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Book cruise online or with a NCL agent?

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It should be the same price going through a TA, but sometimes you get extra perks working with a TA. OBC, extra speciality dinners and gift cards can sometimes be part of the deal. Costco, Sam’s Club and your Credit card companies ( especially Amex) are great places to start.

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Some independent agents offer extra services like keeping an eye out for fare reductions that might impact your cruise.   We went with booking directly with NCL because we are a big group (approx 25 cabins) and figured they could handle the arrangements for that better if we booked directly with the cruise line.  My understanding is that regardless of how you book,  you'll be able to access your cruise information through the NCL website and app.  

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, brigand13 said:

My understanding is that regardless of how you book,  you'll be able to access your cruise information through the NCL website and app. 

You can, but what you can do with that access (cabin type changes, etc, except for bidding I think) is limited if you book through a TA.

Edited by hallux

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We use the cruise line by phone as we can discuss with them anything we want to rather than having to go through a TA but I'm sure we miss out on "perks" from the TA.  It works for us but might not for those who don't keep a close eye on the cruise cost changes online.

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I prefer booking with an NCL agent over online. Price and perks are the same. Sometimes the NCL agent may have different cabin availability than what is showing online.

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Been using the same PCC for 6 cruises. He originally helped with a family cruise & not the original booker!!!

He earned his credibility with joining 4 cabins for all reservations.

He does everything..I call. All set.

Restaurants .shows. mdr's. all perks.

Done.

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We've done it both ways  The last few years we've booked directly via phone  with NCL . Our PCC for the 5 years has really been helpful . He's given good advice as well as giving us heads up on cabins, price drops ,upgrades etc.

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I like to book directly so I can deal with NCL directly if I have questions or issues. It doesn’t have to do with a good PCC or not. My experience with a PCC has been mixed. I guess I’m a control freak and like to manage my reservation myself.

Have a great cruise whichever way you decide to go.

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I book with casino offers so that's always a call. However once I am booked I pay, reserve shows, dining, excursions online. If I upgrade outside of the bid process I have to call. I would rate booking and managing my cruises this way as easy and efficient. 

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I book cruises online.  Then I email CAS and have them comp out the reservation.  I like to have control of the booking for reservations.  I have thought about using a TA but I am a admitted control freak.

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I truthfully prefer using a TA but not an on line one. If not a TA, I would call the cruise line and ask any questions I might have. Last would be doing it through the cruise line, on line and we have cruised over 40 times now. 

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i work with a dedicated PCC at NCL.  she has booked every single one of the cruises you see in my siggy.  she's great.

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I always use a TA, $300-400 less in a balcony than NCL directly.

Even more if you book a suite

Plus same Perks as with NCL

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I’ve used my online TA for years.  When I first started cruising (all lines) I used the direct PCCs of the respective cruise lines.

 

My TA always offers more OBC, some Champaign, a Specialty Dinner, or some nicety that the PCC with NCL can’t offer.

 

Plus, my TA’s service has been exemplary.  I book on line, but always have someone who’s willing to help me via phone if I have questions or any issues.

 

So, more value and perks from my TA over using NCL’s PCC.  Plus, it seems NCL’s PCCs turnover quite a bit.  I’m sure there are exceptions, but I was NEVER able to reach the same PCC after booking a cruise with any of the PCCs on ANY cruise line.

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1 hour ago, graphicguy said:

I’ve used my online TA for years.  When I first started cruising (all lines) I used the direct PCCs of the respective cruise lines.

 

My TA always offers more OBC, some Champaign, a Specialty Dinner, or some nicety that the PCC with NCL can’t offer.

 

Plus, my TA’s service has been exemplary.  I book on line, but always have someone who’s willing to help me via phone if I have questions or any issues.

 

So, more value and perks from my TA over using NCL’s PCC.  Plus, it seems NCL’s PCCs turnover quite a bit.  I’m sure there are exceptions, but I was NEVER able to reach the same PCC after booking a cruise with any of the PCCs on ANY cruise line.

I have been using the same PCC for about 3 yrs & 5 cruises. I have 2 numbers for him. One to book new & anything else. He has always gotten back to me in reasonable time.

Notifies me of changes or additional perks.I guess I lucked out.

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We always us an online TA.  They have never been able to get us a better rate than what NCL is advertising but they manage to give us sizable refundable OBC which in essence, can decrease the cost of the trip should you elect not to use it while on board.  Almost always, my TA's OBC  is significantly more that the cruise line's OBC and if you take NCL's OBC as a perk, then you end up with both (TA OBC and NCL OBC).  Additionally, my TA will quite often offer other perks such as an additional bottle of sparkling wine or a bouquet of flowers.  On one birthday cruise, my TA, whom we have used for years, surprised us with a specialty dining certificate that was awaiting us in our cabin on embarkation day.  The downside, as others have mentioned, is that if you have questions or need changes, this has to be done via the TA and not NCL.

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You have to do what works best for you.

 

Personally, I have never used a travel agent, as I am happy doing the arrangements myself. I have also never yet met a travel agent who didn't tell me something that I know to be incorrect.

 

One real advantage for me is when there are issues with a booking. I currently have a cruise which has been altered by NCL and I dealt with most things in a couple of calls this morning (still waiting for one thing to be confirmed). People who booked with a TA on that cruise are still waiting for information which I know.

 

Having said that, you have to be happy to make that call to NCL and discuss with them. Many people prefer to have someone do that for them or don't want to get into that level of detail themselves. In that case, have a TA do it for you, but understand that you are just one customer they are working for, whereas I can concentrate on my booking.

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ive been pricing haven for an  upcoming trip and got some crazy quotes. one was 1000 less than NCL price and one was exact ncl price plus 1075 OBC

 

i wrote back to each of the TA and asked them to confirm my understanding of their pricing. and yes. the room would be net 1000 cheaper than NCL.. long as you can use 1000 OBC its a steal! or take the 1000 lower pricing if you are unsure. 

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After 24 cruises and booking directly with cruise lines, we booked a Haven room for a TA with a local TA. Our cost was over $15,000. Never again will I use a TA.  I was blocked from any communication with NLC. Since then our cruise has gone down over $2,000. Two weeks ago she told me she called NCL (at my request) and got us $250 OBC, BUT what she didn’t say was that it was a one time opportunity. I understand OBC is not guaranteed and I should be grateful, which I am, but in the future I’ll do my own booking.

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1 hour ago, realtorgranny said:

but in the future I’ll do my own booking.

And you will get the same OBC offer.  My understanding is that the policy is a one-time "refund" of 25% of the cost difference, or something along those lines...

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I book directly with NCL online and then comparison shop TAs.  My last 2 cruises I transferred to a TA, I got about 10% off the fare directly.  I haven’t asked for any service, I’m happy to save the $$.  Never had an offer to cancel/rebook or notification of fare decrease, but I monitor it and haven’t seen it either.

 

First cruise was booked with NCL then transferred to an airline cruise travel agency because of a promise of 7 miles/dollar and I am a miles junky.  Had to pull teeth to get them, and the promise of “I’ll monitor fares for you” never happened, plus we never could get hold of the guy who took our booking; instead we’d sit on hold forever and then get someone at a call center.  First and last time we’d book with the airline TA!

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Good question to ask an independent TA....”do you charge to change my reservation?”

I have had a TA try to charge me for a change to my reservations 6 months out of the sail date (which is BS in my estimation).

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18 hours ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

We always us an online TA.  They have never been able to get us a better rate than what NCL is advertising but they manage to give us sizable refundable OBC which in essence, can decrease the cost of the trip should you elect not to use it while on board.  Almost always, my TA's OBC  is significantly more that the cruise line's OBC and if you take NCL's OBC as a perk, then you end up with both (TA OBC and NCL OBC).  Additionally, my TA will quite often offer other perks such as an additional bottle of sparkling wine or a bouquet of flowers.  On one birthday cruise, my TA, whom we have used for years, surprised us with a specialty dining certificate that was awaiting us in our cabin on embarkation day.  The downside, as others have mentioned, is that if you have questions or need changes, this has to be done via the TA and not NCL.

We use a TA near where we live and have had similar experience as you. Unless they have booked a group or blocked space the rates are not lower than NCL> In fact TAs are not supposed to offer lower rates but we do get more perks than going through the cruise line and in our case we have direct contact with our agent at all times. She has bent over backwards for us and does for most of her clients.

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16 hours ago, realtorgranny said:

After 24 cruises and booking directly with cruise lines, we booked a Haven room for a TA with a local TA. Our cost was over $15,000. Never again will I use a TA.  I was blocked from any communication with NLC. Since then our cruise has gone down over $2,000. Two weeks ago she told me she called NCL (at my request) and got us $250 OBC, BUT what she didn’t say was that it was a one time opportunity. I understand OBC is not guaranteed and I should be grateful, which I am, but in the future I’ll do my own booking.

Once you book with a TA, they OWN the reservation.  They make the commission from it.  No PCC with NCL will handle it, mainly because there’s nothing “in it for them”.  Plus, it’s policy.  Either book with NCL directly with a PCC, or use a TA, who handles any and all questions, issues, etc.

 

Regarding price drops, again this is NCL policy.  If you’re outside the final payment time frame, they aren’t going to offer a refund for a price drop.  The whole idea of booking early is to have the largest pick of cabin locations and categories.  Price may or may not drop in the interim.  The flip side of that, would you be willing to pay more if the fare went up?  Of course not.

 

This isn’t just an NCL policy.  I know of no cruise line that will offer you a refund for a price reduction after final payment was made.

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