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Mim Lloyd

Questions re booking with a US travel agency

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Got some good prices from a travel agency in the US for a couple of cruises. If I go ahead and book, do I qualify if either the cruise line or the travel agency drop prices or offer any free incentives to encourage new bookings before the cruise date? If so, how does it work? Do they just adjust my booking or do I cancel and rebook without penalty? Also, if I pay with my UK credit card am I covered by my bank if anything goes wrong?

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Your booking will be subject to US terms and conditions - do check them out, you have less rights such as the cruise line cancelling or changing the itinerary.

 

The pros include better prices and free cancellation and full refund of deposit up to Final Payment Day. I THINK it’s up to you to check how prices change, you won’t automatically be informed or your price be reduced.

 

But be aware that port fees and taxes are on top of the ticket price, whereas they’re included in prices quoted in the UK. Not a lot extra, but check it out.

 

Your booking will be in US dollars,  So come final payment day the cost to you in GBP may be higher or lower depending on currency fluctuations.

 

If you don’t have a credit card with fee-free foreign transactions, get one before final payment day or the fee will add 3 to 6% to the cost. Capital One, Halifax Clarity, and Post Office credit card are examples of forex fee-free. Use the same card to pay your on-board account, and DECLINE the ship’s offer to convert to GBP “for your convenience”,

 

You wont have the protection of ABTA, so pay by credit card. Your card issuer is liable if there’s fraud or the TA goes bust, but I doubt they’re liable for any disputes about standards aboard etc.

 

JB 😀

 

 

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2 hours ago, John Bull said:

The pros include better prices and free cancellation and full refund of deposit up to Final Payment Day. I THINK it’s up to you to check how prices change, you won’t automatically be informed or your price be reduced.

Not all booking are refundable deposit. Some cruise lines offer US citizens both refundable and non-refundable deposit cruises.  Mim Lloyd will need to check if she wants a refundable deposit cruise.

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Thanks folks, it's Royal Caribbean cruises I'm interested in (a back to back). I've just got quotes through from a US based agency and they're slightly more than the quotes i have from UK ones. I do like the idea though of being able to take advantage of price changes as I come across them. I think I'll get back to the US agency to see if I can negotiate lower prices and for them to confirm whether or not my deposit is refundable. If it all ends up significantly lower than UK prices, I'll be tempted to go ahead. My credit card is fee free do I'll also double check with them if I'm covered for non UK transactions if things go wrong.

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On 2/17/2020 at 1:54 PM, Mim Lloyd said:

. My credit card is fee free do I'll also double check with them if I'm covered for non UK transactions if things go wrong.

 

You'll want to hear it from the horse's mouth, but I can tell you yes, you're covered for foreign transactions.

 

In fact you're covered for the entire transaction even if you pay only a proportion of it by card.

We're just back from an excellent  Serengeti safari which we booked with an operator in Tanzania. All the operators and other businesses there add 3 to 6% for payment by card (both credit & debit cards). So after confirming liability with our credit card issuer we paid the deposit by card and the bulk by credit transfer.

 

BTW its years since we booked with a US TA , that was when there was a big big price difference - the reason why so many others did the same. Nowadays there doesn't seem to be such a big price differential, and being retired we are very flexible on dates and get better value with late late booking thro UK cruise specialists.

 

And yes, Bloodgem's right -  many cruise lines now give Americans the choice of cancel-able or, for a discount, non-cancelable.

We're seeing the same options with hotel bookings throughout the world.

 

JB :classic_smile:

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Well that plan has now gone down in flames! 🔥 I've been going to and fro between 2 UK online agencies and the US one.  It ends up that the total price for the US agency is £384 MORE than the cheapest UK quote. The US confirmed (in writing) that I could cancel without penalty to rebook at better rates if the cruise line drops the price which is attractive to us in the UK, but it's a large price difference that could even increase if the exchange rates change not in our favour. So I'm sticking with the UK.  My next dilemma is whether to be done with it and book now, or hang on for a while to see if RCI bring in some incentives that appeal to me like a drinks package and/or free grats. Or will they increase the base price of the cruises to offset the freebies?! 😊

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Yes RCI do increase the base price of a cruise to cover your free drink package.

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Well that plan has now gone down in flames! I've been going to and fro between 2 UK online agencies and the US one.  It ends up that the total price for the US agency is £384 MORE than the cheapest UK quote. The US confirmed (in writing) that I could cancel without penalty to rebook at better rates if the cruise line drops the price which is attractive to us in the UK, but it's a large price difference that could even increase if the exchange rates change not in our favour. So I'm sticking with the UK.  My next dilemma is whether to be done with it and book now, or hang on for a while to see if RCI bring in some incentives that appeal to me like a drinks package and/or free grats. Or will they increase the base price of the cruises to offset the freebies?!

Hi
I am really surprised US prices were higher!
I have used a ‘American’ ‘Discounts’ ‘Cruise’ company for 15 years plus and they always beat U.K. prices.
I have just had a repricing discount on my 11/20 Royal Caribbean transatlantic of $2,300. They are also great for OBC.


Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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You're lucky. I checked prices again and still couldn't get them lower than the final price I got by bargaining down the UK agencies. I'm happy with the prices I've got, just wish us UK cruisers could take advantage of possible price drops without penalty.

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It is the same here, no price drops unless you cancel (lose deposit) and rebook

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On 3/10/2020 at 8:38 PM, MicCanberra said:

It is the same here, no price drops unless you cancel (lose deposit) and rebook

 

Anyone know WHY they cant do this in the UK and AUS   seems like a conspiracy

between Cruise lines and T/As . Over the years I have asked  people writing articles 

in cruising magazines.

I asked on Rip of Britain and never got a reply from any.

Also asked Princess UK  and whilst the answer was wishywashy  as I included the

general perks that the US seem to get,  their answer seemed to be that it was

an International Marketing Strategy.   I  felt  he was laughing as he said you can of course

cancel and rebook  though it will cost you more to do that than the price drop.!!

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U.S. law apparently, but it isn't law here.

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Hmm!  - thanks - maybe we need to press for a change.

I dont often visit this site -  not many others seem to either.

I have been reading this

https://www.cruisecritic.co.uk/articles.cfm?ID=759

 seems seriously out of date to me -  we only started cruising around 6 years ago

but references in this seem to be from 2009!!

What does anyone else think.

 

I left feedback that it didnt answer my question but  could have done with an

option to comment. 

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One theory, that I have heard, is that cruise lines don't allow UK customers access to price drops because the lines have to pay an annual fee to be a member of ABTA. The fee is based on the lines revenue and allowing customers access to price drops makes it harder for ABTA to work out the annual fee for that line.

 

I'm not sure how reliable this theory is so take it with a pinch of salt🤷‍♂️

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I have found in the past that some cruise lines will not accept US bookings from non-US citizens unless the clients fall into a small number of niche categories where exceptions exist.

 

Regards John

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On 6/13/2020 at 9:59 PM, john watson said:

I have found in the past that some cruise lines will not accept US bookings from non-US citizens unless the clients fall into a small number of niche categories where exceptions exist.

 

Regards John

 

True - tho it's actually "North American residents" - so includes Canadians, and Brits (& other non-US citizens) with a US address.

Applies to some but not all US cruise lines. 

To get round that stipulation, some folk use the address of friends or relatives in North America and some US agents use their own address. I've not heard of that giving anyone a big problem, but that's not to say it hasn't, or won't, happen.

 

That policy was adopted by cruise lines some years ago, I'm not up-to-date whether it's still relevant

 

JB :classic_smile:

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I don’t think it’s relevant now. We use both a UK and US travel agent to book our cruises. We research every cruise and compare price, perks, refundable or non refundable deposits. Like that the deposit goes directly to the cruise line in the US and is not held by the travel agent who could go out of business.  We sometimes book with future cruise desks to get the extra OBC or whatever they are offering. They usually ask which travel agent we want the booking to go to. If you don’t specify, they automatically send it to the agent you have used for the current cruise. We have never used any other address than our own home UK address. Some years ago we were refused by 2 different large US cruise agencies but I think that has changed now. The currency exchange rate is a big consideration but if the cost becomes out of the budget we are willing to pay, then cancel and get the deposit back if booked in the US. I must stress that this is for Royal and Celebrity. Other cruise lines, don’t know their policy. 

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