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Norf9

TA price vs RCL website

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Hi folks please forgive me if this has been posted before, but I couldn't find a specific thread on this. I have never sailed on Royal before, but I've been on a lot of cruises on other lines (Carnival, Crystal, and Disney). I'm looking at booking a couple of cabins for December, and I'm seeing something really odd. I'm used to the prices on the cruise line's website more or less matching what a travel agent can get me. But I went on a website that allows TAs to bid on your trip (not sure if I am allowed to name the site) and their prices are all identical and about 15 to 30% less (not including OBC) than I can get from booking direct. Is this normal for RCL, or is this just despiration from the travel agents due to Corona?

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Norf9 said:

Is this normal for RCL, or is this just desperation from the travel agents due to Corona?

Not normal, some of those "quotes" you see are not real (or not apples-apples comparison) and you may not find that out until you try to actually book.

Edited by Biker19

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The TA's might have group space on that sailing which they can offer at a lesser price

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8 minutes ago, molly361 said:

The TA's might have group space on that sailing which they can offer at a lesser price

I guess what is confusing to me is that about 8 of the quotes had the exact same price. Is it possible that the TAs can book for the retuning guest price?

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Norf9 said:

Is it possible that the TAs can book for the returning guest price?

Of course they can, but RCI's site would show that as well. Again, you may not be looking at an apples-apples comparison.

Edited by Biker19

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See if
1. The discounted price includes port fees, taxes
2. The agent doesn't later add his own service charges or commission to the cheap fare quoted.
3. It is not a bait and switch trick, where after you book, the price goes up for some obscure reason.

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Also check the reputation and reviews of the agent on Google.

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The farther out the cruise, the greater the difference. In the end, the prices seem to get closer together. The mani difference is if you book directly you are in control of your booking. If the price goes down you get the lower price. A TA will also lower the price......if you ask them to.....if you can locate them. Booking directly, you have control of your booking and any agent at the cruise line can help. If you book with a TA, the cruise line will not even talk to you or answer any questions.

 

Doug

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Not all travel sites and ta are created equal. I can name a site some used to book who are having a devil of a time getting hold of a agent and getting the refunds.... from as far back as march. 

 

It's all well and good to save a little .... until something goes wrong. The price drops ... what did you say? They are closed weekends? Etc.

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As Ellen mentioned the TA most likely could have group space or the other possibility is that they are advertising friends and family rates.  Advertising either one of these rates is in violation of the agreement that the agents have signed with Royal yet many break it repeatedly and Royal seems lax to enforce their own policies. 

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the travel agents are desperate because of the virus ruining their business.

but the most important thing is to check the integrity and reputation of that particular travel agent giving you the maximum discount

 

 

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I’m sure many of us here have been in this same situation, we found our TA by speaking to fellow cruisers onboard. Unfortunately we are not allowed to share as it breaks the cruise critic rules. As others have said, research any agent thoroughly and pay the deposit by credit card to ensure you have some security should it not turn out as promised. 

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Be careful about booking with unknown agents without a big reputation, especially if you are giving them your credit card information on the phone or email.

 

A few of them have gone out of business and they may pocket your money.

One such agent who went out of business is mentioned in the thread below.

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/index.php?/topic/2751999-Travel-Agent-out-of-business---CCL-won't-let-us-cancel-our-cruise

 

 

 

 

 

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On 6/6/2020 at 7:34 PM, Ourusualbeach said:

As Ellen mentioned the TA most likely could have group space or the other possibility is that they are advertising friends and family rates.  Advertising either one of these rates is in violation of the agreement that the agents have signed with Royal yet many break it repeatedly and Royal seems lax to enforce their own policies. 

 

Royal not enforcing one of their own policies?? This is the first I've heard of such a thing. 😁

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On 6/6/2020 at 5:06 PM, drsel said:

See if
1. The discounted price includes port fees, taxes
2. The agent doesn't later add his own service charges or commission to the cheap fare quoted.
3. It is not a bait and switch trick, where after you book, the price goes up for some obscure reason.

4. Ask the Travel agent if the payment is being paid directly to the cruise line. It the deposit is being paid to the agency directly to be paid to the cruise line at a later date run the other way. 

5. Ask if there is a charge to make any changes to the reservation such as price drop or changing room catagory.

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I think there are a couple of people on the carnival boards who say their TA went out of business. One claims to have called 5 times trying to make final payment and carnival keeps saying contact the out of business TA, or they will look into it, might take 4 or 5 weeks.

 

I know of some TAs people having issues with getting refunds. It is too bad in a way you cant review travel agents like shopping for other things. 

 

From posts I've read there is clearly a problem with some travel agents. On one post the guy said hes called all 3 numbers for the ta and they are shut down. 

 

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I know the site you are referring too. I've never seen the prices discounted that much! In fact i was under the impression they couldn't undersell the cruise line like that.  But with talking to an agent, what they do is kick back some of their commision in OBC. 

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Some agents also have a change fee or cancellation fee of $100 or more per cabin or booking, which is not disclosed upfront.
You have to read the small print.

Also, this unknown agent may say that money is going directly to the cruise line and instead pocket it.
So be wary if the agent wants your credit card information on the phone and doesn't have an online booking engine or secure payment link.

It's better to book online with reputed large cruise agents and maybe pay a few $ more for peace of mind.

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Thanks everyone!  It looks like they were omitting the taxes and fees from the quotes. I went ahead and just booked it on the royal website for peace of mind. I'm going to look into transferring the booking to a TA within the 30 day window.

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12 minutes ago, Norf9 said:

I'm going to look into transferring the booking to a TA within the 30 day window.

It's 60 days.

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Thanks everyone!  It looks like they were omitting the taxes and fees from the quotes. I went ahead and just booked it on the royal website for peace of mind. I'm going to look into transferring the booking to a TA within the 30 day window.

On the site which allows TAs to bid on your trip, their price also includes all fees and taxes.

 

So the price is the same as on the royal website, but they give you 10% OBC from their commission

 

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I used that site years ago and booked with 2 of the companies that competed for my business.  One did charge a $10 "administrative fee" so read the fine print on each email you receive or check the one page that shows all the prices.   I still book with one of them today as their price is usually the best and the service is good.    Also if you are a warehouse club member, check their prices too.  

 

I have not booked direct with a cruiseline in years; always get obc or a discounted (group) rate with a TA.  

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I used that site years ago and booked with 2 of the companies that competed for my business.  One did charge a $10 "administrative fee" so read the fine print on each email you receive or check the one page that shows all the prices.   I still book with one of them today as their price is usually the best and the service is good.    Also if you are a warehouse club member, check their prices too.    

I have not booked direct with a cruiseline in years; always get obc or a discounted (group) rate with a TA.  

 

Now the warehouse is asking for your membership card number before they even show you the rates.

Is the OBC promised by that agent you use always honoured?

Is it better and cheaper to book with that agent directly on his email or through the bidding site.?

Is it safe to pay that agent giving your credit card information on the phone?

 

 

 

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We've booked all of our cruises through that site and always at a significant discount. This will be our first with Royal and with a different agency. The catch is a completely non refundable deposit (booked before covid) and don't expect any customer service from the outlet brokers. If you are ok with that and don't need planning assistance then go for it! Just make sure you check reviews first.

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23 minutes ago, drsel said:

 

 

 

 

 

Now the warehouse is asking for your membership card number before they even show you the rates.

Is the OBC promised by that agent you use always honoured?

Is it better and cheaper to book with that agent directly on his email or through the bidding site.?

Is it safe to pay that agent giving your credit card information on the phone?

 

 

 

 

Interesting about the whse club.   I book maybe 10% of my cruises with them.  TA for the rest.  

 

Have always gotten the obc promised.   Not had any issue in probably 40+ cruises and booking mostly with TA.   

 

You can google the agencies that show up and see what people have to say about them.   My experiences were good.  The agency I learned of from that site I go to directly at this point.   I do usually price the whse club too and decide between the two.   I usually go with the TA though.  

 

I agree with whoever made the point about non-refundable deposits.  That is always verified before I book.  I don't usually go w/ non-refundable deposit.   

 

 

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