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Would you use a TA for a 3 or 4 day cruise?


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My husband and I are looking at booking our first cruise together next year.  While I have been on a cruise before, I was a teenager so I had little to no input in planning.  My husband isn't sure he's going to like it, so he's unwilling to do any more than a 4 day.  I have lots of experience planning our land based vacations, I really want this to go smoothly.  Would you bother with a TA for such a short cruise?  Would a TA just consider us a waste of their time?   

 

Thank you! 

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We have used a TA for every one of our 22 cruises, including  3 and 4 day cruises, up to 24 day cruises.

 

That doesn't mean you have to...it depends on your confidence level in dotting the "i"s and crossing the "t"s.

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12 minutes ago, Britt1975 said:

My husband and I are looking at booking our first cruise together next year.  While I have been on a cruise before, I was a teenager so I had little to no input in planning.  My husband isn't sure he's going to like it, so he's unwilling to do any more than a 4 day.  I have lots of experience planning our land based vacations, I really want this to go smoothly.  Would you bother with a TA for such a short cruise?  Would a TA just consider us a waste of their time?   

 

Thank you! 

You need a TA if for no other reason than to find a cruise line that matches your travel preference.

Whether it's 4 or 40 days, the choice of ship (including its passenger demographic, crew ratio and service, quality of food and amenities) are all going to play an important part in your enjoyment/comfort/etc).

And, even on the same line, the differences between a 4 day and a 14 day or 30 day trip make for totally dissimilar experiences.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Britt1975 said:

My husband and I are looking at booking our first cruise together next year.  While I have been on a cruise before, I was a teenager so I had little to no input in planning.  My husband isn't sure he's going to like it, so he's unwilling to do any more than a 4 day.  I have lots of experience planning our land based vacations, I really want this to go smoothly.  Would you bother with a TA for such a short cruise?  Would a TA just consider us a waste of their time?   

 

Thank you! 

 

@Britt1975

 

Howdy Britt & welcome to the Cruise Critic message boards!

 

We have a Cruise Critic article Finding a Cruise Travel Agent that should be helpful. The article was last updated January 8, 2020. 

 

And since you are interested in short cruises, here's another Cruise Critic article for you: Compare: 11 Top-Rated Short Cruises It was last updated February 20, 2020.

 

My suggestion is that you find a TA/Cruise Specialist that has actually taken a few cruises. There are lots of folks out there that want to sell you a cruise, but cannot help you with truthful & personal answers to any questions about cruising since they never cruised.

 

Happy sails,

 

Host Kat emo32.gif

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21 minutes ago, cruznjan said:

I would book it myself, since I want to have control of my booking. I'm using one now because it's a tour group.

This "own my booking" always makes me chuckle. Anyone's direct booking is a rounding error in a cruise line's hourly bottom line. Even with one of their employees called a "personal whatever," you get only what perks the cruise line is willing to provide and, should you have any issues, that rep still remains their employee!

 

With the right TA (a trusted top seller for your preferred cruise line's cruises), the cruise line's regional sales rep is just a speed dial away while, in a direct booking, you're sitting on hold on the phone with someone who really has little sway with their boss. Add to this the fact that the right TA will also share commissions (valued at 5-10% of the commissionable fare paid to you as a cash rebate or refundable SBC) on top of all available perks from the cruise line itself) and the choice to use the right TA is a no brainer.

 

Over the years, from conversations and forums like CC, Inam convinced that most folks who book direct with a cruise line rather give up the TA added perks than do the necessary research to find the right one.

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Always use a TA. It is part of the process. It keeps the money in the local community and not entirely in the hands (pockets) of the cruise line.

Jim

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Having learned from twenty-plus years of cruising experience, I have figured out the best way to book a cruise is to call the cruise line directly. I have had bad luck with cruise agencies who offer 'FLASH SALES' and other gimmicks, only to sell you a crappy room that no one else would book. There are perks to booking directly. For example, if any problems should arise, customer service is most helpful to THOSE WHO HAVE BOOKED DIRECTLY, especially if the problem involves a cabin change. I have heard  (with my onw ears)  customer service agents on board tell cruisers they are unable to help,  and that they should contact their own travel agency for assistance with a cabin change. Whether it be a three day cruise or a three week cruise, comfort is on the top of my list when choosing a cabin. Imagine spending three days in a cabin with a plumbing problem, a faulty air conditioner, or perhaps a cabin directly adjacent to laundry mat, so book with caution. Trust you own eyes by using on one of those deck plan sites (for example,

cruisececkplans.com) before you book  Happy sailing!

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32 minutes ago, BobbiSox said:

....I have figured out the best way to book a cruise is to call the cruise line directly.

..... if any problems should arise, customer service is most helpful to THOSE WHO HAVE BOOKED DIRECTLY.

Given the vast difference in cruise industry practices, particularly when comparing some mass market lines to those in the premium/luxury segments, it's wrong to suggest that there's a one-size-fits-all "best" way to book.

 

For example, we always have (and always will) use one of a handful of our trusted Connoisseurs Club TAs for Oceania bookings. In addition to their ability to share commissions (which can easily net us four figures in rebate or refundable SBC), the potential for difficulty in handling a significant issue is greatly reduced since that TA has O's regional sales director as a speed dial.

 

Like with so many other service industries, having repeat bad cruise booking experiences, usually means the consumer either doesn't have a clue about how to find a great TA (who specializes in your preferred line) or is unwilling to do the necessary research to find one.  

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There are endless options on how to book a cruise and as you know, over time through trial and error you will figure out what works best for you.  Like you, I plan all our trips and many of those are land trips or include both land and cruise with a group or private tour thrown in sometimes.
 

 Here’s my method for booking cruises.....I usually find the cruise I want online using one of those sites that list cruises from various cruise lines.  Next I call the cruise line for their best offer then google the cruise to see what deals show online then call several TAs for their best offer.  I compare the offers and decide which one is best for us.   This takes more time than just picking one Company and going with what they offer, but it is worth it for us.   

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No, We've only used a TA once and that was for a month long cruise vacation package. The cruise line websites are very user friendly, you can get it all planned and paid for in 20 minutes. 

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I always use a TA.  Find one who specializes in or has a lot of experience cruising.  They are a wealth of information and answers to all of your questions.

 

Most important, however, is that if there are any problems, situations, delays, missed flights, etc., the TA can help.  

 

We were stuck in San Juan when we couldn't get home to NJ due to a blizzard.   We were able to get a hotel in San Juan and a flight to DC the next day.  But we couldn't get back to NJ for several more days (flights had only standby available and Newark Airport wasn't opened yet).  Our TA get us a hotel in DC and reservations on a train to Newark, NJ.  Help to alleviate the stress having someone to make these reservations for us and help us get home. (to 28 inches of snow).

 

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I complete all the research myself, even to the point of making a tentative booking and selecting a cabin. I then hand it over to our TA to confirm and process the deposit. The TA provides us with the max permitted OBC and in the unlikely event of problems she has more clout with the cruise line than a single customer.

 

Many will say that once you use a TA, you cannot deal with the cruise line directly. This is not our experience, as both our TA & I receive communications from the cruise line and anything I send to them directly is copied to the TA.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If you live in the United States, you do not need a travel agent to book any of the mass market cruise lines sailing from the US or even Europe and there is really little to no value added.  In fact it can be more expensive to use a travel agent for this.  You are far better off booking your cruise through the cruise line's own website.

 

Where you do need a travel agent is when booking specialty cruises such as river cruises because many of those companies don't have a way to book direct with them.

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44 minutes ago, SuiteTraveler said:

If you live in the United States, you do not need a travel agent to book any of the mass market cruise lines sailing from the US or even Europe and there is really little to no value added.  In fact it can be more expensive to use a travel agent for this.  You are far better off booking your cruise through the cruise line's own website.

 

Where you do need a travel agent is when booking specialty cruises such as river cruises because many of those companies don't have a way to book direct with them.

You may not need a TA but, if it's a "big $ ticket" cruise, it would be a shame to throw away the commission sharing, which can get you 5-10% of the commissionable fare as a rebate or refundable SBC.

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Nah, if it's a mass market cruise line. If you're on CC we know you're like us and obsess over planning. A 4 nighter is pretty easy to plan. I think you will be fine booking directly with the cruise line. If you have questions ask us and then ask the cruise line. 

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  • 3 months later...

If I am booking a cruise.  I use my personal vacation planner (PVP).  They have everything listed that I like.  they know my cabin preference, dining preference, They have my cruise history in front of them, so it's very easy.  

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Since Cunard permits travel agents to discount fares (not all lines do) I book with a travel agent who typically discounts the fare 10% from the line's own advertised prices.

 

I'll only offer some caution that the shorter 3-4 day cruises tend to be a somewhat different experience than cruises that are a week or two long. Many people book the short itineraries for a long weekend (regardless of the actual day of the week) of partying. 

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On 6/28/2020 at 4:21 PM, JimnKaren said:

Always use a TA. It is part of the process. It keeps the money in the local community and not entirely in the hands (pockets) of the cruise line.

Jim

Lol my TA is in canada, I'm in texas.

 

Doesnt keep any money local but it does keep my money safe. I forget canada law name, RICO?  If the cruiseline went belly up my money is protected, unlike under American law. 

 

Plus hes excellent. It's always a choice and even more important during covid to either go direct or use a TA you are sure will be around long term. I booked a few thru some big box outfits online, and then couldn't get service or whomever booked me is no longer there. Glad I found someone good. Answers emails always right away.

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7 hours ago, firefly333 said:

Doesnt keep any money local but it does keep my money safe. I forget canada law name, RICO?  If the cruiseline went belly up my money is protected, unlike under American law. 

 

 

That's funny.  Canada's protection law has the same acronym as the US's organized crime law.  😆

 

On 6/23/2020 at 6:30 PM, Britt1975 said:

My husband and I are looking at booking our first cruise together next year.  While I have been on a cruise before, I was a teenager so I had little to no input in planning.  My husband isn't sure he's going to like it, so he's unwilling to do any more than a 4 day.  I have lots of experience planning our land based vacations, I really want this to go smoothly.  Would you bother with a TA for such a short cruise?  Would a TA just consider us a waste of their time?   

 

Thank you! 

 

Not sure if you're still around 5 months later or if you ever booked, but I'm in the no TA crowd.  However, unlike some (well, one in particular), I'm not going to lower myself to belittling those who book differently.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with using a TA and in your case, it might be a good idea in order to find the right line that suits you and your husband needs.  🙂

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