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We're starting to talk about/plan a cruise for July 2022.  While researching, I found a new TA that I hadn't heard of before.  The price they quoted is ~$800 cheaper per cabin.  Looking at reviews online, they're seem pretty decent, but they're an "unkown" (to us).  

 

I'd list the TA, but I'm not sure we're allowed to.  

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No, unfortunately, (but understandably) we aren't allowed to name agencies/agents.

We have used a large online agency for a number of years now, and are exceedingly satisfied with them.  Their website is very easy to navigate and browse, and if we are signed in, we will automatically be given the best price based on our qualifications (military/past cruiser/state resident/etc.)

When we decide what cruise we want, we just email our agent; he makes a tentative booking, emails or calls, and we finalize.  Always accurate, always a good price; never any problems.

I hope you will be similarly pleased!

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28 minutes ago, S.A.M.J.R. said:

We're starting to talk about/plan a cruise for July 2022.  While researching, I found a new TA that I hadn't heard of before.  The price they quoted is ~$800 cheaper per cabin.  Looking at reviews online, they're seem pretty decent, but they're an "unkown" (to us).  

 

I'd list the TA, but I'm not sure we're allowed to.  

Check if they are giving you a Guaranty in that cabin category, some TA quotes are before taxes and port fees. happy cruising

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7 minutes ago, poocher said:

Not sure what you are asking.

I guess the simple question is "how do you know you can trust a TA you found online?"

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Just now, taglovestocruise said:

Check if they are giving you a Guaranty in that cabin category, some TA quotes are before taxes and port fees. happy cruising

Not a guarantee cabin (thought of that).  Taxes & fees included, gratuities aren't. 

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We have used an online travel agent for years and have been very happy with them.   Most of the large online agents book so many rooms that they negotiate great deals with the cruise lines.

As long as you've read good reviews on them (even though you have not heard of them) you should be just fine!

We live on the West coast and our travel agency is on the East coast and there's never been a problem.

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2 hours ago, S.A.M.J.R. said:

We're starting to talk about/plan a cruise for July 2022.  While researching, I found a new TA that I hadn't heard of before.  The price they quoted is ~$800 cheaper per cabin.  Looking at reviews online, they're seem pretty decent, but they're an "unkown" (to us).  

 

I'd list the TA, but I'm not sure we're allowed to.  

The discount is most likely totally legitimate.  Many TA’s hold group space and to save $800 or more is not uncommon.

 

One clue that it is group space is that the rate will be a refundable rate and is only ob double occupancy cabins balcony and below. 

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OP...look at the details of using this TA....cancellation fee etc. etc. so there's no surprises.

 

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Understand the fare… is deposit refundable or not… is it a group rate… can you reprice it if rate goes lower… 

 

 

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On 6/19/2021 at 1:07 PM, shipgeeks said:

No, unfortunately, (but understandably) we aren't allowed to name agencies/agents.

We have used a large online agency for a number of years now, and are exceedingly satisfied with them.  Their website is very easy to navigate and browse, and if we are signed in, we will automatically be given the best price based on our qualifications (military/past cruiser/state resident/etc.)

When we decide what cruise we want, we just email our agent; he makes a tentative booking, emails or calls, and we finalize.  Always accurate, always a good price; never any problems.

I hope you will be similarly pleased!

Same with us. Love our online TA.

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One other thing I might mention is that with our agency, although it has hundreds of agents, we have the same person every time we deal with them, in other words, a dedicated agent.  

I believe at some agencies you just get the first person who answers the phone.  Ours has all our records, knows our preferences, etc., and we know he is accurate and reliable.

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I say one online TA floating around here (before it was taken down).  Looked at the WEB site they posted and it was pretty sad.  Prices were good, but I immediately wondered if it was a legitimate TA.  It's amazing to me what some on line scams and how creative they are.

 

Eventually, you have to give them your credit card number to book the cruise.  That's something I'd be very careful of.

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I've used the actual cruise line ONCE for my booking.  I can't tell you how many cruises I've been on, but I only use online TA plus, some of them are not completely on line; I can still talk to them if I want to.  Since you can't post TAs here, I do suggest you ask your question over on the tripadvisor cruise forum board.  There are very experienced cruisers there answering questions.  It is best to google tripadvisor cruise forum board so that you don't end up on the regular TA forum board.  

 

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I have used an online travel agency for 10 years. Actually, I have used several, and have narrowed down to just one that I really like. I use the computer to search for cruises and figure out what the price will be, then I call and confirm with an agent that what I am thinking is correct.

 

My thoughts:

  • Not all travel agents are the same, even within the same agency. I find one that I like.
  • Some agencies will have different agents for booking and making changes. I prefer to work with the same agent.
  • I don't give my credit card number until I am happy with the proposed booking.
  • Ask about agency deposits and whether those deposits are refundable or transferable.
  • Ask about amenities, both from the cruise line and from the agency.
  • Ask if the agency is placing your booking in one of their group bookings.
  • I do not actually book online because the information is not always accurate or the most current.

Hope that helps.

 

 

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On 6/19/2021 at 1:16 PM, S.A.M.J.R. said:

I guess the simple question is "how do you know you can trust a TA you found online?"


Every cruise I've been on was booked through an online agency.  And not just one, I've rarely used the same one twice.  I don't need a lot of hold-handing, especially at the planning stage.  I decide what itinerary, what dates, and what class of cabin.  Then I put it out to bid on a site that does that.  I review the bids I get and vet the agents with the best quotes.

This process has regularly gotten me 7-10% in fare discount and/or OBC.  Add in the 4.5% I get from my credit card and overall it is a pretty good deal.

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22 hours ago, A&L_Ont said:

Can you read any on-line reviews of this TA to see others experiences?

 

Are there any cancellation fees?

 

 

I looked for reviews, and the only place I can find reviews is Trip Advisor AND they are (obviously) over a year old.   They are generally good.

 

I had the TA we've used in the past get a quote for the same cabin category, same sailing, and it's about a $1400 difference.  If it was only a couple hundred dollars, I'd stay with what I know.  But $1400 is a heck of a difference.

 

A couple people have mentioned about it possibly being a group booking.  What would the downside to that be?

 

Like @toofarfromthesea, I had put out our sailings for bids and this is one that came back. 

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I am not sure of all the implications of being in a travel agency's group booking, but I did run into some situations.

 

I brought my whole family on a cruise. None of them had been on RC before. I wanted to get the "refer a friend" bonus (back when they were offering it) and found out that I was in a group booking and therefore I did not qualify for the bonus.

 

In some situations with some cruise lines, group bookings are not eligible for certain loyalty perks that involve pricing.

 

I have also had it effect the best price guarantee. That particular agent was not my favorite, so not entirely sure if he was being honest with me.

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