Benefits of using a travel agent to book a cruise?? Disney cruise or other?
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 4/8/2013 by Anna in TX in NSBR Board
 

Anna in TX
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 4/8/2013 9:31:28 PM
My family and I have been on two cruises--one on Royal Caribbean and the other Disney. We went through DH's work "travel agent" to get a discount. It's really just their travel department.

With all of the information online and the ease of booking a cruise on your own, what are the benefits to working with a travel agent for cruises? We're trying to decide if we should go find a travel agent or just do it ourselves.

We are thinking of an Alaska cruise in summer 2014. Looking at Disney, Princess, and possibly another line.

TIA!!



tedescokid
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Posted: 4/8/2013 9:43:19 PM
I have several friends that are TAs. They cost you nothing and will stay on to of any discounts that are released after your booking,etc. Help book the excursions without you having to do all the leg work. I am all about booking our trips but some of them, I am now using the TA because I just don't have the time to research everything.

Rahnee
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Posted: 4/9/2013 12:00:09 AM
Although we live in Australia, we have booked both our Disney Cruises and a WDW stay through a US Travel Agent. I would highly recommend her. Completely on the ball. Always looking for discounts, even after we booked. Constantly checking in to see if we had any questions.
We also got a great onboard credit both times - over $200 each time

TravelAgent
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Posted: 4/9/2013 12:40:08 AM
You pay for a travel agent whether you use one or not. That's because the cruise lines build in commission to the price they quote you, and if you book direct they sure as heck don't discount the price. They stick the money in their pocket.

A travel agent is someone who keeps track of final payments, paperwork, and helps you make changes along the way if you decide you want a different dinner time or need to book transfers at the last second.

Also, if something goes wrong with your vacation. an agent can serve as a consumer advocate in certain situations. For instance, I had a family vacationing in the Caribbean this spring break. They arrived on a Sunday for 6 nights instead of a Saturday for 7 nights, so they ended up with a king room and an air mattress for the kids.

They didn't like it. We called the property (and the headquarters) and the hotel was booked solid, so we couldn't get them moved to another room. Eventualy, the family found a spot open at the hotel across the street and thought they'd talked their original place into a refund. Only they didn't do it right with the paperwork. I was on the phone for an hour this afternoon straightening it all out. They are now getting $1,000 refund that would have been toast if left to their own devices.

Julie



wildcatksu
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Posted: 4/9/2013 5:41:35 AM
A good travel agent will watch for the discounts that come out after you've a,ready booked and make sure you get them. Having done a Disney trip without a Disney knowledgeable agent abpnd a Disneyworld trip with one, I'd also advise you to make sure your agent knows Disney! The agent I used for Disney world only does Disney vacations and it shows. She knew everything. I talked to her about some of the glitches we ran into on our cruise and she had fixes. The travel agent that had booked the cruise is very good, my inlaws use her all the time. But she didn't know Disney.

Peabay
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Posted: 4/9/2013 6:34:41 AM
We used a travel agent, one who specifically does cruises, for our trip next week. She got us several really great upgrades and just made the whole process easier.



Pretty In PeaNK

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Posted: 4/9/2013 7:17:50 AM
More and more people are starting to book on their own these days. Keep in mind that a travel agent's commission is based on the final price you pay, so don't be so sure that they're going to keep the lowest possible fare in your best interest.

I've heard of travel agents making up fees (paperwork fee, cancelation fee, etc), refusing to submit paperwork for price reductions because it affects their bottom line, and even a travel agent or two who completely canceled someone's cruise accidentally. By the time it was discovered, the ship was booked to capacity.

Personally, I would do some research and book on your own directly through Disney. No one will put as much thought and consideration into your vacation as you will. You can also join a cruise message board for a wealth of information that probably goes beyond that of a travel agent's.


"How are we going to get rid of racism? Stop talking about it!"--Morgan Freeman

genny
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Posted: 4/9/2013 7:32:46 AM
Never used one for a cruise, but used a TA for our WDW trip in 2010. She was fantastic. She got everything at a much deeper discoun that I could find on my own (i started the process myself, thinking I could do it cheaper but I was way wrong). We ended up in a hotel MUCH nicer than I would have chosen for less. She got park hopper passes, the passes that got us to the express line for rides, etc. It was AWESOME. And we booked far enough out that we were able to make payments on the trip which was a HUGE help for us.
In addition, as if it wasn't awesome enough, when we got in our hotel room there was a fruit basket, flowers and a bottle of champagne waiting with VIP passes to the PRE openeing of Harry Potter at Universal!! It was AH-mazing. We got to go in HP world the day before it opened with only 299 other people!

I will use her for any trip we ever take again!


All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. ~ Winston Churchill

Mom to beautiful, creative, talented and kind Sarrie, 14, and handsome, intelligent, wise, and witty Dev, 16

Anna in TX
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 4/9/2013 7:35:09 AM
Thanks everyone for the info. And TravelAgent, I was hoping you'd weigh in on this.


Personally, I would do some research and book on your own directly through Disney. No one will put as much thought and consideration into your vacation as you will. You can also join a cruise message board for a wealth of information that probably goes beyond that of a travel agent's.


This is what we have done in the past. My DH does a lot of the research as we are looking into traveling.

I can see, however, how blending the two--travel agent and personal research--would be a good way to go. We have not booked any excursions through the cruise lines, we always do our own private tours we find on tripadvisor, cruisecritic, etc.



justmebymyself
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Posted: 4/9/2013 7:52:43 AM
When flying anywhere out of North America, I use a travel agent.

During the volcano explosion a few years ago and airtravel was halted, it was the people who used a travel agent who were re-booked quickly as this person was the advocat working for their clients. Airlines had stacks of papers with contact numbers that were either a person's telephone number at home, useless as the person wasn't there, or a cell number that could not be picked up due to the international nature of the call. People who had booked flights themselves were frustrated beyond anything because they couldn't get thru to the airline reservations number, and they usually couldn't provide a phone number to receive a call.


mikklynn
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Posted: 4/9/2013 7:57:25 AM
I have done it both ways. I prefer to use the TA. She saved us a ton of money because we were willing to be flexible and found us a cruise that had 2 rooms left selling at a big discount.

She also located us cheaper air fare than the cruiseline offered.

It cost us $20 each.


Lynn



PTScrapper628
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Posted: 4/9/2013 3:04:20 PM
We have done several Disney cruise, with and without a travel agent. I like to do my own research and then contact a travel agent. If it is Disney there are any number of agents that specialize in Disney trips. I booked our next cruise (to Alaska in 2014) through Dreams Unlimited Travel and was able to get a fairly good onboard credit.


Terri

PTScrapper628
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Posted: 4/9/2013 3:10:11 PM
We have done several Disney cruise, with and without a travel agent. I like to do my own research and then contact a travel agent. If it is Disney there are any number of agents that specialize in Disney trips. I booked our next cruise (to Alaska in 2014) through Dreams Unlimited Travel and was able to get a fairly good onboard credit.


Terri

stansgal
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Posted: 4/9/2013 3:32:34 PM
I have booked several cruises- 9 to be exact, and I much prefer for my travel agent to do the work.
As stated above the cost is the same. If you book it yourself the company actually pockets the travel agent fee; whereas if you let them book it they receive a fee from your booking; which in my experience isn't really enough to cover the time they put into it.
One of my best friends is a TA and does all of our bookings. She keeps up with all the red tape stuff-paperwork, deadlines, discounts. Stuff I don't have time to deal with.
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