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Travel Agent vs. Next Cruise?


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You can do both!  Book at Next Cruise and get the extra OBC then transfer to a TA within 60 days to reap whatever extra benefits they provide.  Best of both worlds.

Personally, it would depend what I am booking.  If I notice something for a cabin category where there is not a lot of selection for, I will not wait for Next Cruise.  I will grab it right away with my TA.  If it is a cabin category where there is a lot selection (or if I am not in a rush to book), then I will book with Next Cruise and transfer it to my TA.

I have even had an existing booking, then get on board and book the same sailing in the the same category to get the extra OBC, and cancel my old booking (without the the NC OBC) and move back to the same room number I originally had with the new Next Cruise reservation lol.

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Also note that the perks for booking on board aren't always amazing.  We got a whole whopping $26 of OBC credit for booking onboard (but the good news is that OBC from next cruise stays with you, even when you reprice). I think OBC can be good. Our was so low as it was refundable and only a 4 nigher.

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21 minutes ago, crisgold52 said:

Plus while some TA's are great especially for groups and corporate travel which I would highly recommend using, from a personal travel stand point as long as one is happy with logistics on their own, then a self-service option is the way to go. After all once a deposit is made, all that's really left at that point is final payment and one can easily call it in on their own.

As you have already stated endlessly, you were burned on a singular occasion by a bad TA. Please do not minimize all the hard work the actual good agents do (and there are many of them out there, just because you got burned once, does not make them all bad) by inferring that they are only good for booking dining times and collecting deposits.
 

The benefits of a TA are endless, but clearly there is no point convincing you. However, it is very insulting to all the fantastic TAs out there to downplay their jobs.  The good ones work beyond hard.  And the best part of doing both is that you get benefits from both. Self service your own reservation and you only benefit from Next Cruise. 

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3 minutes ago, crisgold52 said:

there's not really much else that needs to be serviced on there per se. A TA is to make recommendations but if one already has a deposit down and is intent on going, unless one wants to make any other drastic changes , its a done deal. 

Perhaps not everyone is like you.  Perhaps “one might” not want to indulge in “weekly calls to Royal to service their reservations”. 
 

My point is that just because you have not found a good TA yet, please don’t insult them by minimizing what they do, and don’t loop them all into the same category as the lemons that you have dealt with. 

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I booked direct with RC on our first cruise because I didn’t know any better. Since joining this community I have booked 2 more cruises with a TA thanks to a referral from someone from this group. 🙌🏻 It was one of the best decisions I have made. When you get a great TA they are priceless! I will have to check out NextCruise as I didn’t on my first sailing.   

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12 hours ago, crisgold52 said:

I've re-priced hotels for instance for as little as 75 cents as well, if there's something that minuscule even, I still jump on it, and most TA's I know would not want to do anything for that small of an amount.

My time is worth more than that, which is why I'd rather use a TA.  It's really a matter of finding a good fit.  I've found a TA that works for me and will do the legwork to reprice a cruise for a few $ if I asked. 

I don't have to use my time to sit on hold or talk to multiple agents at RC until I find one that actually knows and understands their policies.  It would be an entirely different story if I could completely book and manage a cruise myself online as easily as with a hotel or flight reservation, but it isn't and that's why I'd rather outsource that part of the job. 

Bonus is that I'm not the one that directly pays the TA and the TA can get the same or better pricing for me than I could myself.

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My sentiments exactly.  There was a time I was too type A to let someone else handle things for me.  As I’ve gotten older, just don’t enjoy the work involved anymore.  I don’t have the time or energy to make weekly calls to RCCL.  So happy to have someone do it for me.  So now I’m maybe type B+ 😁

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On 8/4/2020 at 5:41 PM, crisgold52 said:

If you do the NextCruise Option its considered a Direct Booking with RCL

If you booked your existing cruise with a TA and visit NextCruise while onboard,  any NextCruise booking will AUTOMATICALLY be assigned to the same TA.  

If you didn't book your existing cruise with a TA and booked it direct with Royal, then any booking made at NextCruise will remain unassigned to any TA.

You can instruct NextCruise NOT to automatically allocate a booking to your existing TA but unless you explicitly do so, any new booking will be assigned to your TA.

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Honestly, the state of affairs and fighting to get all my money back and tracked, etc., was a hassle and half.  I am now using Sharla with MEI based on interactions on this board, and she made it easy to get things re-booked and planned out.  I love the easy button and having someone to bounce ideas off of.  I can so see myself using her services for all my trips in the future.    

Plus, I really want to avoid the RC ads you listen to over and over again on hold.....

 

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I find NextCruise hit or miss.  It all depends.

I often look for bargains or cruises outside of the mainstream so that has played a factor in my NextCruise results.

If you are looking at a 7 night Caribbean or Med cruise two years away that is where NextCruise can provide some results.

Once you start to deviate from the popular or mainstream cruises, you desire fully refundable, you are solo or you found a cheap bargain rate then NextCruise may not have favorable results but it might, you never know.

 

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I "shop" NextCruise like they are just another travel agency. 

Before I go I do my research, I know what I want right down to the cabin #.   

When on board you can visit royalcaribbean.com for free - it doesn't require a Voom plan.  Use your phone or an onboard computer to research. 

Ask lots of questions.  Sometimes CAS balcony discounts don't combine.  Sometimes OBC for refundable fares is very low and much higher for NRD fares.   

On one cruise NextCruise got me lots of OBC and the same rate I was getting elsewhere.  Same sailing a day later and they were $600 higher than my TA for a studio guarantee.  Same sailing looking at a different cruise they found a refundable rate the same as the NRD rate but with lower OBC.  I had booked a couple Star Class booking with them so they knew me and knew I was serious so they weren't trying to screw me around, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't.

There is no "NextCruise always"  answer.  Sometimes NextCruise is great and sometimes I walk away disappointed.    My relationship with NextCruise is like a sexy girlfriend who cheats on me yet I keep going back to her hoping for a better outcome knowing I might be let down.

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8 minutes ago, crisgold52 said:

One can simply do a dummy booking refundable option with NextCruise then head home work the phones and start changing things. 

I usually do the opposite.  Late at night or when Next is closed I'll make a refundable booking on the website.  Next day I visit NextCruise and compare.  If they are better or the OBC is in my favor I book again then later drop my self-booked refundable booking.  If NextCruise is unattractive, I keep my own booking and transfer it to my TA.  

Cruise shopping after Diamond happy hour at night is hazardous to my bank account.

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I will add if I see a cruise I like when on land I book it, even if I have a cruise coming up and I might be able to shop at NextCruise then. 

There is no guarantee that fares won't go up by the time you cruise or cabin choices will be fewer a month later.   

More often than not NextCruise doesn't work out for my type of cruise shopping.  If it does that's great, but I don't assume they will always have the best pricing model so when I see a cruise I like at a price I like I book it and don't look back (but I do watch for price drops).

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I personally try to avoid talking on the phone, since I spend so much time at work doing just that. Like a lot of aspect of life, everything is subjective. @twangster is right, Next Cruise is a roll of the dice. Given the current situation, which shows no current signs of improving, I would suggest a TA. I also don't think this is a versus issue because you can utilize both. Next cruise perks are often grandfathered in and TA's can help make the deal sweeter.

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