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Hi folks

 

I currently work with a Flightcenter Travel Agent,   She's great, but the company had a major temp layoff and store closures across Canada. She was affected.  

I was working with the agent on my Nov 2nd Miami sailing (now cancelled) I was trying to get the agent to do a Lift and shift.

I also have a Mediterranean cruise in May 2021.  

We don't know her future with the company, so I'm asking any RC Canadian members here, who they  love to work with for Cruising vacations.  (as a backup)

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As @SpeedNoodles said, MEI definitely can work with Canadians. I have also found that many US based agencies can book for Canadians as well. However, choose your agent carefully. A good one is worth their weight in gold. And bad one, you cannot escape from even when you want to run. Don’t get swayed by low pricing. That is not all that matters sometimes.😉

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I have ALWAYS saved money booking in USD for flights and cruises(and usually flying from the US)...you must not be looking in the right places..I think I have booked once with Costco for the gift card in CAD..lol...and you dont need a US bank account or credit card either..lots of ways around it..

 

our dollar has been on the up swing as well.....I hope no one on the CERB is booking cruises anyways..wait till their tax bill hits next spring..lol…...

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@Sharla with MEI is EXCELLENT! As @SpeedNoodles mentioned, they will help you!  Sharla and her impressions of the RCB GP to Alaska is the topic of this week's Royal Caribbean Blog podcast! HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend her. If you have allllll the time in the world, then, by all means, be your own travel agent, especially if you know the ins and outs of the travel industry, otherwise, get yourself a travel agent!

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3 hours ago, crisgold52 said:

With the exchange rate one has to pay a conversion rate for CAD to USD transactions. Not everyone has a USD CC or bank account and Canadians lose out when paying USD high rates we are talking thousands of dollars  not like ten dollar items. This is why I personally opt to keep my business in Canada. If it's a $10 or $20 grocery item sure but I'm not paying over a thousand in USD which is how much travel costs which means I end up losing in the process. If MEI charged in CAD then they'd be worth considering. RCL is able to charge in CAD for direct bookings.

Many Canadians are on the CERB or CESB OR CEBA now and conversion fees are a killer. 

At today's bank rate per $1000 USD = $1314.03 CAD and this is before the 2.5% fee CC charge for foreign currency transactions. No thanks. Unless a person travels to the US slot and has a US credit card it's not worth it. 🙂

At today's bank rate per $1000 USD = $1314.03 CAD and this is before the 2.5% fee CC charge for foreign currency transactions.

 

So $32.85 CAD for every $1000 USD?  (1314.03 CAD x 2.5% FEE CC)

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4 hours ago, Rene Desmarais said:

Hi folks

 

I currently work with a Flightcenter Travel Agent,   She's great, but the company had a major temp layoff and store closures across Canada. She was affected.  

I was working with the agent on my Nov 2nd Miami sailing (now cancelled) I was trying to get the agent to do a Lift and shift.

I also have a Mediterranean cruise in May 2021.  

We don't know her future with the company, so I'm asking any RC Canadian members here, who they  love to work with for Cruising vacations.  (as a backup)

I've booked mainly with a local GTA chain called Cruise Holidays. They're pretty good. But they also mainly cater to Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese, so a lot of discussion is in Cantonese or Mandarin. 

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13 hours ago, crisgold52 said:

That sounds accurate. Different CC have different foreign exchange rates so it's best to keep this in mind hence for most Canadians who don't have A USD CC or USD account it's not worth paying more in USD for the same product. 

It's never worth paying more in USD of course....

 

But very often …..every time I have booked in USD its been a been a better deal..even when it was about 40% exchange rate......just need to look and shop around.

 

We get robbed here in Canada with the prices we pay for most things and the taxes we pay....cruise prices and deals are no exception to that!

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There have been times when CAD has been greater than the USD.  As a kid I remember taking a school field trip to the US.  It blew my mind when I paid for some minor purchase in Canadian and I received more US money back as change.   To a kid at the time it seemed like a perpetual money making machine.  

If we wait long enough who knows what the future may bring.  Wouldn't it be cool to be paying less for a cruise and cruise planner purchases compared to Americans?  One can always dream...

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20 hours ago, crisgold52 said:

With the exchange rate one has to pay a conversion rate for CAD to USD transactions. Not everyone has a USD CC or bank account and Canadians lose out when paying USD high rates we are talking thousands of dollars  not like ten dollar items. This is why I personally opt to keep my business in Canada. If it's a $10 or $20 grocery item sure but I'm not paying over a thousand in USD which is how much travel costs which means I end up losing in the process. If MEI charged in CAD then they'd be worth considering. RCL is able to charge in CAD for direct bookings.

Many Canadians are on the CERB or CESB OR CEBA now and conversion fees are a killer. 

At today's bank rate per $1000 USD = $1314.03 CAD and this is before the 2.5% fee CC charge for foreign currency transactions. No thanks. Unless a person travels to the US slot and has a US credit card it's not worth it. 🙂

Many Canadian banks have US subsidiaries that offer CDN residents US based USD accounts and USD cedit cards. Transfers and payments can be done online eliminating the 2.5% exchange fee. RBC and TD have this service.

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2 hours ago, monctonguy said:

It's never worth paying more in USD of course....

 

But very often …..every time I have booked in USD its been a been a better deal..even when it was about 40% exchange rate......just need to look and shop around.

 

We get robbed here in Canada with the prices we pay for most things and the taxes we pay....cruise prices and deals are no exception to that!

Yep. I buy my cruises from a US based TA and pay in USD. The direct RCL $CDN costs take an 'exchange cut' as do the $CDN credit cards. The least cost way is to online transfer CDN-USD and pay with those USD.

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1 hour ago, Gears said:

The direct RCL $CDN costs take an 'exchange cut' as do the $CDN credit cards.

^^^This right here is what some people don't realize.  Also why we always pay in USD for our vacations.  Unless we are vacationing in Canada, which never happens lol.

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2 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

^^^This right here is what some people don't realize.  Also why we always pay in USD for our vacations.  Unless we are vacationing in Canada, which never happens lol.

This reminds me that I really need to go back to Calgary/Banff/Jasper at some point. 

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ok, so I'm trying to understand this.

 

for every 1000.00 USD it costs  $32.85 CAD (1314.03 CAD x 2.5% FEE CC) current exchange rate

So to avoid this 32.85  FEE CC, or any exchange rate,  you get an RBC Visa is USD currency to pay RCL's cruise invoice.    so  when it's time to pay off the RBC USD Visa balance,  you are using CAD currency? still  an exchange rate right there.   Why do all of this to save 32.85 CAD per 1000,00 USD?   unless you are always booking suites and above. then maybe.

I don't see the cost savings..  by planning a trip for my family of 4,  usually we are happy with an interior room.  If cruise trip is cheap (depends on RCL promo) , then I bump up to balcony.

 

Is my thinking wrong here?  it's not like I will be saving hundreds of dollars here

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20 minutes ago, Rene Desmarais said:

so  when it's time to pay off the RBC USD Visa balance,  you are using CAD currency?

That is the savings for us right there.  We do not pay it off in Canadian currency.  We pay off our US Visa with US currency, which we exchange at our local currency exchange (or train station also offers great rates).  The local currency exchange offers rates that are considerably lower than bank rates so that is the savings.  RBC allows you to open a US bank account and we basically call our local currency exchange, tell them how much to transfer over, and they transfer the amount into our RBC US account.  From there the Visa is paid off and you are exchanging at a lower rate than the banks.  

1 hour ago, KWong said:

This reminds me that I really need to go back to Calgary/Banff/Jasper at some point. 

Land vacations...over-rated lol

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49 minutes ago, Rene Desmarais said:

ok, so I'm trying to understand this.

 

for every 1000.00 USD it costs  $32.85 CAD (1314.03 CAD x 2.5% FEE CC) current exchange rate

So to avoid this 32.85  FEE CC, or any exchange rate,  you get an RBC Visa is USD currency to pay RCL's cruise invoice.    so  when it's time to pay off the RBC USD Visa balance,  you are using CAD currency? still  an exchange rate right there.   Why do all of this to save 32.85 CAD per 1000,00 USD?   unless you are always booking suites and above. then maybe.

I don't see the cost savings..  by planning a trip for my family of 4,  usually we are happy with an interior room.  If cruise trip is cheap (depends on RCL promo) , then I bump up to balcony.

 

Is my thinking wrong here?  it's not like I will be saving hundreds of dollars here

I will explain...

If you are an RBC customer, you can apply for an RBC Bank account and RBC Bank Visa. This is different than a US dollar account.

RBC Bank is a US soil bank based in Georgia (this is legally different from RBC Royal Bank, the Canadian soil entity)

To pay your RBC Bank USD Visa...(in high level basic terms):

+ In your Canada based online banking, open a $USD savings account. (this is still in Canada)
+ Transfer CDN funds from your usual $CDN account to your fancy new $USD. Here is where the 'buy USD' exchange is done and online is your best rate.
+ Go to your RBC Bank (the US entity) and do a cross border transfer from your CDN $USD account to your US $USD checking account (or chequing for us north of 49 types)
+ Transfer from your US $USD checking account to your RBC Bank USD Visa to pay it.
+ You're done.

No ultra crappy buy/sell rate and no 2.5% foreign exchange charge. There is an annual fee for the checking account, but what you will save more than offsets it.

https://www.rbcbank.com/

Not sure what's going on these days, but you might be able to get this all setup online without having to go into the branch.

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48 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Land vacations...over-rated lol

Some truth to that. But there's no cruise excursion that can get me to Alberta and back in time, so...

(also, I've been rewatching TAR Canada, and it does a pretty good job of highlighting many, many places I've never been to in this country)

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I have zero experience in book a cruise in a foreign currency, so just curious and wondering aloud …

Do US agents offer the exact same promotions/ rates (or almost exact) as Canadian agents, and the difference is just in the exchange rate (and associated fees)? If they do, then it seems like it would be better to book in $CAN as opposed to $USD.

But if the offerings vary, I would imagine it’s entirely possible that the US agency could offer rates that are still cheaper even after accounting for the exchange rate and fees... in which case it seems like it would make sense to book in $USD.

 

Or am I missing something?

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@KJones great point that you brought up that I didn’t even think to mention. From past experience, I have found 100% of the time that US based agents offer better deals and incentives than Canadian based agents, and that includes Costco Canada. 😉

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43 minutes ago, crisgold52 said:

In my city the agents and businesses in general or even food providers from Asia generally provide lower costs on everything from travel to plumbing to construction and everything in between for much better competitive rates. As K Wong was mentioning, the key is one has to speak Mandarin or Cantonese to access such things but its no secret that food, services and travel are cheaper through such businesses. Just like in the US, Chinatown bus lines offer way cheaper fares than Greyhound.

Again...you do you. What applies to you is not one size fits all.  In the same way, what doesn't work for you, does not mean that it could not work for someone else. 

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