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Julie

Do you use a travel agent or book directly through RCL?

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I book everything on my own. I find that I know more about the deals/prices/details from my own research than the TA's do. I have booked directly with RCI, but have booked with 3rd party sites as well when they had promotions or incentives and have had no issues so far!

 

Before the internet, i could see the value of a TA. Now, i really dont. Maybe I just have'nt been lucky enough to get a better deal cause I used a TA, or had a need to make major changes or had a problem while on vacation and needed a TA.

 

Off topic - but looking at your signature, it would appear that you really like Enchantment of the Seas! 3 times in one year? I'm jealous!

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Yes, I was very lucky this year to say the least.....especially considering how far I have to travel to get there and the cost.

 

I love the boat, I like the itenary, prices are usually good...and the crew is alot of fun. Not to mention the people I meet on board.

 

I am a little worried that my next cruise maynot be as enjoyable on the Brillance of the Seas to Cozumel, but going with an open mind!

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Yes, I was very lucky this year to say the least.....especially considering how far I have to travel to get there and the cost.

 

I love the boat, I like the itenary, prices are usually good...and the crew is alot of fun. Not to mention the people I meet on board.

 

I am a little worried that my next cruise maynot be as enjoyable on the Brillance of the Seas to Cozumel, but going with an open mind!

 

I hope you find Brilliance as enjoyable as Enchantment

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I booked my Southern Caribbean cruise online through RCCL today then called them to answer some questions.  The rep answered our questions, including having to research a couple with other departments.  I don't think a TA would have done any better or any faster.  I did purchase airfare on my own for less money.  Also, my wife and I are going down to San Juan a couple of days early and I made hotel reservations on my own at a considerable savings over the RCCL approved hotels.

 

All is good so far!

 

Greg

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Keep in mind that some of the reps. have a reputation for giving inaccurate advice. I'm not saying this is the case, just a warning from experiences I've read on other sites. And while you may get a faster response, there's a greater likelihood that at. T.A. has been on the ship than a phone rep.

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I booked my Southern Caribbean cruise online through RCCL today then called them to answer some questions.  The rep answered our questions, including having to research a couple with other departments.  I don't think a TA would have done any better or any faster.  I did purchase airfare on my own for less money.  Also, my wife and I are going down to San Juan a couple of days early and I made hotel reservations on my own at a considerable savings over the RCCL approved hotels.

 

All is good so far!

 

Greg

As DocLC said, RC is notorious for their CS reps give out incorrect information, not a lot necessarily, but enough that it is a common topic on message boards.  This and other cruising forums are great places to get answers on most any questions you have.

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I booked to go on Allure last week for one week in September.I went to my usual travel who we have been using for 15 years.she first phoned Royal for us to get a price from them I couldn't believe how much they wanted.For a week with just flights which they couldn't say if they were direct or indirect.They wanted for 3 of us in a junior suite deck 8 midship 7 grand.We said thankyou but no thankyou.My agent phoned someone else and got a great price.A 4* hotel pre cruise plus one night post cruise.Direct flights all transfers included and gratuities deck 8 midship junior suite for just over 4 grand.We didn't take the all inclusive as we didn't need the drinks package.I couldn't believe how much cheaper we got the cruise for.

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I booked to go on Allure last week for one week in September.I went to my usual travel who we have been using for 15 years.she first phoned Royal for us to get a price from them I couldn't believe how much they wanted.For a week with just flights which they couldn't say if they were direct or indirect.They wanted for 3 of us in a junior suite deck 8 midship 7 grand.We said thankyou but no thankyou.My agent phoned someone else and got a great price.A 4* hotel pre cruise plus one night post cruise.Direct flights all transfers included and gratuities deck 8 midship junior suite for just over 4 grand.We didn't take the all inclusive as we didn't need the drinks package.I couldn't believe how much cheaper we got the cruise for.

Wow... I'm new to shopping for cruises, who gave that package?

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Wow... I'm new to shopping for cruises, who gave that package?

Mark,

 

I'd recommend listening to last week's podcast that Matt did. Also, for the most part, all cruise lines now require agents to sell cruises at the same prices that they offer. This means that the price for the cruise is essentially the same regardless of where you buy it. However, some agency book group space and can get a better price as a result. For example, perhaps a family is having a huge reunion onboard, so the TA has received a special rate for the large group. Even though you're not part of the reunion, the TA can still book you at that rate if they have it. Likewise, TAs also will look for all the discounts available which the call center people at RCI don't always do. For instance, I saved several hundred dollars earlier this year because of a residency sale for the state I live in.

 

While your price likely won't vary much except as noted above, agents can throw in perks to sweeten the deal like insurance, prepaid gratuities, onboard credit, etc.

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Maybe beating a dead horse- but when you have agent throwing in BIG perks like OBC, tips, insurance

etc - be careful- if you do not use your OWN credit card to pay for insurance, it negates some policies

since it was not YOUR card paying for it -    AND other perks come directly out of agents own pockets

and commissions-    so while it may be a huge perk for you - the agent ends up with making nothing

 

would you all work for nothing?   please Just keep that in mind -

All of you can spend time and effort finding the best deal, I think its more what you want out of

the whole experience - a relationship with someone that always books your trip - or a less costly trip

all the time and you doing all the work for.  

I love my job that is all I can say.  Cheers

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Good points, Michelle.

 

The TA I use doesn't offer any perks unless the agency has a promotion with the cruise line.  We often get a small gift once onboard (e.g., $25 OBC, photo, or bottle of wine) as a thank you, but nothing big or upfront nor expected.  While I know I can get better deals out there, I'm loyal to myth tried and true TA as she makes time for me and doesn't charge a fee to rebook if prices drop.

 

I looked into a warehouse club agency once because of an add and past experience with them on a land trip. However, when I asked about price drops, they informed me that there'd be a $75 change fee each time.  In addition, I could never speak to the same person and often had to wait 20 minutes on hold each time.

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I booked to go on Allure last week for one week in September.I went to my usual travel who we have been using for 15 years.she first phoned Royal for us to get a price from them I couldn't believe how much they wanted.For a week with just flights which they couldn't say if they were direct or indirect.They wanted for 3 of us in a junior suite deck 8 midship 7 grand.We said thankyou but no thankyou.My agent phoned someone else and got a great price.A 4* hotel pre cruise plus one night post cruise.Direct flights all transfers included and gratuities deck 8 midship junior suite for just over 4 grand.We didn't take the all inclusive as we didn't need the drinks package.I couldn't believe how much cheaper we got the cruise for.

 

My take on this was that he purchased a cruise on a different line, not RC.  No doubt this would be an expensive cruise, Allure is in the Mediteranian in September.

 

Good points, Michelle.

 

The TA I use doesn't offer any perks unless the agency has a promotion with the cruise line.  We often get a small gift once onboard (e.g., $25 OBC, photo, or bottle of wine) as a thank you, but nothing big or upfront nor expected.  While I know I can get better deals out there, I'm loyal to myth tried and true TA as she makes time for me and doesn't charge a fee to rebook if prices drop.

 

I looked into a warehouse club agency once because of an add and past experience with them on a land trip. However, when I asked about price drops, they informed me that there'd be a $75 change fee each time.  In addition, I could never speak to the same person and often had to wait 20 minutes on hold each time.

This is exactly the same sentiment I have.  I called a warehouse club once and was told they do not hold cabins, you must pay the deposit then and there. That is another advantage to my TA, I get a hold longer than the 24 hours RC gives you (and certainly infinitely langer than the warehouse club :) )

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Excellent deductive reasoning, WhitesSoxFan. I hadn't even considered that. There are several lines like MSC that are much cheaper by comparison, especially if 3rd and 4th berths are for children.

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I booked through the RCCI website a few weeks ago and I have decided to transfer our booking to a travel agent. She didn't offer me the moon, a small OBC for a thank you for giving her our booking. But what prompted me to do so was reading reviews on places like cruise critic.

We are sailing out of Galveston on the Navigator of the Seas. And while reading reviews of the ship I found some that were talking about boarding being delayed due to fog and also cruise cancellations due to an oil spill near the port. These are rare occurrences, and the likelihood of something like that happening is small, but if something like that happens to us it would be nice to have some help. On this trip or one in the future. We are going to be working with Michelle Cunningham of MEI travel.

michelle@mei-travel.com

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I booked through the RCCI website a few weeks ago and I have decided to transfer our booking to a travel agent. She didn't offer me the moon, a small OBC for a thank you for giving her our booking. But what prompted me to do so was reading reviews on places like cruise critic.

We are sailing out of Galveston on the Navigator of the Seas. And while reading reviews of the ship I found some that were talking about boarding being delayed due to fog and also cruise cancellations due to an oil spill near the port. These are rare occurrences, and the likelihood of something like that happening is small, but if something like that happens to us it would be nice to have some help. On this trip or one in the future. We are going to be working with Michelle Cunningham of MEI travel.

michelle@mei-travel.com

Thank you for using the TA sponsor of this site!

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I have already made most of my arrangements through Royal Caribbean.  The online process has been pretty easy and I have been calling the 800 numbers when I have questions.  Reading these posts, I may reconsider in the future.  My apparently misguided assumption was that going through a travel agent was have additional "agent" fees.

 

If I am only three weeks away from the cruse date, is there still any benefit to switching to a travel agent?

 

Greg

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I have already made most of my arrangements through Royal Caribbean.  The online process has been pretty easy and I have been calling the 800 numbers when I have questions.  Reading these posts, I may reconsider in the future.  My apparently misguided assumption was that going through a travel agent was have additional "agent" fees.

 

If I am only three weeks away from the cruse date, is there still any benefit to switching to a travel agent?

 

Greg

Not sure if you can transfer the reservation now that you're so close to your cruise and final payment has been made.

 

Any good travel agent should be a fee-free agency, where the cruise line pays them and not you.  A good TA will give you additional services, support and advice (and maybe some booking incentives too).

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