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Repricing Discussion, TA or no TA, Alert Sites


pmh
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I found that repricing was rather painless  It is easy to get a RC customer service agent online and ask for a repricing. It was rather  I did it twice with no hustle.  The dummy reservation process was slightly time consuming but, in my case, it was well worth it.  

My tendency is to avoid the middle person including TA's. I have used Costco because it is a self directed simple process and and often followed by a nice rewards card.  Please don't let this turn in to a discussion about the merits of using a TA.  Fee free to refer me to other discussion threads in that regard but I am asking specific questions here. 

I am concerned that using any TA such as Costco will hinder direct efforts to do the repricing or other self help cruise planning.  The one time I used a TA I was dealing with a OBC investor based issue and initially referred to my TA.  The RC rep relented and allowed me to deal direct. 

So here are my questions for discussion; 1, If I have a TA can I call direct for a repricing 2,  are there good websites or user groups that can provided valid alerts for repricing purposes 

Thank you in advance. 

😀

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No, if you are using a TA, they do the calling for you.

I know of no particular site for price alerts.  I usually check every couple of days (although my TA does too).  I know what the sale banner advertised when I booked so that is usually an indication though not always.

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2 hours ago, pmh said:

I found that repricing was rather painless  It is easy to get a RC customer service agent online and ask for a repricing. It was rather  I did it twice with no hustle.  The dummy reservation process was slightly time consuming but, in my case, it was well worth it.  

My tendency is to avoid the middle person including TA's. I have used Costco because it is a self directed simple process and and often followed by a nice rewards card.  Please don't let this turn in to a discussion about the merits of using a TA.  Fee free to refer me to other discussion threads in that regard but I am asking specific questions here. 

I am concerned that using any TA such as Costco will hinder direct efforts to do the repricing or other self help cruise planning.  The one time I used a TA I was dealing with a OBC investor based issue and initially referred to my TA.  The RC rep relented and allowed me to deal direct. 

So here are my questions for discussion; 1, If I have a TA can I call direct for a repricing 2,  are there good websites or user groups that can provided valid alerts for repricing purposes 

Thank you in advance. 

😀

Costco is definitely not a traditional TA - It will be harder to do anything regarding your cruise through them vs booking directly through the cruise line.  You will have to call them for any dealings with your cruise - Royal will not talk to you.

I switched to a TA for this reason after having to spend hours dealing with cancelled cruises during covid but I would have been better calling the cruise line directly.

 

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9 minutes ago, FManke said:

Why would you want to use a TA and then do your own leg work? Just asking.

 

Happy Cruising!

It is easy to call a RC CS rep and ask for repricing.  Unless the TA proactively pursues repricing I would have to call the TA who then calls RC for the repricing.  I tend to be a do it yourselfer by nature and that is my first instinct, just get it done.  The way COSTCO is set up with a website to book the cruise it is like booking direct with RC but with COSTCO comes a COSTCO card post cruise to good to spend at COSTCO as well as possible other benefits.  As far as I can tell the perks are a bit better at COSTCO and the site allows me to do my own research, comparison shop then click and schedule  I suppose there are outstanding TA's out there that stay on top of repricing and provide services that override any added COSTCO perks  

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Generally I've given up on alert sites.  

Within each cabin type (balcony, suite, interior) are specific categories and I've yet to find an alert site that allows me to monitor my exact category such as a 4D balcony for my qualifiers.  Often the alerts generated don't apply to me or my qualifiers.  The alert sites tend to monitor for two guests with no other qualifiers like age, solo, state of residency, etc.  Often price drops only appear based on those qualifiers.  

Some online booking engines will announce a fare drop of some trivial amount to trick these alert sites into advertising that booking engine.  "Fare drop... $2."  but when you look at it the actual rate is the same as what I've got.  

Alert sites also do not consider my willingness to move cabins or upgrade from what I've got to something else... if the price difference is within my idea of acceptable.  A suite category may go on sale but my balcony didn't so it doesn't alert me but when a suite is now only $100 more. I'll take that upgrade every time.  

In the end I find that doing my own checks has paid much better dividends. 

Some TA's like MEI Travel have proprietary software that uses an API into the Royal backend reservation system so that gives them the ability to look at my exact details right down to my exact cabin and find price drops.

Sometimes price drops are fleeting or brief.  There may be only one of my category left and once it's sold it's harder to catch price drops.  I can check and see nothing but when that other cabin is coming and going out of inventory an automated system like MEI's can catch the price drop in that instant.  If I had checked 3 minutes earlier it was there but I miss it when checking manually. 

22 minutes ago, pmh said:

It is easy to call a RC CS rep and ask for repricing.  Unless the TA proactively pursues repricing I would have to call the TA who then calls RC for the repricing.  I tend to be a do it yourselfer by nature and that is my first instinct, just get it done.  The way COSTCO is set up with a website to book the cruise it is like booking direct with RC but with COSTCO comes a COSTCO card post cruise to good to spend at COSTCO as well as possible other benefits.  As far as I can tell the perks are a bit better at COSTCO and the site allows me to do my own research, comparison shop then click and schedule  I suppose there are outstanding TA's out there that stay on top of repricing and provide services that override any added COSTCO perks  

Be aware that historically Costco does not participate in the RoyalUp program.  I've used them until I had an issue that caused a missed cruise and insurance claim.  I had a really hard time getting them to invest any time into getting me the documentation required by my insurance company.  It's all good until it isn't.  It was a cruise booking after final payment 45 days away.  Who needs a full service agency?  What could go wrong?  Doh!

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4 minutes ago, twangster said:

Be aware that historically Costco does not participate in the RoyalUp program.  I've used them until I had an issue that caused a missed cruise and insurance claim.  I had a really hard time getting them to invest any time into getting me the documentation required by my insurance company.  It's all good until it isn't.  It was a cruise booking after final payment 45 days away.  Who needs a full service agency?  What could go wrong?  Doh!

This was my experience with Costco and also Expedia - Everything was fine until there was a problem - then it became a big problem.  

I switched to MEI for those reasons.  

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3 hours ago, pmh said:

1, If I have a TA can I call direct for a repricing

No you can't, but you can alert the TA and they should do it for you. 

 

3 hours ago, pmh said:

I am concerned that using any TA such as Costco will hinder direct efforts to do the repricing or other self help cruise planning. 

I can't speak for Costco because they are a wholesaler and not exactly a TA. But a lot of traditional agents reprice. As people have said those of us at MEI-Travel have a tool that checks for us. But a lot of times clients email me before I get that notice from the tool. Sometimes it's lower, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes they forget that they added gratuities or insurance and the price isn't actually lower.
But to answer what I think is your question- yes, if the price goes down the commission goes down, so would that make me not want to change it? No, because it's part of the service we provide, meaning if I do a good job with helping you out you'll come back, meaning more money. 

I don't know of any alert sites beyond what people have mentioned, but those alert sites aren't 100% accurate anyway. They mine the RoyalCaribbean site for the price but they don't necessarily know your price or, again, if you added gratuities, have a non-refundable vs refundable deposit, etc.

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I got 2 price drops on my upcoming LOTS trip. The first one, my TA just sent me an email with a new invoice (prior to final payment) reflecting new price and a note saying there was a price adjustment. The second (after final payment) I noticed a lower price when I was booking dining package (I always do a quick mock booking anytime I am logged on the site), shot me TA a quick email, and 45 minutes later the OBC showed up in my cruise planner. 

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3 hours ago, Sharla said:

if the price goes down the commission goes down

This always makes me feel a bit guilty....we're booking bottom end to start with and hate to be a pita.  The guilty feeling is on my end though...I've never had anything but stellar customer service.  I suspect decades of being in customer service has made me uncomfortable being an actual customer.

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20 minutes ago, teddy said:

This always makes me feel a bit guilty....we're booking bottom end to start with and hate to be a pita.  The guilty feeling is on my end though...I've never had anything but stellar customer service.  I suspect decades of being in customer service has made me uncomfortable being an actual customer.

Don't feel guilty, it's part of it. Again, want you to have the best deal, and want to give the best service!

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I always do my own bookings online with RC. Then I monitor and service each of them, usually a dozen or so…price drops, cruise planner deals, better cabins for lesser prices. But it takes lots of time and effort. I use charts and pages of notes (or, as some in may family have so indelicately described…unreadable hieroglyphics) to keep track. Fortunately I have the time do do it. Whenever I have had a reason to call, I try first thing in the morning. It’s a little frustrating to have to hang on while going through all the recorded messages and phone prompts…push 1, push 4, etc. I wish there was just a way to bypass it all and get to an agent. The worst is getting through it all to the last message, “this call may be recorded or monitored for training purposes”, then hear one ring and then nothing! Disconnect and try all over again. However, I have never had a bad experience with an agent when I finally got through. 
But….if I didn’t have the time or the patience to do it…even for one reservation…then I would definitely use MEI and let them do all the grunge work. Plus a little OBC would be nice. Either way, good luck and happy cruising!

Oh…and the best site I found for heads up on deals is this one. Lots of fellow cruisers sharing timely information and advice. Just sayin’!🧐

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16 minutes ago, BrianB said:

I always do my own bookings online with RC. Then I monitor and service each of them, usually a dozen or so…price drops, cruise planner deals, better cabins for lesser prices. But it takes lots of time and effort. I use charts and pages of notes (or, as some in may family have so indelicately described…unreadable hieroglyphics) to keep track. Fortunately I have the time do do it. Whenever I have had a reason to call, I try first thing in the morning. It’s a little frustrating to have to hang on while going through all the recorded messages and phone prompts…push 1, push 4, etc. I wish there was just a way to bypass it all and get to an agent. The worst is getting through it all to the last message, “this call may be recorded or monitored for training purposes”, then hear one ring and then nothing! Disconnect and try all over again. However, I have never had a bad experience with an agent when I finally got through. 
But….if I didn’t have the time or the patience to do it…even for one reservation…then I would definitely use MEI and let them do all the grunge work. Plus a little OBC would be nice. Either way, good luck and happy cruising!

Oh…and the best site I found for heads up on deals is this one. Lots of fellow cruisers sharing timely information and advice. Just sayin’!🧐

That certainly puts things in perspective. Maybe you have been rewarded with some spectacular deals?

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1 hour ago, pmh said:

That certainly puts things in perspective. Maybe you have been rewarded with some spectacular deals?

Some deals are fleeting. Some deals are for certain sailings only. It’s easy to understand when they issue emails advertising deals…but there are some that appear because of a lack of bookings during a certain sailing…or for a certain category. It makes economic sense for Royal to re-evaluate the pricing and try to get more bookings or upgrades before turning it over to RoyalUp for bids. I’d much rather be able to pick my cabin during an upgrade instead of hoping I win a bid not knowing what cabin I get. But this is what a good TA will watch out for and take advantage of. And remember, a good TA has plenty of clients. They retain them and attract more through word of mouth when they do a good job as a client advocate. They may make less of a commission if you pay a less price, but wouldn’t that encourage you to use them again…and tell others? Again, we’re back to economic sense. Enjoy your cruise!

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The best price alerts come from the Facebook groups I’m in. Seriously. Someone on my upcoming sailing just got a drop so I emailed @Sharlato check all my cruises, again, because prices are literally dropping every few days. 
 

I didn’t get a drop on that one but Sharla did tell me I could change my refundable to a non refundable and save $514.99. 
 

Through MEI, Sharla has saved my about $3300 on 3 cruises just since June. 
 

I’m also one of those who sees a lower price while perusing, then reminded I have a refundable deposit lol 

We’ve got some bucket list cruises coming up this year including 2 weeks in Europe and I’m glad I’ve got a contact that knows my booking and the history to be there should we run into issues. 

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5 hours ago, Sharla said:


But to answer what I think is your question- yes, if the price goes down the commission goes down,
 

I never knew how the TA gets paid.  I just switched from the company recommended here because I felt the agent was inattentive/unreachable  for a few issues  and OBC, not a cent.  Now I’ve gone with an agent I met onboard my last sailing.  LOVE her personality but when I find a 20% off on Celebrity sailing extension, and it saved me $800 I have to wonder “where was THIS TA when the sale started?”   I think I just draw the short straw and think every agent will provide excellent service and I have a hard time parting with someone I want to “give another chance”.

So if I decide to book using Next cruise on my upcoming cruise, I know I can sign the waiver to Ditch the current agent, but will the current agent be able to tell?  I’ve got 3 more cruises booked through July with her and I’m unsure if I want to give her additional business. 

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9 hours ago, pmh said:

I found that repricing was rather painless  It is easy to get a RC customer service agent online and ask for a repricing. It was rather  I did it twice with no hustle.  The dummy reservation process was slightly time consuming but, in my case, it was well worth it.  

My tendency is to avoid the middle person including TA's. I have used Costco because it is a self directed simple process and and often followed by a nice rewards card.  Please don't let this turn in to a discussion about the merits of using a TA.  Fee free to refer me to other discussion threads in that regard but I am asking specific questions here. 

I am concerned that using any TA such as Costco will hinder direct efforts to do the repricing or other self help cruise planning.  The one time I used a TA I was dealing with a OBC investor based issue and initially referred to my TA.  The RC rep relented and allowed me to deal direct. 

So here are my questions for discussion; 1, If I have a TA can I call direct for a repricing 2,  are there good websites or user groups that can provided valid alerts for repricing purposes 

Thank you in advance. 

😀

There's general cruise blog site, (Cruiseline.com),  that allows you to set price alerts on cruises you're interested in watching.   It draws info from some a handful of travel  sites and allows you to set an email alert for changes.  There is latency in the alerts, but when you get them, go to the cruise line or your TA's site to validate, then if good, ask the line or TA to reprice you.   I've saved maybe $2K total  across 4 different cruises I've used the price alert feature. I've used it for when I've used a TA and direct booking.  (It makes sense to pay attention to any OBC that factors into your original price before requesting the reprice)

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2 hours ago, Pattycruise said:

I never knew how the TA gets paid.  I just switched from the company recommended here because I felt the agent was inattentive/unreachable  for a few issues  and OBC, not a cent.  Now I’ve gone with an agent I met onboard my last sailing.  LOVE her personality but when I find a 20% off on Celebrity sailing extension, and it saved me $800 I have to wonder “where was THIS TA when the sale started?”   I think I just draw the short straw and think every agent will provide excellent service and I have a hard time parting with someone I want to “give another chance”.

So if I decide to book using Next cruise on my upcoming cruise, I know I can sign the waiver to Ditch the current agent, but will the current agent be able to tell?  I’ve got 3 more cruises booked through July with her and I’m unsure if I want to give her additional business. 

Royal Caribbean pays a certain percentage of the cruise fare in commission. A portion of the cruise fare is non-commissionable, and the amount that they pay depends on the business you do- the more business you do, the higher the commission percentage. 

How a specific agency pays their agent will depend on the agency, if the agent is an employee or an IC, bonuses, etc. 

If you book onboard at Next Cruise and request that it does not go to that current agent, then they will not know. Then you can keep the booking yourself or transfer it to an agency within 30 days of returning from the cruise (and keep your Next Cruise OBC).

If you feel like an agent with MEI or any company you can request a different agent with MEI or the other company. 

 

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2 hours ago, Pattycruise said:

So if I decide to book using Next cruise on my upcoming cruise, I know I can sign the waiver to Ditch the current agent, but will the current agent be able to tell?  I’ve got 3 more cruises booked through July with her and I’m unsure if I want to give her additional business. 

By default if you say nothing a NextCruise booking goes to the agent who booked you onto the cruise you are onboard when you visit NextCruise.

You don't need to sign a waiver, but you do need to tell NextCruise not to assign it to your agent.  Just remember to say something and it will become a direct booking.

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8 hours ago, teddy said:

This always makes me feel a bit guilty....we're booking bottom end to start with and hate to be a pita.  The guilty feeling is on my end though...I've never had anything but stellar customer service.

the reason I don't feel guilty, is the alternative was I booked it myself, which in this day and internet age is very easy to do, and my TA would be getting nothing, it would all be company profit.

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On 9/23/2021 at 2:46 PM, cruisellama said:

There's general cruise blog site, (Cruiseline.com),  that allows you to set price alerts on cruises you're interested in watching.   It draws info from some a handful of travel  sites and allows you to set an email alert for changes.  There is latency in the alerts, but when you get them, go to the cruise line or your TA's site to validate, then if good, ask the line or TA to reprice you.   I've saved maybe $2K total  across 4 different cruises I've used the price alert feature. I've used it for when I've used a TA and direct booking.  (It makes sense to pay attention to any OBC that factors into your original price before requesting the reprice)

Update:  Just received an alert for our  Apex booking in Nov '22 and ended up with a $1,374 ($687pp) reduction after passing info to my TA.

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On 9/25/2021 at 12:30 PM, cruisellama said:

Update:  Just received an alert for our  Apex booking in Nov '22 and ended up with a $1,374 ($687pp) reduction after passing info to my TA.

Nice, thanks for the information 

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