Self booking Vs Using a Travel Agent

Hello fellow cruise addicts. I turn to you once again for your guidance advise and a general poll. How many of you use and/or find it easier using a travel agent compared to yourself booking all the parts of the cruise?

I'm exploring my next cruise and my head started spinning once I started to look into the different flights, hotels and planning and price comparisons to figure out which is the best bang for our buck. Just curious how many use a travel agent. Although I have cruised before, each time, someone else has done all the planning, and I was along for the ride. My props to you self planners....

Tags: travel agent Next cruise planning

47 Answers

I prefer to book cruises myself. That way I have control of my booking 24/7.

I don't believe travel agents. I prefer to plan my trip on my own. This September I am going to Rome and I have already booked plane tickets on http://lowcost.club/ . I have enough time to plan my trip. There are many places that I must see.

Due to disability issues, I almost always book myself directly.  However, I now have a guy at NCL that I can deal with, instead of a random agent.  I have used a great TA in the past.   Because we leave from NY, and I don't have to coordinate air and hotel, it's just easier to book the cruise I want.  I find a cruise, and make a phone call. But that's me.  I will say this though, don't use one of the large, national agencies.  American Express Travel is supposed to be good, as is AAA. But I have never used either since I think I get better deals on my own.

I used a travel agent for this first time to book my upcoming cruise in November.  I did all the legwork and just called the guy and said "this is what I want."  I wanted to see if he would be able to either get me a better deal, or possible some sort of freebies or upgrades that did not appear to be available to the general public.  I was also interested to see if there would be any undisclosed fees tacked on anywhere. 

 

So far I don't see anything different than what I was able to locate myself.  Meh.  I guess if they TA was able to get me the same price I would have paid anyway and get a kickback from the cruise-/airline, no harm, no foul.  The only thing that I find moderately annoying is that, since I originally paid my deposit through a TA, I have to make my final payment through him as well.  This is only mildly irritating, as it adds one layer of unnecessary complexity for no perceived benefit.  I had previously assumed that I would be able to use my booking number to log in and pay the remaining balance at my convenience, but that does not appear to be the case. 

 

If I had the freedom to pay when- and however I liked, I might have made smaller more frequent payments out of convenience.  As it stands, I will probably wait until I have the total final balance and pay it all at once, since making multiple smaller payments would mean calling another human and reading them off my CC info, etc.

 

It may be that at some point, if there is a price reduction for example, that I might end up with an on-board credit or some sort of upgrade that I might not have been offered as a "civilian", but we shall have to wait and see. :)

I just booked with an online TA and am finding the same thing with the payment... I made the deposit and they told me the final big chunk is just going to be charged on a certain day. 

 

I realize that TAs are helpful for quite a few cruisers, but not for us. As others have mentioned, it is sure nice and fun to be able to design all aspects of the voyage oneself. Then, if something goes wrong I have no one to blame but myself. Years ago all the cruise lines and for that matter the coach tour outfits like COSMOS, all required their guests to use a TA. I used to be in the air travel game for years and had close affiliations with agencies. I never had a problem with them then and enjoyed working with that element of the industry. However, we had a number of real stressful problems not only on cruises but coach tours as well which were a direct result of errors and omissions on the part of the agent. There is nothing worse than to be in a travel predicament on the other side of the world and having to try and get in touch with your agent so the mess can be straightened out. When the day finally came where all lines set up their current systems where we can deal directly with the cruise line it was like a breath of fresh air. Since then, no more grief or unexpected booking disasters. Maybe an agent could get me a better deal now and then but I doubt it and even so, elimination of  the "middle man" is worth paying a little more as far as I'm concerned.   

Just this week, I was contacted by a TA that I know asking me to book on a special one day sale that is coming up. As I understand it it will be an exclusive to the TA . They are working on a package this weekend for me. I will see on Monday how it looks and compare .I will report back.

I don't know if this counts, my wife takes care of all our travel arrangements. I just have to show and take care of the bags. Oh, I have to make sure she has her proper drink from Starbucks. Small price to pay.

Ok, I told Monique about the Panama Cruise.

She also wants to book one with her sisters. We will have to use a TA to get this done. We have picked a TA for this one.. We will keep you posted.

 

I normally self-book through the line directly or through our vacation club. The one time I booked with a TA it ended up costing me more & I called to cancel which led to TA drama. I want the best price upfront so I can spend more on the back end. 

 

My credit card gives me points that I can use to offset airfare, food and hotels so I use those points pre/post cruise to avoid any travel hassles. Yes, I always arrive a day early because you never know what can happen. Even a traffic accident can derail you for hours and risk missing the ship.

 

 

 

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