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I've been using the same travel agent for my cruises for the past several years. Unfortunately, he's got a different job now and is only doing TA stuff as a sideline so his response time isn't very good. I'm looking to book a new cruise and was looking for an agent that would give me the most on-board credit (OBC) and not charge fees. I submitted a quote request on Cruise Complete and got a few responses, and the ones I've checked the ratings for look good, but I'm wondering if there's anything I should be wary of. Has anyone had particularly good/bad experiences with Cruise Compete agents? I had never thought about fees until I read a negative comment from someone on Cruise Critic a few months ago.

Sadly, Cruise Critic doesn't allow you to post agency questions (or comments), so I can't ask there (hopefully FW doesn't have a similar rule!). If there is a cruise board where agent discussions are allowed, please give me a pointer to it.

Thanks..

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I foundd that the deals offered were terrible and most of their agents tried to push more expensive cabins. I usually use Pennsylvania Travel who rebates some of their commission when allowed by the cruise line. Sadly, many lines have banned price competition.

The cruise lines don't let the agents advertise lower prices, so the best you can hope for is decent OBC and/or other perks.

I emailed one guy who I've spoken to online in the past and he told me that his commission on the cruise I was looking for was $100 per person, and he felt that his expertise was worth that much and so he would not offer any OBC. I can respect his opinion, but I don't necessary agree with it.

I just submitted two requests for quotes for two Alaskan cruises I am looking at for August. Lets see what kind of replies I get.

KayK said:   I just submitted two requests for quotes for two Alaskan cruises I am looking at for August. Lets see what kind of replies I get.There are some really great deals on Alaskan cruises now on HAL, although not as cheap for August as for July. I expect that the prices will be the same, the OBC or other throw-ins will be the differentiators.

BTW I always use Vacationstogo.com to check for prices with various discounts. I guess I should consider using them as as TA since their site is so handy. They do not seem to respond to Cruise Compete inquiries.

15 minutes since I submitted the request and I already have 5 quotes.. 2 for one ship and 3 for the other.

KayK said:   15 minutes since I submitted the request and I already have 5 quotes.. 2 for one ship and 3 for the other.Yes, they come in pretty quickly. Any deals?

Why not ask your trusted TA for a referral. Tell him you need someone full time.

(BTW...cruising...shudder)

billrubin said:   KayK said:   15 minutes since I submitted the request and I already have 5 quotes.. 2 for one ship and 3 for the other.Yes, they come in pretty quickly. Any deals?They range from $4766 to $5905 for cruise # 1 (7 responses), $4746 to $5090 for cruise # 2 (4 responses).
6 passengers, 3 inside cabins, 7 night Alaska cruise, 3rd week in August.

wait travel agents are supposed to give you a incentive to use them? I have been using a buddy of mine as my TA for a few trips and he gives me the same price or more then direct from the cruise and says that's what all travel agents do.

Skulles said:   wait travel agents are supposed to give you a incentive to use them? I have been using a buddy of mine as my TA for a few trips and he gives me the same price or more then direct from the cruise and says that's what all travel agents do.Yes, you should be able to get on-board credit for booking the cruise as a kickback of part of their commission.

If you're paying MORE than the cruise line is charging, then you've only got yourself to blame.

Anyway, I managed to find an agent via CruiseCompete. I had been putting in inquires for a Bermuda cruise and got a number of responses from companies that all looked similar (although they were not, of course). Then there was a price $300 drop today on a European cruise I had been looking at so I put in a request for that. I did not get as many replies, but one was from a woman who seemed to have her own agency, and offered me $300 OBC, and had all 5* ratings. I used the chat feature on the site to talk to her for a while, and I will probably book with her tomorrow (I held the reservation on the cruise line's website for 24 hours without a deposit -- good thing I did since the cheapest outside went up by $500 later in the afternoon, even though it was supposed to be a 2 day sale!).

BTW if you are looking for a cruise, there seem to be some big sales going on at the moment.

DutchessPDX said:   Why not ask your trusted TA for a referral. Tell him you need someone full time.
Well, he's got someone else who I think he works with and he would probably want me to work with him.
(BTW...cruising...shudder)
Whatever. I'm going to Berlin, Stockholm, Tallinn (Estonia), St. Petersburg (2 days), Helsinki and Copenhagen plus 4 days at sea for $1500 a person ($1300 plus port charges), all food included. I think cruising is a great vacation, as do many other people. If it's not your cup of tea, then no one's forcing you to go. But many people who make comments like yours are uninformed.

We cruise fairly often and have had a lot of cruise friends use CruiseCompete and all have been happy with them.

One of the issues is that, depending on the cruise line, the agent may not be able to discount the price below what you can find on the cruise line website. Princess is one I know that lets the TAs discount, and we always get a much better price than what we could get booking direct.

On the other cruise lines all the agent can do is offer some on board spending money, a bottle of wine, whatever they can manage.

We just booked a cruise on Carnival to join some good friends (not my favorite cruise line...) and we used a TA - the price was exactly the same as I had figured using the Carnival website. But the TA offered us $50 on board credit - so better than nothing

bj2757 said:   We cruise fairly often and have had a lot of cruise friends use CruiseCompete and all have been happy with them.

One of the issues is that, depending on the cruise line, the agent may not be able to discount the price below what you can find on the cruise line website. Princess is one I know that lets the TAs discount, and we always get a much better price than what we could get booking direct.

On the other cruise lines all the agent can do is offer some on board spending money, a bottle of wine, whatever they can manage.

We just booked a cruise on Carnival to join some good friends (not my favorite cruise line...) and we used a TA - the price was exactly the same as I had figured using the Carnival website. But the TA offered us $50 on board credit - so better than nothing
Was $50 the best offer you had using Cruise Compete? How much was the cruise?

The cruise I booked was $1299 per person (~$1500 with port charges) and I got $300 OBC (on board credit). If I can get 10% OBC, I am happy, and that is what I got. I did not realize that Princess allows agents to discount (I thought that none of the major lines allowed it). What happens if your cruise price drops below what you paid? Can you get the lower fare, or are you stuck with the fare you have since you're presumably in a group?

Generally, OBC is the best you can do, and a much better deal (for me, at least) than a bottle of wine or other amenities that the agent may provide.

hshane said:   As a senior partner, of CruiseCompete I would like to assure you that we will always be available for any assistance you may require.Thanks for joining us here! My only complaint with CruiseCompete is that your email database was hacked a year or two ago, and two email addresses I had used there started getting lots of spam. I have my own domain and use custom addresses for each site, so I know for a fact that the spam was going to addresses I had only used on your site (Family Video got hit at the same time, they never admitted it when I contacted them).

This is the first time I've actually booked using someone I found at your site, and so far I am very happy with the person. The live chat with agent feature was very handy.

I know it's a little late, but i've used Cruise Compete in the past, both to look at pricing, and just see what kind of deals I could get. In the end, my current TA (Cruise Vacation Outlet) that I've now used for 7 cruises came from looking at Cruise Compete. I still check it every now and then to do little more then keep them in check pricing wise, but normally I'll call up my TA, and ask him what deals he has over a time & destination range, and he gets back to me what he can do now. Best deal every was $1550pp for a 13day Alaska Repo (San Diego -> Vancouver) back in 2010 w/ a Balcony on RCCL. Amazing Cruise!

I find that Vacations To Go is the easiest for finding current deals, since they can show you regional rates, 55+ (if you quality), and previous cruiser discounts. Their OBC does not seem to be very competitive compared to the offers I've gotten from CruiseComplete.

One suggestion for CruiseComplete is that they should offer to let you easy submit an identical request for the next cruise on the same ship. At the moment, after you submit, they suggest similar cruises, but they're all on different ships around the same date. I'd like to be able to submit a request for the same cruise a week or two later.



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