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View Full Version : To TA, or not to TA? That is the question.


Jestocost
01-21-2004, 01:17 PM
I know this question is asked frequently, but Iíd still like some fresh perspectives. Iím just getting ready to book a 7-day cruise in March 2005 and am trying to determine if I should use a travel agency this time or book it myself, as I have in the past. Iíll be going with DW, DD11, DS7, DM and DF, so weíll need two cabins; preferably connected or adjacent. I plan to book my own airfare with FF miles regardless.

The plusses of a travel agency are that the prices are a few hundred dollars better (I know I need to include insurance, transfers, etc. in the comparison) and with AAA you also get free soda mugs. I know I need to be as detailed as possible in outlining my requests and preferences, but I would like the TA to add at least some value beyond saving me money. Iíd hope that theyíd be of assistance with getting the right cabin set up, for example.

Historically, however, Iíve had less than stellar experiences with travel agencies in that Iíve had to tell them exactly what to do and how to do it so that things didnít get screwed up. I guess my fear is that if I go with a TA Iíll wind up doing all of the hard work anyway, plus I wonít be able to deal directly with DCL to resolve any issues that may come up. In fact, Iíll be stuck working with the TA that created the problems in the first place! Maybe Iíve just been stuck with inexperienced, lazy or stupid TAs in the past, but Iíll only have one shot at finding a good one this time. Iíve even had bad luck with TAs that were recommended by friends and acquaintances!

So, with all of the vast experience of the DCL DIS crew at my disposal, what are your opinions? Has a TA been helpful for you? Is the $ savings worth it? Am I just a control freak who needs to get over some personal issues? What?

Marshmelo
01-21-2004, 03:11 PM
I think that you will save money with a travel agent. It is usually always less expensive to book your own flight though. Try a company called Cruise Options. I just booked my next Disney Cruise through them (3 night on 12/9) and got a price quote of $1499.55 for 3 adults in a category 10 cabin. That price includes 3 transfers as well as insurance, taxes and fees. Their phone # is (888)988-4567. Ask for Sheryl Coopersmith. She is the owner and is very nice and helpful. Since this is the first cruise I've booked through them, I can't tell you whether you will have any problems, but a co-worker of mine referred me to them and she loves them and is a frequent Disney cruiser. I've also heard that Costco is a good place to try if you're a member.

Ginnna
01-21-2004, 03:32 PM
I asked this last night, but it was in a thread about expedia and have gotten no answers as of yet. Has anyone used an agency called Magical Journeys? I found them on the Intercot boards, and they have a good looking sale starting on Saturday Jan. 19. If the price is what I think it may be, I can move to a Category 7 cabin hopefully.

I would like to know more about them if anyone has any comments.

kcashner
01-21-2004, 03:35 PM
In 2 of my 10 cruises, there has been a small "mix-up" in each case involving $. In each case, the mistake was on DCL's part, not the travel agent's. It was very nice to make a phone call to the TA and allow her to deal with DCL.

dharma517
01-21-2004, 03:37 PM
I am going thru this also and I am about to book thru Dreams Unlimited for a cruise in Sep 2005. I am saving $75 off the disneycruise.com price and you can save up to $200 if your cruise is priced at 5,000....it depends on what you are spending. Anyway...I went to Boscov's Travel department today and had them research the same cruise and she got the exact same price that disney.com offered. So for us dreams unlimited is the way to go. Hope this helps!
Jennprincess:

mickeyboat
01-21-2004, 04:04 PM
I booked through a local TA because I was not confident enough to do it the first time on my own and I thought she would provide information to make the process go more smoothly. She has been difficult to contact and everything I know I learned on my own. When I have a question Iabout my reservation, I have to go through her and wait for an answer. I wish I had gone through DCL directly - or through a more responsive agent.

Next time (and I hope there is a next time) I will book everything on my own.

However, other posters have remarked that their TA's have been excellent. I was just not lucky enough to find one.

Denae

jlp651
01-21-2004, 05:27 PM
Mine is AWSOME!!! She is at my disposal! I ask a question I have an answer with in 24 (if not less) hours!!!

SeaSpray
01-21-2004, 05:32 PM
From reading these boards for the last several months, and from doing my own independent research, I would recommend All Seasons Travel www.*************.com OR Dreams Unlimited who are the sponsors of this board. I called DCL personally and was told by one of their sales representatives that both of these Travel Agencies deal with high volumes of Disney cruises and they've never had problems with either one, and both are on excellent terms with DCL.

We got a lower price from All Seasons, and so booked with them, and have had excellent service since.

Many people on these boards have nothing but excellent things to say about Dreams Unlimited, as well.

Both of these agencies will help you out with all phases of planning your cruise, including cabin selection, and any other questions you might have.

Happy planning :sunny:

rae519
01-21-2004, 05:54 PM
I do all my own reservation work, then transfer it over to my TA - Bill at Cruise Travel outlet (cruisetraveloutlet.com) and he gives me a 7% rebate off the cost of the cruise. No one, not even DU, can beat that deal and believe me, I've done my research!

Rae

canuk8156
01-22-2004, 12:47 AM
Definetly book with a travel agent...and there are good ones.
(every profession has bad apples). Look for an agent who is a "Disney Specialist", (I may have worded the exact title wrong but basically it refers to those that have special training in all things Disney travel related). My local travel agent is one so do try and book in your home town if you feel comfortable with the price and service. We originally booked a very favourable rate with her and then later she was able to get us an even better rate after she kept checking for price decreases. She save me a lot to time and money.

yourtravelpro
01-22-2004, 01:04 AM
Originally posted by rae519
I do all my own reservation work, then transfer it over to my TA - Bill at Cruise Travel outlet (cruisetraveloutlet.com) and he gives me a 7% rebate off the cost of the cruise. No one, not even DU, can beat that deal and believe me, I've done my research!

Rae

Costco travel beats that rate!

rae519
01-22-2004, 06:27 AM
We don't have a Costco in our area so I can't give you an answer on that one!

Ahhh, the advantages of living in Podunk, Indiana!

Rae

prymsu
01-22-2004, 07:28 AM
for air travel, hotel and rental cars, i usually do myself through travelocity or some other site like that. For a cruise you would be much better off going through a TA, as they can sometimes get you better prices, and some offer other incentives, like shipboard credits, rebates, soda mugs and so on.

Good luck!

MO Disney cruiser
01-22-2004, 08:51 AM
I guess I'm going against the norm. I prefer to book directly. Partly due to the fact that I too am a control freak and the $75 I would have saved with DU wasn't worth it.

I did book with an online TA for our family cruise on RCCL this past September (27 of us). There were some fairly significant mix-ups. RCCL says it was the TAs fault. The TA says it was RCCL. The only thing I knew was several of us were out quite a bit of money.

After that, I'm convinced. I ususally book direct and now will continute to do so. If someone messes up, I know it's either me or DCL.

It's all what you're comfortable with.

pdolan
01-22-2004, 11:25 AM
I booked through a TA and although we haven't cruised yet, I have felt uneasy the entire time. There was a "price change" between the time of the original quote and the time I put my deposit down and of course miraculously, it was figured out (and determined to be DCL fault) after I said it would be a no go unless it was the original price quoted. From that moment on, I felt completely uneasy. I should have gone with my gut and just booked with DCL directly - cut out the middle man. Yes, I saved $150 because of my TA "rebate", but I do not think it was worth the nights I sat up worrying.

I did learn from the experience that I am a bit of a control freak and my thought is that anyone else who perceives themselves to also be one, book it all on your own! I proceeded to make the rest of the trip arrangements myself - made all of our PS reservations, bought travel insurance, booked our flights, secured a hotel for our extra day, etc. So besides the $150 savings, the TA was useless to me. I've relied heavily on this board, a friend who has cruised with Disney several times and the 800 DCL phone line. DCL wouldn't give me specific information about my reservation, but they answered every single general question I had whereas my travel agent wasn't always available or did not respond as quickly as I would have liked via email. Next time, I'll book directly with Disney and try to save $ another way...

LAMPSKIES
01-22-2004, 11:45 AM
Jestocost.........I have booked ALL 4 of our land/sea/cruises on my own thru DCL. The last two we went with friends who booked thru a TA. By booking on our own we were able to "make our own payments" on line thru DCL's web site. I was able to see room numbers and upgrades online. Our friends had to call their TA.
I was one of the "cancelled Magic" cruisers in Nov. of 02. We recieved "the call" Wednesday night at 5:30 c.s.t. (the night before Thanksgiving) I called our friends and they hadden't heard yet. I got on the phone with DCL to "rebook" a 4 night Wonder and a couple days after (can't change airfare on Thanksgiving eve). DCL would not talk to our friends.....had to go thru the TA!! Ever tried to get in touch with a TA the night before Thanksgiving?? (Lucky for them she was a friend of the family) I ended up doing ALL the negotiating and rebooking for that vacation and our "I'm sorry for your dissappointment" 11/03 sailing. All the TA did was call and say, "Hey, Lampskies got this, why didn't my client?" And then they got it. I booked my next one on my own again..........Had I "saved" a couple hundred buck by going thru a TA I might have had to have heard from the local news....or worse yet.....when I showed up in Orlando!!!

Mickeyhugger
01-22-2004, 10:47 PM
I prefer not to deal w/TA's. (I WAS a travel agent over 10 years ago.) Mainly for the reasons others have specified. If there's an issue to resolve, you have to go thru the TA, and not DCL. However, if it'll save you lots $$, it might be worth it.

I just like dealing directly w/DCL:D

rae519
01-23-2004, 06:49 AM
Originally posted by LAMPSKIES
I got on the phone with DCL to "rebook" a 4 night Wonder and a couple days after (can't change airfare on Thanksgiving eve). DCL would not talk to our friends.....had to go thru the TA!! Had I "saved" a couple hundred buck by going thru a TA I might have had to have heard from the local news....or worse yet.....when I showed up in Orlando!!!

That's the best point I've ever heard for just staying with DCL, Lampie! Thanks for sharing that with us. Sometimes you save a little but incur a headache in the process!

O Wise One, no riding til we thaw out - then no holds barred!

Rae

LAMPSKIES
01-23-2004, 11:41 AM
I have always said "yes, there IS a difference between "cheaper" and "less expensive".