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Old 12-14-2012, 08:44 AM   #1
kkbutterfly
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Travel Agent vs Book Yourself

Hello all! I have a quick question! What is the advantage of using a travel agent to book a cruise? On our first cruise, I sent out for a quote to AAA and used the website to book myself and the prices came out identical and AAA didn't seem to offer me any advantage (no credits, ect), so I booked it through Disney myself.

I know a lot of people on the board swear by agents and I was hoping someone could help me understand why so I can decide what to do for our possible November 2013 Cruise.

Just a note - I enjoy booking our vacations, managing reservations, ect. I don't always feel comfortable letting other people handle my reservations, ect. Except for my dad, I would never let anyone (like family or friends) book a vaction for us, ever. I used Expedia once and I would never use it again, I absolutely hated the experience.

Thanks everyone! =)
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:55 AM   #2
hudson3709
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I personally do it myself now. I booked once with a travel agent and once on my own. I enjoy doing it myself and having the control to make any changes, or phone Disney myself with any special requests.

That's just me, and I am an over-planner, so love figuring out all the details like pre-cruise hotel, and transportation etc.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:56 AM   #3
Ikaikalani
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I know that some agencies offer an OBC if you book through them. But, one of the aspects that has kept me away from using a TA is that you have to relinquish control of your reservation to them (i.e. if you want to make a Palo ressie, they have to do it for you, dinner requests, etc. all have to be handled by the TA). Since I don't use a TA, my information could be out of date and no longer correct so I'm looking forward to what others say
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:58 AM   #4
zstyles
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Travel Agents are free, don't cost you a thing and you'll be helping support most of the time a small business unless you do it online...look local when you can and spread the magic..plus you will have someone local to call,email if you need help rather than a toll free number with an hourly employee...
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ikaikalani View Post
I know that some agencies offer an OBC if you book through them. But, one of the aspects that has kept me away from using a TA is that you have to relinquish control of your reservation to them (i.e. if you want to make a Palo ressie, they have to do it for you, dinner requests, etc. all have to be handled by the TA). Since I don't use a TA, my information could be out of date and no longer correct so I'm looking forward to what others say
TA's have to make any changes related to your reservation but you can still make dining reservations, spa treatments and excursions yourself
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:30 AM   #6
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Onboard credit is the main reason I booked with a TA this time. We did use a local TA last time but since it was our first cruise we didn't really know about onboard credit and was not offered any by our local TA. However, after reading these boards for months after booking our inital cruise, I discovered OBC! This time we booked with Dreams Unlimited and received $250 onboard credit and $25 more from Disney since it was booked online. I did check with my local TA but she only offered $25 OBC

I have been in contact with Beth from Dreams many times since we booked and she is super helpful. I do not feel like I am giving up any control because if I want to add or change something all I have to do is let Beth know and she takes care of it.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:54 AM   #7
jdb in AZ
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If Disney ever comes out with another new, exciting itinerary, it's nice to have a travel agent who can book it faster than we can without having to sit on the phone all day. Ours was very helpful when the first Hawaiian cruise was offered.

When we traveled as an extended-family group (largest was 48 rellies) we couldn't have done it without her expertise. She's gone to bat for us so many times with the big stuff. Yes, we "could" book our own for just DH and moi, but why bother? Besides, she gives us great OBC.

And I still have control of booking our shore excursions and Palo/Remy.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:54 AM   #8
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We have done it ourself and used AAA in the past. We started using Dreams Unlimited (Beth) because of their OBC. We used them for our last 3 cruises (we also have 2 future ones booked through them.) They are super friendly and easy to work with and we don't feel as though we give up any control. She made sure that our celebrations (birthday and anniversary) were added to our reservation. She was more than willing to answer any questions (we've been on so many cruises that we don't have any). We still booked the excursions that we wanted. I figure if I can get an OBC and still pay the same amount whether I book it or they do, it's a win-win for me.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hudson3709 View Post
I personally do it myself now. I booked once with a travel agent and once on my own. I enjoy doing it myself and having the control to make any changes, or phone Disney myself with any special requests.

That's just me, and I am an over-planner, so love figuring out all the details like pre-cruise hotel, and transportation etc.
Me too, but I sometimes compare with a TA sometimes.
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:16 AM   #10
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I enjoy booking my own trips, my upcoming cruise being one of them. I have no reservations in my own ability to book what I want, when I want. I just recently booked my 2014 Disney cruise on my own as well. Did it all online, and didn't have to wait (don't know why people would do this over the phone vs online??).

My uncle and his wife own a cruise travel company. And while I do like to support local businesses, there is no difference in me booking on my own vs booking with them. They don't get much of a kick back from Disney in the way of commission, as they do from other lines. Disney is a cheap cruise compared to what they typically sell.

The bonus to having a TA, if there is a problem with your cruise, flights, or anything else vacation related, then call your TA and let them deal with it. You don't need to stress in figuring out solutions. That is what they are there for. They will help you book anything you need.

Even though you book with an agent, you can still make any dining reservation you wish, and excursions. You have that control yourself.

The big thing they are there for, at the end of the day, is if something goes wrong, or you need something done, they are there for you.

The question would be, do you want the piece of mind that you have someone to call, so they can deal with the frustration or situation??
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:25 AM   #11
jdb in AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MedicGoofy View Post
I enjoy booking my own trips, my upcoming cruise being one of them. I have no reservations in my own ability to book what I want, when I want. I just recently booked my 2014 Disney cruise on my own as well. Did it all online, and didn't have to wait (don't know why people would do this over the phone vs online??).

Even though you book with an agent, you can still make any dining reservation you wish, and excursions. You have that control yourself.

The big thing they are there for, at the end of the day, is if something goes wrong, or you need something done, they are there for you.

The question would be, do you want the piece of mind that you have someone to call, so they can deal with the frustration or situation??
Disney's web site has a bad habit of going down at just the wrong moment. But people get disconnected on the phone too -- another reason to have a travel agent to deal with the hassle.

We do reserve our own flights and most of our pre-cruise hotels (unless they're international and we aren't familiar with the area.)
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Old 12-14-2012, 10:42 AM   #12
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The issue of why to use a TA amounts to service, expertise, and perks they may offer. They do not give a price advantage on DCL cruises.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:30 AM   #13
kristieboyd
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We just booked with a TA earlier this week. Before calling I got on the Disney website and decided exactly what I wanted, even down to room location. I called the TA, told him what I wanted and booked it for the exact same cost as booking via Disney....down to the penny. he told me what rooms were available in the category & deck we wanted and I checked out their location via Disney online while on the phone before picking one. The advantage of the TA for me was the $175 OBC they gave me! I'm still able to go online and book my own dinners, excursions, etc. myself.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:45 AM   #14
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We book with a TA for the OBC, we found one that gives a larger amount than most, and has great customer service!
She is an agent working from home to be with her kids so I like that I can support that.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:38 AM   #15
kkbutterfly
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Thanks everyone! I'll keep my eyes out for some OBC!

You guys are the best!
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