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Old 03-08-2013, 10:47 AM   #1
Barkell
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Travel Agent Costs?

Having never cruised before, I just went to my regular travel agent and booked through them. They have never charged for booking other trips (all-inclusive resorts, etc.). But for cruises, they have a $25/per person "Cruise Planning Fee". I didn't think anything of this and agreed to (and paid) it. Now, though, I am having my doubts. Do TAs normally charge for this?

We did not get any OBC, either. I didn't even know what OBC was. :P
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barkell View Post
Having never cruised before, I just went to my regular travel agent and booked through them. They have never charged for booking other trips (all-inclusive resorts, etc.). But for cruises, they have a $25/per person "Cruise Planning Fee". I didn't think anything of this and agreed to (and paid) it. Now, though, I am having my doubts. Do TAs normally charge for this?

We did not get any OBC, either. I didn't even know what OBC was. :P
From what I read here, some TAs do have a fee for booking things (could vary as to what they charge for). Others don't. Some have fees for cancellations. Others don't. And some offer OBCs, others don't.

I guess it's just best to find out these things beforehand.

Since it's someone you've worked with before, why don't you ask why they charge for cruise bookings?
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:54 AM   #3
jdb in AZ
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Time to change travel agents!
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Old 03-08-2013, 10:59 AM   #4
OrangeCountyCommuter
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This is the last part of the travel industry that pays agents. That is why they can give you credits

I agree you need a new TA
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:16 AM   #5
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Wow! My agency does not charge this! Crazy!

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Old 03-08-2013, 11:19 AM   #6
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We have used a couple different TA's. None have ever charged a fee. Many receive commissions from the cruise line and that will cover our costs. YOu may want to find a different TA.

This upcoming cruise we used DU. Must say that Beth Fejer has been wonderful.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:34 AM   #7
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I agree….change TA's. I believe (could be wrong) most TA's DO give you an OBC and DO NOT charge fees. Best of luck!
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:34 PM   #8
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Maybe you didn't get an OBC because your TA is not Disney certified. Really not sure, but may be the case.
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:44 PM   #9
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Some TAs provide a stateroom gift rather than OBC. If you've never done a cruise with this TA before, you may not know what/if they will "do" for you. However, regarding the fee, I would definitely be asking why/what/etc. to better understand their reason for the fee - especially per-person which presumably means for kids too. Most "planning" is done for the whole stateroom, not individually.

Enjoy your cruise!
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:48 PM   #10
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We don't use travel agents any more for DCL since we know what we want and like talking with someone (DCL operators) when we have questions/changes.

I hope this isn't the "nose in the tent" when TAs begin charging "a la carte" as the airlines have done. Charge for vacation planning? Charge to make a change? Charge for a phone call (plus a weekend surcharge)? Charge for watching fares for us?

It all started with a charge for checked luggage on Spirit airlines. Roundly criticized, no one else did it, until American Airlines did it and everyone followed. Look where we are today.

I hope it doesn't happen, but looks like the first shot has been fired!
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:52 PM   #11
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TAs often do charge for things like plane tickets. That's because the airlines quit paying them so someone has too.

But I don't think this is the "First shot" I think this is TA taking advantage of the fact that folks are getting use to paying TAs and just adding this fee to his/her commission. Probably makes it much more profitable!
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:55 PM   #12
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Years ago we used a TA to book a Royal Caribbean cruise. They didn't charge to book, but they did have a $50 cancellation fee. I guess they wanted to have their time covered in case we cancelled, and in that case they wouldn't make the commission on the cruise.

As for now, we use Dreams Unlimited, and love their service and onboard credits. And no fees whatsoever.
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:56 PM   #13
PaceFamily
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Maybe you didn't get an OBC because your TA is not Disney certified. Really not sure, but may be the case.
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:59 PM   #14
Barkell
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Thanks, everyone. This was a last-minute booking (sailing 5/2/13), so I'm not going to switch at this point. But if we decide to re-book on board, I will not list this TA. I like them and all, but I like "free" and possible "OBC" better.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:16 PM   #15
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Some rare TA's do charge a cancellation fee (drives me nuts) but I have never heard of a TA charging a planning fee. TA's are paid by the Cruise Line so they really should not be charging the clients for the booking IMO.

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