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Old 03-08-2013, 02:43 PM   #16
tweis
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The TA I used for my first cruise "specialized in Disney Vacations" but did not offer any OBC for our first cruise. While planning my next cruise I got a quote from her and from DU. She offered me $25 OBC and DU offered $250 OBC plus $25 more OBC for a special DCL was offering at the time for booking online. I'm sure the $25 the original TA was offering was really the $25 from DCL. She didn't charge a fee for booking but would have charged for cancelling. Needless to say, I booked with DU and to date, have had nothing but a great experience.
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:58 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Barkell View Post

. . . But for cruises, they have a $25/per person "Cruise Planning Fee".

. . . Do TAs normally charge for this?
Some travel agencies have charges for "cruise planning," "cruise modification," and/or "cruise cancelation." I've read that Costco has a fee to get a price reduction. Always ask up front.

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Old 03-08-2013, 04:06 PM   #18
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We used Lauren at Small World Vacations. Received a $200 OBC and paid no fee. Also getting a $50 OBC from DCL as well.

Last edited by irondad; 03-09-2013 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:38 PM   #19
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Typically if a Travel Agency is "giving" onboard credit, that is because the agency may have group space on that particular cruise, especially if it is an agency that specializes in particular lines. As a former travel agent, I will say that the agency that I was with did have a "booking fee", as well as a "cancellation fee". Reason being is the agency does not make any money at all if the client cancels the cruise, and often we would work for hours for the client just putting together the initial quotes , then there is the booking itself, then the time taken to answer any/all questions. Not to mention making any changes that may come about. This is not paid for by anyone.
Think about it... a cruise may be $300per person before port charges taxes and fees, average commission being 15% so that would be $45pp that the agency makes per person. Now, if you are a particular needy client that makes calls, requests, and did absolutely zero research, ties up the phone lines and blows up the email box constantly... that could translate to about $1 per hour that the agency actually made for your cruise. NOW... say you are a big spender and go with that balcony and now we are talking $800 pp before all the fun stuff is added... now the agent has made $120 pp and maybe you are also not a particularly needy person and only calls to book the reservation and never are heard from again...and maybe you knew what you wanted when you called so it was an easy booking. The agency is ahead of the game now. HOWEVER, then you have the wonderful person that calls, doesn't have a clue what they want, has to think/talk/think about it with anyone and everyone. Finally gets the reservation made, pays the deposit, makes changes several times, cabin location, category, even date... cruise is 2 years away... final payment is due, and now she has second thoughts, or has a new baby, or has friends who want to go and the ship is sold out, or even better... didn't think about it and didn't save the money needed for final payment and now cancels. For almost two years someone has worked with this person, and then there is NO INCOME for that work. THIS is why agencies are starting to charge booking fees, cancellation fees, change fees and such. It is not a new thing, maybe in the Disney world of cruising it is, but honestly a Disney cruise is straight forward and a particular niche that many agents just do not want to get into. I myself took the training, and knew it was not going to be my cup of tea so to speak. I like variety. Back when I was an agent there were two ships, and not a great bargain dollar wise for my thoughts. Most clients found it to be more cost effective to take a week long Carnival Cruise or Royal Caribbean Cruise, then spend a few days at the parks rather than take a 4 night Disney Cruise, and they came out ahead in the dollar signs as well. Sure... Characters on the ship... they are at the parks as well... pools on the ships... yep all of them, don't want the casino, find don't go there. Want soda when you want it, bring your own... fireworks... see them at the parks... it wasn't that great of a show and was only 4 minutes long. Food was much better on the other cruise lines as well.
Options when making cruise reservations, book it yourself with the cruise line directly, or explore your options using an agent... book through one of the websites online... that is still using a travel agent, most of the time however they have limited training as they are sitting in a call center working their shift and not thinking about it when they are off the clock. I miss my days, sometimes think about getting back into it, then remember the threads like this that happen all the time where people want someone to do all the work, but they do not want to pay them for it.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:58 PM   #20
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Thank you for your perspective, Anniemck. :

When I first called my TA and she mentioned the $25PP fee, I didn't bat an eye because I don't mind paying someone for their time and expertise, and $75 is not going to make or break me when compared to the price of a Disney cruise (even our little 3-nighter).

However, if it is not industry standard to charge, and so many other TAs are able to give $xxx in OBC, then I sort of feel like I would be shooting myself in the foot to continue to book with a TA who does not provide those benefits. But, I am torn. I do love the personal attention I get from my local TA (the remembered my birthday when my Mom forgot, lol!) I'm definitely keeping this booking with my TA (and have already paid the $75 and don't feel bad about it). I guess I'll decide about any possible future cruises when the time comes, keeping in mind your perspective. Thanks for sharing. :
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:16 PM   #21
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I can understand TA's charging to help you plan with airfares since they get NO commission for that, but cruises are one of the most lucrative things a TA can book for you. That's why several offer OBC and gifts on the cruise...to earn your business and keep you coming back!
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:32 PM   #22
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My TA offered me a price that was £100 ($150) less than the price quoted to me by DCL and no other planning fee is incurred....I assume they must get a commission from Disney or want my repeat business!
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:39 PM   #23
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Ive been using Costco lately. They give a cash card thats about 9 or 10% of your cruise cost! (You get it when you return.

Much higher than any OBC Ive found.
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:50 PM   #24
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Quote:
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My TA offered me a price that was £100 ($150) less than the price quoted to me by DCL and no other planning fee is incurred....I assume they must get a commission from Disney or want my repeat business!
That's not allowed by DCL. The price will be EXACTLY the same provided they are giving you the EXACT options. You might have gotten a different category by the TA than from DCL.

The only way a TA can pass down the commission is in the form of OBC or a gift card.

I've used AAA before as my first two cruises were small priced and I was better off getting their photo package ($100) and a $100 gift card. I would have only gotten $50 from SM or DU. Next cruise however will be higher priced and will benefit from booking it via DU (booked on board and had them use DU instead).

I have a dummy cruise still under me, but with the new rules, I won't be able to pass it down (will try when the time comes probably to AAA) but...
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:07 PM   #25
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I've used both Small World Vacations and Dreams Unlimited. Like them both although I'm pretty loyal to SWV. I prefer to do my own research/planning though. I just let my TA know what changes and/or requests I need to make on the reservation. They're great for answering any questions as well. Can't imagine booking a cruise without some sort of OBC at this point.
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Old 03-08-2013, 08:52 PM   #26
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I used Costco. Not only did they not charge me a $25 fee they sent me a $595 cash card when I got home. Costco is not for everyone though. If you need hand holding Costco is not for you. Use a full service travel agent. If you know what you want Costco is a great deal.
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Old 03-08-2013, 08:55 PM   #27
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Quote:
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I used Costco. Not only did they not charge me a $25 fee they sent me a $595 cash card when I got home. Costco is not for everyone though. If you need hand holding Costco is not for you. Use a full service travel agent. If you know what you want Costco is a great deal.
Costco is a great deal for travel insurance as well, and they cover pre-existing conditions as long as you buy the policy by your PIF. They do need to hold the reservation, though. It is not enough just to be a Costco member.
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:37 PM   #28
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i'm from Canada and our ta's are not big obc people. the first time I cruised I knew nothing. I paid what she asked and in return asked no questions. there was on obc or gift in the room. nothing but my bill.
then I met the DIS! I do always book with du now for dcl however a short time ago we were booking the oais of the sea locally. I asked the ta if she offered any obc. she looked like I had lost it. the look on her face was very amusing. I, however, stood my ground and looked right back at her with my straight face. she said no ta's offer obc's. I told her I could book it online and get an obc so what did she feel my business was worth. suddenly there was an obc offered and with a huge smile.
my advice to the op would be to question your agent. tell her your a loyal client and wish to remain so however you feel the booking fee is not standard and would like her to look at refunding it. that $75 would look better in your wallet. plus, you never know till you ask. like my ta, she may just realize that there is something she can do for you to keep you loyal.
what can it hurt?
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:44 PM   #29
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Wow To be honest, the only reason I use a TA is for the onboard credit. They usually make a commission off of the booking, so I can't see paying anything extra
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Old 03-08-2013, 09:47 PM   #30
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That's not allowed by DCL. The price will be EXACTLY the same provided they are giving you the EXACT options. You might have gotten a different category by the TA than from DCL.

The only way a TA can pass down the commission is in the form of OBC or a gift card...
They may not be getting a commission...but they are paying DCL £100 more than what I am paying them. I have no idea what their business reasons are. I am just happy with the price. I have seen their confirmation from DCL and I have mine from them. I actually queried this with them as it looked very odd and they confirmed I am paying the lower price.
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