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Old 06-14-2013, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
72,191 posts, read 83,916,460 times
Reputation: 41978

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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
The one time we used a TA, she got every single thing wrong. I spent more time in her office having her change things and RE-READ my WRITTEN requirements than we did ON the 2 week vacation itself. Thank goodness we booked our own B&B in Barcelona as the other couple she arranged got stuck in a 5-star hotel AT THE AIRPORT, while we had the most fantastic B&B experience in our many years of travel. She got the requirement for confirmed seating incorrect; she got the requirement for all 3 of us together incorrect, she got the departure airport incorrect, and she got the oceanview requirement incorrect. Thank goodness we were not new to travel or cruise travel or we would have opted to have a pool dug in our yard after her help.
and God only knows what you experienced can happen. This is like going to a top notch restaurant and getting a crappy waiter (which BTW happened to us not long ago) or booking a resort vacation and getting there and having everything wrong. Or booking your hotel, just to find out, upon arrival you do not have a reservation. I understand only too well what you are saying, but this isn't all agents or even the majority. I did work for a very large agency near Dallas for a couple of years. Our boss hired almost anyone who walked in the office though he did do a month long training program for agents when he hired them. Still many had not even been on a ship or stayed at an upscale hotel. I used to shutter at some of the things I would hear some of the agents tell clients. That being said, many agents are good, are experienced and work hard for their money. Even though I am retired, we still use an agent. We know she is experienced, has cruised and traveled all over the world and has an excellent reputation.

On the other hand, if you like doing your own planning and have the time that also is great. If is important to remember, what works for one, may not work for everyone. There is no "always" right way to handle travel.

I considered myself a good to very good agent, had a great following and a good reputation. Did I make a few mistakes? You damn well better believe I did. Luckily nothing too damaging and did I always get what my clients wanted? Nope, sometimes I just couldn't win for losing. Did I have difficult clients, you better believe it, but most of the time I loved my job and I worked because I felt I was doing a service, not for the money.
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Old 06-14-2013, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
72,191 posts, read 83,916,460 times
Reputation: 41978
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmyhoss View Post
My favorite cruise line is Oceania
No formal nights, just country club casual.
All rooms larger than average.
Only one premium restaurant
Food excellent.
Con: Could have more to do.
I have been on NCL Good
HOLland america Felt too young there
Princess My next favorite
Royal Caribbean Good
Celebrity Good, too. I guess I liked them all!
I refuse to cruise on Carnival and Costa.
Costa was probably our least favorite, and we haven't been on Oceana, but have heard nothing but positive feedback. We love the service on HAL, but even in our 60s we thought the we were too young and active for the ship. Unfortunately we haven't had particularly positive experiences with Celebrity believe it or not and the same with RCI.
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Old 06-14-2013, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Where I'm At
582 posts, read 940,541 times
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I've used both Carnival and Royal Caribbean; I prefer Carnival mainly for the price, but also for the variety of travel destinations. And sure, some of Carnival's ships can be a tad rowdy, but so what, sometimes it's fun to let your hair down and "get rowdy." Just don't get too rowdy... think cellphone cameras, I-Pads, Face Book, and YouTube .
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
72,191 posts, read 83,916,460 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clevergirl05 View Post
I've used both Carnival and Royal Caribbean; I prefer Carnival mainly for the price, but also for the variety of travel destinations. And sure, some of Carnival's ships can be a tad rowdy, but so what, sometimes it's fun to let your hair down and "get rowdy." Just don't get too rowdy... think cellphone cameras, I-Pads, Face Book, and YouTube .
you made me smile, yes, we all have to remember social media and be careful what we say and do. Carnival, though not for me, can be a great line for some people and yes, the price is right.
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Old 06-15-2013, 01:06 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,849 posts, read 30,434,796 times
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Believe it or not I have only been on one cruise line and that was, of all things, Seabourn.

To be honest, the only gripe I have with cruises in general is the fact that, if you are a night-person you are usually pretty much out of luck with regard to enjoying the local culture. Most cruises dock late at night (or very early in the morning) and have shore excursions from 8 am to noon, then the ship pulls up anchor at 4 or 5pm and you are at sea the rest of the time. When I am on vacation, the last thing I am going to do is hop out of bed at 8 am. I usually roll out of bed at noon, have a leisurely lunch and then am ready to start exploring around 2 or 3 pm. Unfortunately, if you have to be back on board by 4 or 5 that doesn't give you much time to do anything.

Cruise ships need to understand that there are people who want to experience the nightlife and not be rushed to get back to the ship. From my understanding, pretty much all cruise ships operate this way. In the future, I am going to pick a cruise that stays at least one night over in port.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:30 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
72,191 posts, read 83,916,460 times
Reputation: 41978
Quote:
Originally Posted by 20yrsinBranson View Post
Believe it or not I have only been on one cruise line and that was, of all things, Seabourn.

To be honest, the only gripe I have with cruises in general is the fact that, if you are a night-person you are usually pretty much out of luck with regard to enjoying the local culture. Most cruises dock late at night (or very early in the morning) and have shore excursions from 8 am to noon, then the ship pulls up anchor at 4 or 5pm and you are at sea the rest of the time. When I am on vacation, the last thing I am going to do is hop out of bed at 8 am. I usually roll out of bed at noon, have a leisurely lunch and then am ready to start exploring around 2 or 3 pm. Unfortunately, if you have to be back on board by 4 or 5 that doesn't give you much time to do anything.

Cruise ships need to understand that there are people who want to experience the nightlife and not be rushed to get back to the ship. From my understanding, pretty much all cruise ships operate this way. In the future, I am going to pick a cruise that stays at least one night over in port.

20yrsinBranson
That is a very good point and I will add, more cruise lines are overnighting, especially the ones that do Europe and some doing Canada into the USA...I will add, even though more are doing this, they are still very much in the minority.
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:50 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,713,149 times
Reputation: 13024
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
ok, lets look at it another way: a good agent and no, they are not all good, will have either a lot of experience (of course not on every ship or at every resort) but they will have access to those who have and if they are associated with a large company will have others expertise to share. You have mentioned many times the lines you have used and believe me, most agents worth the weight in anything have heard of them, have traveled some of them and have had clients who have used them. I will add, I never spoon fed any basic mainstream anything and for those who have not traveled or do not have the time to spend hours researching an agent is a great way to be assured a positive travel experience, whether you are doing a resort, a mass marketed line or a small, upscale line.

Yes, for those who have the time and have traveled doing the research can be 1/2 the fun. The same with tours in ports. For the beginner, using the ships excursions is the only way to go. After one has cruised a few times, then private tours are better.

How often have you used a travel agent and what was your experience? Obviously it wasn't a positive one.
I've used a TA half a dozen times. They did nothing for me to earn the commission, as I already knew exactly what I wanted. In one case she screwed all sorts of things up, and because she owned the reservation, I couldn't fix it. I've spoken to half a dozen others, and their lack of knowledge and inaccurate info has been appalling. (I met one last year before I went to Croatia who tried to tell me that they were part of the EU and only accepted Euros.) I have yet to meet a TA who has traveled as much as I have, and I usually end up helping them out, not vice versa.

The last TA I spoke to and mentioned considering a River Cruise told me that Viking was the only good one. Uh, wrong. They are just another mass market offering with mixed reviews. When I mentioned that we were looking at AMA, she said she never even mentioned them to clients as they were "too expensive." Who was she to make that determination? (Frankly they seem quite reasonable and get overall fantastic reviews.) I explained that we aren't particularly price sensitive, and that getting the most bang for our buck is more important to us than finding the cheapest cruise. She couldn't understand that concept, therefore not only ws she a bad travel agent, but also a moron. By the way, she works for one of the largest travel agencies in the US.
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Old 06-16-2013, 06:07 PM
 
15,366 posts, read 27,599,027 times
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Favorite Cruise line: NCL
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
72,191 posts, read 83,916,460 times
Reputation: 41978
Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
I've used a TA half a dozen times. They did nothing for me to earn the commission, as I already knew exactly what I wanted. In one case she screwed all sorts of things up, and because she owned the reservation, I couldn't fix it. I've spoken to half a dozen others, and their lack of knowledge and inaccurate info has been appalling. (I met one last year before I went to Croatia who tried to tell me that they were part of the EU and only accepted Euros.) I have yet to meet a TA who has traveled as much as I have, and I usually end up helping them out, not vice versa.

The last TA I spoke to and mentioned considering a River Cruise told me that Viking was the only good one. Uh, wrong. They are just another mass market offering with mixed reviews. When I mentioned that we were looking at AMA, she said she never even mentioned them to clients as they were "too expensive." Who was she to make that determination? (Frankly they seem quite reasonable and get overall fantastic reviews.) I explained that we aren't particularly price sensitive, and that getting the most bang for our buck is more important to us than finding the cheapest cruise. She couldn't understand that concept, therefore not only ws she a bad travel agent, but also a moron. By the way, she works for one of the largest travel agencies in the US.
Well you have your opinion and others have theirs. I still feel there are reasons for using agents and some of the problems that I have seen pop up can better be served by a good agent. As for Viking, the reason the agent said that, might have something to do with customer satisfaction. Viking is voted year in and year out to be the River Cruise line the most popular with cruisers. This isn't saying there are not other good lines, or that Viking is the best, just they have the reputation of being at the top of the list.

She may not have been a good agent, sounds like she wasn't and yes, she may have worked for one of the largest companies (which was probably AAA) that doesn't assure she was good. The top restaurant in the country does not always have the best servers.

I understand where you may be coming from, but I also think you need to realize there are 2 sides to most stories and this is one, where the right agent can provide a very positive experience for everyone. For someone like you, who is a truly an experienced traveler, like to take control and seem to have the time to spend researching doing your own travel is probably a good thing. As long as you don't run into a snag and don't know where to turn. For others, working with an agent is the way to go.
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Old 06-17-2013, 02:48 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,713,149 times
Reputation: 13024
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
Well you have your opinion and others have theirs. I still feel there are reasons for using agents and some of the problems that I have seen pop up can better be served by a good agent. As for Viking, the reason the agent said that, might have something to do with customer satisfaction. Viking is voted year in and year out to be the River Cruise line the most popular with cruisers. This isn't saying there are not other good lines, or that Viking is the best, just they have the reputation of being at the top of the list.

She may not have been a good agent, sounds like she wasn't and yes, she may have worked for one of the largest companies (which was probably AAA) that doesn't assure she was good.
Those surveys are inherently flawed, as they skew towards the lines with the most ships.

Quote:
The top restaurant in the country does not always have the best servers.
Oh yes it does. There is no such thing as a bad day at the French Laundry.

Quote:
I understand where you may be coming from, but I also think you need to realize there are 2 sides to most stories and this is one, where the right agent can provide a very positive experience for everyone. For someone like you, who is a truly an experienced traveler, like to take control and seem to have the time to spend researching doing your own travel is probably a good thing. As long as you don't run into a snag and don't know where to turn. For others, working with an agent is the way to go.
I ran into a snag last year when my international flight was very delayed leaving Europe, which would cause me to miss a separately ticketed connection. I made a call to my carrier and got myself re-booked, arranged a late check out with my hotel, and spent an extra half day sightseeing. By the way, I found out by getting a text from the carrier. had I booked through a TA, what do you think the chances of finding out about the delay before I got to the airport--let alone getting all of the re-booking done in the space of about four minutes would have been? Um, yeah.
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