Travel

Local travel agency to book a cruise for a good price?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jul 18th, 2017 9:22 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Sep 5, 2010
1951 posts
168 upvotes
Toronto

Local travel agency to book a cruise for a good price?

I missed cruising and I am planning to book one for next year (summer or early fall 2017)

Other than the usual websites out there, do you know any good travel agencies that can have some good deals? I will visit Expedia Ship Centers tomorrow. Do you know any other ones? As far as I know, the websites don't list all the prices and that going in person (at least for Expedia Ship Centers) and they have some better prices if you go and see them in person.

I know what cruise I am thinking about (destination, embarkation port, length and cruise line) and so far, almost every website is more or less listing it at the same price.

If you know a better local Toronto travel agency, let me know.




Thanks,
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10 replies
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Feb 13, 2003
4656 posts
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You can try http://ucruising.com/
I have used them quite a while before. But now I prefer booking everything online myself.
get what is cheap, not what you need :lol:
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Jun 23, 2010
1509 posts
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Markham
What's a travel agent?
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Feb 9, 2003
16271 posts
1738 upvotes
Langley
Costco travel. They have the same prices as the cruise line but they give you back a bit of a gift card after your trip.
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Aug 1, 2005
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most online cruise companies quote in USD.

I have found that:
http://cruise.expedia.ca/
quotes in CAD.

Ended up saving a lot compared to the US quotes. More than just the conversion.

I was at a wedding this past summer and was told that Megan Austin from Avoya Travel in Florida was awesome. She can book in CAD and was able to find deals that other sites didn't have. I cannot vouch for her personally yet, as we haven't booked anything new since the summer, but we will try her the next time. her contact info is megan.austin@avoyatravel.com

Best of luck.
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Dec 6, 2006
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The prices will be the same everywhere but the difference could be things like On Board Credit, free bottle of wine, gift card etc
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Oct 25, 2004
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Montreal
+1 for ucruising & Costco for booking in Canadian $$$

RCCL & Princess websites also can be booked directly in Can $$$
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Oct 25, 2009
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Moncton
There might be more cruises going to Cuba by next summer. Also, keep in mind summer and fall are hurricane season in the Caribbean. There was a Disney cruise to the Bahamas that ended up going to Halifax! :-)

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/201 ... stead.html
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scot ... -1.3797544
The CBC and Twitter users were having some fun with the subject:
https://twitter.com/search?q=%23EastCoa ... y&src=typd
Toronto is a very small part of Canada
Deal Guru
Jun 26, 2011
10018 posts
946 upvotes
Markham
Bumping for any other recent opinions. Looking to book a cruise.

Will check Costco and Expedia to start.
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Aug 27, 2009
1130 posts
259 upvotes
Oakville
Last year NCL had a CAD at par promotion for select sailings which, online anyway, were mostly Caribbean itineraries and of little interest to me. We were looking to sail the Panama Canal.
I called a local Expedia CruiseShipCenters location and they were able to give me CAD at par for our cruise of interest.

I've read that TA's often have access to specials (e.g. onboard credits, etc.) that you don't see online so I guess such was the case in my situation. YMMV.
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Feb 7, 2017
1513 posts
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Cruising nowadays has gone mainstream... So not as "exclusive / gotta have a Travel Agent" as it once was.

Like other forms of vacation, you can book direct & do well for yourself (same as you would for Airlines, Hotels, Rental Cars etc).

If the Cruise Line has a Loyalty Program join it.  This is especially true if you cruised with them previously (they can look you up in their records)

But some Cruise Line Loyalty Programs are also open to those who have not sailed with that line before.  Sign up, or in the very least get on the Cruise Line's email list, they'll send you deals Weekly / Monthly, where they discount cabins that are not selling quickly enough.  Many of those deals are unadvertised / not to be found elsewhere.

The best time to buy a cruise, is on a cruise.  Cruise Lines offer their best deals to returning Customers who are booking cabins in advance... Spring to Bermuda, next Summer on the Mediterranean, or Winter 2019 in the Caribbean.  Early bookings mean the Pax gets a great deal (locking in before prices rise) and the Cruise Line gets an early idea of where the market is headed for them.  In order to lock down as many bookings as possible the Cruise Lines offer fabulous incentives like reduced prices, category upgrades, smaller deposits, and many other freebies (OBC - onboard credit, drink packages, or discounted / free airfare)

The second best way to book a cruise is during "Wave Season".  This generally runs from December to March.  Again this is for the line to book as much as they can into the future.  There are plenty of incentives, but usually not as good as the ones for onboard customers.

The third best way to book is thru those weekly / monthly emails blasts to Loyalty Members.

Travel Agents don't get access to the pricing offered on the ships, but they do with the other two.

TA's are paid on a commission basis by the cruise lines.  Often many TA Companies will buy out a block of cabins on a specific ship / cruise / date, guaranteeing the cruise line that they'll move those cabins.  Because they buy so much in volume, they get a better price / commission and can pass that onto their Customers.  This is why you'll often hear that TAs have access to unadvertised cruise specials... They are specials, cause a TA Company created them from the volume booking they bought / paid for in advance.

The upside to this is if you the Customer happens to find an Agent who has a block booking to sell off, you could get a great deal.  This is especially true if you are really flexible about when, where & who's line you want to cruise with, or booking last minute cruise and the TA is still trying to "dump" cabins they otherwise will not sell.

The downside is, sometimes unscrupulous TAs will steer a Customer towards their block on a particular cruise, or charge the Customer the ships going price on a cabin (not pass on the volume discount) cause they want to minimize risk at the backed when they be trying to dump cabins at a deep discount.  These things tend to happen mostly to those who are fairly new to cruising who don't know how the industry works, and TAs figure that out and use that knowledge.

It does not take much detective work on the Internet to figure out which TA Companies have bought blocks of cabins and on what lines, ships & dates.  Then it's a matter of comparing those listed prices against those on the cruise Line's actual website for the same ship sailing and cabin category.

Many Cdn TAs claim they or their companies cannot give customers the same deals as can be found in the US.  This is true.

America is just plain bigger, so more TA Companies to buy up a big block of cabins, and pool them to all their Agents / Retail Ops.

As for currency.  It depends on where you buy the cruise.

Some Cdn TAs only deal in US $.  Some Cruise websites too.  Some have a strict policy of Cdn $ for Cdns.  And a few deal in both US & Cdn your choice (a phone call to their 1-800 Reservation Desk will tell the story).

All seem to tho adhere to one rule... Whatever currency you book in, you stay in.  Stuff to think about if you collect CC points, or are worried about changes in exchange later, or like us, only carry your US CC when out of country.  So if you've run up a tab on the ship, and you are booked with a Cdn Card, then that is going to be your plastic payment option... Other than that it'll be US Cash.

When it comes to Exchange Rates, not uncommon for Cruise Lines to offer somewhat different rates than your Bank / CC.  We've often found them to be in favour of the Customer.  So do your research ahead of booking, and ask questions onboard at Customer Service.

The last thing you want is to end up paying a bill using a form of payment that means you've gone thru Currency Conversion more than once.

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