Travel agent or book yourself?

DisneyMomx7

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 26, 2004
We are planning on booking our first RC Cruise.

With Disney and Universal I always book myself, but since this is our first cruise I'm somewhat unsure.

Do you usually book yourself or use a travel agent?
 

starvenger

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Travel Agent for cruises. Every time. You set the parameters, they'll do the legwork. Sometimes they'll even throw in onboard credit (aka OBC) or some other type of gift for you.

The DISBoard sponsors (owners?) do bookings for Royal and DCL so you might consider going with them. Otherwise you can probably find a local cruise-focused TA in your area.

Note 1: I use my TA for the cruise only. Flights, hotels etc I arrange on my own.
Note 2: Just because you're using a TA doesn't mean that you can't still check things on your own. Zero harm in doing your own research alongside their work.
 

Mikamarii

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
We use a TA for cruises as well. RC is always fluctuating in price. I was searching all the time and when I saw a lower price I just screenshot it and sent it to our TA who calls and gets us the lower price. No waiting on the phone with an RC agent or cancelling and rebooking. Our upcoming cruise we ended up saving about 2000$ cdn with different sales and price changes.
plus TA usually gives an ob credit. That’s free money so might as well take advantage since there is no cost to use one.
Lastly we use a local TA in a way to support local business. They got paid from the cruise line so might as well take some of that money and put it in to a local person.
For other things we do it ourself. I like have control of vacation planning but cruises there Isn’t much to do besides pick a date And itinerary. Dining, excursion, extras, flights, theme parks, car rentals, etc we all do ourself.
 

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  • richmo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2007
    I've done both and honestly haven't noticed much difference. Last cruise we booked (2 staterooms) thru Costco Travel, which was nice because we received a couple Costco gift cards upon return (I think one of them was $150, the other $90). Of course, how you do activities on the ship varies, but I'd rather have the Costco GC's than onboard credit.
     

    Capt_BJ

    So Many Times
    Joined
    May 17, 2005
    TA can be very helpful

    IF the TA is in the habit of being helpful!

    Not all TA are the same .... establishing a relationship with a TA can provide dividends ... getting a recommendation from someone who knows a good one is a good start.

    On the flip side a bad one can cause you more problems that they are worth.

    We book MOST of our cruises on our own but the $$ ones we often use our TA because the OBC they kickback is worth the extra effort.
     
  • HopperFan

    "It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess."
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2003
    We book all our own stuff EXCEPT cruises ... we use TA.

    I booked our first cruise; easy but what we found is the TA will often offer Free Gratuities, OBC and specialty items added on at no cost to us. So savings to us we wouldn't get direct.
     

    Frozen2014

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2014
    I'm one who likes to do my own booking so that there is not a middle layer. I monitor prices myself almost daily (if any potential there would be a drop) and if it goes down, call Royal and voila, it's adjusted. I'd be stressed if it was a weekend or evening (when I do most of my checks) and i couldn't get a hold of my TA.
    I find it fun doing my own research and there are enough resources such as here and other forums to find info and get opinions about things.

    Guess the only downside with not using a TA as I might be missing out on perks depending on what they offer.
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    Do you usually book yourself or use a travel agent?
    We always use a TA for our cruises. Dreams Unlimited Travel, the sponsor of the DIS Boards, is our go-to agency. In addition to good service, they offer an on board credit.
     
  • BigRob66

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2019
    I haven't had good luck finding a good TA. Checked out three.

    1. First one just wanted to book cruise, and "it would be better for you to do the Hotel and Air yourself." I'm looking for a Travel Agent, not a Cruise Agent...

    2. The next one went into great detail about how I would be charged for every part that they would help me with. No details on how I would benefit from a TA.

    3. The final one I was going to see how it went for a 3 day cruise, before giving her a 8 day European cruise to do for my niece who is getting married. She kept calling me John, and creating itineraries showing John, no matter how many times I told her that my name was Robert. My email address literally says Robert. I told her I was Hilton Diamond and would just book hotel using miles, and she started showing me rates for a Hyatt anyway. For flights I needed to leave at the end of the day for kid's school stuff, and she showed me tickets for the first flight of the day.

    How do you find a good TA to work with?!?!?!?

    Robert
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    I was kind of lucky since my parents have been taking cruises since around when I was in university, so they essentially did the legwork for me. So I've managed to establish some level of trust with them and as mentioned by others that can pay dividends at times.

    With regards to the ones you've talked to, the first one is probably the best option. Not sure why they would turn down the business (comission isn't good?), but it doesn't sound as if they are unwilling to book your hotel and air.

    The second one is at least honest about what they'll charge you. But with that said, I don't think that most travel agents will charge you for their work.

    The third one... weird.

    I guess these were all online? Or was one of them a physical location?
     

    BigRob66

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2019
    I was kind of lucky since my parents have been taking cruises since around when I was in university, so they essentially did the legwork for me. So I've managed to establish some level of trust with them and as mentioned by others that can pay dividends at times.

    With regards to the ones you've talked to, the first one is probably the best option. Not sure why they would turn down the business (comission isn't good?), but it doesn't sound as if they are unwilling to book your hotel and air.

    The second one is at least honest about what they'll charge you. But with that said, I don't think that most travel agents will charge you for their work.

    The third one... weird.

    I guess these were all online? Or was one of them a physical location?
    First one was online. Second one was local, that I found online. Third was about 800 miles away that was a family referral.
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    How do you find a good TA to work with?!?!?!?
    For us it is simple, Dreams Unlimited Travel. They are experts in the whole range of Disney vacations including Disney Resorts, Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney.
     

    BigRob66

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2019
    For us it is simple, Dreams Unlimited Travel. They are experts in the whole range of Disney vacations including Disney Resorts, Disney Cruise Line and Adventures by Disney.
    Dreams Unlimited was who recommended me to book my air independently.

    Copy / pasta from email: “We highly recommend that you book your air independently as the options and pricing through these providers are not always great.“
     

    starvenger

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2015
    OK, sounds like DU uses the bundled offerings for flights, so their recommendation of independent flight booking makes sense. But it's not what you're looking for.

    Was the local one a cruise-focused place or a general TA? Maybe there's another one in your area? Or one of the national cruise-focused chains?
     

    BigRob66

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2019
    I really am interested in finding a TA. There is one in town from me I want to check out, but I’ve been traveling for work. Maybe later this week.

    I am not educated enough to pick a TA it seems. I want someone to help plan and book the entirety of the trip, and look out for my best interest. Ie, “if you were able to take the same cruise 2 weeks later, you could save $2k”. Sometimes I just need to get out of Minnesota when we have a series of 3 day weekends coming up in the winter and I’m inflexible / cheap, and other times I want to book 8-10 day vacation with family out of country and there’s nothing cheap about it.
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    I really am interested in finding a TA. There is one in town from me I want to check out, but I’ve been traveling for work.
    check for their knowledge of places you want to travel to. Also be aware that just because they have a big Disney poster in their window doesn't mean they are Disney experts. And not everybody in that agency office has the same level of Disney knowledge.
     

    Mikamarii

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 30, 2018
    try www.*********************

    They'll have a 'contact us' page that you can fill out and they'll find a TA in your area.

    They are affiliated with Expedia. A while back a family member reached out to organize a family vacation and the one we got set up with was great. We still use her. Like any profession out there, there will be good and bad TA's.
     

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