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Old Jan 8, 10, 12:36 pm   #1
 
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CruiseCompete - Online Travel Agents

Hi there.. I used Cruisecompete to get a quote on a cruise, and have got two acceptable quotes, one from bestpricecruises.com and another from cruisevacationoutlet.com

Has anyone had any experience with either of these two companies?

Are there any other online TA's or other web sites I should check out?

I'm a bit nervous booking a cruise online (have always done it through local TAs), but the prices online can't be beat.

Thanks.
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Old Jan 8, 10, 1:07 pm   #2
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I have used bestpricecruises and had a perfectly unremarkable experience with them. Read their terms and conditions though, and if you plan to use any dollars-off certificates pay particular attention to the rules. Everything worked fine with our trip.

CVO is a pretty big operator and is probably okay to use too.
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Old Jan 8, 10, 1:14 pm   #3
 
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I've used Cruise Compete for my past 2 cruises and had good results and prices with each trip. Most recently, my trip was bid on by 5 travel agents. Be patient - some agents took 5 days to submit a bid.

I eventually ended up going with Cruises-n-More, an American Express affiliated travel agent. After they bid on my cruise, I was provided a link to their web site and the actual booking and payment was done online - including cabin selection. The experience was similar to booking on Orbitz but the price was lower. I never needed to speak with an agent (which made my experience all the better).
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Old Jan 8, 10, 1:41 pm   #4
 
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You can also look at www.vacationstogo.com they can get some good prices

Don't discount looking directly at the cruise line site. Depending on the line, the prices may not be that much more expensive and you will know exactly what type rate you are booking. For example, Carnival has an early saver rate. This can be a great rate since they will honor any published rate drops. The only catch is that if you book through a TA, the TA is the one that must put in for the price match. Some TA's can be unresponsive and you could miss a price reduction or free cabin upgrade. If you book directly, you're the one that puts in for the rate drop as soon as you see it.
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Old Jan 8, 10, 1:55 pm   #5
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While I'm all for saving money and that, I couldn't possibly see myself handing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to somebody I know nothing about other then they responded to a e-mail of me requesting a cruise fee.

I'm spoiled though, I have an agency I've been using for 16 years now, and every time I go to book I always compare prices, and they are usually pretty close to anything else I find, certainly not significant enough of a difference for me to switch.

I may be in the minority, but to me, it's just too big of a purchase for me to do thorugh somebody I know absolutly nothing about.

I would suggest you also look at going directly with the cruise lines, or seeing is you could get recomendations on a local cruise specalist and seeing how they compare.
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Old Jan 8, 10, 2:13 pm   #6
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Originally Posted by cordelli View Post
While I'm all for saving money and that, I couldn't possibly see myself handing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to somebody I know nothing about other then they responded to a e-mail of me requesting a cruise fee.
Then it's a good thing that all charges go directly through the cruise line.

If a travel agent collects your fee instead of passing you right to the cruise line, that's a big red flag.
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Old Jan 9, 10, 3:54 am   #7
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I used cruise compete several years ago and got a low price two weeks before an Easter vacation cruise. The person I dealt with suggested I not preselect my room (I asked for an ocean view room). When I got to the ship I was upgraded to the back balcony where I had two lounge chairs, two regular chairs a table and privacy. I thought the deal with a steal for that room with how little I paid and the tickets were delivered promptly.
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Old Jan 9, 10, 8:13 am   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msv View Post
I used cruise compete several years ago and got a low price two weeks before an Easter vacation cruise. The person I dealt with suggested I not preselect my room (I asked for an ocean view room). When I got to the ship I was upgraded to the back balcony where I had two lounge chairs, two regular chairs a table and privacy. I thought the deal with a steal for that room with how little I paid and the tickets were delivered promptly.
A cabin guarantee, in other words.

I'm with cordelli in that it still somehwat surprises me folks will fairly blindly give money and sensitive personal info to a complete stranger online, which this forum has witnessed not going well in some cases.
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Old Jan 9, 10, 8:36 am   #9
 
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I've booked twice with Cruisecompete and both times bestpricecruises.com had the low price. I've never had to contact them because when I book I already know what I want form researching on other sites.

In the end you are just picking someone to communicate your information to the cruise line - so it works out just fine. All the cruise related terms and conditions should basically be the same as what you would get from the cruise line I would think.

I guess the main difference is that with your local travel agent you might put a deposit down and wait to pay, I think with those quotes you might have to pay 100% on booking.
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Old Jan 9, 10, 8:38 am   #10
 
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Using an online TA saved about $1500 on the two cabins I booked for my familoy of five. I didn't find that I had to provide any information that I would consider "sensitive".
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Old Jan 9, 10, 12:38 pm   #11
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Originally Posted by DeirdreTours View Post
I didn't find that I had to provide any information that I would consider "sensitive".
You didn't provide full names, addresses or credit card numbers? That's sensitive enough information to me, but that's MHO.
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Old Jan 9, 10, 2:20 pm   #12
 
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Here is my post from another thread:

I have used www.vacationstogo.com twice in the past year and had excellent service from them - very good prices too! They quote and bill in USD $ and there were no problems using a Euro-based CC account or splitting the bill between 2 card accounts. Our agent was Robin Fogo.
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Old Jan 9, 10, 3:42 pm   #13
 
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Originally Posted by iolairemcfadden View Post
In the end you are just picking someone to communicate your information to the cruise line - so it works out just fine. All the cruise related terms and conditions should basically be the same as what you would get from the cruise line I would think.
Actually, not always true. Many of these discounters have a business practice that puts your booking at risk.

In order to discount lines such as Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, they have to pay the cruise by check to the cruise line, only paying the net amount. The agency charges your credit card directly, taking their commission out of the difference (gross - net - discount amount).

While that is a legitimate option, there is a risk in that kind of practice. As we've seen in the last 16 months, several large agencies which operated this way have gone out of business, leaving their customers in the lurch. They had collected final payment, but had not transmitted the net amount to the cruise line, meaning a cruise which had been paid by the passenger was not shown as paid by the cruise line.

The best, safest method to ensure your payment is received by the cruise line is to ensure that the agency has the cruise line process your payment. You won't know if that's the case unless you ask the agency at the time of payment, or wait until it shows up on your credit card statement, at which time it may be too late.

While there are legitimate reasons for an agency to charge the payment themselves, ASK WHY, and make sure that you are comfortable with it. Size of the agency and time in business isn't necessarily a guarantee. Two of the largest discounters went out of business right after the financial crisis began because their margins were too small (they discounted too much) and they couldn't survive on the lowered cruise fares. It's a risky business model in difficult times.

Also, if you choose to go that route, be sure to ask for the cruise line's passenger copy of the invoice showing paid in full. Not the agency's invoice, the one which each cruise line can provide to the travel agent which is marked "passenger copy."

To be protected, you need to do a bit of work yourself and complete all your due diligence.
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Old Jan 9, 10, 3:42 pm   #14
 
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I used CruiseCompete a few weeks ago to book a cruise. Went through each of the bids, picked a winner, called them up and had the cruise booked - all very painless and the agent offered a $200 OBC as well. Charges on my credit card cam directly from the cruiseline. Of course it helps to know exactly what you want in advance of calling (right down to the cabin number).

I, personally, would never book directly through a cruiseline. The savings /on board credits that some travel agents can offer are significant.

Also, I would avoid the Amex agency, Cruises-n-More. They have hidden booking & cancellation charges and not a very good reputation for customer service.

Last edited by 500 miles at a time; Jan 9, 10 at 3:50 pm.
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Old Jan 9, 10, 4:58 pm   #15
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Originally Posted by tcook052 View Post
A cabin guarantee, in other words.

I'm with cordelli in that it still somehwat surprises me folks will fairly blindly give money and sensitive personal info to a complete stranger online, which this forum has witnessed not going well in some cases.
I was under the impression that higher priced cabins were pre-purchased by cruisecompete. When the air portion was no longer available from the NY area (a big market for Easter cruises) I got an excellent deal (and of course got a good airfare I booked myself too!) I'd sure do it again!
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