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-   -   Using "Personal Cruise Consultant" (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/cruises/1703635-using-personal-cruise-consultant.html)

jennj99738 Aug 18, 15 4:54 pm

Using "Personal Cruise Consultant"
 
I am not a novice cruiser but I don't book cruises frequently. I am looking to book a Holland America cruise for my mother and I in March. I have used cruisecompete.com before and did get a quote from them this time. I also received a call from a "personal cruise consultant" from Holland. She gave a higher price. When I asked about any on-board credit or other benefits she got a little defensive with me. She says she waits until she hears from Holland before she dips into her "pot of money" because why spend her money when she can spend Holland's? That's what she said. Also, when I said I wanted to think on this over the weekend she said that she gets paid for the booking and she isn't happy when she does this work and doesn't get the booking.

Needless to say, I wasn't very impressed with her. However, what she said next gave me pause. She recommended a guarantee rather than a specific cabin because verandas always sell out and 99% of the time, we will get a better cabin than we pay for. She says that when pax book a specific cabin, Holland is less likely to offer an upgrade because they think the pax chose that cabin for a reason. She also said that because she works directly for Holland she gets first dibs, so to speak, on bonuses and upgrades.

I have always used a cruise travel agent but does anyone have an opinion on this? Also, do you recommend the guarantee or a specific cabin? The difference is about $400 for the cabin which can better be spent on shore excursions if it's a good idea.

Thanks!

Jeannietx Aug 18, 15 7:57 pm

If you don't care what location your cabin may end up being in, then the guarantee might be OK.

I always book a specific cabin in the location I want, not leaving it up to a random possibility.

Have you tried CruiseCompete? Some cruise companies don't let a TA discount, but you can get OBC. I put three recently booked cruises on CruiseCompete a couple of weeks ago and got I got over $1,000. off in just a few minutes.

HMPS Aug 18, 15 8:03 pm


Originally Posted by Jeannietx (Post 25291243)
If you don't care what location your cabin may end up being in, then the guarantee might be OK.

I always book a specific cabin in the location I want, not leaving it up to a random possibility.

Have you tried CruiseCompete? Some cruise companies don't let a TA discount, but you can get OBC. I put three recently booked cruises on CruiseCompete a couple of weeks ago and got I got over $1,000. off in just a few minutes.

I will try them next time.
I have a TA who does give back OBCs. I have it on good authority that a Travel company is always allowed to offer OBS/SBC from what they earn.

MSPeconomist Aug 18, 15 8:14 pm


Originally Posted by jennj99738 (Post 25290559)
I am not a novice cruiser but I don't book cruises frequently. I am looking to book a Holland America cruise for my mother and I in March. I have used cruisecompete.com before and did get a quote from them this time. I also received a call from a "personal cruise consultant" from Holland. She gave a higher price. When I asked about any on-board credit or other benefits she got a little defensive with me. She says she waits until she hears from Holland before she dips into her "pot of money" because why spend her money when she can spend Holland's? That's what she said. Also, when I said I wanted to think on this over the weekend she said that she gets paid for the booking and she isn't happy when she does this work and doesn't get the booking.

Needless to say, I wasn't very impressed with her. However, what she said next gave me pause. She recommended a guarantee rather than a specific cabin because verandas always sell out and 99% of the time, we will get a better cabin than we pay for. She says that when pax book a specific cabin, Holland is less likely to offer an upgrade because they think the pax chose that cabin for a reason. She also said that because she works directly for Holland she gets first dibs, so to speak, on bonuses and upgrades.

I have always used a cruise travel agent but does anyone have an opinion on this? Also, do you recommend the guarantee or a specific cabin? The difference is about $400 for the cabin which can better be spent on shore excursions if it's a good idea.

Thanks!

How did this "personal cruise consultant" aka salesperson get your name and phone number? It doesn't matter whether she's unhappy about doing work and not getting the sale; IMO this was a very unprofessional comment to make. Plus, if there's a problem, will she be happy about spending her time to help resolve it? I'm not a cruiser, but to me, this conversation just seems inappropriate in many ways. I would never deal with a travel agent who behaved like this.

Randyk47 Aug 18, 15 8:56 pm

PCCs are probably nice people but the truth is that they're nothing more than a cruise line's own internal travel agents/salespeople. While it might differ slightly from line to line they work on basically a salary plus basis, the plus being they get bonuses for sales above their monthly quota or target. Generally speaking they can't, don't, or won't offer much in the way of incentives. Personally I book with an Internet based TA and consistently get a 10-12% cash rebate. Maybe it depends on the line they're booking the cruise with for you but for sure I got a very real and substantial check from my last cruise and have for several years.

jennj99738 Aug 18, 15 9:43 pm


Originally Posted by MSPeconomist (Post 25291313)
How did this "personal cruise consultant" aka salesperson get your name and phone number? It doesn't matter whether she's unhappy about doing work and not getting the sale; IMO this was a very unprofessional comment to make. Plus, if there's a problem, will she be happy about spending her time to help resolve it? I'm not a cruiser, but to me, this conversation just seems inappropriate in many ways. I would never deal with a travel agent who behaved like this.

I agree with you about her being unprofessional. My mother is a past cruiser with Holland. From what I can tell, she went on the website and must have logged in and somehow got the call. She didn't call Holland. She gave the PCC my phone number. I agree I don't want to use her but I wonder about her comment regarding getting upgrades first that aren't available to other TAs.


Originally Posted by Randyk47 (Post 25291449)
PCCs are probably nice people but the truth is that they're nothing more than a cruise line's own internal travel agents/salespeople. While it might differ slightly from line to line they work on basically a salary plus basis, the plus being they get bonuses for sales above their monthly quota or target. Generally speaking they can't, don't, or won't offer much in the way of incentives. Personally I book with an Internet based TA and consistently get a 10-12% cash rebate. Maybe it depends on the line they're booking the cruise with for you but for sure I got a very real and substantial check from my last cruise and have for several years.

Can you share who your agent is? Either here or by PM? I haven't booked yet.

jennj99738 Aug 18, 15 9:44 pm


Originally Posted by Jeannietx (Post 25291243)
If you don't care what location your cabin may end up being in, then the guarantee might be OK.

I always book a specific cabin in the location I want, not leaving it up to a random possibility.

Have you tried CruiseCompete? Some cruise companies don't let a TA discount, but you can get OBC. I put three recently booked cruises on CruiseCompete a couple of weeks ago and got I got over $1,000. off in just a few minutes.

Yes, I noted in my post, I did use CruiseCompete and the cruise line's PPC was more expensive and did not offer any OBC.

Randyk47 Aug 19, 15 7:24 am


Originally Posted by jennj99738 (Post 25291611)
I agree with you about her being unprofessional. My mother is a past cruiser with Holland. From what I can tell, she went on the website and must have logged in and somehow got the call. She didn't call Holland. She gave the PCC my phone number. I agree I don't want to use her but I wonder about her comment regarding getting upgrades first that aren't available to other TAs.



Can you share who your agent is? Either here or by PM? I haven't booked yet.

Just PM'd you with information. Hope that helps.

Randyk47 Aug 19, 15 8:32 am


Originally Posted by MSPeconomist (Post 25291313)
How did this "personal cruise consultant" aka salesperson get your name and phone number? It doesn't matter whether she's unhappy about doing work and not getting the sale; IMO this was a very unprofessional comment to make. Plus, if there's a problem, will she be happy about spending her time to help resolve it? I'm not a cruiser, but to me, this conversation just seems inappropriate in many ways. I would never deal with a travel agent who behaved like this.

At HAL, and maybe other lines for that matter, everybody who ever sails with them is assigned to a PCC. They have all your information from a previous cruise or cruises and they'll often make "cold calls" either over the phone or through email. They also get HAL cruisers who do the "refer a friend" thing so there are a number of ways they can get a person's information. We started cruising with HAL in 1995 and even though we'd never booked through a PCC I'd get periodic phone calls, emails, or regular mailings from them. In 2011 we became disenchanted with HAL and have moved our cruising to another line. Took me a couple of tries but I finally got HAL to stop contacting me or sending me stuff.

alhcfp Aug 24, 15 12:44 pm


Originally Posted by jennj99738 (Post 25290559)
She also said that because she works directly for Holland she gets first dibs, so to speak, on bonuses and upgrades.

If this were true every TA would boycott HAL, because they could not compete.

As for UG's status and luck come into play.

GUAR cabins may get you upgraded, but just because the cruise line says its a better CAT, does not make it a better cabin or location Its a crapshoot, one I usually take, but it is not a secret.

I suggest going to Cruisecritic.com for more info.

DanJ Aug 25, 15 9:43 pm

Personal Cruise Consultants, Personal Vacation Planners and whatever else they are called. They work for the cruise line to come up with the best way to get you to give them money. They aren't your advocate. They might have information, most of it on a computer screen of pre-scripted responses to questions they get asked. Travel agents work for you, they are out to get you the best price and best promotions available. More likely to have cruised on the line (if not the ship) you are going on.

rlb Aug 27, 15 1:54 pm

I have used private TA's and those with the cruise line. They come in all different abilities and no one size fits all. Lately have been using a Princess personal consultant and she has done a great job- just saved us over $1700 on a already reserved cruise when a sale came on.- If you want to use the cruise lines "consultant" but not this one, call the cruise line- ask for a supervisor and ask for another agent to be assigned. I would not judge all consultants by just one call.

Randyk47 Aug 30, 15 9:14 am


Originally Posted by rlb (Post 25337440)
I have used private TA's and those with the cruise line. They come in all different abilities and no one size fits all. Lately have been using a Princess personal consultant and she has done a great job- just saved us over $1700 on a already reserved cruise when a sale came on.- If you want to use the cruise lines "consultant" but not this one, call the cruise line- ask for a supervisor and ask for another agent to be assigned. I would not judge all consultants by just one call.

I'm glad you're happy with your PCC. There is no really right or wrong way to book a cruise. There are plenty of good PCCs and travel agencies/agents out there, it's just a matter of finding one that best meets your needs. Of course even in your quoted case you still paid too much for the cruise because a good Internet based agent would have also gotten the sales price and still given you a discount. ^:)

DanJ Sep 1, 15 12:04 pm


Originally Posted by Randyk47 (Post 25350419)
I'm glad you're happy with your PCC. There is no really right or wrong way to book a cruise. There are plenty of good PCCs and travel agencies/agents out there, it's just a matter of finding one that best meets your needs. Of course even in your quoted case you still paid too much for the cruise because a good Internet based agent would have also gotten the sales price and still given you a discount. ^:)

They play on the "cut out the middleman" feelings that a lot of people have. The cruise lines love making people think that.

Randyk47 Sep 1, 15 5:14 pm


Originally Posted by DanJ (Post 25361680)
They play on the "cut out the middleman" feelings that a lot of people have. The cruise lines love making people think that.

They do that for sure. One of my favorites is "I can help you manage your booking easily and directly". Really? What is there to manage exactly? You book cabin 123 and 95%+ of the time you sail in cabin 123. Personally in 22 years of cruising I have always sailed in the cabin I booked originally. Almost everything else about your cruise like tours, special requests, specialty restuarant reservations, bed preferences, etc., etc., are all done on line by the passenger not by the PCC with just about every major cruise line from mass market to high end luxury. Maybe, just maybe, a PCC can be of some assistance if you play what I call "cruise cabin lotto" and book a guarantee. Rumor is, and the facts are slim, that booking a guarantee through a PCC gives you a better chance of getting a better cabin in hopefully a good location on the ship. Truth is you get what's left over from regular bookings and if you're lucky it is a higher category cabin not under the kiddie pool. Of course there's always the dream that you book an inside cabin guarantee and get upgraded to the penthouse suite. I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale that passenger might be interested in.


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