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XuGator

On board credit from TA - not available until on board -Is this normal?

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44 minutes ago, XuGator said:

Thank you everyone for their insight and expertise.  It is much appreciated. The cruise is a Northern European July 2021 cruise.  We usually like to book our excursions independently also but some ports such as St Petersburg (where a group visa is apparently required) and Berlin (3 hour trip into the city) we would feel a little more comfortable on a celebrity sponsored excursion so our goal was to use the OBC for that purpose. If this is all refundable then I guess it really doesn’t make a difference. 
 

I guess my last question is - if OBC from TA doesn’t show up until after first night on board- has anyone had an experience where that credit does not show up? What happens then - are we stuck calling TA from sea on a 6 hour time difference or will celebrity step in?  I just like to be organized and have everything in order pre cruise so don’t want to have to worry about this kind of stuff on vacation. I’m sure the credits are almost always there and it’s probably a non issue but I know mishaps happen. 
 

Also - someone mentioned cashing out the Refundable TA OBC while on board. Can you do this on any day or do you need to wait until the last day to do this ? 
 

Thanks again

This has happened to me twice. One time I used a big box agency for the 1st time and their OBC never made it to my account. They were very hard to get by email while I was on the cruise. When I got back, I spoke with someone at the big box agency and they refunded my credit card the exact amount of the OBC as I had documentation that I never received the OBC they promised. The next time I used a travel agent that is independent (he is actually a former colleague  of mine when I used to be a TA). One email to him and it was all straightened out. The next day I received the OBC. If this happens to you immediately  email your TA and make sure you have documentation that the OBC is not on your folio. This means taking screenshots of your folio from the app or ask guest relations to give you a physical print out so that you can prove you did not receive the OBC. I also alert guest relations that I did not receive an OBC from my travel agent but usually they can't assist. This doesn't always happen but the two times it happened to me it was a Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise. Given how their IT end of things work, it doesn't surprise me!

 

Any unused refundable OBC will be refunded automatically on your departure morning. I do not believe you can ask for the refund in advance though I have never asked.

 

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1 hour ago, XuGator said:

What happens then - are we stuck calling TA from sea on a 6 hour time difference or will celebrity step in?  

 

One time OBC from my online cruise agency didn't show up until the 3rd day of cruising.

 

I went to guest services, and without any delay, they connected me with my TA and let me speak with her.

The missing OBC showed up the next day, with an additional 25$ for "my vacation lost time"😁

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On 5/23/2020 at 9:46 PM, Turtles06 said:


And the reason for this, as I understand it, is because the TA doesn’t “purchase” the OBC (put their money out there for it) until you sail. 

The money covering TA OBC is sent to Celebrity corporate about a week or 2 prior to sailing. That information is transmitted from Celebrity corporate to the ship on turn around day.

 

The reason everything is done so close to the sail date is the cruise lines don't want the funds in their system until there is the slimmest of chances, like 99.5%, that the reservation won't cancel. This avoids added labor and time needed to process and refund cancelled TA OBC or other perks.

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5 hours ago, ipeeinthepool said:

Has anyone considered the possibility that the TAs won’t be in business or won’t have the funds to provide the OBC?  They haven’t had any income in months and some may not have large financial reserves.

Those who decide to cut back or eliminate OBC do so at their peril. Passengers will turn to those TAs who continue to offer OBC or other perks, or will simply deal directly with the cruise lines. Unfortunately, there will be some smaller TAs going out of business, as will many other smaller enterprises.

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3 hours ago, XuGator said:

I guess my last question is - if OBC from TA doesn’t show up until after first night on board- has anyone had an experience where that credit does not show up?

Not sure the official CC policy, but back in 2011 we had a missing TA credit. We waited a couple of days before contacting Guest Relations. They said they put thru all the credits received from Miami, so they contacted Miami but they did not have it. They put through a call to our TA, we were in the Med and our TA in Canada, to allow us to sort it out directly with the TA. The call was not charged back to us. In all our cruises this was the only time for this to happen. If you have a good TA, you should not have an issue. 

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4 hours ago, XuGator said:

The cruise is a Northern European July 2021 cruise.  We usually like to book our excursions independently also but some ports such as St Petersburg (where a group visa is apparently required) and Berlin (3 hour trip into the city) we would feel a little more comfortable on a celebrity sponsored excursion so our goal was to use the OBC for that purpose. If this is all refundable then I guess it really doesn’t make a difference. I suggest you look at SPB tours.  Very reliable and your van is limited to 16 people.  Not only less expensive but also there's more flexibility.  You may want to put together a small group from your roll call. SPB gives one free seat for filling the van. That will save you a lot of money even if you share it with the others on the tour.  Everyone pays SPB tours directly so you're not on the hook for others.
 

I guess my last question is - if OBC from TA doesn’t show up until after first night on board- has anyone had an experience where that credit does not show up? What happens then - are we stuck calling TA from sea on a 6 hour time difference or will celebrity step in? 
 

 

One time the TA's OBC wasn't on my account right away.  I took my booking confirmation to Guest Services. They confirmed with the TA and everything got straightened out. But I wouldn't worry until the second day before following up.  Just check your on TV account.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/23/2020 at 8:23 AM, XuGator said:

We booked a 14 night European cruise through an online TA and they were offering 800 dollars of shipboard credit.  We planned on using this to book many of the expensive excursions in the Celebrity planner but recently it was conveyed that this would not show up for us until we have been on board the ship for 24 hours. I was wondering if this is standard practice  within the travel agency industry?

 

Is this common in the industry?

 

I had the same question when I booked my cruise with an online TA for the 1st time. Previous cruise, I booked directly with Celebrity Cruise, but this TA's OBC offer was too great to pass up.

 

My TA offered total of $3,200 OBC on a Royal Suite, but when I signed on to Celebrity Cruise Online and looked at my reservation it only has $450 OBC...here's his reply to my email inquiry:

 

 

The $450/cabin OBC is from Celebrity.  The remaining amount is from the agency and will not appear on the registration page because it’s called in as a gift on a company card once the final payment is made. The full amount should appear on the invoice our agency will be sending.

 

I hope he's telling me the truth, and its not a bait and switch.

 

BTW...We booked the same sail as the OP...Baltic Cruise in July aboard the Silhouette. Was supposed to be this year, but was cancelled due to the Pandemic.

 

Have to wait another year 😞

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by chucky0731

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One time my OBC from my travel agent did not show up.  I went to Guest Relations with my documentation.  I must say they were wonderful.  "You're on vacation.  Don't worry about it, come back tomorrow and hopefully we'll have it straightened out."  .... It was.😁

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20 hours ago, Fouremco said:

Those who decide to cut back or eliminate OBC do so at their peril. Passengers will turn to those TAs who continue to offer OBC or other perks, or will simply deal directly with the cruise lines.


You could not be more incorrect. In all my years in business, never once have I given clients OBC and I thrived. If anything from this, I will get more clients who were frustrated with hours on hold with their agencies promising OBC.

 

This will cause more people to turn to agents and allow agents to pick and choose the clients with whom they choose to work. This has allowed me to fire undesirable clients and become even more exclusive.

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2 hours ago, flagger said:


You could not be more incorrect. In all my years in business, never once have I given clients OBC and I thrived. If anything from this, I will get more clients who were frustrated with hours on hold with their agencies promising OBC.

 

This will cause more people to turn to agents and allow agents to pick and choose the clients with whom they choose to work. This has allowed me to fire undesirable clients and become even more exclusive.

Sigh...  If you'd take the time to actually read my post before telling me I'm wrong, you'd see that I was talking about TAs who previously offered OBC who decide to cut back or eliminate it. Those like you who never offered it in the first place are not going to be seen as offering a reduced product and your clients would have no reason to switch.

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On 5/23/2020 at 11:21 AM, XuGator said:

Sorry I need to clarify.  The 300 dollar OBC from Celebrity, we already used up on specialty restaurants. Its the 800 coming from the agency that we were hoping to apply.  Thanks for the insight Dani - we will look for the best sellers.

Won't be able to use the TA's OBC's until you are actually onboard - we were told the same thing. That's the rules we were told!!!!!

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Posted (edited)

Thanks everyone for their expertise. I actually was able to find an online TA that was able to apply the large onboard credit (most TA's ranged between 700-800 OBC for this cruise) as a discount to the actual fare price instead. Now instead of having 800 waiting for us 2 days after we board the ship, 800 was instead deducted from the final payment amount. This is much more ideal in my opinion. Especially now that we are in this new era of corona cruising, I would rather keep as much money in my pocket as possible and not having to worry about a large amount of OBC and what to use it on.

Edited by XuGator

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4 minutes ago, XuGator said:

Thanks everyone for their expertise. I actually was able to find an online TA that was able to apply the large onboard credit (most TA's ranged between 700-800 OBC for this cruise) as a discount to the actual fare price instead. Now instead of having 800 waiting for us 2 days after we board the ship, 800 was instead deducted from the final payment amount. This is much more ideal in my opinion. Especially now that we are in this new era of corona cruising, I would rather keep as much money in my pocket as possible and not having to worry about a large amount of OBC and what to use it on.

Nice outcome! Good to hear that your perseverance paid off.

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11 hours ago, XuGator said:

Thanks everyone for their expertise. I actually was able to find an online TA that was able to apply the large onboard credit (most TA's ranged between 700-800 OBC for this cruise) as a discount to the actual fare price instead. Now instead of having 800 waiting for us 2 days after we board the ship, 800 was instead deducted from the final payment amount. This is much more ideal in my opinion. Especially now that we are in this new era of corona cruising, I would rather keep as much money in my pocket as possible and not having to worry about a large amount of OBC and what to use it on.

Good for you.  Since this is a Celebrity cruise, I would be a little suspicious.  Your deposit and final payment are being made directly to Celebrity and not to the TA?  I am wondering if the TA is having you pay them instead of Celebrity.

You might want to check the pricing on the Celebrity website to make sure the price of your cruise was not reduced.

If you quoted price is $700 less than what is showing on the Celebrity website and your CC charge shows Celebrity, then you should be good.

The process that you describe with the discount has always been the way it has worked for me with Princess cruises, but not Celebrity cruises.  

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12 hours ago, XuGator said:

Thanks everyone for their expertise. I actually was able to find an online TA that was able to apply the large onboard credit (most TA's ranged between 700-800 OBC for this cruise) as a discount to the actual fare price instead. Now instead of having 800 waiting for us 2 days after we board the ship, 800 was instead deducted from the final payment amount. This is much more ideal in my opinion. Especially now that we are in this new era of corona cruising, I would rather keep as much money in my pocket as possible and not having to worry about a large amount of OBC and what to use it on.


I hope this works out for you.  We booked 2 cruises with a agency who offer us a Special discounted price rather than OBC.  The Agent passed away shortly before final payment and guess what the discounted price was only on the agents records not Celebrity’s.  No one at the agency or Celebrity knew about the special discounted price.  I had to pay the Regular  price not the lower price and got no OBC.  
 

make sure the TA provides you with a copy of the Celebrity Booking Conformation-Guest Copy that is printed from the booking information Celebrity has in their system.

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1 hour ago, jagoffee said:

Good for you.  Since this is a Celebrity cruise, I would be a little suspicious.  Your deposit and final payment are being made directly to Celebrity and not to the TA?  I am wondering if the TA is having you pay them instead of Celebrity.

You might want to check the pricing on the Celebrity website to make sure the price of your cruise was not reduced.

If you quoted price is $700 less than what is showing on the Celebrity website and your CC charge shows Celebrity, then you should be good.

The process that you describe with the discount has always been the way it has worked for me with Princess cruises, but not Celebrity cruises.  

On the agency invoice it shows the cruise fare which is a match from the celebrity site and then shows the (800) as a agency discount below that as well as my (900 )that was charged to my card by celebrity with the final balance due next March. Everything seems to be in order (as far as I can tell)

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22 hours ago, XuGator said:

On the agency invoice it shows the cruise fare which is a match from the celebrity site and then shows the (800) as a agency discount below that as well as my (900 )that was charged to my card by celebrity with the final balance due next March. Everything seems to be in order (as far as I can tell)

Looks to be right.  Good for you.

.

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On 5/30/2020 at 1:15 AM, XuGator said:

On the agency invoice it shows the cruise fare which is a match from the celebrity site and then shows the (800) as a agency discount below that as well as my (900 )that was charged to my card by celebrity with the final balance due next March. Everything seems to be in order (as far as I can tell)

That's great. I used to be a travel agent myself and I thought this was against the rules. Years back when I started, in the late 90's, we could do this then almost all of the major lines stopped the practice. My former coworker is now my travel agent and is not allowed to do this but I guess certain agencies can? He gives me OBC's and free grats or puts me into a group to get better rates instead which are great too. I always come out ahead than booking direct. As long as you have it all in writing you should be good to go. Just make sure that all credit card transactions go through the cruise line and NOT through the agency. If any transaction goes through the agency, meaning you see the agency's name on your credit card statement then they are engaging in some unsavory business practices. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/30/2020 at 12:15 AM, XuGator said:

On the agency invoice it shows the cruise fare which is a match from the celebrity site and then shows the (800) as a agency discount below that as well as my (900 )that was charged to my card by celebrity with the final balance due next March. Everything seems to be in order (as far as I can tell)


The Agency invoice I got showed the Celebrity price and then a “Special discount”.

But the invoice was from the agency, it wasn’t the Celebrity Booking Confirmation-Guest Copy.  In unraveling the mess I learned to ask for the Celebrity Booking Confirmation, particularly when booking with a TA I haven’t used previously.

Edited by jelayne
Correction

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, jelayne said:


The Agency invoice I got showed the Celebrity price and then a “Special discount”.

But the invoice was from the agency, it wasn’t the Celebrity Booking Confirmation-Guest Copy.  In unraveling the mess I learned to ask for the Celebrity Booking Confirmation, particularly when booking with a TA I haven’t used previously.

I don’t expect the celebrity booking invoice to show the discount , as the way I understand it , the discount is being paid by the travel agency instead of me probably during final payment. Instead of TA giving me 800 dollars on board  credit , they are paying 800 of the final balance. Someone correct me if that doesnt sound right.   Their website payment form says that on board credit can be applied as a discount for carnival , royal and celebrity so it seems legit. This isn’t some random bootleg TA either.  There are many reviews on them and they have been around for 40 years according to their website .  They come up on a popular cruise bidding site  almost every time we bid out a cruise.  This however is the first time we have used them. 

Edited by XuGator

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Did you transfer the booking from one agent to another? Or are you speaking of a different cruise?  I seem to be missing something here. 

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51 minutes ago, XuGator said:

I don’t expect the celebrity booking invoice to show the discount , as the way I understand it , the discount is being paid by the travel agency instead of me probably during final payment. Instead of TA giving me 800 dollars on board  credit , they are paying 800 of the final balance. Someone correct me if that doesnt sound right.   Their website payment form says that on board credit can be applied as a discount for carnival , royal and celebrity so it seems legit. This isn’t some random bootleg TA either.  There are many reviews on them and they have been around for 40 years according to their website .  They come up on a popular cruise bidding site  almost every time we bid out a cruise.  This however is the first time we have used them. 


As long as your comfortable with the arrangement.  In our case it turned out that the agent was to pay part of the final payment, when the agent passed away the agency disavowed an knowledge and we were stuck paying the  Celebrity price.  

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4 hours ago, XuGator said:

I don’t expect the celebrity booking invoice to show the discount , as the way I understand it , the discount is being paid by the travel agency instead of me probably during final payment. Instead of TA giving me 800 dollars on board  credit , they are paying 800 of the final balance. Someone correct me if that doesnt sound right.   Their website payment form says that on board credit can be applied as a discount for carnival , royal and celebrity so it seems legit. This isn’t some random bootleg TA either.  There are many reviews on them and they have been around for 40 years according to their website .  They come up on a popular cruise bidding site  almost every time we bid out a cruise.  This however is the first time we have used them. 

People are not really saying that it is not legit.  We are just saying it is different than our experiences and thus unusual.  My TA  makes the final payment to Celebrity using my CC.  It is certainly possible that a TA could split the payment over two CCs. (Yours and theirs). I might be a little nervous the first time, because I have never done it that way previously. But I am not suggesting that I would not use that process if offered.  

For me it is not a big deal to have a refundable OBC.  I sometimes have a few charges, I get some cash, and then I get a credit for any unused balance.
 

Please come back and share your experience after the cruise.

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Posted (edited)

My TA once offered me a rebate rather than the OBC.  It would be provided as a check to me after I sailed.  Since their perk is funded as a percentage of their commission which isn't paid to them until after final payment it does make me curious.

 

What happens if you cancel the cruise?  I guess they would have to come after you for the $800.

 

I'm not questioning the validity of the offer from the TA.   Like others I think are just trying to point out what is raising suspicions which would make us ask questions.

 

I was surprised when my TA offered the rebate, I had thought that was against Celebrity rules, but turned out to be legit.  I should have accepted it but took the refundable OBC as usual.

 

Edited by wrk2cruise

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