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No additional benefits offered here and the invoice price from the cruise line is what you pay.

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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Belfastman said:

No additional benefits offered here and the invoice price from the cruise line is what you pay.

That has never been our experience when transferring to agents - as Phil said price reductions of around 7% were not uncommon, though we know someone who used another UK agent and got 10% -  interestingly they have had no problems with their refunds.  Sometimes it was OBC not reductions.  Basically the agent is rebating back part of their commission to you.  

No one in the USA pays the full price, hence why at all the future cruise presentations the phrase "we keep your agent in the loop so you can have their benefits as well'' is regularly uttered.  

There are still some good agents out there but in the absence of tighter controls by the principals (in this case Azamara) the industry has sunk into the same reputational pit as others have done when there were previous financial/economic crisis.

Edited by uktog

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50 minutes ago, Belfastman said:

No additional benefits offered here and the invoice price from the cruise line is what you pay.

Maybe true in your case, but your post said you never understood the benefits. A general statement. So I told you why.  I’m sure it’s the same for many others. Does that make sense now?

 

Phil

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1 hour ago, Belfastman said:

No additional benefits offered here and the invoice price from the cruise line is what you pay.

 

Shop around. Every time I've booked onboard I've had extra OBC and discount from my TA.

Having said that, the booking I presently have, the TA is insisting on payment four weeks before Azamara want it.

That will lead very nicely to a conversation nearer the time of payment, which I look forward to, especially in light of the comments on these boards of TA's sitting on refund money etc. 

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1 hour ago, excitedofharpenden said:

It's quite simple really. If you have a travel agent who gives a cheaper price than the standard Azamara offering then transferring it to them you can take advantage of a lower price. As an example, if I booked onboard and paid a total of say £4000 on a cruise as detailed in the Azamara invoice and had it transferred to my agent the price my agent then quoted me on his invoice would be £150-£200 cheaper (depending on the cruise).  I'm not into extra OBC and prefer the bottom line to be adjusted. Sometimes on pricier cruises I saved £400.  That's why I did it. 

 

Phil 

Our U.S. cruise agent gives significant additional OBC on Azamara that's refundable if we don't spend it, so it's effectively a somewhat-delayed cash discount.  On some other cruise lines he gives a discounted fare.  Our cruise fare payments always go directly to the cruise line and the cruise line pays him his commission.  No hanky-panky.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, marinaro44 said:

Our U.S. cruise agent gives significant additional OBC on Azamara that's refundable if we don't spend it, so it's effectively a somewhat-delayed cash discount.  On some other cruise lines he gives a discounted fare.  Our cruise fare payments always go directly to the cruise line and the cruise line pays him his commission.  No hanky-panky.

Yes, I’m talking UK and refundable OBC doesn’t seem to figure as widely as it does in the US.

 

I really don’t want this to to develop into a “we get more than you” debate, but rather explaining to belfast the reason that people transfer to a travel agent at all which I’m very surprised they weren’t aware of the reasons for.  As an experienced Azamara cruiser. 

 

Phil

Edited by excitedofharpenden

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29 minutes ago, norn iron said:

 

Shop around. Every time I've booked onboard I've had extra OBC and discount from my TA.

Having said that, the booking I presently have, the TA is insisting on payment four weeks before Azamara want it.

That will lead very nicely to a conversation nearer the time of payment, which I look forward to, especially in light of the comments on these boards of TA's sitting on refund money etc. 

Yes, certainly in the UK the payment a month early is a disadvantage, as is the unwillingness to accept certain cards for payment (such as AMEX) if you are collecting miles on such cards.  I’ve now got control of that, but only because I’m a relatively high volume booker.  Or at least I was until covid came along!

 

Phil

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5 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Yes, I’m talking UK and refundable OBC doesn’t seem to figure as widely as it does in the US.

 

I really don’t want this to to develop into a “we get more than you” debate, but rather explaining to belfast the reason that people transfer to a travel agent at all which I’m very surprised they weren’t aware of the reasons for.  As an experienced Azamara cruiser. 

 

Phil

Understand, Phil.  I was doing the same, and making the point that refundable OBC is pretty much the same as getting discounted fare from the cruise agent.

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I have found the benefit of booking with a TA to be usually lots of extra OBC. My TA bills my CC directly to Azamara, but their final payment date is a few weeks sooner. Don’t ask me why.

Betsey

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I transfer my bookings to my daughter who is a self employed TA with a UK franchise organisation. That way she gets commission on my booking and I pay exactly the same as I would have if I left the booking with Azamara. It’s one way in which I can support her as it’s a pretty tough business, especially at present when she’s having to pay back commission for cancelled holidays, and has had no new bookings for months.

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We transfer our on board booking to an independent Travel Agent here in the UK and they discount the price again  for us, of which I am more than happy with. They also take my card details and when payment is due, my payment does direct to Azamara. Two full refunds these last couple of months , which arrived very quickly, have been paid directly to me not via the agent. These are just two reasons why I would transfer an on board booking to a Travel Agent here in the UK.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mackdogmolly said:

I have found the benefit of booking with a TA to be usually lots of extra OBC. My TA bills my CC directly to Azamara, but their final payment date is a few weeks sooner. Don’t ask me why.

Betsey

My TA puts final payment date a week ahead of Azamara's date.  I asked him about this and he said he wants to be sure payment is made on time with no slip up, otherwise the cruise line would cancel your cruise.  There's no financial incentive for him to want to do this, as payment goes directly to the cruise line.

 

Our TA and his wife own the company, a large worldwide operation, and he tells me the company is getting plenty of bookings for 2021 and 2022, as his clients feel they need something good to look forward to.

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3 minutes ago, marinaro44 said:

My TA puts final payment date a week ahead of Azamara's date.  I asked him about this and he said he wants to be sure payment is made on time with no slip up, otherwise the cruise line would cancel your cruise.  There's no financial incentive for him to want to do this, as payment goes directly to the cruise line.

 

Our TA and his wife own the company, a large worldwide operation, and he tells me the company is getting plenty of bookings for 2021 and 2022, as his clients feel they need something good to look forward to.

Makes sense to ask for the funds a little ahead.  A week or two makes sense.  Not sure in the UK there is the same confidence to book.  We certainly won't book anything more until the way is clearer.

 

I have discovered on a river boat booking that the same agent they have been asking for the funds six weeks before the money was due to be paid over and actually starting to chase ten weeks before.  Whilst I have not been taken for a mug in terms of benefits when transferring to an agent I am now well aware that for no work (given I do all the research in every case and book on board in many cases so I am easy commission) I have been providing the franchise with liquidity and I suspect now given the lack of return of port taxes the agents protected his commission in an interesting way as well.  Oh well bye bye xxxxxxx (being good not to name them)

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37 minutes ago, marinaro44 said:

My TA puts final payment date a week ahead of Azamara's date.  I asked him about this and he said he wants to be sure payment is made on time with no slip up, otherwise the cruise line would cancel your cruise.  There's no financial incentive for him to want to do this, as payment goes directly to the cruise line.

 

Our TA and his wife own the company, a large worldwide operation, and he tells me the company is getting plenty of bookings for 2021 and 2022, as his clients feel they need something good to look forward to.

That makes sense (about collecting a week or two in advance) and that’s why we booked our next cruise (in 2021), quite honestly, even though I have strong doubts about the ability for it to sail. I really needed something to look forward to 🤞

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We use a very famous TA with multiple locations internationally, which we could visit in person but actually interface with through e-mail and phone. They also want payment about a week before the cruise line requires payment. I have had no problem contacting the TA and asking if I can delay payment until closer to the cruise line's deadline if it makes a difference on my credit card closing date. And the charge, regardless of when the TA submits it, is on MY personal charge card, not the TA's. Sounds like the experience in the UK, at least on this point, is very different.

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Interesting reading these posts.  I have now had a quote from Azamara direct for a B2B next year.  I had tasked my TA with getting a price for this as well since it involves 4 free nights.  However I have not heard from her for 3 days. I know from their regular newsletter that the reduced staff are spending a lot of time trying to get refunds from everyone. This is a quote" Most Celebrity and Azamara bookings are being handled by staff working from home in the USA. They work 8 hour shifts across twenty four hours and there can't be many of them because we now know most of the staff by name! We have also learnt about their home life in Michigan, Kansas City, Missouri and other towns plus their dogs names!

 

  We are still owed a portion of our refund for our cancelled June cruises.  Azamara just refer me back to the TA about this refund.

It is a small family run cruise TA and we have had excellent service and discounts of 5% in the past.

My inclination is to book direct with Azamara this time.  However I feel guilty since I believe in supporting our local business especially during this awful time for them. 

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