Need a travel agency, does it need to be local?

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Carrie Livingston

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Jan 6, 2015
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St Louis
#1
I'm going on a Baltic cruise with NCL in September 2015 with my family. The Garden Villa has already been booked for the 5 of us. I need to make air arrangements along with a hotel for Copenhagen. I've picked out a hotel that I think would work but haven't dealt with flight arrangements yet. I want to work with a travel agent to book the flights and hotel in Copenhagen and also to get some type of trip insurance for that portion of the trip. NCL cruise insurance already purchased for the cruise.

I live in St Louis and wondering if anyone has a good recommendation for a travel agent locally, if necessary. If not necessary for TA to be local, then would like a recommendation for one anywhere! Thanks in advance.
 
Sep 8, 2014
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Boston
#4
The general answer to your question is that it is not necessary for your travel agent to be local. Many travel agents, including myself, have clients all over the country. However, you could start by looking for local agents that are members of ASTA and affiliated with large groups such as Travel Leaders, Signature or Virtuoso. These would typically be the most reputable and competent.
 
Dec 27, 2014
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London UK
#5
I'm going on a Baltic cruise with NCL in September 2015 with my family. The Garden Villa has already been booked for the 5 of us.
Carrie - I can't help you on the TA front, but wanted to say we did the last Baltic cruise of the season last year on the NCL Star and absolutely loved the itinerary.

Hope you have a awesome time and enjoy the ports. St. Petersburg was amazing (if you do an NCL tour be prepared to visit the largest gift shop in St Petersburg for an extended visit).

Be sure you get up early for Stockholm for the sail in through all of the islands, you will go between some of the little islands and be amazed the ship fits! They opened up the crew deck at the front, even served hot drinks, it is well worth it.

Dan
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,655
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San Francisco
#6
Thanks for the link, I'll check it out!

Carrie
May I commend you on being clever enough to be sure this trip is great by using a professional TA. You will LOVE Copenhagen - the Danes are a riot. We stayed at the Airport Hilton (I have perks with Hilton) and took the (very easy and fast) train into "town". It was surprisingly enjoyable; we saw everything, didn't have to worry about too much wine with dinner, and we got good sleep in the well-soundproofed Hilton.
 

Carrie Livingston

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Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
1,290
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St Louis
#7
St. Petersburg was amazing (if you do an NCL tour be prepared to visit the largest gift shop in St Petersburg for an extended visit).
Since there are 5 of us, we are planning on getting a private tour in St Petersburg so we can plan the order we want to visit places. Will probably do the Hermitage on the 2nd day since we will have already been through Russian customs on the first day.

I am so excited about the trip and have a countdown on my phone. 226 days until we board the ship.

When we stop in Warnemunde, we plan on going to Stalag Luft I near there. My grandfather was a POW during the war and was held there. There isn't a camp there anymore but there is a plaque.

After the trip, I'm going to Amsterdam for a couple of days and then to Berlin for a couple of days.

Carrie
 
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Carrie Livingston

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Jan 6, 2015
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St Louis
#8
We stayed at the Airport Hilton

We're planning on staying at the Adina Apartment Hotel in Copenhagen. They have a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with kitchen, living, and dining areas. There is also a washer/dryer in one of the bathrooms. I don't think we'll need it, but nice to have nonetheless. Also since there is a full kitchen, we could prepare meals there although I don't think that is gonna happen!:)
 
B

bodega3

Guest
#9
We really liked Copenhagen. Very clean city, very easy to walk around. Pay attention to the sidewalks. One part is for bikes and one is for walking. So many bikes in that city! Something we noticed is that we saw no elderly. A very young population in the city. Enjoyed walking around Tivoli Garden at night. The lights make it very charming.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
#10
Since there are 5 of us, we are planning on getting a private tour in St Petersburg so we can plan the order we want to visit places. Will probably do the Hermitage on the 2nd day since we will have already been through Russian customs on the first day.

I am so excited about the trip and have a countdown on my phone. 226 days until we board the ship.

When we stop in Warnemunde, we plan on going to Stalag Luft I near there. My grandfather was a POW during the war and was held there. There isn't a camp there anymore but there is a plaque.

After the trip, I'm going to Amsterdam for a couple of days and then to Berlin for a couple of days.

Carrie
Carrie, buy a picture postcard of the plaque and spend an hour on the beach at Warnemunde in a "korbstraut" ... the word is something like that... a private little cabana with a double seat and footrest and a canopy out in the sand that a very nice lady sets up for you to sit and contemplate the water and the crazy sailboats playing tag with the ferries.
 

Neil Maley

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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#11
Not necessary to use a local travel agent but when you do look for agents, make sure you "interview" them. Ask them how many cruises they've been on if booking a cruise, ask them if they've ever been to the cities you are traveling too and - very important - find out if they are available 24/7. Many local brick and mortar agencies are only open certain hours and don't have a 24/7 hotline to call for help if you need. Ask the agent you are considering if they have a phone number for 24 hour service.
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
1,290
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46
St Louis
#12
Carrie, buy a picture postcard of the plaque .
Not so sure if my mom would be happy about that since we're talking about her father and he passed away several years ago. Stalag Luft 1 was located near Barth so we're planning on renting a car and driving there. It's about 30 miles from Warnemunde as the crow flies. After we've gone there, we'll probably head back to Warnemunde and hang out there.
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
1,290
1,377
113
46
St Louis
#13
Not necessary to use a local travel agent but when you do look for agents, make sure you "interview" them. Ask them how many cruises they've been on if booking a cruise, ask them if they've ever been to the cities you are traveling too and - very important - find out if they are available 24/7. Many local brick and mortar agencies are only open certain hours and don't have a 24/7 hotline to call for help if you need. Ask the agent you are considering if they have a phone number for 24 hour service.

Thanks Promal! I got some information from a AAA travel agent but was surprised that she only quoted Air Canada and Delta. When I Google flights from St Louis to Copenhagen, I come up with a lot more options. Not sure if what she found was just not cost effective or what. I need to give her a call and set up a time to meet. Also, she didn't think she would be able to book the hotel (Adina Apartment Hotel) we want in Copenhagen which was a bit surprising. Is that normal?
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#14
You may wish to reconsider the NCL insurance. Here are some of our tips:

To better understand the pieces/parts of trip insurance and how they relate to your needs, I will refer you to the QuoteWright site. They provide a chart containing a brief summary for each coverage type and a comparison of insurance providers. Prior to departure, you'll need to decide what coverages you desire. Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption are included in the standard policies. To those you can add Cancel for Any Reason, a Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Waiver, Hospital of Choice, and Emergency Medical Evacuation. The latter can be expensive without insurance - well over $100,000! For that reason I strongly advise you obtain a policy with Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage, which can also be purchased as a stand-alone policy.

It's helpful and wise to speak with an agent to ensure your concerns are addressed with just the right coverage. We recently secured a Worldwide Trip Protector Plus policy through InsureMyTrip that covers all of the above, and includes PRIMARY insurance coverage for medical issues (no waiting for our own insurance to deny the claim). The cost was 8% of our trip ($50 of that was for the PRIMARY medical coverage).

Something else to consider: for $25 BHTPoffers coverage for delayed or lost luggage, flight delays, and missed connections. Compensation ranges from $50 for a 2 hour flight delay to $1,000 for tarmac delays of 2+ hours and lost luggage.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,697
18,353
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
Thanks Promal! I got some information from a AAA travel agent but was surprised that she only quoted Air Canada and Delta. When I Google flights from St Louis to Copenhagen, I come up with a lot more options. Not sure if what she found was just not cost effective or what. I need to give her a call and set up a time to meet. Also, she didn't think she would be able to book the hotel (Adina Apartment Hotel) we want in Copenhagen which was a bit surprising. Is that normal?
Thanks Promal! I got some information from a AAA travel agent but was surprised that she only quoted Air Canada and Delta. When I Google flights from St Louis to Copenhagen, I come up with a lot more options. Not sure if what she found was just not cost effective or what. I need to give her a call and set up a time to meet. Also, she didn't think she would be able to book the hotel (Adina Apartment Hotel) we want in Copenhagen which was a bit surprising. Is that normal?
There can be a number of reasons AAA only quoted two airlines. Perhaps they were the only two that they receive commission on or have contracts with. They may have been the lowest priced. They may have had best connection times if they weren't direct flights. Or the agent may be lazy.

And as far as the hotel it can be that AAA doesn't have a contract to sell the particular hotel you are interested. This is where an independent agency can work more magic for you as they often use multiple suppliers and each of those suppliers has different hotels they work with, giving you a bigger selection than you might get from AAA.
 
Likes: Dan B