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Aussie booking cruise independantly, need advise!

Helensvale...
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Aussie booking cruise independantly, need advise!

After researching all the cruises we have decided to book online a Holland American Cruise inside passage in August. Unfortunately we were told those living outside of America cannot book online, which is a shame as the prices are cheaper thank with an agent in Australia. Anyway an agent with Expedia has told me we can book with her so we are very excited. Question is - is this OK and has anyone else done this - I need to send my details, credit card number via email! I'm a little nervous but just checking with others out there. Can anyone help please.

Sue

Anchorage, Alaska
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1. Re: Aussie booking cruise independantly, need advise!

Interesting....

I have not heard of this before; and by "America" does that mean US, US & Canada or US, Canada & Mexico (i.e. North America)?.

(1) After researching all the cruises we have decided to book online a Holland American Cruise inside passage in August. Unfortunately we were told those living outside of America cannot book online..."

- Were you told this by Holland America? Was it their website?

(2) "...Anyway an agent with Expedia has told me we can book with her so we are very excited. Question is - is this OK and has anyone else done this - I need to send my details, credit card number via email! I'm a little nervous but just checking with others out there. Can anyone help please."

I do not understand why Expedia can do it and another web site cannot. Nor do I understand why you end up sending details in an email as opposed to a typical online "booking form".

- I guess, once again I'd ask the same question as above, what web site are you working/dealing with in this case?

I'm prone to being careful and always like to work with a known name/brand. I always use a credit card (so to help protect myself in case of any fraud on the end of the supplier) and I research the actual company that's going to get my money with "Better Business Bureau", internet searches/reviews, etc. By your line of questioning, it sounds as if you are at least exercising reasonable care/caution.

I can't say if it's right or wrong; but if someone here has experienced it, I'm sure they'll respond. Keep checking back.

Helensvale...
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2. Re: Aussie booking cruise independantly, need advise!

Holland America Line is amongst the most strict on booking policies and will not permit us to book their ships for clients that don’t reside in North America. If you would consider travelling on a different cruise line, we can book you on any of the ones below.

CruiseExpertsTravel.com

Another one -

If you are a citizen of the U.S. or Canada, have a residence in the U.S. or Canada, travel on a U.S. or Canadian passport or are traveling with someone that meets one of these qualifications, we can help you with any cruise we offer.

Unfortunately, if you are a citizen of a country other than the United States or Canada and you do not meet one of these criteria, Holland America, Oceania, Princess and Star Clippers now prohibit all U.S. travel agencies (including Vacations To Go) from selling cruises to you.

We truly regret that we are not allowed to offer these cruise lines to all of our international customers. This is not a matter of international law or a policy of Vacations To Go or the U.S. government. Rather, it is a corporate policy instituted by each of these cruise lines. We are very disappointed in the restrictions these cruise lines have placed on U.S. travel agencies.

Fortunately, many cruise lines allow customers of all nations to book deeply-discounted cruises through Vacations To Go. If you are interested in booking any other cruise line, please let me know.

Vacations To Go

Greater Sydney...
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3. Re: Aussie booking cruise independantly, need advise!

G'day again Sue,

I would never send my CC details by email. I was requested to do so for several things I have booked in another country directly with the supplier, not a third party booking agent, and, being satisfied that I was dealing directly with the supplier, and that it is apparently quite common business practice for small suppliers, I am talking mainly B&B's in South Africa, I phoned my CC details through.

If you are dealing through Expedia I would have thought that they would have a secure booking arrangement to enable you to securely enter the details. Expedia are a huge organisation and own this website as an example.

Scott, I have heard of this policy before.

Don't give up on the HAL plan, Sue. I would just have booked the cruise through a travel agent for piece of mind, even though I book everything else but air fares independently.

Edited: 26 January 2011, 00:39
Queensland...
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4. Re: Aussie booking cruise independantly, need advise!

We have come across the same hurdles when trying to book independantly. Last year we booked our cruise thru crucon.com but this year we were told they could not accept our booking, so kept searching and have now booked with avoyatravel.com. The savings are worth the search. We have enjoyed cruising with Royal Caribbean lines. We have also used VacationsToGo previously, but I do recall they were not able to accept our cruise booking either, but keep trying as policies may change. All our independant bookings have gone smoothly. Good luck !

Fairbanks, Alaska
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5. Re: Aussie booking cruise independantly, need advise!

"I have not heard of this before; and by "America" does that mean US, US & Canada or US, Canada & Mexico (i.e. North America)?."

Actually the Americas stretch from Northern Alaska and Canada to the tip of Argentina.

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Alaska
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6. Re: Aussie booking cruise independantly, need advise!

Since HAL is here in Seattle I just gave them a call. They verified that their site won't accept an int'l credit card, however, if you call them they will take the info over the phone. They don't want credit card information to be written down so they won't accept it if you try to email it to them.( If you call they enter the info right away so there is no written record of the cc number)

As a 'vendor' we had a similar issue with int'l cards. We had the tightest anti fraud requirements with our bank so we required lots of info on-line.( The more info that you require the less chance of fraud.) The problem was that int'l zip codes and some addresses weren't accepted by the system. In the end we had to lift the address verification in order to satisfy int'l customers. It made us more vulnerable but the customers were happy. carol

Edited: 26 January 2011, 17:29
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Seattle
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Greater Sydney...
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7. Re: Aussie booking cruise independantly, need advise!

That is very nice of you to do that for O/P, Carol. Allow me to thank you on my own behalf.

Helensvale...
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8. Re: Aussie booking cruise independantly, need advise!

Thank you all for your input. The Expedia travel agent is going to ring me or I can ring her with my credit card details to make the booking. I'm feeling abit more confident now but wondered if Paypal was an option??

Thanks, Sue

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: Aussie booking cruise independantly, need advise!

I had the same dilema last week as I got some cheap flights to Vancouver and needed to book my cruise before paying the balance of my flights. I originally got a quote from Vacations to go last year and when I went to book last week they informed me That Holland America had just changed the rules in Jan 2011. I actually rang and spoke to a guy at VTG, so unless you were an American etc or had previously booked with them, they couldn't take my booking. They said the cruise companies keep changing there policies from time to time. Anyway I discovered the Canadian expedia site and booked with them. The girl gave me a number and I called and spoke to her and gave her my credit card details over the phone. Vactions to go did tell me they could still book me but they wouldn't get any commission and Holland would still honour my booking, typical.

The Holland America agent in Australia quoted me $1300.00 more than VTG & Expedia. They said the reason they don't want Australians and other nationalities booking on American websites is they have had a few problems as most of the websites are wholesalers and customer service is not a high priority. When people have problems or need to change bookings they call the Australian agent rather than who they booked it with and the Agent in Australia can't do anything? (Won't as they aren't making any money). Also it means they are missing out on there hefty commisions if everyone books overseas. There was an article in the Age last Saturday.

I think Expedia seems very good. I got prompt emails and spoke direct to the girl I booked it with. Mind you I had to call her at 6am before going to work to with the time differences etc. I paid a deposit and pay the final balance in June.

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Greater Sydney...
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10. Re: Aussie booking cruise independantly, need advise!

G'day Holstime,

I have searched The Age and SMH for the article you mentioned but could not locate it. Might it be possible for you to find a link and post it here?

I have also scoured the HAL website for details of this policy to no avail, but do not in anyway deny its existence.

Edited: 27 January 2011, 11:56