You sound as though you had an horrendous experience, and not one which I'd like, but I can only go off my own experience of booking 8 cruises with Royal Caribbean through the same US agent. She replies within minutes (subject of course to the time difference - I wouldn't expect a reply during US night hours) Docs have been sent DHL or edoc (I don't mind which) I'm given the Royal Caribbean ref. no within minutes of booking and can then access the website to complete online check-in. I do know that Princess won't accept bookings from foreigners via US travel agents (due to objections from Princess UK) but there's no restrictions at all with Royal Caribbean. P&O cruises aren't sold in the US so we had to book that cruise through a UK internet agency. US agents sell cruises of all lengths so itis possible to book the 12/14 night cruises from Southampton, Harwich et.
Cruises from the UK do cost more than those starting in the US for a number of reasons including fewer ships so less competition, and more expensive port charges. But the same cruise can cost less when booked through an American agent..........so that's your answer - check prices and book through a US agent if cheaper. You'll be taking a chance on the $/£ exchange rate, but you can cancel up to 60 days before the cruise with no loss of deposit. Also, you'll get the lower price if the cruise price drop.
I totally disagree, cruises from the UK are longer usually 14 nights and many such as royal and P&O do not sell these ones from the uk to the americans. Cruises from Miami etc are cheaper as there are so many cruises over there and everyone does cruises. I had my holiday go pair shaped a couple of years ago when I booked it from an american website, firstly, they are not supposed to do "cross border selling", then when you want to make a change they did not reply - when I call the cruise company in the UK they could not even go into my booking as they can only access those made from the UK and my contract was with the US agent. Then to make it worse we got to the port - no tickets as they did not do overseas mail but we had try to complete the online booking form but it would not allow us to put in our address as it kept saying country did not match and when we got to the port they had booked us on a resident special hence the cheap price - and the agent wanted to see ID. In the end we did get on but what a lot of pain when it is supposed to be a relaxomg time. They were going to charge us extra but by this time I was in tears and extremely fraught - never again.
If you want to save money and we all do - I would go on one that you want to - book in the UK with an agent and haggle the price down, try and choose an american cruise line as then you will save money onboard with the exchange rate.
You get what you pay for is my moto now.
1. Fuel prices are much less
2. Port charges are less
3. Food costs are less
4. Running costs are less
If you want to risk booking with a US agent you loose a large number of guarantees plus you still have to fly there and with that there is much greater chance of things going wrong and missing the ship. There are some terrific Cruise Agents here and they are well versed in all matters about cruising. So why take a chance if you mess it up you may have to wait a year to repeat that cruise at the time you want. So what might seem like blatant exploitation probably isn't but if you still believe it is then don't just moan ...take action Regards, Neil Dow.