Booking a Cruise with a travel agent
Why use a travel agent when booking a cruise?
Cruises can be really, really confusing as to price, special offers, etc. The choice can almost be overwhelming. It is tempting to just get on the cruise line’s own website and book it yourself. But this has its pitfalls, unless you really know what you are doing. That is why we recommend you book with a travel agent who specializes in cruises. It does not cost any more….they get a commission from the cruise lines and it does not add anything on your end.
Here are some of the advantages of using a travel agent to book your cruise:
→ If you are not sure which cruise line to take, be aware that cruise line sales reps cannot give you a choice of cruise lines…and their knowledge is limited to the cruise line that employs them. Most travel agents — cruise specialists, in particular — have cruised on several different cruise lines and can offer first-hand advice.
→ They can help you select the right cabin…..not all types of cabins are alike, and this is not pointed out in the cruise line brochures. For example, if you get a cabin located beneath the main dining room, you may be awakened early in the morning (or late at night) as the crew arranges the chairs and tables above you.
→ Although agents have the same pricing as the cruise lines offer, there are some benefits that might help lower your cost. Some agents may be part of a large franchise group and therefore have access to group pricing: the franchise they belong to buys blocks of cabins at a discount from the cruise line and offers them at special pricing. Along with group pricing, they might have special perks to offer like on-board spending credit, prepaid gratuities (great way to save), a free bottle of wine or dinner in a specialty restaurant.
→ Travel agents take the time to get to know you personally, and can recommend cruises based on your personal preferences. If wild parties aren’t your style, then they can steer you away from some of those cruises that are likely to be a bit rowdy.
The choice is getting more difficult:
Adding to the confusion is a problem of the cruise industry’s own making. Once you get your cruise booked and are happy with everything, along comes a flyer from the cruise line offering what seems like an even better deal. But it can be a trap!
In order for you to accept the new deal you have to cancel your first booking, and lose any perks that might be included, and then re-book. But in that short window of time the special offer from the cruise line could be sold out, and you are left in worse shape than you started. Or, you have to give up some of the perks on the original cruise that you booked in order to get the new deal. It is all very confusing, so we recommend once you get your cruise booked, through out all those other offers that come your way.