Is it better to book a cruise through a travel agent? we say yes

Going online to book a plane ticket or book a hotel room is a familiar and quite easy transaction. However, when you book an excursion — especially your first one — you may want to reconsider your intention to handle the transaction yourself through the travel agency’s website or an online advertiser. cheap online. This DIY approach may not be the best way for you to find your dream vacation at sea.

In fact, booking a cruise is not easy. You will probably come across a lot of questions for which you don’t have the answers available.

That’s where specialized travel agents come into play. Their expertise can help you avoid mistakes, whether you’re a first-timer or a frequent tester of a brand you’ve never tried before.

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Why you should book through a cruise agency

You should consider booking a cruise through a travel agent as a knowledgeable agent can help you understand the nuances of purchasing a yacht and help you make the best decision for your property. enjoy your vacation.

When you book a cruise, you’re making a vacation decision that goes beyond a flight or night in a hotel. Which ship you choose will determine your dining and evening entertainment choices during your stay. The itinerary you choose will affect the destinations you will visit and what beachside activities will be available to you. Judging the options on your own can be overwhelming if you’ve never been on a cruise before.

A travel agent will help you make choices about dining options and cabins. Princess Cruises

In addition, cruise fares can be difficult to understand and compare. For example, you can view fares listed online without the port fees, taxes and charges that you only see after providing your personal information.

Plus, the price of your cruise includes accommodation, meals, entertainment and activities – and in some cases drinks, tips and shore excursions, Wi-Fi and services other additions. There are lots of packages in some fares and not so much with others. A travel agent can help you determine what fares your cruise will bring you. The cheapest basic yacht fare doesn’t always offer the best value or the best overall vacation deal.

Related: 4 Situations When You Should Use a Travel Agent

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You also don’t just book a ride on the same train, as you will be required select a specific cabin and when you want to dine. Making mistakes in these categories can ruin your yachting experience, as there are things like cabins and “bad” dining times (think noisy or stuffy cabins, dinner at 8 p.m. with cranky children, etc.).

With cruises, you usually don’t pay for your entire stay in advance, but make a deposit, with the final payment due at a later date. A cruise travel agent can make sure you don’t miss any due dates.

Remember, you may be the do-it-yourself type of person when it comes to booking flights and hotels, but booking yachts is more complicated. If you prefer to do your own research, focus on what to do and look at the call gateways. Read about different ships, cruise lines and itineraries. However, when it comes to booking excursions, we still recommend contacting a travel agent that specializes in excursions to help you learn some tips and avoid any rookie mistakes.

Travel agents can get better deals on cruises

If you’re concerned that working with an agent will make your journey more expensive, don’t worry. Cruise agents receive most of their income through commissions from cruise lines. Their service to you is usually free, although some may charge first-time customers a minimal fee. It’s worth it.

In addition to sharing their expertise, the agent may have negotiated group space at a lower rate with the cruise line, which could save you money on yacht fares. Agents can also get first access to sale prices as shipping lines notify their agency partners and loyalty club members before they announce the sale to the public.

Related: 6 ways to get a deal on a cruise

Some cruise agents even throw in reservation privilegessuch as a complimentary bottle of champagne in the ice bin, waiting for you to arrive at your cabin.

How to find a travel agent for a cruise

Cruise lines would rather you use a travel agent than go online and book in person. They have small internal booking teams and when you have questions while booking, good luck getting an expert over the phone in time.

Companies like Royal Caribbean and Festival cruise line offers online directories to help you find an experienced cruise agent near you.

Several itineraries can help you find experienced travel agents. LORRAINE BOOGICH/GETTY PICTURE

You can also find experienced and certified travel agents through CLIA, Cruise Lines International Association, is the main marketing group of the industry. Asking friends who have traveled to recommend a travel agent is another good idea.

Related: 5 unexpected places to sell tourism on the sea

You can get more personalized care from small dealers than from large online agents, although sites like, and also have agents. experienced travel. These larger online travel agencies can be a good choice for those who like to make decisions and ask questions over chat. Just make sure you get the name and phone number of the representative for any follow-up questions.

Questions to ask a cruise agent

When choosing a cruise agent, you’ll want to tap into that person’s specific expertise about the route and vessel you’re considering sailing. Anyone can read a deck diagram outlining the spaces on a ship (which you can find online), but you’re looking for people who really know their stuff.

Look for cruise-only travel agents or home-based agents that specialize in cruises. If you are using a full-service travel agency, ask for the itineraries desk.

Here are some questions to ask a travel agent to determine their expertise:

  • Do you often take the train?
  • Did you cruise on the line I’m reviewing?
  • Have you traveled on the ship I am reviewing or do you have clients who have been on that ship and have given their holiday reviews?
  • Do you have first-hand knowledge of the cruise destination? Journeys?

You’ll also want to ask the travel agent if they have a preferred relationship or bargaining agreement with any particular line that could lead to privileges for you.

Please note that not all agents work with all itineraries; some may represent a few preferred vendors or specialize in more upscale excursions. They get bigger commissions from their preferred lines.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but be aware if the agent seems to be taking you outside of the boundaries you were initially considering, as this could be the reason. On the plus side, an agent who is a preferred supplier can negotiate prices with the shipping line and can solicit favors, such as that bottle of champagne or request a cabin upgrade.

You can get a cabin upgrade with an experienced travel agent. JEFF R CLOW/GETTY IMAGES

You should also ask if the tour company offers 24/7 support (usually an 800) in case you have last-minute questions or problems before or during your trip.

The cruise agent should also ask you questions, to better understand your dream vacation wishes. If you call a travel agent for the first time, that agent will interview you as much as you are interviewing him or her. Agents should be focused on helping you choose itinerary, train and cabin right for you. Making the right choices is crucial to your overall cruise experience.

bottom line

Booking a cruise is a complicated business. A cruise agent will guide you through cabin selection and meal times, deposit and final payment, as well as options for shore excursions and specialty dining. If you need to cancel your trip, the agent will also help you with the refund process. You’ll be a lot less stressed before and during your vacation if you book with an experienced agent.

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