You don't NEED a travel advisor to book your cruise...but here's why you just might want to work with one.
In today's digital age, booking a cruise online has never been easier. You can search for cruise options, compare prices, and make reservations with just a few clicks. So, why would anyone bother booking through a travel agent? Well, hold on to your britches because there are some pretty darn good reasons. In this blog, we're going to explore the many advantages of booking your cruise with a travel agency that specializes in cruises.
Save time and money:
While booking a cruise online is a convenient option, choosing the right cruise may not be as straightforward as it seems. With countless cruise options available, finding the one that perfectly matches your preferences can be overwhelming. This is where a travel agent can save you a significant amount of time and stress.
Experienced travel agents take the time to understand your wishes, preferences, and requirements. We can then match you with the ideal cruise line, ship, itinerary, and cabin location. For example, we will make sure you understand the pros and cons of a specific cabin location – after all, you probably don't want to find yourself right above the ship's lively nightclub if you value a good night's sleep.
Because of our in-depth cruise line knowledge, we know which ships are due for refurbishments and which ones are fresh. Imagine investing a chunk of money into a cruise and realizing upon embarkation that it is not the vibe you were looking for at all. We can provide you with peace of mind, ensuring that your investment aligns with your expectations.
We understand that getting the best price and amenities on your cruise is a priority. When you book your cruise with a travel advisor, the worst case scenario is that you pay the same price as you would directly, but you get a whole other level of service.
If you book with a travel agency that specializes in cruises, you will likely pay less and/or get extra perks. We leverage our volume and relationships to get exclusive offers for our clients. We also have software to monitor prices in case you qualify for a lower rate after booking.
***Remember that commission is built into the price of the cruise, so you are paying for the service whether you receive it or not***
Customer support and assistance for cruisers:
Cruises are generally an easy and seamless way to travel, but let's just say something does go sideways. If you have an emergency or unforeseen issue and are stressed out, do you want to call a toll-free number, sit on hold, and then speak to a stranger who knows nothing about you or do you want to call me (or shoot me a quick email or text so that I can get to work on my end while you deal with what you need to on yours)?
Even for quick questions, would you rather sit on hold or send me a message?
And let's not forget that we have relationships that reach far beyond the call center reps at the cruise line. The best comparison I can think of is that it's similar to when you have status with an airline or cruise line and they give you that golden phone number for an extra level of service. Imagine the service they would give you if you booked over a million dollars in travel each year.
Well, we do. And you get the benefits of our status when you are booked with us. Our partnerships are your path to the best possible outcomes if you need help.
Personalized cruise planning services:
Many travelers are looking for more than just a cruise booking; they want a complete travel experience. This is especially true for cruises that depart from international ports or involve extensive itineraries. In such cases, a travel agency can provide a range of services to enhance your trip.
Need to book flights? We can tell you which cruise lines have excellent flight programs and which are terrible (and some of them are terrible).
Want to extend your trip with hotels and tours? Our custom cruise extension design service is for travelers that walk to their own beat. We recognize that nor all travelers are interested in cookie-cutter itineraries. But if you want to DIY your cruise extension, we offer some support for that, too.
Exploring ports of call during your cruise is a major part of the experience. If you are interested in private shore excursions, we work with several wonderful partners who can take your experience from good to exceptional, allowing you to enjoy exclusive experiences and in-depth exploration. The short time in port can make it seem impossible to enjoy an authentic, immersive experience, but you absolutely can if you book the right tour.
Group cruise booking benefits:
If you are traveling with a group, a travel advisor is your best friend. Coordinating a group trip can sometimes feel like herding kittens, but we have the experience and tools to make the process much smoother. We are your EASY button.
We'll create a dedicated group booking page with all of the information about the cruise including some FAQs and other vital information, as well as our contact info, so you are not stuck being the middle-man.
In summary, working with a travel agency that specializes in cruises provides you with a distinct advantage in multiple ways:
By taking advantage of these services, you can make your cruise experience even more enjoyable, ensuring that your journey is tailor-made to your preferences and expectations. So, before you click "book now" on a cruise website, consider the benefits of working with a dedicated travel advisor who can enhance your cruise adventure in ways you might not have imagined. Whether you're a first-time cruiser or a seasoned traveler, the value of our expertise and support is undeniable.
Cruising is an easy and affordable way to crush your bucket list, but these days, prices are higher than ever. It always comes down to supply vs. demand, and demand is off the charts BUT you can still score a good deal if you are savvy.
I am often asked how to get the best “deal” on a cruise and I have two answers for you (in reverse order, if I do say so myself):
The lowest cruise prices will be found when demand is lower: mostly when schools are in session and on more basic itineraries. These days schooling is becoming more mobile friendly, which is blurring the lines.
If you want to plan a family cruise, you may be limited to the same school breaks as everyone else. One common misunderstanding is that cruises to the Caribbean will be lower in the summer because it’s so incredibly hot. Or that people want to stay home during the holidays.
FALSE! This couldn’t be further from the truth.
These are peak season and the prices will reflect that.
Maybe you work in an industry that only allows time off during a certain time of year, and it just so happens to be peak season.
If you want to cruise to a destination with a shorter season, like Alaska or Europe, demand will be a bit higher. The same goes for more unique itineraries in places like Antarctica, Asia, Africa…That’s a lot of “A” destinations but you get the idea.
So, how can you ensure a memorable and value-packed cruise experience throughout the year? Here are some tips, whether you choose to work with a cruise specialist or not:
1. Book as Early as Possible
One of the golden rules of finding the best cruise deals is to book as early as possible. The best rates are usually available when you plan ahead. Cruise lines often reward early birds with lower fares and additional perks. This can also allow you to make payments if you wish, which just makes it feel more affordable.
2. Stay Loyal to One Cruise Line
Loyalty pays off in the cruising world. Stick to one cruise line to build loyalty status, which can result in discounts and exclusive perks. Accumulating loyalty points can open the door to upgrades, priority boarding, private parties, and other benefits that enhance your cruise experience.
3. Look for Qualification Discounts
Make sure to explore any discounts you may qualify for. Factors like your state of residence, military service, or being over 55 can open the door to special rates and promotions. It's essential to check all the boxes to secure every discount available to you.
4. Consider Non-Refundable Deposits
Booking a non-refundable deposit rate can often yield lower fares. If you're confident in your commitment to the cruise, non-refundable rates are usually the most cost-effective choice. However, in some cases, our exclusive rates are even lower than these non-refundable rates and are refundable.
Balancing Cost and Experience
Remember that a cheap vacation can be a very expensive mistake.
While budget-conscious travelers aim to find the best deals, it's crucial not to compromise on the overall cruise experience. Flexibility can lead to discounts, but it's equally important to ensure you get the experience you are looking for. If you're a fan of brand-new ships with all the latest features, don't settle for an older, worn-out vessel that might annoy you for the whole trip. Similarly, if you're a foodie, choose a cruise line renowned for its culinary offerings.
Avoid the Gimmicks: It's the Final Price That Matters
Cruise lines frequently promote various specials, sales, and promotions. While these can be enticing, it's important to remember that the final price is what truly matters. Don't get too hung up on marketing gimmicks. Look for the bottom line, which includes all expenses, to make an informed decision.
The Expert Touch: Working with Cruise Specialists
Our team is equipped with the experience and technology to identify the best cruise experience and value based on some basic criteria. If you're flexible with your travel dates, we can swiftly pinpoint where you'll get the most bang for your buck. We'll also ensure you access every available discount and amenity, providing you with a comprehensive package tailored to your preferences. We are the best matchmakers, having sailed on many ships and lines ourselves. We know because we go!
Even if you are a luxury cruiser, you can still benefit from working with us. We offer $300 to spend on board on most luxury lines and we can help you identify the best-priced sailings during your travel dates. We also offer “hosted” cruises with additional amenities like cocktail parties and/or free excursions.
Once we have nailed down the value part, we’ll continue to service your trip until you return and beyond. We’ll make sure you always know what you need to do and when, and that you are fully prepared to enjoy every minute of your cruise.
If you are interested in working with a cruise expert who will learn about your priorities and take the time to find the best options for YOU, click HERE to get started.
If you are not ready to plan, but want to know about our exclusive rates and amenities, join our email list HERE.