Let’s face it. Deciding whether to use a travel agent or deal directly with a cruise line is always difficult. Each option has its drawbacks as well as its advantages. Also, a cruise trip is not like a road trip. Many factors must be taken into account. In our opinion, we think the best case scenario will be to work with a travel agent but not experience it all for them – in a hands-off way that many imagine.
Therefore, one should, for example, check the cruise line’s website or call their representatives to get what they would offer as the best deal. With this amount in mind, call the travel agent and give them the base price while asking if a better deal is possible. After that, watch the price movements Dailythen notify the travel agent for a new price if dropped.
Here is our reason.
Why you should work with a travel agent on a cruise trip and still be in control
We all know that common phrase: trust, but verify. This is the same attitude one should adopt when working with a travel agent. The danger, as with most things in life, is to sit on extremes. One extreme is believing that booking cruise travel directly with a cruise line is the best option—still. On the other end of the spectrum, the decision to deal with an agent and let them handle everything is a bit naive, even gullible. Here’s the truth: Direct booking is not only secure, it’s also secure. It is unlikely that one is the victim of a scam or seriously inconvenienced. Second, cruise line prices are almost always the best you can get. Still, fully working with them can cause you to miss out on some perks and incentives. And aside from the parks, there’s actually a chance that one can get a lower price by working with an agent – than the one quoted by the cruise line.
This is why we advise you to work with a travel agent, while doing preliminary and ongoing research throughout the trip. While leaving everything in the hands of the travel agent can seem so relieving, it pays to be aware of many elements of the trip to be sure of getting a good deal. The main advantages of working with a travel agent are: the possibility of obtaining better on-board credits, the agent’s ability to adjust prices in the event of a price drop, the possibility of obtaining lower prices thanks to group fares that cruise lines offer travel agents…and the ability and skill of travel agents to expertly handle logistical issues that may be difficult or simply unachievable, especially for a newbie. Remember that on a cruise trip there can be a lot of intricate details to consider. For example, there are issues that a couple will want to consider that a solo traveler will not.
Ultimately working with a travel agent by putting the fingers on the pulse, is the best strategy. This will ensure that one will get the best that both have to offer. With this in mind, one must ensure that one’s choice of travel agent is the best one.
How to choose a travel agent for a cruise trip
Since we advised to work with a travel agent, even if they are still closely involved, the next step in the process is to identify a reliable cruise travel agent. Let’s make it simple. It may sound strange, but the best way to get a reliable travel agent for a cruise trip is to use the tried and true method of recommendation. While one can browse through thousands of reviews on online agent sites and read each one, nothing compares to word of mouth from a friend, colleague or a member of the family. A reference is important because it is a true story from someone who is known – and close – and therefore reliable. A good approach would therefore be to ask for this information from a network of friends. Additionally, when a traveler hires a travel agent because of a referral and mentions the same to the travel agent, the travel agent will be motivated to exceed or at least match the desired expectations. This is because they would like to maintain that reputation as it can bring them even more business.
Yet, even though a reference is the best way to choose a travel agent for a cruise trip, one should always check online reviews and comments for an overview. Besides references and reviews, a good cruise travel agent should be someone who is detailed and thorough. If during a first engagement, an agent is ready to proceed with a reservation before learning more about a traveler, then this is a red flag. This desired information should include things like hobbies, personality, favorite foods and drinks, and the type of restaurant or nightlife you want, among many others. It is this information that will provide a profile based on which the agent should select the cruise ship. Of course, as a traveler, you also have to be involved in choosing a cruise ship.
Here are the takeaways. For those wondering whether to book a cruise ship directly or work with an agent, the best option is to work with an agent in a close and deliberate way. The key is to have a good travel agency.