Many travelers ask this question. After all, purchasing a cruise is easy with resources available such as cruise line reservation centers and their websites. Planning a successful cruise, however, is another thing altogether. Cruise bookings require specific expertise and a heightened awareness of countless details, which can most effectively be managed by a knowledgeable travel agent. Following are reasons that prove a travel agent’s value:
- Valuable expertise: Agents like us, who are certified cruise counsellors, offer clients valuable expertise to plan cruises. We provide sound guidance as to when it’s best to cruise in a particular region, which itineraries are best suited to a client’s interests, and which lines and ships match a client’s vacation expectations.
- Exclusive offers: We are affiliated with a host agency and a travel industry consortium. The massive buying power and organizational stability of travel networks benefit clients with exclusive promotions, value-added amenities, attractive group rates, and 24-hour client support.
- Insurance options: Booking directly with a cruise line gives a consumer only one choice for travel protection. We offer an additional insurance option available through a trusted third-party provider. We can help our clients compare the differences between cruise line and other coverage, enabling our clients to make informed decisions.
- Loyalty benefits: While cruise lines offer branded loyalty programs with valuable benefits, we provide an additional benefit by monitoring the cruise lines’ constantly changing promotions. When we find that a current promotion is a better value than a previous promotion that was utilized in booking our clients’ reservations, we contact the cruise line and request the more recent promotion be applied to our clients’ bookings up until the final payment date.
- Notifications: Part of our responsibility as your agent is to notify you of changes to your travel arrangements, such as itinerary changes, weather advisories, labor disputes, and political unrest. The cruise lines notify us of developments affecting your travel plans, and we pass on this vital information to you.
- Advocacy: In those rare instances when something goes wrong, we can be an effective advocate on your behalf. Resolving issues and restoring our clients’ satisfaction is something we as experienced agents are skilled at facilitating, whereas a consumer might not know where to even start.
- Free of charge: We work only on commission–which comes out of the cruise line’s pocket, not the client’s. The cruise lines’ published rates for individual reservations are no lower than those that we can quote to our clients. Considering the tremendous value consumers receive from working with capable and professional agents, booking by other means seems illogical.
While these seven examples represent the leading advantages of working with us as your travel agents, one additional benefit–dealing with actual human beings with the ability to care about our client’s vacation experience–remains the most valuable of them all.