Thursday, October 18, 2007

Should You Use a Travel Agent to Book a Cruise?

In today's Internet-connected world, it's easier than ever to plan a vacation and book airfare and hotels without ever talking to another human being. The cruise world is no exception. Sites like Travelocity make it easy for you to sign up for cruises online.

But should you?

You might be under the impression that you can save a lot of money by booking online instead of using a travel agent. In truth, travel agents can get you some great deals and help you decipher some of the mysteries of the cruise world. If you're a first time cruiser, in particular, you might not be entirely sure what terms like "inside cabin" and "outside cabin" or "main seating" and "late seating" mean.

Here are some perks to working with a travel agent:
  • Travel agents can help singles get the best deals (often travel agents book blocks of cabins and they can set you up with an acceptable roommate to ensure you get the best prices).
  • They know all the cabin lingo and can help you find one that isn't by the anchor, under clubs, or by elevators (all noisy spots) or has the view obstructed by life boats.
  • They get daily updates on exclusive deals, so they may have access to prices and specials that aren't listed on websites.
  • They'll know if it's possible for you to get a free cabin upgrade.
  • Reputable travel agents will honor a lower fare if the price drops between the time you book and the time you step on board (that's something you won't get if you book online).
  • They will inform the chef of any food allergies or special meal requests you might have.
  • Travel agents check your documents and make sure you have everything in order.
If you do decide to book through a travel agent, make sure to choose someone who specializes in cruises. They'll be the most "in the loop" when it comes to knowing all the best deals and specials going on.

You can find a good cruise travel agent in your area through the CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) website:

No comments: