All Aboard: Why You Need a Cruise Specialist
The open sea. It’s exciting, but booking a cruise to get out there seems pretty scary. You’re not sure where to start. You’ve heard that everyone uses online booking agents these days. However, according to the Cruise Lines International Association’s Cruise Market Profile Study, about 75 per cent of cruise travellers use travel agents – not automated discount websites. Travel agents? Yes, travel agents that book cruise trips are actually called “cruise specialists.” You may never have heard of them before. Most people haven’t – even when they’ve had their cruise booked by one.
Cruise specialists know what the accommodations on the ship you’ll be travelling on are like. They’ve tasted the food. They’ve done the research. They have been on familiarisation trips and attended cruise line seminars. They can also get you discounts and perks that you’d never get on your own. Commissions? What commissions? The cruise ships pay the specialists. All you have to do is talk to a travel agent and have them help you find the best deal possible.
Cruise Specialists Can Send You on an Adventure
If you know where you want to go, that’s great. What if you don’t? Or what if you do, but your holiday advisors can find someplace that’s cheaper and that you might like even more than the place you picked out? Cruise specialists have years of experience in choosing amazing trips. They can send you on an adventure that you’ll never forget.
Let’s say you like the idea of cruising through somewhere cold – it’s crazy, but you like the thrill of seeing icebergs plummeting into the ocean. You could sail north, but have you ever considered an Alaskan cruise? It’s really far away from home, but there are sites you’ll see there that you won’t see anywhere else in the world. What if somewhere tropical is more your speed? Would you have at least as much fun in the Mediterranean as you would in the Bahamas? Your cruise specialist can help you figure this out, and give you ideas you may never have thought of before.
A Specialist Can Get You a Great Deal
Negotiating on a website is a matter of a computer algorithm hunting for discounts offered by cruise lines. Sometimes you’ll get a good deal. Sometimes you won’t. You’ll always get a great deal from a cruise specialist – not only that, you’ll get deals that you can’t get online. How? Because cruise specialists can pick up the phone and call someone at the cruise line. They have relationships that you don’t have and can get deals you won’t get on your own.
A Specialist Books the Trip for You
Your specialist will book the trip for you. While you could theoretically do this on your own, the cruise specialist will handle important details like making sure all documentation is in order for out-of-the-country trips. If you’ve ever been confused by international travel, or hesitant to do it, having a cruise specialist will be a pleasant surprise. You’ll wonder why you never travelled this way before.
Do You Have Special Requirements?
If you have any kind of special needs, your cruise specialist can make arrangements for you. You can’t really talk to the head chef on the cruise liner if you have a gluten sensitivity, for example. Your cruise specialist can make sure all your meals are gluten-free. You might need kosher meals. No problem. You may have special accessibility needs. Your agent can handle it and still get you tickets to the concert Friday evening.
You Get a Concierge
Having a cruise specialist is sort of like having a concierge. You can call them at any time if there’s a problem. Usually there won’t be. However, if you do happen to need something during your cruise, your specialist will only be a phone call away. That’s peace of mind that you can’t put a price tag on.
Alisha Whittaker has been assisting people make cruise bookings for over a decade. Her articles mainly appear on travel blogs.