Adventure Travel Abroad

Do you need a Travel Agent for a cruise?

Do you need a Travel Agent for a cruise?

Hey cruisers, I’m Sheri with CruiseTipsTV.
If you hadn’t noticed, the cruise industry is growing like crazy, and more and more people
are cruising. According to Cruise Lines International Association, or CLIA, 24 million people will
cruise in 2016. Cruise lines are evolving to meet the demands of this growing population
of cruisers by offering a plethora of new features and choices. There’re megaships,
river cruises, themed cruises, creative new stateroom styles – the list of options just
goes on and on. And that’s a good thing for us cruisers, but it can be a bit daunting
when booking. Don’t fret, there’s help! With so many things to consider, we’ve become
quite reliant on travel agents. If you think travel agents are a thing of
the past, think again! According to our friends at CLIA, seven out of ten travelers WILL use
an agent to plan and book their vacation. Here are 5 reasons why WE think that’s a
great idea: 1) Get the best cruise for YOU: Okay, so there
are 471 cruise ships to choose from and more than 20 ships making their debut next year
… yeah, things just got real in the choice department. A travel agent will help you narrow
that down. Share your vacation wish list, budget and “travel personality” with your
agent then count on them to find the right ship and itinerary for you.
2) Stress Less: Using a travel agent is really a full service booking experience and can
save you time and hassle. If you’re a first time cruiser, you may be surprised at the
number of choices you’ll need to make before your voyage. From choosing what type of dining
experience you prefer, to how you want your beds configured in your stateroom, to how
much gratuities will cost onboard. Your travel agent handles the great majority of the communication
with the cruise line, and can make recommendations that suit you and your party. For example,
your agent can help you choose the right stateroom, or navigate the best time of year for your
trip, and maybe even help you dodge hurricane season. They’ll also remind you, in advance,
of the proper documentation needed for travel to whatever area of the world you choose,
and help you to register online with your cruise line prior to travel so you can save
time on embarkation day. 3) Experience: If you choose the right travel
agent, preferably one who specializes in cruises, chances are they’ve been on board many different
ships, with several different cruise lines and can offer first-hand experience and advice.
They’ve also likely been formally educated through seminars, associations like CLIA and
possibly even familiarization cruises. 4) Perks! Yes, I admit it, I love perks. Hello,
my name is Sheri, and I’m a perkaholic. Sorry, where was I? Travel agents will often
go out of their way to ensure their clients cruise experience is exceptional, through
… wait for it, nope I can’t wait – perks and upgrades. Your agent may gift your party
with wine or chocolate covered strawberries in your cabin, or score you some free dining
vouchers. Back to the upgrades. let’s be clear, upgrades are NOT something your travel
agent has control over, only the cruise line does, but many cruisers report that the “upgrade
fairy” seems to sprinkle more magic dust over their bookings when they book with an
agent, and we have first- hand experience with that theory.
5) Last but not least…Money savings. Believe it or not, it can be more economical to book
your cruise with a travel agent. Travel agencies sometimes book large blocks on ships, and
receive special discounts as preferred providers. Ask your agent what lines offer the best discounts,
and let THEM compare dates and prices FOR you; seriously, it’s what they do! Oh, and
the best part, how much does all this vacation planning goodness cost you? Usually the cruise
lines pay the travel agent commissions, you don’t! Oh, and one last thing – Travel agents
can also keep an eye on price drops, to make sure you get the best deal, even after you
book. That’s it for this episode, but what about
you? Do you book with a travel agent? Tell us your thoughts and experiences in the comments
below, and until next time, we’ll see you on the high seas!
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Reader Comments

  1. Thanks for the shout out to us Travel Agents. Why not use us travel agents when booking cruises – we cost you nothing and can help find those incentives and upgrades.

  2. I've never had any luck with travel agents. I give them a budget and they always seem to go to the higher end of it and occasionally over. Its been easier for me to book all my trips on my own. I have yet to have any issues and i seem to get a better price doing it myself. This year I have decided to forgo cruises and try "regular" vacations. We went to Hawaii over spring break and boy did that hurt the wallet! We are going to an all inclusive in Puerto Vallarta next month and are going to compare that to a cruise as far as the most bang for our buck!

  3. Personally I haven't had great luck with travel agents. What companies really appreciate is loyalty. like for instance the airport by me is an American Airlines hub, so I fly them, get rewards. When I fly into port I stay in a marriott and get rewards and upgrades etc. Yes you can find sites to book cheaper flights, hotels whatever you want, but often you don't build up the points to take advantage of the perks they could throw at you.

  4. How I wish all that were true. Many travel agents in Australia charge booking fees, documentation fees and fees for using a credit card – and not only for cruises!

  5. I used aCruiseOne agent to book my first cruise. Apparently I got a lazy one. After I paid the first payment she told me I would have to book the excursions, watch for price drops and order any extras like drink packages etc. I guess it's a crapshoot with quality agents. No extras no nothing. I could have done what she did online.

  6. We're sold out on Costco, very easy and friendly to us! I think we've gotten up to 8% back in OBC? I haven't nailed a TA for Carnival yet, but it seems like I can get better discounts by buying giftcards through AARP, Verizon, or using my American Express at the local Kroger for cash back and discounts on gas. That's interesting about the upgrade fairy, I assumed that was a benefit for only direct bookers.

  7. As my wife and i are working on our first cruise we opted to use an agent. So far .. it has been great .. we got a tour with a ship that docked here in town. We managed and early booking bonus of 150.00/pp of on board credit and we even managed a sip and sail package. Now we still do not go for a while .. but we are both really excited for it… and a big thanks to the agent doing our booking.

  8. No I do not need a travel agent. I book directly with the line on their web site. It is fun to me to explore all the ships and schedules on my own. I just completed my 15th NCL cruise and everyone of them was booked by myself and on-line.

  9. my agent booked a group cruise and everyone cancelled with the exception of me and my sister. she has never been on a cruise. I have been on 8. if I use another agent it will be someone that can talk cruise talk with me and find some great deals. I found myself doing the work so this time around I will book my own.

  10. Wow and impressed! Listened to your interview with the Cruise Dudes today then checked out your website and YouTube channel. You have the perfect voice and persona. I want to be you! Happy cruising! 😉

  11. Which  do you  think is  more essential  having  a  travel agent  for a  cruise  or a different  vacation such as  traveling  by  train or  flying?
    I  would  think  you don't  need  a travel agent  for  a  cruise  because  everything is  in  1  place  such  as  your cabins,  dining room  you won't  need any  car  rental.  I  think you metioned  about  excursions  different  cruise lines offer  different  things to do, but  other  than that  every thing else  is  in  one place on a cruise ship.

    when  it  comes to  travel by  plane   you'd kind  like  to know  what  things  are  there to  do  depending  upon  where  your  flying to,  if your not going  to a  big city  you will probably need  help  finding  a  good hotel,  a  car  rental  and  to  get  the  best rates.
    things  to  do in the  area.  If  you  are  going  to  a  big city   the  hotel staff  can  help  with  a  lot of things.
    I'm  not  sure.   but  when  we  traveled  by  plane  the  last  5  years  we  used  a travel agent.  and  for  my  cruise starting  tomorrow  we used a  travel agent?

  12. thanks for the plug for Travel Agents. I'm a Cruise Specialist and I love my job. I love getting the best deal and perks I can for my customers. It's the greatest experience to help make memories of a life time.

  13. Hello Sheri! It has been awhile since we used an agent, so I'm sure things have changed. Wonder if you can bring me more up to date. My biggest issue with a TA is… Back in the day, I couldn't go online and do much of anything. I had to go through the TA for just about everything. Is that still the case? Like your hubby, I gotta have my tech-fix…

  14. I booked a travel agent for our first cruise and it doesn't seem like she has done anytbing I've done everything myself! What do the agents do exactly? are they the ones who are supposed to book your excursions? Because she told me to go through them & book them online. she isn't really giving me any information I have to ask questions and she responds with very short answers. I could get more info by searching online 😐

  15. I had an agent who gave me the exact quote i found on my own. Im a first timer and I asked questions. She didnt answer them and the rest was copy paste. Then, it was, "ready to book?" ??? I went to a different cruise line and booked a suite online. Im trying to work with another agent. Hopefully he'll be better.

  16. As a travel agent, it doesn’t mean your trip will be “cheaper” you have someone booking the trip for you, someone to help you if something goes wrong, planning the trip as a whole. It doesn’t mean the trip will be cheaper. But booking on a dot com when something goes wrong you can’t call that dot com to help you. Travel agents work with suppliers on a regular basis. So we have a relationship with them. It’s up to you if you want to book for yourself, or have someone plan a trip for you. It’s a service being offered. Just like you pay someone to change your oil, or do your nails. You could do it yourself, or pay a service and someone does it for you.

  17. We have booked both our cruises with AAA. So far so good. My wife surprised me with the first one but we picked out the one we have booked now together and checked every once and a while and happened to catch when they were offering 5 free upgrades. Ultimate Beverage Package, Free WIFI, 3 Specialty dining, excursion credits, free guest( which we will not use). So we kind of did a combo on the second one. We will see how that works.

  18. When we went on our first cruise, our travel agent was a lifesaver! She helped us figure out hotels, airfare, transportation, plus finding the perfect room for us on the cruise. As a little bonus she had surprised us with a gift for specialty dining. I also loved that she reminded us about final payment due dates, and she mailed us the tickets and luggage tags that we needed. I would book with her again just because of how easy she made the process for us!

  19. I need help find a TA that has perks, all the ones I’ve found don’t give me exactly what’s online. I need details & someone experienced.
    & chocolate covered strawberries sound nice!! Help!!

  20. Hello. Ive been watching your videos aa well as others just trying to do my due diligence on a cruise. Ive been on one with a group of family friends but the one last took care of everything. This time its just me. After watching your video here I think I should use a travel agent. Who do you use or prefer?

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