One of the most important things that people should know before booking a cruise holiday is how to make the reservation. Cruises offer all the elements of an inclusive resort, with the exception that the destination changes during the stay. A key factor in booking patterns in recent times is the price.
Many first time cruisers think that booking a holiday at sea is as simple as booking a flight. This is not the case, however, as the mantra of low prices that work for airlines might do damage to your cruising experience!
A basic search such as “cruise holiday” will bring up hundreds of sites. Any of these services will provide information on destinations, ships, amenities, and itineraries. From these resources, “target” exactly the cruise that may fit for budget, lifestyle and destination but use this method only as a guide.
Cruise Line Websites
Cruise line´s internet sites usually contain a prompt on their toolbar for “specials” or “limited offers.” Another method is enrolling to receive emails from the cruise lines for notifications of special offers. However, for first time cruisers, this process is intimidating as there is no one particular person to address any questions you may have. Booking with the cruise line directly does not mean all new promotions are made available to the consumer. Many special offers are allocated to a cruise agency.
Potential passengers who are strictly on the lookout for the lowest price they can obtain may miss out on some perks that only a cruise agent knows about. These can include onboard credit, pre-paid tips, free drinks and specialty dining without an added charge. Cruise agents generally are very experienced and know the cruise industry inside and out. They know of the best deals available and the ships that offer ‘that something extra’ which in turn will lead to increased customer satisfaction.
Expertise of a Cruise Agent
When you are looking to book a cruise holiday you should look into getting information and/or help from a cruise agent either in person or on-line. The brochures offered by cruise lines look enticing, but a cruise agent can advise on which line or ship would best represent the cruise holiday experience and can match the client’s personality to the right cruise product.
You could easily be confused by all of the different cruise lines and may end up picking one that is too formal or too casual. For example, a cruise holiday for a family with young children on a line that normally is known for catering to adults would be disastrous. A ship full of party goers will have senior holiday makers probably never wanting to cruise again.
Agents will look after you throughout the booking process
A cruise agent is there to represent the passenger that books a holiday through them. They consider a booking as just the beginning of the cruise holiday process. They will follow the client’s cruise holiday booking before and after sailing. Even after the booking is made, they will continue to monitor pricing for new promotions and may even be able to obtain a lower fare before the final payment is made.
The most important advantage is that if something goes wrong during the cruise or it is unsatisfactory, the cruise agent is still available. They will follow up and represent you with any complaints to the cruise line. They are committed to making sure that their clients are happy with their services and will be become regular clients.
Some cruise agents have even been to some of the destinations that are offered in an attempt to keep up with the changing landscape in travel. This means that they will have precious inside information on things to do at ports and the best time to visit. They also have information about all sorts of special deals and items available at their fingertips, which could potentially save you a lot of money during the trip.
Booking a cruise direct with the cruise line seems to make sense since the sailing is taking place on their ships. However, that could mean that any of the benefits or promotions that the various cruise specialists quote could be unavailable by a direct cruise line booking.
Written by Veronica Shine