Alaska Cruise Travel Agent or
On-line Booking Engine
You may think you don’t need a travel agent but most people are better off if they work with one. If you are a first time cruiser we highly recommend using the services of a travel agent. Booking a cruise is much more complicated than buying an airline ticket or reserving a hotel room. You will need to make many decisions and you want them all to be right. Even if you are a savvy e-consumer and know exactly what you want the advantages of using a travel agent far outweigh not using one.
First, an Alaska cruise travel agent will save you time by comparison-shopping for you. They will investigate cruise accommodations, air arrangements, rental cars and hotel stays supplying competitive information in your best interest not the suppliers.
Your Alaska cruise travel agent can answer your questions and provide valuable advice. Can an on-line booking service do this? No. Travel agents stay abreast of the most current and timely promotional information, analyze it and make recommendations. Guidance about different ships, cabin types, dining choices, special air/land offerings and clarifying the fine print, such as cancellation penalties and restrictions is priceless.
Another big plus, your Alaska cruise travel agent will serve as your advocate in the event something inadvertently goes wrong.
They’ll go that extra mile to enhance your experience with value-added benefits by sending a bottle of wine, providing a special land package, a specific escort or other customer amenities.
Best of all, these services are either free or offered for a nominal fee. How can you go wrong?
The cruise lines do not want to upset any of the entities it has working on its behalf booking space. So, competitiveness is kept to a minimum. Generally, the price you see everywhere is the price you will pay. If you do find a better deal somewhere check with your agency they may be willing to negotiate.
We do have one word of caution – travel agents earn their money through sales commissions. If you feel an agent is pushing one ship or cruise line over others take you business elsewhere. The commission is probably higher and they have lost their impartiality.
If you are still reluctant to use an Alaska cruise travel agent, consider this. The use of outside service providers for many transactions, such as tax preparation, isn't questioned. Similarly, if you are going to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, as well as a good chunk of valuable leisure time, it makes great sense to use a professional.
Don’t know a good Alaska cruise travel agent? The best way to find a good travel agent is by word of mouth recommendation. Ask for references from frequent-cruiser friends, family and/or co-workers. 95% of cruise travelers rate their experience among the best in meeting and exceeding their expectations and love to share that excitement with those new to the cruise vacation experience.
You want an agent with cruise experience and knowledge. Look for a cruise-only travel agency or a cruise specialist within a full service agency. These agents are more likely to have personal experience with a wider variety of ships and itineraries. Look for someone who seems to be interested in getting to know you and wants to match your interests and lifestyles.
Visit the Cruise Lines International Association web site for a recommendation.
CLIA is a professional organization whose members are cruise specialists. The association promotes extensive training on the cruise product, vacation trends, industry news and offers. Agencies affiliated with CLIA are your best resources for planning a cruise vacation. ASTA, American Society of Travel Agents, is another resource although it does not designate cruise experience. Both organizations monitor member agencies for ethical practices.
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There are many "online discounters" that will take your money and book you. Remember, it’s not always the price that should direct a person. A good cruise agent can make sure you are choosing the right ship, the right itinerary and the right cabin. So, call your Alaska cruise travel agent and start planning the perfect family cruise vacation.
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