Ever wonder whether you should use a Cruise Travel Agent or book things yourself online? Why do people use Cruise Travel Agents? Why doesn’t everyone book things themselves online?
Find out if a Cruise Travel Agent is right for you in this review.
Cruise Travel Agent vs. Booking Agent
Booking agents Like Costco, AAA or Expedia, Cruises.com
Difficult to reach someone at the booking office – often wait on hold for a long time.
You can book everything on their website and sell you terrible travel insurance
They merely facilitate the purchase of travel arrangements. They don’t provide much if any guidance in choosing what’s right for you. Many charge service fees like $75 per person per booking.
Travel agents are often solopreneurs, couples or small local offices
Cruise Travel Agent is easy to reach, by phone, email, text or chat.
Personal relationship with one person or a couple
Might have limited hours
Can provide assistance while you’re traveling and help you file travel insurance claims
Sometimes they work with franchise travel agencies like Dream Cruises, and sometimes they’re 100% independent.
Even veteran cruisers use Cruise Travel Agents.
What Does a Cruise Travel Agent Do for You?
- Saves you time – they deal with the bookings and making any changes. They also know the quirks and characteristics of each cruise line and how to work with them efficiently.
- Think about it. Every time you call the cruise line to check on a price change or ask questions, it takes 20-30 minutes. The travel agent can do all of this with their system, so you can save yourself a lot of time.
- If you are new to cruising, they can help guide you in planning a successful and rewarding cruise, as well as give you realistic tips about traveling because they have been there and done that. They can suggest the right cruise line, ship, and itinerary based on your interests and style. They can tell you the best location on the ship for a cabin and which areas to avoid. They can also tell you how to get the most value from your room (like an obstructed view vs interior room for the same price.
- They continually search for lowest rates for you – they know about cruise sales before the cruise line launches the promotion
- Keep in touch with you about cruise sales, promotions, give you vacation ideas, travel tips, and more.
- Help you get free upgrades
- Arranges your airfare
- Helps you pick excursions and hotels
- Give you perks like onboard credit or champaign in room
How Much Does a Cruise Travel Agent Cost?
Some cruise travel agents charge fees to work with them.
It might be a $100-$250 per person service fee that is non-refundable. Some agents charge this so that “lookie-loos” don’t waste the agent’s time investigating trips and never booking.
Usually, the travel agent’s price will be the same as if you booked directly with the travel provider.
A right agent won’t charge you a service fee over the trip cost to work with them.
If your cruise travel agent charges you a fee to cancel, beyond what the cruise line charges, that’s a bad sign.
How Does a Cruise Travel Agent get paid?
They receive a commission from the cruise line, airline, hotel, travel insurance, and excursions. Cruise lines typically pay 10%. Their most significant commissions come from excursions and travel insurance.
Keep that last bit of information in mind. Cruise lines also make tremendous profits from their overpriced excursions and low-benefit, high-cost travel insurance programs.
How Do You Find a Good Cruise Travel Agent?
The best way to find a reputable cruise travel agent is word of mouth. Ask friends, family, and acquaintances who they use for booking cruises.
Call local chamber of commerce and ask for referrals
Someone who lives in your area and can provide you with catalogs
Talk with others who have cruised and worked with cruise travel agents
Super Mario lives on Royal Caribbean ships year-round. In a YouTube interview, he discussed how he books his trips.
Although he often makes the initial deposit on board the ship two years in advance, he has a local travel agent manage everything. She has his credit card number and pays the cruise line when final payments come due. The cruise travel agent does all the behind-the-scenes work to make sure each of his voyages goes smoothly. He says it’s his secret weapon.