When you are contemplating a cruise vacation, there are so many different options from which to choose. These options include determining the length of your cruise, your point of departure, the destinations you will visit, and the accommodations you desire once you are aboard the ship. Making those determinations, however, is just the beginning.
You must also figure out how you will travel to your point of departure, what ground transfers you may need, and how to make add-ons to your travel to spend extra time in different locations or embark upon side trips. The advantage of booking a cruise with a travel agency is that they can provide you with a one-stop solution to make all of the decisions concerning your cruise travel.
A primary advantage of booking a cruise with a travel agency is the variety of cruise selections they offer to you as a traveler. When you are booking a cruise and you work on your own instead of through a travel agency, you have to go through many different web sites, doing a lot of virtual leg work to be able to compare which cruise companies are sending ships from which ports during what seasons. This is a complicated endeavor which can take up a lot of time; precious time for most busy individuals.
With a travel agency, they do the leg work for you. You will have access to all of the same options as if you had done your own research, but in this case, the research is done for you, so all you have to do is consider what cruise will fit best with your own desires. Also, the research is checked out and prepared by a travel expert who may be aware of some aspects of cruise vacations the average Joe or Jane might not.
Another advantage of booking a cruise with a travel agency is that they are knowledgeable in offering other trip components you might not think to add if you were making your own arrangements. Many travelers do not realize that they need to secure airport to port transfers separately, or that mass transportation may not be available in certain locations. Depending on where your ship will be departing, it may be quite a distance from the airport where you arrive. Travel agencies address all of these details that you may not have even considered. You will save time and potentially a good deal of money by pre-planning as many aspects of your trip as possible. This can be handled efficiently by using a travel agency.
Booking a cruise with a travel agency also affords the vacationer the ability to fully customize their vacation. The agency can help you select a variety of optional add-ons, often at minimal additional cost. A cruise does not have to be just a cruise. You can add days to either end of the cruise to make your trip longer or to visit an additional destination. Some cruises even have the flexibility to accommodate side trips, where you can spend a greater amount of time at the ports of call. In addition, different attractions that may be available at each port can usually be pre-arranged so that you can get off the ship and head right to the tours or the destinations you wish to see, instead of wasting time on the ground figuring out where to go next. Your travel agency can help you to plan out every little detail.
The fourth advantage of booking a cruise with a travel agency is that you can depend upon their experience to help you make the best decisions possible for your travel. There are a lot of different options to choose from any time you book a cruise or other vacation travel. If you have never before used a certain company or service, or never visited a certain destination, you may not know how best to make your decisions. The expert staff at your travel agency can provide you with many details about your potential travel not only from their own experience but also from their customers’ prior experiences, which will help to make your trip more enjoyable all the way around.
And finally, travel agents are useful in assisting in an emergency before or during your trip. By definition, an emergency is an unplanned and unexpected event. Some emergencies do commonly arise such as inclement weather (major hurricanes) and personal illness. If you did not use a travel agent, you are on your own in such an event. Many agents offer worldwide, toll-free 24-hour hotlines for emergency assistance at no extra charge to you. Customer service can assist with problems including flight cancellations, port closures, and how to obtain emergency assistance in the event of illness, security threats, travel document theft, and so on.
In summary, there is really no good reason not to go through a travel agent when booking your next cruise vacation. You will reap all the advantages of the expertise and convenience a professional travel agent has to offer. And chances are you will save a lot of money at the same time!
Jeremy Foster is a freelance writer who writes about vacat