5 Myths About Cruise Travel Agents
By Jim Antista “The Cruiseman”
Myth #1. All Travel Agents Are Alike
Fact: All Travel Agents are not alike! Some Travel Agents specialize in Airline tickets. Some specialize in European Vacations. Some specialize in booking hotels.
Some specialize in Bus Trips. Some Travel Agents specialize in Cruise Vacations. The Cruiseman has been in the “Cruise Only” business for 19 years.
If you contact a Travel Agent that is not experienced booking cruises, all kinds of mistakes can happen!
Myth #2. I can book directly with the cruise line
Fact: Here is what Anne Campbell (Recognized Cruise Expert) Says: There is a growing trend for cruisers to book their trip through a cruise company’s own web site or toll-free phone number.
Any experienced cruiser will tell you that planning a seagoing vacation is far different from booking a simple hotel room or an airline seat.
If you’ve cruised more than once, you know that the person most critical to making sure you have a problem-free vacation is your travel agent.
They won’t cost you anything for cruise planning – they make their income on a commission paid by the cruise line for your booking.
If you book directly with the cruise line, try calling back and asking for the same agent!
They are order takers and they are not paid to spend time with you answering your questions.
If something goes wrong, you’re pretty much on your own!
Myth #3. I can get a better price by booking on-line.
Fact: That is not true. All the major cruise lines now have “level playing field” policies. That means that all agencies have access to the same rates. (This wasn’t always true)
They did this because a cruise vacation is much more than a commodity and they don’t want the subject at dinner to be “how much did you pay”?
The cruise lines set the rates. We market the product, make the reservations and service the clients.
That’s good for you because you don’t have to waste time calling 10 different places price shopping.
That’s bad for the big flashy on-line agencies, because they have to try to convince you their rates are better, when they are not.
I have seen all kinds of ways that these agencies try to trick you. Some are pretty clever, some are downright dishonest.
Example: Cabin for 4 people. $600 / $600 / $300 / $300 = $1800 so they advertise $450 per person! Technically it’s correct, but it’s also very deceiving.
Most hide mysterious service charges in the fine print. Wait till something goes wrong, or you need to make a correction! IF you can get a “real person”
at one famous name on-line agency, they will charge you a service charge for any changes you make.
Myth #4. I can save money by skipping the Travel Agent
Fact: If you have the right Travel Agent this is not true. With The Cruiseman there is no charge for our professional services. That’s right ! We work for you for free. The Cruise Line pays us our commission after your cruise. We do all the work for you, at no charge to you. So, not only do you not save any money by skipping the Travel Agent, you end up doing more work yourself for nothing!
Myth #5. I saw an ad that says they can save me 50 – 75% on a cruise!
Fact: They are pulling your leg. What they do is compare todays rate to the “brochure rate”, and then tell you how much they are saving you. Big Deal!
For instance, if the brochure price for a cruise is $999, but the current “real world” price is just $499 these agencies will claim that they are saving you 50%. Get it? They are trying to take credit for the current market driven price.
They are trying to impress you with a “snow job” and slick advertising! And remember, nobody pays the brochure rate!!
At The Cruiseman we give you honest pricing, without the games and tricks. You get the lowest possible price for you for your next cruise without any hype or games. That’s how we have operated for 19 years.