Cruise Ship Tips

Cruise like a pro, right from the get-go!

Ways to book a cruise

Ready to book a cruise but don’t know where to start? Here are a few ways to book a cruise:

Travel Agent

If you like the idea of communicating back and forth with a qualified person whose job it is to ensure a seamless vacation for you, I suggest finding a local travel agent. You can do this by finding a travel agency near you and visit them in person. You can also find a travel agent online, if you don’t require face to face communication or don’t have access to a travel agency near you. They will assist you in many ways, from the very beginning of booking your cruise all the way through the actual cruise, all at no cost to you. Travel agents get paid by the companies they help bring business to, so you don’t pay them.

What will a travel agent do for you?

-Answer any questions you may have about the cruise line, ship, stateroom, ports, etc. If they don’t have an answer for you about something right away, they will research it for you and get back to you.

-They will use a booking system to reserve your cruise for you and handle all the paperwork. This includes collecting and processing payments, advising about necessary documents such as travel visas and passports, and assisting you with flights, hotel stays, transportation and other travel related information.

-Provide you with your boarding documentation, luggage tags and other such necessary paperwork.

-Inform you about any possible changes to an itinerary, advise you in cancellations and insurance situations and generally keep you informed about your cruise.

-Deal with any complaints or refunds you may require.

Working with a travel agent is completely up to the individual. If you are someone who doesn’t have the time to do your own research and would like some assistance, I would suggest finding a travel agent that you like and trust. A good travel agent will be someone who answers your questions quickly and efficiently and provides you with peace of mind.

Directly through the cruise line

Contacting the cruise line directly, by phone call or web page will result in your cruise booking be handled by their in-house booking agents. Advantages here are that these agents work directly for the cruise line and will be handling reservations for that cruise line only. This gives them a lot more knowledge than a local travel agent, and will have insider knowledge about that particular cruise line. They will know everything about current promotions and make sure you get the best prices and perks associated with your booking. They can answer specific questions about the cruise line and help ensure the best service.

Online Travel Sites

Alternatively, you can visit an online travel site, such as CruiseDirect and use their booking services. Advantages here can include discounted rates, extra perks and incentives. This is because these sites all compete with each other and you can score some great deals, particularly at last minute. There are many online travel booking sites to choose from, and each one can offer its own perks, so it’s a good idea to research them for your best deal. Consider the type of cruise and if you’ll need airfare and hotel accommodations as well, because many times you can get a good deal on a package deal.

Self Booking

If you are someone who wants 100% control, I suggest doing the booking yourself. Cruise lines make it extremely easy to take charge and book your own cruises directly on their websites. They take you through a step by step process where you choose the sailing you’re interested in, the type of cabin you want and walk you through the entire booking online. From there you will make a down payment. You will be given a reservation number and will be instructed to make an account with the cruise line. From there you’ll have a login page, where you can manage your upcoming cruise!

As you can see, there are a few different ways you can go about booking a cruise. It is really up to you to decide which way is the best for you. Fortunately in this day and age, we have tons of options. If you’re new to cruising – or traveling in general, I’d suggest using a travel agent. They can help walk you through a lot of basic travel knowledge that can really only come with experience. However, if you’re a do-it-yourself type of person and feel prepared, I’d say go for it. It’s entirely up to you.

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