Let’s face it. It’s always hard deciding on whether to use a travel agent or to deal directly with a cruise line. Each option has its disadvantages as well as advantages. Also, a cruise trip is not like a road trip. There are many factors to consider. According to our opinion, we think the best scenario will involve working with a travel agent but not living everything to him—in a hands-off manner that many imagine.

Therefore, one should, for instance, check the cruise line’s website or call their representatives to get what they would offer as the best deal. With this amount in mind, call the travel agent and give him or her—the baseline price—while asking if a better deal is possible. After this, monitor price movements daily, and then inform the travel agent to get a re-price in case of a drop.

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Here’s our reason.

Why You Should Work With A Travel Agent On A Cruise Trip While Still Maintaining Control

We all know this trite phrase: trust but verify. That’s the same attitude one should assume when working with a travel agent. The danger, like with most things in life, is to sit on the extremes. One extreme is to believe that booking a cruise trip directly with a cruise line is the best option—always. At the other end of the spectrum, the decision to deal with an agent—and leave everything for him to handle is a little naive, even gullible. Here’s the truth: booking directly not only feels secure but is actually secure. It’s unlikely that one will be scammed or seriously inconvenienced. Secondly, the prices of cruise lines are almost always the best one can get. Still, working fully with them may make you miss out on certain perks and incentives. And aside from the parks, there’s actually a chance that one can get a lower price when working with an agent—than the one quoted by the cruise line.

That’s the reason we advise working with a travel agent—while still doing both preliminary and continuous research throughout the trip. While leaving everything in the hands of the travel agent may appear so relieving, it’s better to be in the know regarding many travel elements to be sure of a good deal. The main advantages of working with a travel agent are: the possibility of getting better On-board credits, the agent’s ability to price adjust in cases of price drops, the possibility of getting lower prices due to group rates that cruise lines give travel agents—and the ability and competence of the travel agents to expertly handle logistics-related issues that may be hard or just impractical, especially for a novice. Remember, on a cruise trip, there could be a lot of complex nitty-gritty to consider. For instance, there are issues a couple will want to consider that a solo traveler won’t.

Related: Top 10 Best Cruise Journeys To Take In 2022

In the end, working with a travel agent while putting one’s fingers on the pulse, is the best strategy. It’ll ensure one will get the best that both have to offer. With this in mind, one should ensure his or her choice of a travel agent is the best.

How To Choose A Travel Agent For A Cruise Trip

Since we’ve advised working with a travel agent, even if still closely being involved, the next step in the process is to identify a reliable cruise trip travel agent. Let’s make this simple. It might appear odd but the best method of getting a reliable travel agent for a cruise trip is through the old, tried method of referral. While one can pour through a thousand reviews on online sites of agents, and read each and every review, nothing compares to word-of-mouth referral by a friend, colleague, or family member. A referral is important because it’s a true story of someone that’s known—and who’s close—and therefore reliable. A good step would therefore to ask for such information from a network of friends. Also, when a traveler engages a travel agent because of a referral and mentions the same to the travel agent, the travel agent will be motivated to exceed—or at least equal the desired expectations. This is because they would want to maintain that reputation as it can earn them even more business.

Related: The Best Argument For Hiring A Travel Agent In 2022

Still, even if a referral is the best way to choose a travel agent for a cruise trip, one should still check the online reviews and feedback for a big-picture perspective. Other than referrals and reviews, a good cruise ship travel agent should be someone who’s detailed and thorough. If in an initial engagement, an agent is ready to proceed with a reservation before knowing more about a traveler, then that’s a red flag. This desired information should include stuff like hobbies, personality, preferred food and drinks—and the desired type of restaurant or nightlife—among many others. It’s this information that’ll provide a profile on which basis the agent should select the cruise ship. Of course, as a traveler, one should also be involved in the selection of a cruise ship.

Here’s the take-away. For one wondering whether to book a cruise ship directly or work with an agent, the best option is to work with an agent in a close, deliberate manner. The key is to get a fine travel agent.