Cruising from Florida 101: Getting Started.3

So we’ve talked about Internet Cruise Brokers and Certified Cruise Travel Agents, but what about just picking up the phone or going online to book directly with the cruise line?  Why not just eliminate the “middleman” and deal directly with the source?

You can do that and will probably get exactly what you paid for.  You might even get a complimentary upgrade or some other perk not available with the Internet Cruise Broker.  But when it comes to comparing dealing directly with the cruise line to using a Certified Cruise Travel Agent, there is no comparison.  You see, while the Certified Cruise Travel Agent is paid a commission by the cruise line, they work for YOU…or they should.  A good one does.

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A good agent works on building a long term business relationship with you. They want to be your go-to person for cruises now and in the future.  If nothing else, they have your repeat business at stake and want to do a good job for you so you will come back again for all cruise-related needs.

In Central Florida, like the rest of the planet, there are a lot of travel agents to choose from.  If you have been booking on the Internet, stop  and find one.  Ask a trusted friend who travels who they use.  Check with the local Better Business Bureau or Cruise Lines International Association for agents who have completed their certification training.  Then send that potential agent an email.  Give them as much information as you can; where you want to sail to, what your cruise history is (if you have one), how much you want to spend, where other vacations have been and what you liked or disliked about them.

Given enough information, a Certified Cruise Travel Agent should always be able to provide a better value for you.  They will respond promptly to your inquiry, ask probing questions to get a better idea of what cruise might be a good fit for you and start to develop that long-term business relationship rightfrom the start.

This is the way business was done for decades before the Internet enabled us to do so much on our own.  Now, in perspective, the Internet is a great tool for research but as the saying goes; “The Internet is for looking, Travel Agents are for booking”

 Not using a travel agent?  This video brings good information on how to find one: