OK, I know some of you read this headline and thought, is she kidding?  Why would I need to use a Travel Advisor when I can book everything myself online?  Am I right?  Well, bear with me on this one because I have some very compelling reasons that will make you ask yourself why wouldn’t I use a Travel Advisor for my next cruise?

Reason #1 – Expertise

In my last blog, Choosing the Right Cruise Vacation, I talked about all of the options that are available when you are taking a cruise.  A cruise vacation isn’t as simple as just booking the cruise…there are many components to a cruise.

Travel Advisors are not just booking agents, they are a valuable resource of first-hand knowledge and expertise to help guide you so that you get the most out of your cruise vacation.  Should you do your own research before contacting a Travel Advisor?  Absolutely!  Doing some initial research helps you to get an idea of what type of cruise you want to take.  Once you know that, share that with your Travel Advisor and they can then put together a comprehensive cruise vacation that includes the best fit for your needs.  They know what cruise lines offer the best amenities for what you’re looking for.  They know the ins and outs of how best to get you to and from the cruise port.  They know the right questions to ask you to match you up to the right travel insurance policy.  They know about the destinations you’ll be visiting and can guide you as to what the best experience will be (i.e. you may see a beach excursion listed on the cruise line’s website that sounds fabulous but you may not know that the chosen beach is very crowded and touristy – a good Travel Advisor will know if that’s not the right fit and can offer up suggestions on a less crowded and more pleasant beach experience elsewhere on that island).

Reason #2 – Time Saved

There’s such a huge value to saving time in our busy lives, and if a Travel Advisor agent can do all of the “heavy lifting” and time-consuming leg work that a cruise vacation can bring, why wouldn’t I take advantage of their service?  On top of that, a good Travel Advisor will remind you about all of the due dates associated with a cruise so that you don’t have to worry about missing deadlines such as when final payments are due, when to check in online for the cruise and the flights, etc.  Oh, and one more really great time saver that most people don’t even think about.  After your cruise is booked, a good Travel Advisor will continue to check the price of your cruise to see if the price goes down.  If it does, they will rebook your cruise at the lower cost!  How awesome is that?  And don’t worry, if the price of your cruise goes up, your rate will stay the same.

Reason #3 – If Something Goes Wrong

Anyone who travels nowadays knows that it’s not a matter of if, but when there may be a hiccup in your travel plans…flight delays/cancellations, sold-out hotels, changes made by the cruise line (this doesn’t happen often, but it can happen), someone can’t travel because they’re sick, etc.  I’d argue that this is really the number one benefit to using a Travel Advisor.  Have you ever had a flight cancelled and had to stand in that mile-long line in the airport to make alternative plans?  How about instead of doing that, you simply call your Travel Advisor so that they can contact the airlines?  And guess what, they are able to find good solutions far quicker than you or I could.  Their job is to make it right for their clients, and they can do that easier because of their relationships and direct contact with the vendors.  This is a priceless benefit!

Reason #4 – Better Rates & Perks

So, this one is tricky because a Travel Advisor won’t always be able to get you a better rate and/or additional perks, but most of the time they can.  If you think about it, it makes sense that Travel Advisors are more likely to get better deals than you or I could, because they have established relationships with vendors and have access to better inventory, rates and even perks that the average person can’t get on their own.  I’ve taken a cruise where my Travel Advisor wasn’t able to get a better rate than me, but they were able to throw in a specialty restaurant or on-board credit or a bottle of wine sent to my stateroom.  There has been a time when I booked a cruise and my Travel Advisor wasn’t able to offer me anything better than what I could have gotten on my own.  It doesn’t happen often, but it can happen.  I still had no hesitation about using a Travel Advisor because there are so many other benefits that they bring to the table (expertise, time saved, someone to handle any travel issues that may pop up).

See, I told you that after this blog you’d be asking yourself why wouldn’t I use a Travel Advisor?  It really is a no-brainer in my opinion.  I’ll be writing a blog in the near future with tips on how to find yourself a good Travel Advisor, because you will find that not all of them are the same.

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