I just returned from CLIA’s (Cruise Line International Association) Cruise3Sixty conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This five day conference featured technology demonstrations, back office demonstrations, classroom education and refresher courses. There was a trade show featuring not only the 26 member cruise lines of CLIA, but many of the destinations visited by cruise lines, embarkation ports and more. During the event, you also were able to have access and make connections or reconnect with the highest executive levels from each line.
These introductions and face to face meetings made me want to share five tips for picking the right cruise specialist. There are of course more than five, but these tips will help you determine if someone you are looking to for advice will be the right person for you.
- Ask how many cruises have they been on and how many ship inspections have they been on? When you take a ship inspection, many times you get just an hour to try to see a stateroom or two or maybe a few public areas. When you take a cruise, you get to experience a cruise just as a client would. You have more time to note things like when is the best time to arrive at the port to where in the room are the plugs for a hair dryer and even if their is a hair dryer.
- Ask him or her: what is your favorite cruise line? – A cruise specialist working for you is only interested in finding the right cruise line for you and they should not answer this question. A question of ‘What is their favorite?’ should not matter because more than likely your taste and risk tolerance is completely different than that of your cruise specialist.
- Can you be reached if something goes wrong? Does your cruise specialist offer a 24-hour emergency number or contact? A cruise specialist is meant to be your advocate. Some agents have direct access to the highest executive levels should there be an issue that has to be addressed.
- Take note of the number of times you are asked why when talking about your planned trip. An order taker can tell you how much by asking when and where you want to go, but a cruise specialist can choose the right experience for you by asking why.
- If you can, be flexible on the days you wish to cruise. A cruise specialist considers many factors when picking the right cruise for you. A specialist will check the calendar to see if there will be any major celebrations at your destination. They will consider school breaks for those wishing to avoid a ship full of children. They can find you a great value either in on board amenities or even a better price just by looking at slightly different departure dates.
Those five tips are just a start in finding the right cruise specialist for you. We know that we are not the right cruise specialist for every person or personality. Our goal is to educate you so that you have a memorable cruise experience. If you would like to know more please give us a call. We look forward to serving you.
Chuck and Laura Flagg own The Flagg Agency in Canton, GA and our number is 770-355- 9569
We are fee-based travel consultants and our specialty is the selecting,
planning, marketing and administering vacations for groups of all sizes.
We help people find a travel experience that matches both their wants AND their needs.
P.S. Did you know we offer a cruise planning guide and 149-point packing list. If you give us your name and address, we will mail it out immediately! It is our promise that we will never sell, rent or give away your information. You can opt out of our mailings at any time in every single email.