Don't Book Direct with Cruise Lines
Updated: Jul 12, 2019
Cruise group or individual clients that book online or by 800# have little to gain and much to lose.
In a recent article, Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President of Royal Caribbean International had this to say, “Every year, millions of guests sail onboard Royal Caribbean’s 22 ships. And when any one of those potential guests asks me how to book, I always say the same thing, ‘Use a travel agent!’”
One out of every five leisure travelers has encountered a problem with a trip they’ve booked themselves online. Travelers are discovering that they can avoid hassles, save time and always save money while getting the benefit of current, timely information from a well-traveled expert. Travel specialists, like Cruise Dreams, who focus on cruises and 5-star all-inclusive resort properties are constantly updated via email, phone calls, office visits, ship and port visits, mailings and more which keep them current on specials, new programs, problems and so many other things that can only improve one’s vacation experience.
Knowledge = power….and sometimes money in your pocket.
You have more to gain than to lose by booking your next trip with a Cruise Travel Specialist.
“Our job is to know which destinations are hot, which sailings are ‘soft’, where we can get better savings for our clients, especially the travel groups, which ships do a better job with a particular itinerary, who has the best kids program, etc.” said Kim Gibbons, founder and president of Cruise Dreams, an agency specializing in individual and group travel. “We travel constantly throughout the world, visiting new destinations and resorts and are experts in negotiating the best price and amenities for all group trips. Long-time-preferred relationships with cruise lines and luxury resorts are an added bonus that gives us an advantage with advance notice of specials, windows of opportunity, quick turnaround and problem resolution when necessary.”While cruise line and resort reservation agents are friendly, most have never been on a ship, never visited most port of call, or resorts worldwide. Their job is to take orders, in the friendliest way and most efficient way possible. Quite often they will not know what other cruise lines offer a similar or better itinerary or that a certain category is a much better value because of its placement than a comparably priced one.
Cruise specialists offer top notch services to help select the right match of ship, cruise line or resort to travelers’ age groups and interests. They know which shore excursions are worth taking and where the best place to take the local hop on hop off bus is. It is a niche market and when booking group travel with an expert, they can suggest great corporate team building activities on an island or in a resort and arrange a one-of-a kind event that will wow a travel group. A really knowledgeable company or agent will make great suggestions – for example, that in this particular port, for the same price four passengers would spend on a shore excursion, they can arrange a private driver for them for the entire day with a hand-picked itinerary that exactly fits their interests.
“I love putting together customized extras for our group travel clients,” adds Gibbons. “Two of my favorites include a private cooking lesson in tranquil Sorrento, Italy for a corporate team building activity Or a champagne cocktail party at sunset, hosted in a private capsule aboard the London Eye! “
While advice is priceless, passengers are glad to discover they’re likely to pay less, if they book through a specialized agency like Cruise Dreams. Cruise Dreams blocks group cruise space on many cruise ships that can save passengers hundreds of dollars on a cruise or travel tour. Close connections to cruise lines and luxury resort companies mean every day brings a barrage of emails, alerts, special offers, stateroom or room upgrades, resort or shipboard credits, flash cruise sales and other extras that the average traveler will never know about otherwise.
Travel agents also provide a safety net for travelers that those who book directly won’t get even if they buy insurance. Traveling does have its hazards of missed connections, delays, booking mix ups, etc. and having an experience, well-connected travel professional a phone call away can make all the difference in saving a vacation, keeping a group together, and dealing with the unexpected.
So take the advice of someone who knows best. As Vicki Freed of Royal Caribbean International says, “‘Use a travel agent!’”
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Cruise Dreams, a tailored travel company specializing in group travel & corporate incentive travel at sea or on land. Whether it be cruising, full ship charters or 5-star all-inclusive luxury properties world-wide. For more information, visit http://www.cruisedreamsincentivetravel.com or call 1-877-999-4533