Great advice, Kuki!!
The only one I'm not totally in favor of is the one about CLIA certification. Having attended several of their courses, I can personally attest that the major focus of all their courses is selling. In order to obtain certain levels you do have to take so many cruises of varying lengths and do so many ship inspections, but the courses themselves, for the most part, concentrate on selling.
So while many people put a big emphasis on the CLIA certifications, in reality it only shows someone spent a great deal of time and money learning how to sell cruises.
After doing this exclusively for almost 11 years, I found that I personally learn more by taking the courses offered by each of the cruise lines and by actually going on the cruises.
In other words, it's one thing to know how to sell a product, but it's quite another to actually know the product you're selling. It's not like an accountant getting a CPA - that requires specialist accounting courses, not courses on how to sell people on the fact they need an accountant.
I equate it to an other profession, whether it be a mechanic, an accountant, a lawyer, a doctor, etc. Some of the are generalist while others specialize. A specialist will always be much more experienced and educated in their area of expertise than a generalist.
So, when looking for an agent for a cruise, it's important to find one who is a Cruise Specialist. And a CLIA certification may help, but it definitely does not qualify an agent as someone who is a Cruise Specialist. I actually know agents who have only been on a few cruises yet have high level CLIA certifications and I would definitely not consider them specialist by any stretch of the imagination.