Well stated, Kuki.
I do think alot of people have the misconception that it will cost them more money using a travel agent or that the cruise line can offer them something an agent cannot offer and this is not the case.
Most reputable agents do not charge any fees for their service. So it makes sense to utilize their expertise, knowledge, and experience, especially for first-time cruisers since they have ALOT of questions. Plus, all the major cruise lines require everyone to advertise the same cruise for the same price. And often, agents will have group space available, which can result in a lower price and/or amenities the cruise line cannot offer. But anything and everything a cruise line can offer, the agent can offer and can actually ofter better than what the cruise line can offer.
Carnival is a good example of this. I have a group going out on the Liberty next year and right now, my lowest price is $50 less than Carnival's best price, plus we're offering $75 onboard credit and Carnival is not. And their best price is a non-refundable, non-changeable rate, whereas ours is refundable or changeable. So while an agent can always offer what Carnival is offering, sometimes an agent is able to offer better than Carnival, but Carnival cannot offer anything better than the agent.