You need guidance & good advice from a professional..Book with a TA. I never saw a reason not to. Somebody to watch to see if maybe your cruise price goes down, go to bat for you in an emergency, etc, etc...etc!
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
I wholeheartedly agree, use a local T.A. to book your cruise. Do your homework before you visit them and check out the ship online, read reviews, look at decks and rooms, etc. My T.A. now has all my requirements in my file, personal information, etc., and has gone to bat for me more than once with cruise lines. If they are a heavy cruise booker, they can offer you perks not available when you purchase online. One of our local agencies even offers complimentary transportation to the port from their office.
use a travel agency but make sure that the travel agents have the letters "CTC" after their name. This means they are Certified Travel Counselors and have had to undergo intensive training first in order to become certified. And don't be afraid to check them out with the local Better Business Bureau in your area first.
Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas - January 13, 2008 (Countdown has begun)
Norwegian SUN - January 2007
Carnival Conquest - September 2005
The higher the certification the greater the experience in cruising, sales and training and must pass examinations.
All of these councilors have at least been on multiple cruises. The higher the certification the greater number of cruises. Most MCC agents have more then enough cruises under their belt to qualify for ECC but have not taken the coursework or exams for ECC certification
There is nothing worse than talking with an agent or online sales person who has never set foot on a cruise ship.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
My DH and I will be sailing on our first cruise in Nov. We originally booked through the RCCL website, but after reading this thread I transfered our booking to our T/A earlier this week. Today I received a call telling me RCCL was offering a senior citizen's discount for this cruise which my DH would be elegible for but did not get. So, she saved us $120.00. I'm so glad I listened to all the advice! Thank you!
A travel agent is a good way to go for the first cruise. I booked my upcoming cruise with a different travel agency and I noted that the level of professionalism isn't as high as it is with the agency I booked my January 07 and the next one in Feb 08 with. We got a very detailed itinerary and a bunch of information from the AMA (AAA for you) and I was impressed with their service. When I booked with the Flight Center I got good service, but I didn't get the detailed itinerary or information. I was hoping they would do like the AMA did and give us a flight itinerary, I was wrong. I had to call the airlines and check the flight info and do seat selection.
Moral of the story is, deal with an agency that you know has a good reputation.
2007 Victory & Triumph
2008 Conquest & Liberty
2009 Valor, Freedom, and Splendor
2010 Glory and Liberty
Definitely go with a TA - among other things, they often can get a group rate and save you bucks (that does not mean that you have to be involved with the group in any way).
I'd recommend you check the various special cruises that are set up just for CruiseMates (the link is on the home page) - then contact Nancy B. She's saved me a bundle. And, is excellent about returning emails and/or phone calls pronto.
I cruise the Emerald Princess, Eastern Caribbean on April 16, 2012