I am looking for the most knowledgable travel agent I can find.
Specifically, I want someone who knows how to get the best rates - save money. I want someone who understands all of the pertinent policies regarding cancellations, deposits, etc.
I am not that interested in their knowledge of different ship characteristics and destination details - unless it pertains to cost and saving money.
But mostly I want someone who knows the policies of every cruise line intrinsically - especially in these subjects:
reservation management (deposits, final payments, etc)
Timing of purchases for the besty value.
I am looking for someone where you are fully convinced they are on YOUR side - not just an order taker, even if they are prompt, courteous and affordable. I mean I want someone who tells you things you didn't know, finds you bargains you can't believe and has saved your rear in a big way at least once.
Now just FYI - I am not looking to book a cruise, but I want someone I can use to get cruise knowledge from on the ever changing policies and practices of the cruise lines.
Well, Paul, I know you are a guy in a special position and probably you have very specific reasons for wanting that particular type of travel agent.
But in all honesty, I do not think the typical cruise client, or even the typical member of this board, would be well served by the type of agent you are asking for. It is pretty much like saying, "I want someone to recommend a cheap furniture store. I don't care about the quality of the furniture or the selection as long as it is cheap and they know how to get all the best discounts for me."
Some of the things you are passing up, like knowledge of ships and itineraries, are among some of the MOST important things the typical client wants from a Travel Agent. Again I realize that you probably have a special purpose in mind and do not have the priorities that a typical client does.
Now MY travel agent is really good, she has all the skills you ask for, PLUS extensive knowledge of ships, itineraries, ports, excursions, guides and much more -- and I get to sleep with her every night ... ;o)
A rare beast indeed I would think...most holiday cruisers want someone who knows the ships to advise what is best for YOU, know which cabins are good & importantly those that are given to people who don't know any better, how to get the best deals too.
Some answer questions...I also question answers
While price is a very important aspect of finding a good TA, it should not be the sole purpose in my eyes. A knowledgeable TA that can best fit a client to the right cruiseline/ship/itinerary, being well versed on ports of call visited and make suggestions of what to see and what to do, is very important in my eyes. Also, a TA that "has your back" if a crisis occurs is also an attribute to seek out.......
In the end, "Lowest Prices" should never be the only factor in selecting a TA in my opinion.
__________________ Your Travel "angel" ~~~ Curtis
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