How can you find the best cruise travel deals? Should you consult with a travel agent? Are not they expensive, like an interior decorator expensive? Should you use an online discount travel agency? Can you trust them, or are there shysters out there like with every other online business? Should you do all of the work on your own? Will you miss any details? It will be too late if you find out you missed an important detail once the ship has left the dock.
Using a travel agent is always a good idea because travel agents have access to all of the best deals that the cruise lines have to offer. Cruise lines buddy up to travel agents, similar to the way pharmaceutical salesmen buddy up to doctors. They give travel agents the best deals first in order to make their clients happy, which in turn sends more business the way of the cruise line from that agent.
You do not have to pay an arm and a leg for a travel agent. Their fees are usually already built into the price of the booking, so you will not get a bill from them after the cruise is paid for. But you can save on that booking sometimes by using an online travel agent. No, they are not all shysters, although just as with any online business, the cruise industry has seen a few unsavory characters. You can get past this doing some research on the agent. Look for reviews, blogs, and forum posts about the agent to see if others have had good experiences with them.
You can certainly find great deals yourself by searching the internet for bargains, but this will take you some time to shop and compare all of the different cruises. By the time you get through them all, your vacation time will have come and gone. You may not be able to find the same great deals that a travel agent can find you, either. So you will be doing yourself no favors by going it completely alone.
If only to add to your research for the best deals, contact a travel agent or two and see what they have to offer. Then do some research on your own by searching the internet for travel offers. Depending on the time of the year it is, and the dates you would like to cruise, the deals are ever changing so you really just do not know what you will find or how you will find it.
One thing that you do want to make sure of before selecting an online travel agent, or any travel agent for that matter, is that they communicate with you. Is there a phone number by which to reach your agent with questions? If not, you should ask why. Some agents prefer to work by e-mail only, which is fine as long as they answer your e-mails within a few hours after sending it, otherwise, of course, you send the e-mail at midnight. Then you just have to give the agent a break – until the morning, that is.