Chicago, Illinois Travel Agent
After five years at Royal Caribbean International, I understand cruising and all that it can be. I know what each of the lines has to offer. Having seen the differences between consumers who book directly and those who come through travel agents, I am aware of the many ways a travel agent should add value.
As a cruise expert, I provide high touch and efficient planning so you can select among tailored options that are suited to your taste and budget and will meet and exceed your expectations.
One misperception I’d like to dispel is the belief that you pay more when you book through an agent. In fact, just the opposite is true. Through Protravel International’s affiliation with Virtuoso, I can provide a selection of complimentary amenities on most cruise lines. These might be anything from a category upgrade to free Wi-Fi or a shipboard credit good for spa treatments or excursions.
Many people come to me with a specific request based on what they’ve seen on television, a brochure they received in the mail, or what a co-worker said. These all play up aspects of what a cruise can be, but can be very misleading and different from the reality of what you will experience. Often, another line will meet your expectations and dreams far better than the you first request.
Here’s an example. A client called me to book a family reunion with Carnival Cruises. We talked about who would be traveling and which lines they liked. Many had cruised with Silver Sea and Celebrity, more upscale lines. My client had only been on a single three-night cruise, so her understanding was limited and she didn’t realize that she was planning a trip for people who understood the luxury side of cruising. I was able to find them a better quality cruise with a line that allowed the more upscale-oriented family members to book suites while budget oriented members of the party could still find affordable cabins and everyone was happy.
Cruising means different things to different people. For example, on upscale lines such as Ponant Cruises, you might be one of only a 260 passengers. You won’t find Broadway-style shows or a laser tag center; instead you’ll have high-touch, French-style service, access to ports that larger ships can’t visit from Antarctica to the Arctic and everywhere in between.
On the other hand, to many people, cruising brings to mind visions of a floating resort where you can enjoy a wide array of dining, entertainment, nightlife and spa and wellness facilities as you travel from place to place. These usually include a casino, kids club and on-board adventures from go-kart racing and climbing walls to virtual-reality games.
Sorting through all the options to find the one that suits your needs for a particular trip and then finding the best deal can be a daunting task. I can cut through the sales pitches and help you get the experience you want at a better price than you would get on your own. Plus, once I know what you are looking for, I can alert you whenever I see special promotions so you can take advantage of them. With an expert on your side, you’ll find navigating the myriad options of cruising is a breeze.