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Booking a cruise

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Hi! I'm not new to cruising but I have a friend who is. He's wanting to book a cruise for the first time, and I've never done my own cruise booking. I've always heard it's best to book with a travel agent and that's how most people do it, but I'm not sure how to get started or where to find a travel agent. Anyone have any tips on starting the cruise booking process?

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Cruise Critic does not allow the promotion/mention of travel agents.  If you want to use a travel agent check with friends for recommendations; otherwise you can go on line with the cruise line you are looking at and book directly with them. You can also research cruises on line. 

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OP: there's a zillion threads here on CC regarding how to find a good TA and why it is so beneficial to use them (I've posted a bunch of them). Use the search feature.

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I found our TA by looking in the phone book. She has taken care of us for almost 15 years.

I try to discourage booking directly with the cruise lines. They give the TA a commission for booking the cruise. If you use a local person, then you are contributing to the local economy. If you book with the cruise line, they save that money that might have been given to a travel agent.

Jim

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I don’t know that there is ‘best’ answer. I’ve never worked with a local agent personally, I talked to one prior to booking my first cruise and it wasn’t a good fit. The important thing to know is that while a TA can give good information and booking extras, you also lose the ability to make changes to your booking. For as many stories on here about people getting free OBC or gratuities, there are stories about people seeing their cruise drop in price and were unable to get ahold of their TA to take advantage of it. Like every profession, some TAs are better than others and it’s hard to tell ahead of time which ones are worth using.

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Ask friends and family about recommending a travel agent . A good travel agent is hard to find. 

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Check with any national organizations to which you belong. Some of them offer or recommend travel services.

 

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