If you call a travel agent, be kind enough to give them your business. Most likely, your travel agent has sailed on the ship you are considering going on, and if not that specific ship, most likely the cruise line. A travel agent will spend a large amount of time trying to identify what cruise is best for you, so respect their time and knowledge.
2. Don't expect miracles
Your travel agent can do lots of things to make your vacation great, but don't expect miracles! If you choose to book at the last minute to save a few bucks, don't expect your travel agent to get you the "perfect cabin". You know the one, not too close to the elevator but not too far away from the main dining room! Trust me. The so called "perfect cabin" was sold a year ago! Your travel agent will do everything they can so he earns your repeat business (and word of mouth referrals), but they aren't a superhero!
3) Share your expectations and needs
Tell your travel agent all the "variables" up front. Do you want early dining? Do you want to take shore excursions? Is the ship "family friendly?" Do you want a true double cabin, or are you okay with a pull down bed in your cabin? Your travel agent needs to know all the details upfront so that they can craft a great cruise vacation for you.
4) Need a room?
Ask for recommendations from your travel agent about pre- and post-cruise lodging and things to do in port before and after your cruise. If you are flying to your cruise, be sure to fly in the day before! If you fly in the day of, lots of things can go wrong. Your travel agent will let you know the best hotel for your pre-cruise stay and what attractions are in the area.
5) Travel insurance - don't leave home without it
Unforeseen problems happen all the time! Someone in the family gets sick at the last minute. Your luggage is lost. You misplace your passport. Your plane arrives late and you miss the cruise. You name it, anything can and will happen. Travel insurance
costs pennies on the dollar and it gives you peace of mind. Ask your travel agent which travel insurance is best for your vacation.
6) Super Secret Tips
Your travel agent will have lots of tips that those online travel websites won't tell you. When is the best time to board? Can I bring bottled water? What is the tipping policy? What special events are on the ship that I can't miss? What are the best shore excursions? Those are just a few tips that your travel agent can share with you to put you heads and shoulders above your fellow cruisers!
7) Tell your friends about me
If your travel agent gave you a great vacation, tell your friends on Facebook, at church, and at work that they are awesome. Travel agents work hard everyday and they are able to continue serving cruisers by word of mouth referrals. Be a supporter of a small business by giving them their name, phone number and website. Be sure to let your travel agent know you are referring people to them. Chances are they will hook you up with something nice in your cabin on your next cruise for all the business you have given them.
Do you use a travel agent when booking your cruise?