Travel Agency Cruise Specials 2019

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Yes, travel agents still exist! It seems terribly old fashioned to use a travel agent, but the good ones will not cost you a cent more than booking directly - they are paid by the cruise lines and not the customers. And then cruises are not quite as simple as booking flights or car hire; so for first time cruisers it's especially advantageous to use a good travel agent. You'll usually get more personalised service from a travel agent, and naturally you'll get more independent advice than from a cruise line! Even if you prefer doing all your research yourself, it's worth checking with a travel agent whether they can beat the price, before you finally make the booking yourself.

Intuitively, booking directly with a cruise line would result in the cheapest price, as the middle-man is skipped out. However, cruise lines sometimes offer travel agents specials in order to get more business from them; and as they save on marketing costs. Whilst it's usually part of the deal that travel agents may not quote prices lower than the cruise lines, they may package the special prices, typicaly by adding flights into the deal and quoting one price for both flights and the cruise (so you cannot easily see that the cruise component is what's bringing the package price down). Alternatively, the travel agent may offer additional frills like onboard credit, a free upgrade, a drinks package, spa treatments or a bottle of champagne. Some travel agents add frills through "rebating", which means that they are using some of the commission they're earning from the cruise line to finance the frills - these travel agents need to book high volumes to be able to afford to do this, and client service may suffer.

If you're looking for a specific type of cruise (e.g. Alaska), then be sure to select an agency which specialises in selling those types of cruises, as they're more likely to have access to deals.

On the other hand, a major downside of using a travel agent is that if something goes wrong, you have to work through them.

Once you have decided on your cruise use to get multiple travel agents to quote you for the cruise (prices are usually similar, but some offer onboard crredit).

Travel agents to consider are (links to their newsletter signup pages):

Also see the following, which don't have a newsletter:

Disclosure: This website is attempting to earn commission income where possible via the above agents, to pay for costs and keep it going (at the moment there are zero agreements, but this is the intention!). This will not impact on the price you pay for cruises. If you are still bothered that it might, then navigate directly to the travel agency's website, rather than using the above links. Agencies through which commission income is not earned are also included; and some agencies which offer commission income are not included (e.g. Booking Buddy, Cheap Tickets, Cruises Only and Your Travel Centre).

Should you ask an agent to package your holiday? This is certainly the easiest way of doing it, but it's likely that the agent will be adding in extra profit in the process, so be sure to check the price of doing each componenent seperately yourself.

MSC Seaview swimming pool deck

What happens on the Cruise doesn't always Stay on the Cruise!

If you've read this far you deserve a bit of entertainment. Combine plentiful alcohol and a holiday spirit with people from all walks of life on cruise ships; and here are examples of some of the more bizarre things witnessed on cruise ships:

Don't feel bad if your cruises have been relatively boring, but cruise enough and you're bound to witness some of the above.

Sea Sickness

The tablets don't work for everybody. Some unfortunates spend the entire cruise in their cabin, too ill to do as much as open the door.