Travel Agents

If you don't already have one, the best way to find one is through a friend who has had excellent results.  You may find that a full-service agency can best fill your needs if you are making extended travel arrangements in conjunction with this trip.  A cruise-only agency may be able to obtain a deeper discount or upgrade since they buy blocks of cabins at discount and are able to pass these additional savings on to you.  We usually book through Lori Cunningham at 

To locate another, check out  for a huge selection. 

Things to consider when choosing a TA

...courtesy of George Leppla at
Are you dealing with a person who has the authority to make a decision or are you dealing with someone who has to get permission and approval for every decision? This does not mean you should only deal with an owner, but the agent you deal with should have enough responsibility to handle your reservation without having to get approval from someone for each step of the process. 
  • Does the agent have the experience needed for the specific cruise you are going on?
  • Does the agent belong to any of the accepted travel agency associations such as ASTA, ARTA, CLIA, NACOA, etc (note: membership in any organizations does not assure that the agent is capable or ethical, however membership may indicate a degree of interest and professionalism)
  • Does the agent have any advanced training such as CLIA's ACC or MCC designation, or ICTA's CTC and DS designation? Beware of titles that you are not familiar with and keep in mind the same note as in the above suggestion. 
  • Does the agent have Errors and Omissions insurance? 
  • Is the agent selling cruises full-time or as a part time way of making additional income? (Note - put as much importance on this as you care to. I know some full-time agents that I wouldn't buy a bus ticket from. I also know some part-time agents that I would have no problem dealing with.)
  • Will the agent supply you with references?
  • Does the agent have regular business hours?
  • Does the agent process credit card transactions themselves or are they done through the cruise lines?
What if the agent goes out of business and you have been making payments?  Any payments you make to any agency for a cruise, vacation of airline ticket should be put on a credit card. The SUPPLIERS process the credit card, not the travel agency.  Run like hell from ANY travel agency who is processing your credit card transactions themselves. You have no way of knowing if they are crediting the money against your reservation. If they go bust, there goes your bucks.  If they go bust and the cruise line has processed your CC transactions, then you won't lose a dime. You can work directly with the cruise line or have the reservation transferred to a different agency. 

Warning: If you are ever notified that an agency has "taken over" your booking form an old agency that went out of business or was sold, you do not have to allow this. You can call the cruise line and have the booking declared to be without an agent or transfer it to any agency you choose. Sometimes, when an agency is sold, the open accounts are sold with it. You do not have to allow this. 

Anytime you make ANY major purchase, you should know who you are dealing with and if they are reputable. You might get burned even then, but if you do your  homework you can lessen the chances of that happening.

   © 1996-2006  Candy Brock