If you don't already have one, the best way
find one is through a friend who has had excellent results. You
find that a full-service agency can best fill your needs if you
are making extended travel arrangements in conjunction with this
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
these additional savings on to you. We usually book
through Lori Cunningham
To locate another, check out LocateATravelAgent.com
for a huge selection.
Things to consider when choosing a TA
...courtesy of George Leppla at
you dealing with a person who has the authority to make a decision or
you dealing with someone who has to get permission and approval for
decision? This does not mean you should only deal with an owner, but
agent you deal with should have enough responsibility to handle your
without having to get approval from someone for each step of the
What if the agent goes out of business and you have been making
Any payments you make to any agency for a cruise, vacation of airline
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
processing your credit card transactions themselves. You have no way of
knowing if they are crediting the money against your reservation. If
go bust, there goes your bucks. If they go bust and the cruise
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.
- Does the agent have the experience needed for the specific
- Does the agent belong to any of the accepted travel agency
such as ASTA, ARTA, CLIA, NACOA, etc (note: membership in any
does not assure that the agent is capable or ethical, however
may indicate a degree of interest and professionalism)
- Does the agent have any advanced training such as CLIA's
ACC or MCC
or ICTA's CTC and DS designation? Beware of titles that you are not
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
I know some full-time agents that I wouldn't buy a bus ticket from. I
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?
Warning: If you are ever notified that an agency has "taken
booking form an old agency that went out of business or was sold, you
not have to allow this. You can call the cruise line and have the
declared to be without an agent or transfer it to any agency you
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
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