As a travel concierge who is a professional travel consultant, I am trained to pay attention to details. I can get you deals on cruises that you cannot get by booking travel through the internet yourself, or contacting a cruise company directly. You see, I belong to a respected luxury consortium that negotiates with hotels, resorts, and cruise lines to get upgrades, room amenities and special promotions that are not available to agents outside of their organization. (Agents and agencies must meet certain requirements, and must be invited to join.) I am proud to be affiliated with “Signature Travel Network.”
Travel consulting is my passion; it is not a sales job.
My goal as your travel concierge is to educate you and provide you with a vacation full of wonderful memories.
Here are 6 mistakes people commonly make when they book their own cruises (or vacations):
Mistake #1: Thinking that planning a cruise is a simple matter of picking up a phone or going online to plan your dream vacation. Travel is a deeply personal, human experience. Databases have trouble understanding such things.
Mistake #2: Believing that going directly to the cruise company or internet that you will get a better deal.
Mistake #3: Not knowing the real total cost, which can make the cheap cruise more expensive. Having to pay for something that you thought was included in your package is not only expensive, it is usually not the same quality that you would have received if it was included in your package.
Mistake #4: Believing you will get you the same amenities and the same quality of a room on an internet ad that offers “50% off a stateroom/hotel room” that you would get if you paid the actual published rate. Hotels and ships often have a few rooms/staterooms that are in need of remodeling or are in bad locations. These are sold at a discounted rate for a reason.
Mistake #5: Thinking all cruise ships are created equal. Choosing the wrong cruise ship can be very disappointing.
Cruise ships fall into 6 major categories:
LUXURY SHIPS: Typically these include all-suite staterooms. Most of these are all-inclusive, and accommodate a smaller number of guests, allowing for a higher staff-to-guest ratio. These ships are most suitable for discerning travelers who may have cruised before but are looking for new experiences, with 5 star dining, etc.
DELUXE SHIPS: While still considered an upscale cruise experience, this category fills the middle ground between premium and luxury. There is a slightly lower staff-to-guest ratio, and a combination of suites and staterooms. This category often attracts an older demographic with longer-than-average itineraries.
PREMIUM SHIPS: This category is a step above contemporary through its focus on service levels. While suites are offered, most accommodations are devoted to larger-than-average staterooms and “junior suites.”
CONTEMPORARY SHIPS: Sometimes referred to as “mass market” cruises, this category includes cruises that offer great value and a diverse range of amenities and activities. The onboard experience, service levels, and the variety of dining options make this category popular with families, first-time cruisers, and budget-minded repeat cruisers, as well. Quality of food is not important to the client, although the food is generally tasty.
RIVER CRUISES: While somewhat self-explanatory, this category delivers the convenience and luxury of an ocean cruise combined with the in-depth experience of a land tour. Because of ship size limitations, most offer an intimate setting in a casual yet elegant environment. River cruising continues to grow in popularity with journeys that are “just the right pace” for getting the lay of the land. Restaurants vary from 5-star to tasty, depending on the company.
NICHE/SPECIALTY: This is the area that I specialize in. This category is made up of smaller ships that often journey to more exotic or unusual destinations. These ships routinely visit ports that larger vessels are unable to access. The casually elegant atmosphere they offer is usually friendly, relaxing, and spontaneous. The focus is primarily on the experience of the destination.
Mistake #6: Thinking that everything is taken care of once the cruise is scheduled. What about transfers? Hotels? Visas? Passports? Vaccinations? Insurance? Shore excursions? Not to mention last minute cancellations? It is not fun to get to your destination and find out that you cannot get off the ship because you do not have a visa or your visa was cancelled. Having the right travel insurance and a professional Travel Advisor/Consultant that you can contact in an emergency can make all the difference in the world in your travel experience.
Peace of mind: priceless!
Travel Concierge, Sara Raney, is an Alaska and Antarctica Specialist. Having traveled to over 100 countries herself, Sara has the knowledge and experience to make travel plans and special arrangements for her clients (things you wouldn’t even think of) so that you can relax and enjoy a wonderful, memorable, hassle-free vacation!
Join Sara on one of her escorted cruises to
Alaska, Panama, Canada/New England, and more!
Sara is the author of the Amazon best-seller: “Senior Travel Guide: How to Survive Squatty Potties and More!” (available on Amazon and on major cruise lines).