This post reveals my uncensored thoughts about how to travel safely and get value post-Coronavirus.
Incredible emerging destinations and outstanding value are what you will see in 2021. Travel like it used to be, with fewer tourist sites, stunning scenery, culture, local cuisine, adorable animals, and intimate ships with new friends.
1. Cruise companies are telling you exactly who your peers are going to be, and they determine if you have a memorable holiday or the “vacation from Hell.”
This is no surprise that too much alcohol and thousands of passengers on a crowded party ship can create life-threatening situations. You add security that has not been professionally trained, and passenger conduct rules that are rarely enforced. If you enjoy this type of environment, there are cruise companies that will accommodate you. If this is not your idea of fun, you will be miserable. Safety is not the top priority on ships who make their revenue by alcohol consumption. They do not have to. They can sail anywhere any time they want, too, even if it is dangerous. There are always tourists who will pay cruise companies who will take the chance.
2. With some cruise lines safety is their priority; they are known for incredible destinations, nostalgia, education, and relaxation.
Alcohol is not the main source of revenue. Instead, they immerse you in cultural shows, meet the locals, wine tasting, and cuisine, which is typically included in the package price. You will find that your fellow passengers have many things in common and become friends. This is good for the company; they want repeat business by offering you a great experience with real, not misleading amenities towards future cruises. One thing you may not know is that they offer me additional amenities to give to you.
3. Yes, any ship can have problems, but the right vessel, quality of the staff, crew members, and fellow travelers make all the difference to your survival.
Bodies that are hired and then turned into security, fireman, and kitchen help can be a way for a company to save money while reputable companies hire qualified crew and staff. Cruise ships are not all the same, even within the cruise line.
Over the last few months, you have seen in the news the problems that can arise when traveling. You can also see that most of the issues could have been avoided by working with a professional travel advisor. Our passion is not to sell you a cruise but to give you advice, help you plan a holiday that is as unique as you are, and, most importantly, we are problem solvers. As a Travel Advisor, I am your advocate, before, during, and after your holiday.
4. As an ASTA Verified Travel Advisor and concierge, my specialty is working with mature adults and their special needs. To find a professional Verified Travel Advisor, go to American Society Travel Agents Travelsense.org. Beware, many order fulfillment agents claimed to be travel agents. Over the last few months, I have been taking many webinars; some companies have come with great ideas on how they can improve the quality of life onboard their cruise line while others not so much. To get the best value and to avoid getting ripped off on a cruise is to look at every single thing that is not included in your itinerary before you decide to place a deposit. Items not included in your fare are considered by the cruise line as revenue generation. You will be amazed by the value that cruise lines who not spend millions of dollars advertising to get tourists onboard will offer you, the savvy traveler.
5. Memories cannot be taken away from you; that is what keeps you alive. In this post, I wrote a lot about the problems that can arrive with too much alcohol, especially on cruise companies where alcohol is the main source of revenue. Do not get me wrong I do like a good glass of wine and great conversation.
People do not plan on murdering anyone or falling overboard, fighting, or setting a fire. BUT it happens. The clientele that the ship is marketing to makes a big difference in safety.
6. You are unique; this is time to find the vessel and destination that meets your idea of safety and comfort, and is within your budget with no surprises. Right now, we are seeing companies changing their policies daily to benefit them. You have to be smarter.
This is where you need an advocate; someone to help you understand what you are paying for, what to do in case the unthinkable happens and will be there to help you. Some companies will not be around after this, but I believe the companies that came through with honesty and service will be there for us. Yes us! Professionals only want to work with those who honor their contracts and give excellent service, not empty promises.
7. Everyone has a choice either to be a tourist or a savvy traveler; however, traveling together doesn’t work. A cruise company that tries to cater to both has its share of problems.
Working with a professional, you have an advocate to help you plan, not a fulfillment agent who takes your order. Choosing the right cruise company and cruise ship is crucial in planning your vacation, and if an emergency arises, you have the knowledge and an advocate to survive.
8. Savvy traveler, this is your time and money, but more importantly, you are making memories that should last a lifetime and beyond.
My memories of traveling with my son always give me a reason to smile and a reason to live. In January 2019, my son was taken from me by a drunk driver. Perhaps you can see now why I understand what too much drinking can cause. Now, add that to being in the middle of the ocean with possibly untrained crew members. Your peers’ matter whether in life or onboard a cruise ship.
Whatever you do, make time to be with those you love and make every holiday special by planning one that you will always remember, and that will bring a smile to your face. – Sara, ASTA Verified Travel Advisor, CCS