Forget the absurd ads. You are NOT going to find value in lavish confusing ads or from desperate salespeople. It is time to empower yourself with the truth beyond the misrepresentations.
Before the Coronavirus, cruise companies who offered value understood the importance of being the best, not the biggest. Instead of misleading ads, they invested in a safe and welcoming environment that created a family of repeat clients and referrals. Today, they are giving so much to help their valued clients through the pandemic, while “others” are desperate to get bodies on their ships with offers that insult your intelligence.
Savvy travelers understand that a critical part of healthy eating is keeping food fresh; it’s also having highly trained and experienced team members. As I read over this, I was going to take the word bodies out, but honestly, how people react on board determines safety and comfort. Some cruise lines make their revenue on alcoholic beverages and encourage people to drink as soon as they board. In my experience, heavy drinkers tend to smoke, and a fire is the most serious of all safety concerns on a ship.
What kind of atmosphere do you want?
We have cruise companies who are looking for young families with children, party crowds, adventurers, and even NUDE cruises with anywhere from twenty to seven thousand passengers, plus crew members, and up to a staggering eighteen decks. There are expedition ships that go where the big ships can’t safely go, ship-destination ships, luxury boutique ships, riverboats, barges, paddlewheel steamboats, luxury yachts, and aqua excursions that cater to ecologically, and culturally-savvy clients. Yes, hundreds of vessels and themes to select from. You need to find out which one meets your needs and fits within your budget.
The meaning of safety varies between cruise ships. Safety does come with a price tag. Over the years I have seen passengers that were miserable and lonely on excursions that they were talked into buying by a salesperson, only to find out that it was a waste of money and time. It is one thing to be on a tour you do not like. But it could be a medical issue if it is beyond your comfort zone. You may not have chosen the wrong cruise line, but the wrong ship. Please, do not blame the salespeople; they are only doing what they are trained for, which is to sell; they are not your advocate.
One of the main reasons there are serious issues is because vessels are different – in both safety and security. It is vital to choose the right ship. Some companies are frantic; you can see it in their ads with offers of “free two-for-one,” “friends and family go free,” “free airfare,” etc. I am not going to insult your intelligence in telling you what is wrong with that.
Reputable cruise companies have a plan to get through this pandemic and offer real value, not hollow promises.
If you want to travel in 2021, this is the time to invest in yourselves. There are hundreds of cruise lines to choose from and they each offer different experiences. Find one that suits your needs. You are unique and deserve a holiday that will give you beautiful memories.
There are cruise companies that stress safety and others who do not. As an ASTA Verified Travel Advisor, I take security seriously. It is essential to travel on the right ship; one that’s made for the location you are traveling in.
At this time, to my knowledge, there are no rules preventing companies from sailing ships into waters that their vessels are not built for. Accidents happen even with reputable companies where traveling with them on other ships that would have been safe. For example, see:
For safety, comfort value, and uniqueness savvy travelers want to travel with other savvy travelers. Safety is paramount! Some lines seem to rarely have any significant problems, others have them regularly. It is my personal opinion that some companies are trying to be the biggest and have to scramble all the time for bodies. Since the pandemic, it will only get worse.
Reputable cruise companies have smaller fleets and aspire to be known for offering value and safety. Emergencies do happen when you travel; having trained professionals who know how to handle the situation makes all the difference. Working with a travel professional is essential to getting safety, comfort, value, and uniqueness. We have the knowledge and contacts.
Ships that appreciate repeat business and offer value know that professional travel consultants help them get the right clients, which means happy regulars that will refer the ideal clients to them. The savvy travelers understand this is a great way to get value. Instead of spending money on expensive ads, their money is invested in your safety and fantastic amenities. Recently, I was on a cruise that I was told had 85% repeat customers. I was surprised to see that some of them had $1,000 ship credits!
As a professional, I can often add additional goodies, not to mention great value.
Unfortunately, there are no travel agent certifications required by law in the US. As a result, there are a lot of scams. In my next blog, I will discuss how to know that you are dealing with a professional that you can trust to be your advocate. You are giving away a lot of personal information that can be sold if given to the wrong travel agent.
For travel advisors like me, this is a profession, not a part-time job. While others may get scammed, savvy travelers know that this is the best time to get value.
Make your life a glorious adventure that brings you sliding in sideways with champagne in one hand and chocolate in the other, shouting, “Wow! What a Ride!”
Sara, ASTA Verified Travel Advisor and Concierge