Green’s Travel Tips

September 2006



Reserving a Cruise or Tour


I have heard comments on vacation pricing and comparisons of vacation pricing of other friends taking a cruise or escorted land tour.  Comparing pricing is always a good idea.


There has never been a trip sold where you could not have found it at a lower cost.  For those saying “aha!”  let me finish.


First of all let me tell you I bought a car for less than my friend Bill.  In fact it was about $18,000 less.   My new car was a Chrysler and he bought a Lexus.  It’s all the same, right?  Who cares if there is a difference in the two cars?


The same thing holds true for your vacation expenditure. 


Take cruises for example, but the same thing is true for escorted land tours.  Right now, during hurricane season, You can get a balcony in the Caribbean for about 60% or less than the price during March.  In March you can get a trip on several cruise lines for about 50% or less of what it will cost if you choose to cruise on a Crystal Cruise Line Ship or the Queen Mary 2.  Is price your only consideration?


My suggestion is that you do compare pricing.  Yes, at times you will find someone offering a cruise at a rate that will be less than you find from another travel agent.   Be sure that it is the identical trip: same ship, same itinerary, same days, same cabin category, etc.


Travel agents are not all the same.  There are also internet travel agencies.  They may offer a price that appears much lower than you can get from your local agent.  Please beware.  They quote prices that are the lowest accommodation and without all the add-ons such as taxes and port fees.   With an internet agency it is often very difficult to find anyone to help when you really need it.  And all too often they quote a special price and when you call them, “…gee we don’t have that pricing any more, but we do have…”


What is my suggestion?


Be very upfront with your travel agent.  Tell the agent exactly what you want.  Tell him/her the type of cabin, size of ship, number of days, ports you wish to visit, do you want traditional dining or anytime dining?  Are shore excursions of major importance to you and do you want to be sure you have an overnight in one specific port.  


How do you intend to get to the ship?   Do you want a few days either before or after the cruise for a pre or post hotel stay?   What price do you wish to pay?  Everything that is important to you should be conveyed to your agent for them to make the best suggestions to fit your specific needs and wants.


Ask your travel agent for their suggestions based on the information you have presented.  Then make your own decision based on what you want and what is available.  When you receive a suggestion frankly discuss it and tell the agent what you like and what things you would rather change for your special vacation.  Using a travel agent frees you up since they do all the research, wait on hold, look for promotions and many other time consuming tasks that make your decision easier.


Then finally, after all that research and evaluation, be happy with what you have decided upon.   Go enjoy your vacation because you know it is the best that was available for what you want to experience.


Book the best deal you found, after reviewing all the factors.   Now if you got a really good deal, you may wish to share that with your friends. 


The most important thing is that you have a marvelous trip.


 SLAC Member Bob Green