3 qualities to look for in a cruise travel agent

qualities travel agentWhile there may be other qualities to look for in a travel agent who specializes in cruise vacations, one that can do you some good, three stand out as being critical.

Character
Experience
Efficiency

“A good agent should be a combination of the following: Honest, friendly, courteous, caring, knowledgeable, detail oriented, and efficient with a touch of tenacity.” says cruise expert Tim Rubacky from Cruisemates.com.

Having an agent on your side is a lot like having taxes done by an accountant vs. doing it yourself.

Maybe you enjoy the process of doing taxes, are super organized and have the latest tax software to help you. Maybe you’ve been doing it for years and had no problem with it, never been audited, always come out with a refund and have plenty of time to devote to the task.

Even then, using an accountant who lives and breathes taxes, numbers and that sort of thing is a wise move. They will have the most up-to-date training, information and if they’ve been doing it a while, contacts at the IRS. Your accountant speaks their language, knows who to call and what to say (and not say) to gain you the most favorable outcome on a tax issue. Looking ahead, a good accountant can help you plan for the future, take advantage of programs that might apply to you and positively impact your financial situation. When a question comes up, that accountant is your go-to person for answers. They know you, your situation, your history and will have an appropriate answer for you. It’s the personal element of that ongoing business relationship you have with your accountant that makes the difference. Using a good accountant means no bad surprises down the road and often means some good surprises in measurable results.

All of the above can be said for using a good travel agent and are good reasons for using one. Another good reason is for if something goes wrong.

Simply not having the right documentation to enter a country can result in being denied boarding with no refund and no way to get back home. It happens. Saying “I just won’t get off the ship” does not work. Finding out later that someone else got the same exact cruise package for far less than you paid is just bad news. That happens too.

Looking forward to 2011 sailings and beyond, travel agents are privy to the latest, most accurate information about what is likely to happen. They know first about travel alerts and safety concerns that can impact your vacation and offer practical advice from their personal experience that can translate to a far better experience for you.

A agent of good character saves you time and you can greatly benefit from their experience. Finding and keeping a good agent is an ongoing process that you can expedite by asking some revealing questions like “Are you certified?”, “Will I be dealing directly with you?” and others.

“Finding the travel agent that suits you best is much like finding the ship that suits you best, once you find one, the qualities are obvious.” concludes Rubacky.