June 18, 2024

The Unsinkable Cruise Advisor

Cruise agents are one of the best ways to start a vacation.

By Anne Vipond – It has always made sense to consult a cruise specialist when booking a cruise, especially for first-time cruisers. There is no extra cost for using the services of a cruise advisor because their fee is covered by the cruise line, and their firsthand knowledge is invaluable when navigating the array of choices. To choose the right fit from the range of itineraries and variety of ships has always been daunting. And now travellers must navigate the complex and confusing regulations dealing with the pandemic.

Much has changed since COVID-19 quickly spread around the world and brought cruise travel to a grinding halt. Cruisers became land-bound and empty ships lay at anchor, maintained by quarantined crew, while executives scrambled to keep their companies’ finances afloat. The last bulwark in this worldwide crisis was the cruise travel advisor, tirelessly dealing with cancellations, cruise credits and re-bookings on behalf of their clients.

Celebrity Summit – a mid-sized premium ship – awaits returning passengers in Barbados.

Now, as we cautiously emerge from this worldwide pandemic, it is to those indispensable travel advisors many of us will turn for updates and advice. Most professional cruise advisors are affiliated with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – an independent marketing and educational organization. CLIA’s training courses provide travel agents the opportunity to earn professional certification and a high level of expertise in cruise travel.

Cruise ships come in a range of sizes and styles, from megaships designed for families seeking a fun-filled vacation to more sophisticated ships appealing to mature cruisers who appreciate the traditional aspects of shipboard life, such as fine dining and personalized service. Certified cruise agents can explain the differences and similarities between cruise lines, including their onboard atmosphere and activities. They can guide their clients through the maze of ship choices, cabin considerations and itineraries. Their expertise and insight is invaluable.

As the cruise lines roll out their itineraries for 2022 and 2023, bookings are strong due to pent-up demand. Cruisers have been deprived of their favorite form of travel and are eagerly looking forward to boarding a ship and enjoying the cruising life again. Meanwhile, those steadfast cruise advisors will keep us informed, updated and believing in brighter days ahead.

A couple enjoys the traditional promenade deck on Holland America Line’s Westerdam.

Avatar photo About Anne Vipond

Anne Vipond is the author of several guidebooks to cruising destinations around the world. She draws on an extensive sailing background to impart her enthusiasm for cruise travel. From her home port of Vancouver, she travels by cruise ship to a wide range of destinations to keep her books current and useful for her cruise readers. Her cruising articles have been published in magazines and newspapers throughout North America and over seas.