How To Identify
Your Perfect Cruise Planner

Do you know about the many benefits of using a cruise planner, travel agent, etc?

If so, you realize that the time and effort it takes to locate a good travel professional is time and effort well spent.

Group of Travel Agents

In the long term, you save time, money, stress and many, many, hassles.

Identifying a travel professional "perfect" for you means that you find someone who has a mission to fulfill your dream of a worry-free, stress-free and hassle-free vacation.

Preparedness, and happiness before and after your dream vacation, equals a great (need I say da-z-z-ling?) experience.

Here is the ABC (decisive) test to identify your perfect cruise planner (or to determine if the one you have is "perfect" for you).

- A -

Identify and make a short list of travel professionals.

Choose anyone you think fits the criteria for working closely with clients, and for making them happy, happy cruisers.

Referrals from friends are a good starting point.

Do not limit yourself to agents from "brick and mortal" locations, large offices or corporate agencies.

Many small office agencies and home based travel agents are very, very good cruise planners.

- B -

  • Contact, and if possible, meet each person or business on your list. Talk to the person that is to work with you from start to finish. That person should not have to get approval for each action taken.

  • At each meeting, inform the agent that you want to take a cruise. At this time, you should ask as few questions as possible. Carefully listen to their response to your inquiry. Pay particular attention to the questions they ask you.

  • Take notes to jog your memory. If necessary, meet with the agent again.

  • Prioritize your list based on your initial personal reactions to the cruise planner you met or talked with via telephone. Use a sliding scale of one through ten, with ten as the high number.

  • The stronger the initial "connection" you felt and the more you "liked" the person the higher the ranking. For the moment, this is strictly subjective on your part, your "gut" reaction.

  • Prepare to evaluate each candidate on your list. Start with the highest ranked person. It's now time to pick the best.

- C -

This is, as the saying goes, where the rubber meets the road.

Referring to your memory and/or notes, evaluate each candidate based on the two types of information outlined below.

If necessary, make additional contacts with candidates to acquire the necessary information.

Let's start with the first person on your list.

This is the person you "liked" the most, as well as the person with whom you felt the strongest "connection".

You are looking for two types of information about your agent.

    1) The first type of information you are looking for pertains to credentials, such as professional associations, cruise experience, licensing (if applicable), years as an agent, and so on.

It is ok if the information is not voluntarily given. You can now ask questions to pull the necessary information from the candidate.

Your approach and manner when asking questions should be friendly, similar to a friend talking to a friend.

Ultimately, a friendship is the type of relationship you develop with your cruise planner, while at the same time keeping it professional.

    2) The second, and more elusive, type of information pertains to intangible factors. You want to determine the travel planner's commitment to your needs and to solving any potential problem (hassle), you may encounter.

Click here for Part 2:
The Intangible Factors

Back to top - Identify Your Perfect Cruise Planner
(Part 1)

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