CRUISE VACATIONS, WHAT & HOW TO BUY
Economy – Regular/Mass Market – Luxury?
It used to be a simpler decision making process, when cruise lines catered to specific segments of the marketplace. Like an Economy cruise line (For Families and/or the young at heart). Or say a Premium Mass Market cruise line (for the active mature or mobility restricted). Or even a Luxury Cruise (for the upscale or want to be “totally pampered with the best” minded individual).
Well, that’s all pretty much vanished from the playing field over the past decade with most all of the major players within the cruise lines competition revising their strategies as well as their service levels and accommodation selections offered on their ships. However, just because a cruise ship has suites to sell, doesn’t necessarily mean they offer the best in suite level service to support them!
While the cruise lines have been feverishly busy with all of the additions and renovations they have been making to their fleets over the last 10 years (and still 24 more brand new ships to come by 2013),which ultimately has made for a more confusing situation than when Ma Bell got split up. Similarly the Cruise Industry is now very competitive (at least cost wise) ultimately leaving the cruising public even more confused than ever.
Such a confounding climate has made it even more important that the prospective cruise customer is best advised to secure a knowledgeable cruise planner and/or travel agent. Someone who is able to negotiate through all of the cruise line offers, specials, and incentives taking place out there (especially with the web), as well as the vast differences between cruise lines, and even ship changes, it’s really a lot to stay on top of. It requires a professional to be able to distinguish the true offer(s), and the best alternatives so the cruise customer can be able to compare apples to apples. For these reasons it’s not only good to have/use the services of an expert, but to be sure the expert is one who is an avid cruiser themselves, possessing the requisite knowledge about the Industry as well as its ever-changing products and services.
With that being said, still how do you know what type of cruise will best suit your needs and desires? The first step after choosing an experienced professional is to sit down with him or her and make sure they know everything important for them to know. The more information your planner or agent knows about you, the better service they can provide you.
What I like to know from my prospects are things such as; type of home they live in, brands of hotels they like to patronize, when they fly do they choose coach, business, or first class, what kind of car do they drive. Sounds strange you say? Not at all. The reason these questions are so crucial in getting things right for the customer, is so that I don’t waste my time or the customers in researching cruises that just won’t make for a good fit. Cruise ships services and accommodations, which fall short of being able to make you wowed! When you go on a vacation adventure, the accommodations, services, and food better be (at a minimum on par with or even more so) better than what you are accustomed to on a daily basis, or you are going to be left unimpressed and quite possibly let down.
Now just because you live in a custom build, and drive a Mercedes Benz, doesn’t mean I’m going to put you on a Luxury Cruise, but by the same token I am probably not going to be considering recommending a Economy Cruise as a first thought. Likewise even though you have the means to purchase a wonderful upscale sized suite on a particular cruise ship,I may not recommend it, if I already know that the service level makes for nothing more than just a bigger room on that particular class of ship. So you can begin to see, where often the cruise planner/agent must go further in making sure you understand why they mightthink there are better options for your cruise. Yet there are still those who sit down and click on an internet “deal”, which often times can end up a cruise disaster. Tell you what, next time Save the Service Fee Charged and come see me with the same amount of money and you will at least be assured of a cruise choice better made!
The most important aspect of the responsibility of the planner/agent is to set the proper level of expectations. For the first time cruiser, the planner/agent needs to do much in the way of educating them as to what they are going to experience. As compared to the more seasoned cruiser, where the planner/agent must be sure to match the needs and desires of the customer, and to ensure there are no disappointments or unexpected surprises they were unprepared for.
For more information on ways to Plan for the Perfect Cruise Travel Vacation, or to Book your Ideal Vacation Adventure, you can contact Mike via email firstname.lastname@example.org . You can tweet (or follow) Mike at http://www.twitter.com/cruisewithmike . You can “Join” our Travel Club at http://meetup.com/Sun-Cities-Travelers-Group/ Mikes web site can be found at www.mberryhill.cruiseholidays.com . You can follow this blog (or subscribe to it) at http://www.cruisewithmike.com (or merely click on the subscribe button above to have daily delivery to your email). View all of Mikes uploaded Flickr Photo Galleries at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cruisewithmike/ . Mike also is editor of his own twice daily e-newspapaer called “The Compass Headings” you can see (or subscribe to) it free! at http://paper.li/CruisewithMike
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