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Where do you start when you want to book a cruise?

You want to go on a cruise. Where do you start? Let's track Ida Indipindint, Harriet Helpme, and Nona Noclue.

Ida Indipindint is very tech savvy and knows her way around the web. She checks the cruise line websites to see their current rates and specials. She browses other travel sites, like expedia and travelocity, to compare prices. She knows exactly when and where she wants to go. She knows her budget and what type of cabin she wants to book. She writes all of this down in her planner so that she can study and compare what she finds. Then Ida will call her travel agent and hand the information over so that the agent can handle the little details. Ida is confident that she has found the best deal out there!

Harriet Helpme has been watching her friends go on cruises so she has an idea of what they are like. She really wants to go too but she is not exactly sure how to get started. She doesn't have a lot of time to research, compare, and run all over the internet trying to figure it out. She knows her budget and has an idea about when she would like to go, but she needs help. "When is the best time to cruise? Does it cost extra to see a show? What type of cabin is best?" Harriet will call her travel agent and ask questions -- and get answers. She knows that her agent loves a good deal too so she trusts her to handle the reservation and let her know the deadlines and details.

Nona Noclue is totally clueless. She wants - NEEDS!! - a vacation but just the thought of where to go, how to get there, packing, driving, unpacking, hotels, meals, and all the STUFF makes her more stressed than she already is! She already spends hours on the computer for work so the last thing she wants to do is surf the web. She wants someone else to just "do it" and hand her the ticket. That is where the Travel Agent is her very best friend. AND a cruise is her very best choice - all inclusive (well, almost all). The trusted Travel Agent will show her a couple of options based on some basic information - what port? when do you want to sail? The rest is magic. Nona only has to show up and ship out. Easy Peasy.

There is a misconception that you pay "MORE" for a travel agent and it is very easy to book your own travel online, if you know how. Here are my facts:

~ This Travel Agent will look for THE best deal for you because they want your repeat business!

~ This Travel Agent earns a commission (10%-15%) on what they book, however, this is paid by the vendor or cruise line. (As an at-home agent, this commission is also split with the host agency who carries the liability.)

~ This Travel Agent is your best resource for finding out information about types of fares (refundable or non-refundable), types of cabins (porthole to suites), deck levels (top to bottom), excursions, embarkation and debarkation, and so much more.

~ This Travel Agent cannot resist adding value to the reservations with extra perks or gifts, sometimes out of her own pocket - just to be a blessing.

~ This Travel Agent gives out FREE advice because ... she loves for people to experience new things and enjoy life. (Yes, I want to build my business too, but will always be about people! Life is short so share happiness every chance you get!)

Never hesitate to call a Travel Agent because they travel a little vicariously every time they talk about a trip.

Gosh.... We need a group hug now!