Saturday, February 13, 2016

You May Need a Travel Agent If...Planning a Vacation? Where Do You Start?

You’ve decided to go on vacation!  A cruise sounds just perfect for your family, you think, so, you can do one of the two following options:

1. Look up what cruise lines service where, because I’d prefer to go out of Florida.  Or maybe Galveston?  Oh gosh, there are like 300 ships in Florida.  Okay, which is better? Carnival?  Royal Caribbean?  Norwegian?  Princess?  Celebrity?  Disney? I’ll check Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity, Disney.  Should I call?  Look online?  How do I know I’m getting the best price?  Why does my state of residency matter?  Should I call? I have small kids, what line is best? Do I need a hotel the day before?  I’ll check Expedia, Kayak, Trivago, Oh, gosh, some of those have cruises too. What is better? Should I go through the hotel directly? How do I know it’s a safe hotel?  I’ll check Trip Advisor.  Oh, I can price things there too.  Maybe Hilton?  Hampton Inn? A Disney hotel? Where do I book that? Staybridge? Where has free breakfast?  Any of them have shuttles to the port? Should I call? What is onboard credit?  What is OBC?  What can I use it on?  How much will I get? What type of cabin?  Are insides really dark?  Will it be noisy?  What deck is good?  Why can’t I find one that fits four people?  I guess I’ll call. I heard dining is handled differently on cruises, how does that work?  Should I call?  Is three days enough?  Four?  Seven?  Is Nassau safe?  What should we do about shore excursions?  Is a verandah worth it? What does gratuity cover? Oh, main, late and anytime dining…what should I choose?  What are specialty restaurants? How can I celebrate a special occasion?  Can I decorate my cabin door?  What is muster?  What time will my cabin be ready?  What legal documents do I need for my family? I have a stepchild, should I call? Can I bring my own alcohol? Is there a nursery? Charge for nursery?  Do I need reservations?  Soda? Water?  What do I do about motion sickness?  What is debarkation? I read somewhere luggage pick up is the night before?  How do I get to and from the airport and port?  Should I come in a day early?  What items aren’t allowed onboard?  Should I call? How are the kids clubs?  What times do they run?  What programs do they offer?  How do I sign up for those?  Do they cost?  How much spending money should we plan for?  Do I tip anyone else? What about tour guides?  What do I do with my luggage when we arrive at port?  My Grandma might want to come but is disabled, should I call? How do we link dining to sit with someone else we know?  How do we request that we not be seated with anyone else? What are the adult only areas like?  Is there gambling?  Should I get insurance?  How should I time the flights, can I book one for 10 AM the debarkation morning? And what exactly is debarkation? Do they have accommodations for autism?  Food allergies?  I should call.  How much luggage can we bring?  Is there ice in the cabin?  What are the bathrooms like?  Where do we store our suitcases in the cabin?  What if we don’t want to sit down for a formal meal, what else can we do?  Soda is included, right?  Should I look into loyalty programs?  What do the cruise lines mean by “private island”?   Can I get wake up calls?  I read somewhere there might be a sewage smell in the bathroom?  What difference does it make if the ship is older? Smaller?  Bigger?  What if there is rough waters?  What do we do for breakfast and lunch if dinner is the only planned meal?  Why do we only get to eat in one dining room?  What is rotational dining?  For the flights, should I pay for assigned seating?  Do more open up later?  How much is luggage check?  How much can I bring?  Can we bring golf clubs? I see flights on American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, some mixtures that I found on Kayak, I’m not sure what the difference is?  I called, but they aren’t nice.  How far in advance should I buy flights? Should I call the cruise line, when I pick it, and try to get flights that way?  How far in advance should I do online check in? When is final payment due?  Should I book spa treatments in advance?  I found one cruise that is $800 per person and one is $1300 per person, why would anyone choose the more expensive one?  Can we use cash onboard?  Why do I have to put a credit card in?


2. Contact an agent at Travel Time, for free.

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