I have been a Cruise Specialist for 6 years. That’s the official number, but I think I’ve been a cruise specialist long before I became a travel agent. I loved cruises before I ever went on one myself. I studied the cruise lines, ships, activities, dining room menus and shore excursions. I was fascinated with cruises and I know some of that came from watching TV, but it was also the stories that I would hear from my grandparents and friends that cruised.
Once I made the move to become a travel agent for a career I started taking classes with each of the cruise lines. Most lines have a cruise “school” or “university”. For example, I am Freestyle Certified with NCL University. To achieve this I had to take a series of classes on the different ships, staterooms, dining and entertainment options, and the ports and excursions. Each step of the way I had to take quizzes and tests to prove that I was proficient in each topic.
I have taken 10 cruises so far. I have sailed with Premier, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian. I have also done many ship inspections, including Holland America and Costa. My goal is to sail multiple times each year to gain experience on other cruise lines. I am also completing my ACC (Accredited Cruise Counselor) certification with CLIA (Cruise Line Industry Association). CLIA is the world’s largest cruise association and I have been a member since 2007.
One advantage of working with me is that I have direct access to the cruise line’s business development managers. They are the representatives for the cruise lines that provide information, special rates and can assist with any issues that can arise before or during a cruise. These managers help me to make sure that I have access to the most up-to-date information about what is going on with the cruise lines. These direct relationships give me a strong advantage over booking a cruise with an online agency. If there is a question or a problem I can get answers from my manager, where you may never have a name or a phone number of someone to call at an online agency.
If you are considering taking a cruise but don’t know where to start, or if you have some ideas and need some guidance feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call so we can discuss your travel plans.
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