A Cruise Vacation is Perfect for…You!

When I am meeting with a new client that is considering a cruise for the first time, there are many questions that arise.

  • Are the ships too big/too small?
  • Will I be bored?
  • Will I get seasick?
  • Will I get claustrophobic in the cabin?
  • Is there enough closet/storage space?
  • What can we do at night?
  • What happens during the days at sea?
  • How do I know what I can do in port?
  • Will I like the food?
  • How can I keep in touch with my family at home?

All of these questions lead me to a chat about what a client likes and dislikes.  Cruises are NOT one size fits all.  A ship and itinerary that might be ideal for one client might be a poor choice for another.  I think selecting a cruise is a lot like buying a car.  Two people can like the same make of a car, but like different models.  Two people can like the same model of a car, but one likes leather seats and another prefers cloth. One can like a red car, and another prefers blue.  That’s where a good travel agent can help.

If I am talking to a client for the first time I may ask them about past vacations and which ones they loved and why. I also ask about which ones they didn’t enjoy.  I can learn a lot from the like and dislikes. It gives me a good idea about how to match a client with the right cruise line, ship and itinerary.

There are small ships and mega ships. There are ocean cruises and river cruises.  I do believe that there is a cruise for everyone, but everyone does not fit every cruise.  I like matching clients with the best cruise line, ship, itinerary and sail date for them.  That is the way to plan the perfect cruise.

Amy Windham

Amy@TheFourCornersTravel.com

 

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A Client Case Study: First Time Cruise Passengers

I received a call from a client that had always booked land vacations with me in the past.  They had never considered a cruise before, but they’ve seen my pictures and have been reading my blogs and newsletters over the years.  One Sunday morning they saw an ad for a cruise that sparked some interest.  Being first time cruisers they had plenty of questions about what to expect for their cruise vacation.  Some of the questions were:

  • What should we pack?
  • What can we wear to dinner?
  • Where happens when we board the ship?
  • What will the weather be in each port?
  • What excursions are available?
  • Will we have internet and Smartphone access at sea?
  • What are the dining options on the ship?
  • Do we need to exchange currency in each port?

As a travel agent, I have access to resources and tools that allowed me to answer their questions in a timely manner.  My personal experience and training also gives me the knowledge to answer many questions that others might have to research.  It saved my clients a lot of time and effort I was able to make sure they knew everything they needed for a great vacation.  For this client, I sent them current ship overviews, info about life onboard and created custom port guides for each stop on their cruise.

This client contacted me a few times while they were on the cruise. It was great to hear from them and what a great time they were having.  We chatted briefly once they got home and now I am looking forward to seeing all of their pictures from their first cruise.

Amy Windham

Amy@TheFourCornersTravel.com

The Caribbean Princess, a Princess Cruises Review

When I was planning our honeymoon we decided to sail with Princess. I think it was the whole “Love Boat” thing. That cruise was on the Grand Princess and we have sailed on her again, and our next cruises were on the Island Princess, and the Caribbean Princess as the most recent.  At that time the Caribbean Princess would be the largest ship I’ve sailed (3600 passengers).

I studied the ship layout and deck plans and wasn’t sure if I would feel like this ship was too big. What I found was that the Caribbean Princess had all of the advantages of a large ship, but still had that small ship feel.  An aspect I love about the Princess ships is the décor, artwork and the overall design.  The ship has an elegant look, without being stuffy.  I usually end up walking around the ship taking pictures of the sculptures, paintings and even some of the light fixtures.  I also think that the cabins have some of the best designs at sea.  The cabins are spacious, the closet, desk area and storage in the bathroom gives us plenty of room.  The Mini-Suite layout with the separate seating area and two TVs is also a big bonus.

I have always enjoyed the food on Princess. They offer some of the best soups, appetizers, entrees and desserts.  Their chilled fruit soups and soufflés are fantastic and when I see one on the menu I always order it.   A nice follow up to a great meal is the fun entertainment.  Princess has production shows, many bands, and entertainers. Where they excel is in their selection of comedians.  I have enjoyed each one on our sailings and have even purchased CDs and DVDs from them.

The Caribbean Princess is sailing (Jan-April 2011) roundtrip from San Juan.  These sailings range from $449 per person (+ taxes, double occupancy) for an inside cabin, to $1,399 per person (+taxes, double occupancy) for a Mini-Suite on their 7 Day sailings.  You can also combine sailings and have a 14 Day cruise.  Here are the maps:

Amy Windham

Cruise Specialist

Amy@TheFourCornersTravel.com

 

Cruising: The Ship is Another Destination!

Many years ago cruise ships were merely a way to get you from port to port.  These days, with ships like Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas or NCL’s Epic, the ship itself has become an integral part of the cruising experience.  More and more passengers are staying on board to be able to see and do everything they can on a ship.  From Vegas and Broadway style shows, to rock climbing, surfing and bowling, there are dozens of activities to find at sea.

 

As a travel agent, I now take as many classes about all of the ships, activities, restaurants, spa treatments, shows and lounges as I do on the ports and excursions off the ships. I now have clients planning to sail on the same ship again because they weren’t able to do and see it all the first time.  When you start to plan your next cruise vacation you should think about where you want to go, but also HOW you will get there.  For me, discovering a new ship and all it has to offer is as much fun as finding the most unique shore excursion.  It’s all a part of the cruise adventure.

Amy Windham

 

Why I Love Cruise Vacations

I always knew that I wanted to take a cruise. Growing up I watched The Love Boat and cruise vacations seemed fascinating to me.  My first cruise was on The Big Red Boat in 1996 and I was hooked.  It was a perfect mix of fun activities and pure relaxation.  Since then I’ve sailed with Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Lines. I can talk about the ships, ports, activities, food, entertainment, shopping, spa treatments, etc. all day long.  When I decided to become a travel agent, selling cruises was an ideal match.  They say that when you get to do what you love your job will never seem like work.  It’s true.

 

A cruise vacation is a great way for a couple, a family or a group to get away.  There’s something for everyone.  It’s all about options and doing what you like.  Each cruise line (and each ship) is different and they have their own “personality”. So the key in planning the best cruise vacation is picking the right cruise line and the right ship for you. It’s like buying a car, you have to find the right cruise at the right price for you.