Why Booking an Alaska Cruise Tour Direct Through Princess, Holland America, or Royal Caribbean is not such a good idea. And, your average travel agent may not be that helpful either.
January 14, 2014 -
Booking an Alaska Cruise Tour no simple matter. It's not like booking a hotel stay or flight to Miami. You've not only got the cruise arrangements to deal with, but you'll be dealing with the when, where and how to choose the best land option of your cruise tour. Add the mode of transportation that works for you. Is it motor coach or rail? Then, how do you choose the right Denali National Park Tour that doesn't keep you stuck on a bus for 8 long hours. Make the wrong choice, and you could be stuck out in the wilderness in flea-bag hotel with out heat, or on a ship that can't navigate Alaska's tight waterways for the best glacier and wildlife viewing. You get the idea.
Now, generalists, that is a travel agent who sell all kinds of travel, does not have the training, hands-on experience or destination knowledge of Alaska to be very helpful. The cruise line's call center booking agents don't either. Ask them a question, and they most often have to refer to their "answer book" and read you prepared remarks some supervisor wrote for them.
So, who do you turn to for good solid advice about Alaska and still feel like you can get a good deal?
First, look for experienced Alaska cruise advisors that are knowledgeable experts certified by the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA). They know Alaska, as upfront and personal as you know your hometown.
Then, seek out an Alaska Certified Expert for the cruise line you are most likely to travel with, in Alaska. As an example, Princess has a number of agents who have demonstrated expertise and earned the distinction of Princess Alaska Expert.
The combination of certification from ATIA and the cruise line, plus first-hand knowledge and experience puts you in touch with real experts, who know about Alaska's geography, history, culture, climate and seasons, celebrations and special events, and travel to and within the state. They are able to provide trip planning assistance and information about local transportation, attractions, accommodations, dining and entertainment, and shopping for all five regions of Alaska, including the Far North, Fairbanks and the Interior, Anchorage and South Central Alaska, Southwest Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, and cruising the Inside Passage.
A Certified Alaska Cruise Vacation Planner offers fair and impartial advice. Not what you'll get from the cruise line, as they only have their interest at heart. A Certified Alaska Cruise Expert represents all the cruise lines - they don't promote one particular cruise line over the other. Choosing the right cruise experience for you is their number one priority.
•They give you good solid advice you can count on.
•They are knowledgeable of what's on offer.
•They are able to get you exceptional value for your Alaska cruise or cruise tour .
A Certified Alaska Cruise Travel Advisor once engaged when you book a cruise:
•May be able to offer you group rates ( without joining a group! ), free upgrades, shipboard credits and other amenities or discounts. They receive daily e-mails from the cruise lines offering special unadvertised promotions, so be sure to ask if there are any special offers available.
•Will offer the best possible cruise options based on your lifestyle, interests, budget, travel experience, etc.
•Will review the proper immigration/passport/birth certificate documentation necessary for your cruise.
•Arrange any special needs -- such as a handicap-designed stateroom, or a special diet.
•Inform you of your dining choices and ask if you prefer early or late seating , or "freestyle" dining where you can dine with whom you want, when you want... and arrange for any special occasions you might be celebrating like a birthday or anniversary.
•Explain the importance of travel insurance to cover the unexpected such as trip delays, missed cruise connections and lost or delayed baggage.
•Give you General Information materials that cover over 18 "Things to Know Before You Cruise Alaska".
•Point out your stateroom on the deck plan ( select deck plans available online ).
•Inform you when final payment is due and the deadline to request air deviations and arrange pre-or-post cruise land packages.
•Advise you about land arrangements, motor coach and rail travel, meals, tipping; packing; clothing; flights and schedule options; shore excursions, etc.
A Certified Alaska Cruise Travel Advisor wants you to feel confident- and excited- about the choices you have, no matter if this is your first Alaska cruise or simply seeking a new adventure. They'll help you choose the cruise that's right for you--whether you're traveling alone, with children, or with a group of relatives or friends.
Each Certified Alaska Cruise Travel Advisor is a cruise vacation professional. They're a valuable resource of first hand knowledge coupled with contagious enthusiasm for Alaska, here to help you plan the perfect Alaska cruise vacation. You'll find they're just like you, sharing one common dream, the dream of cruising, inland adventure and the spirit of the sea.