7 Travel Agents You Must Avoid When Booking a Cruise - Cruise with Leo

7 Travel Agents You Must Avoid When Booking a Cruise

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cruise travel agent

Booking is one of the key parts of a cruise trip. You have to choose the cruise line, itinerary, ship, cabin type, and any extras you want to add.

Since it is quite a complex procedure, many people prefer to rely on experienced travel agents for it.

But how can you find the perfect one? A wrong agent can lead to frustration, unexpected costs, missed opportunities, and misunderstandings, so it is important to be cautious.

Below you will find the 7 types of travel agents that I think should be avoided, they are not necessarily bad travel agents, but we are only looking for the best for an unforgettable cruise!

1. The Inexperienced Agent

Sunset on a cruise ship
Sunset on a cruise ship

Agents who lack experience in booking cruises or have not personally experienced cruising can miss important details.

I always recommend agents who specialize in cruises because they usually know all the nuances of different cruise lines, ships, or itineraries.

Some agents may also specialize in a specific cruise line. For example, I have seen some agents who focus only on Royal Caribbean and others who focus only on Carnival.

If you don’t wanna make mistakes, don’t be scared to ask about their experience and expertise with the specific cruise line and destinations you’re interested in.

2. The High-Fee Charger

Cruise ship deck

How do travel agents earn money? They get a small commission from the cruise lines for the sale (usually between 10% to 20%).

In addition to that, some travel agents may charge an additional service fee that could go from $15 to $30.

If a travel agent has a higher fee than another one, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a bad thing.

Sometimes an additional small fee might be justified for exceptional service. You should only be wary of agents who charge high fees without providing clear value.

A good thing to do is to ask and understand their fee structure before committing.

3. The Over-Promiser

Suite received with an upgrade

Agents who make unrealistic promises, such as guaranteed upgrades or significant discounts, are red flags.

These agents may be over-promising to secure your booking but could fail to deliver, leaving you disappointed.

Trustworthy agents will set realistic expectations. For example, a good agent will say “You will probably get an upgrade” and not “I will definitely get you an upgrade.”

As we saw in the article about how to get a free cruise upgrade, it is very difficult if not impossible to have absolute certainty.

4. The Unresponsive Agent

cruise ship cabin and things not to bring
Cruise ship cabin

Communication is key when planning a cruise. Avoid agents who are difficult to reach or slow to respond.

You need an agent who is readily available to answer questions, make changes, and handle emergencies efficiently​.

Here’s a tip I always use: during the initial conversations, I ask a few questions via email, message, or whichever communication method we’re using.

If the agent doesn’t respond within a few hours (during their working hours, of course), I move on and choose another one.

It’s a simple test that can save you a lot of frustration later on.

5. The No-Perks Agent

Waiter serving drinks on a cruise
Free drinks on a cruise

One of the advantages of using a travel agent is access to perks like onboard credits, prepaid gratuities, or exclusive rates.

Agents who do not offer any additional benefits may not be leveraging their connections or experience fully, which can limit the value you receive from their services.

Agents who make many bookings per year usually achieve a certain status with the cruise company and should be able to offer you something extra. Try to ask them!

6. The Poorly Reviewed Agent

MSC Slippers
MSC Cruise

Before booking, researching an agent’s reputation is essential.

Just put his or her name on Google or social media and see if there’s any review. If there are some, read them carefully to see if they are true. I can assure you that there are quite a lot of fake reviews around!

A thing that I prefer is recommendations from other people who already went on a cruise with that agent, even better if it’s word-of-mouth for family members or friends.

7. The Agent Who Doesn’t Cruise

Cruise ships in Cozumel 
Cruise ships in Cozumel

One type of agent I’d steer clear of is one who rarely goes on cruises.

It is completely unthinkable to do this job, to recommend cruise lines, packages, excursions, and itineraries if you don’t experience firsthand what you are recommending.

You can do this, ask your agent: Have you been to the destination I’m traveling to? Have you been on this specific ship?

If the answer is no, it may be wise to consider an agent more familiar with the cruise you want to go on.



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