Expedia CruiseShipCenters Offers 10 Tips for Booking a Cruise

Cruise specialists are Helping Consumers Become more Travel Savvy

November 05, 2012 // Franchising.com // Vancouver, British Columbia – As winter nears and thoughts of crystal blue waters and white sand beaches seem so far away, Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® – part of Expedia Inc., the largest online travel company in the world – is educating consumers on the top ten best practices for booking their dream cruise.

In 2011, Expedia CruiseShipCenters booked approximately 200,000 North American passengers. That is the equivalent of roughly 60 cruise ships full of people. As the cruise industry continues to thrive and consumers are presented with so many options when it comes to booking a vacation, Expedia CruiseShipCenters recommends taking the following tips into consideration:

  1. Know your cruise specialist: According to a 2011 report from the Cruise Lines International Association, 68 percent of cruise vacations are booked through travel agents. When researching a travel agent to book your cruise through, make sure they are knowledgeable about the cruise lines and destinations and have access to the best pricing and promotional offers such as onboard cash, spa treatments and reduced deposits. Make sure your specialist is the right fit for you and your vacation needs!
  2. Book your cruise early: The saying “the early bird catches the worm” certainly applies to booking cruises. Booking early will provide you with benefits such as more stateroom choices, dining options and lower prices.
  3. Be cautious about last minute deals: While the prices may be lower with last minute deals, the room selections are not prime. You must also remember that airfare is not included in the price of the vacation and booking last minute airfare can be costly.
  4. Carefully review the itinerary: If an itinerary doesn’t address your needs, it may not be the right cruise for you. For example, if someone wants to spend more time relaxing onboard, the itinerary should include more sea days than ports-of-call. To maximize your experience in every port, each stop should last a minimum of eight to ten hours.
  5. Research the identification needed for each country: While a passport is always needed, visa requirements may be tricky. Some countries require visas, but others do not. To check visa requirements, visit www.usvisaconnection.com.
  6. Understand what is not included with the cruise: When booking a cruise, vacation goers must pay the government fees. Remember to take the price of tipping, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments, and shore excursions into consideration, as they are often not included in the overall price.
  7. Be comfortable with your accommodations: Make sure to research all of the stateroom options before making your ultimate selection. Accommodation choices on ships include an interior room, which has no window or natural light, an oceanview room, which has one large window that cannot be opened, a balcony room, regular suites and a penthouse suite. It is also important to know that the cheapest and most expensive options typically sell out first.
  8. Get to know your cruise line choices: Choosing the wrong cruise line is a common mistake. Sometimes, consumers will make a decision based on their familiarity of the name without investigating the type of people that typically take vacations on that particular line. For example, some cruise lines cater more towards families, while others cater to seniors or a younger demographic. Make sure you make the right choice for your vacation needs.
  9. Take time to see the city you embark and disembark from: When booking a cruise, people make the mistake of arriving in the city a few hours before the ship sets sail and making flight arrangements to leave as soon as the ship docks. The embarkation and disembarkation cities are an important part of the vacation experience and it is worthwhile for you to arrive a day before the cruise leaves and stay for an extra day after the cruise docks. Your cruise specialist can help you plan your sightseeing activities.
  10. You don’t always need the ocean for a cruise: Consumers can book a cruise to almost any place where there is a body of water. As a matter of fact, river cruises have become quite popular as the smaller ships offer a more intimate cruising experience. According to the Cruise Line International Association, river cruises have grown by 57 percent since 2008. Popular destinations for river cruises include Danube (Austria), Rhine (Germany), France and Russia.

“With more than 25 years of experience in helping our clients book their dream vacations, we strive to help consumers become more knowledgeable in all facets of their trip decisions,” said Geraldine Ree, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Expedia CruiseShipCenters. “From the time they begin researching their trip, to the time they return home from it, our Consultants are there every step of the way to offer expert advice and take away headaches so travelers can enjoy a worry-free vacation.”

To research cruise vacations, visit www.cruiseshipcenters.com.

About Expedia CruiseShipCenters

Expedia, Inc., the largest online travel company in the world, has partnered with Expedia CruiseShipCenters to provide travelers a one-stop-shop for cruises and vacations. Expedia CruiseShipCenters was founded in 1987 and offers the best value in the industry with 3,800 travel consultants in more than 160 franchise locations throughout North America. The company offers flexible, rewarding business opportunities for travel consultants and franchise owners with a passion for travel. For more information on joining the Expedia CruiseShipCenters team, visit: www.joinecsc.com or www.expediafranchise.com.

Expedia is either a registered trademark or trademark of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other logos or product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners. © 2012 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. CST # 2029030-50 and CST # 20893-43

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