Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Wonderful Review Shows Why You Need A Good Travel Agent and To Not Rely on Hype

I just finished reading a review by a well-spoken individual who was on the December 27, 2008 11 night cruise on the Regent Paul Gauguin (The PG was not so fabulous ). She was, for good reason, not happy.

As I read it I kept saying, if I had expected a luxury experience I would have written pretty close to the same review.

However, as you may know, I made the mistake of perceiving Regent (as opposed to its former self, Radisson) as luxury, so I downgraded my expectations when booking my cruise on Paul Gauguin. I also swallowed the price because of the lack of viable alternatives. In the end I found the cruise a real success, as the whole far exceeded it parts. (And, by the way, I would strongly suggest you consider the Paul Gauguin as a wonderful way to see French Polynesia...though probably not the Marquesas or Cook Islands, but that is another discussion).

I would suggest that before you read the above review you read mine, from August 2007 (Goldring Travel - Review of Paul Gauguin) . If that guest had a travel agent who had my experience...and candor...he would have said, "I have been there. I have been on the ship. I have been to the islands. If you are expecting luxury it is not going to happen. If you are expecting the marketed Regent experience, you need to change your expectations."

By using a knowledgeable travel agent and calling it as it is, that guest would have been able to make an educated decision on value before stepping on the ship, so that she was not feeling violated every step thereafter. She would have known about the food, less than polished service, lack of entertainment, etc. But, I bet dollars to donuts, that guest would still have gone on the cruise and would have had a far better time and felt comfortable with her decision.

What I am saying is, there is no benefit to "blowing sunshine". The travel agent and the cruise line gained a problem while possibly losing a guest who, if treated fairly from the start (rather than hyped) might have become a great supporter of Regent and/or her travel agent.