Thursday, November 20, 2014

How Do You Effectively and Efficiently Book a Cruise by Yourself? You Don't!

One of the "hot topics" in the travel industry is how to engage Millennials because you (not me, as I may be pretty tech savvy, but I am not in that age bracket) are so efficient and effective in mining data from all sorts of websites and, as a result, are very independent.

You, in fact, shun those supposed "experts" because you may well know more "facts" than those you might otherwise rely upon.  But are those facts and figures all you need to know in order to have the best travel experience?  As I will explain, the answer is not what you want to hear.

Monograms, one of the operators Goldring Travel uses has a great video as a prelude to this article...and remember when you watch it, you are probably doing something a bit more complicated than spending a few nights in Rome...A lot more!




The other day a very close friend of mine was traveling for training in customer service with an airline.  Having traveled all over the world, the concept of getting on an airplane for a short flight to the training center with other customer service candidates seemed rather mundane to her.  But what she experienced was something entirely mind-blowing:  These customer service candidates began fighting over who should be in Row 10 and if Seat D was a window or aisle seat.  And then it hit me...No wonder customer service is so often so bad!

The Customer Service agents really had no (or little) first hand personal experience dealing with issues that might seem minor on the outside, but can be very upsetting to a traveler.  There is quite a bit that can be learned in a classroom, or online, but there is nothing that can prepare you for real world issues than, well, the real world.

Heck, Row 10 may have no window.  Being seated in a window or middle seat when you want to get up a few times during a cross-country flight (or, heaven-forbid, you get a bit claustrophobic) can make a difference.  And, yes, for some people it doesn't make a difference, but for others it does...and there is no way you can tell them it isn't important.  (I admit I really like sitting on the aisle and not doing so can stress me out...especially on long flights.)

And that got me thinking about all the YouTube videos on "How to..."  So I took a look at what was available.  Let's just say there isn't a whole lot of "How to's" there and the ones that are truly sparse with information...regardless of whether that information is correct or not.

And that got me thinking about forums such as Cruise Critic or TripAdvisor...which, for those of you who know me know, are two of my least favorite "resources".  Why?  Because the information is, honestly, wrong more than it is right; especially on the luxury cruise lines.  There are people that pose as authorities, but post things that are just wrong...or are based upon their once every year or two cruise...or are focused on their own personal preferences.  I mean, how can a person who has a totally different life experience from you (and is focused on their life experience) that has a once a year vacation give good, reliable, and timely advise about a cruise line, a ship, a location, a category of stateroom or suite, dining experiences, ports, logistics, etc?

Simply put:  If someone write a review that a restaurant is the best he ever dined at, but his idea of dining is the endless pasta bowl at Olive Garden, is his five stars meaningful to you?  If they say the food on Carnival was wonderful, would you conclude that it can't be much better on Seabourn?

Goldring Travel (that's me!) has been there and done that...and continues to do it again and again, differently each time.  Interested in a luxury cruise?  You can read how Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal and Regent Seven Seas are each all the best and award winning.  Can you really determine the differences?  The different styles, cuisine, staffing, suites, etc.?  Would you even think to consider where each ship docks which can be different even if the same port is visited?  Does a butler really make a difference?  What is really included? How does a particular ship handle the number of guests onboard.  (Alas, it is not only about the number of guests!)

Goldring Travel can, not looking at a computer screen, give you first hand knowledge.  And my only goal is to have you come back to me time and time again...and to have your friends and family come to me as well.  So, no...when a cruise line is running a promotion to get me to book a certain cruise I don't do it if it is not the right cruise for you. I want to exceed your expectations.  (Try doing that by yourself!)

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know.  You believe that with enough time and research (and you do love to research things...though you may not have all that time) you can make a great decision.  To which I say, "You are right.  You 'may' make a great decision.  But you probably could have made an even better one working with a truly experienced and reputable travel agent.  And you probably could have booked that cruise at a lower price and/or with some added amenities like onboard credits or complimentary shore excursions."

One final thing to think of.  Let's say you are stuck in Buffalo, New York in a massive snowstorm with seven feet of snow keeping the airport closed for days and it looks like you are going to miss your flight, your cruise, your hotel and a lot of money...What are you going to do?

Stand on line?
Sit on the phone?
Stare at your computer waiting for a chat session that won't answer your personal needs?
Fight with your significant other?

I know!  You are going to call or email your travel agent who booked you that cruise and made sure you had the right travel insurance who will work to get you out of Buffalo and on that cruise (or another one) with little to no money out of your pocket...without the frustration and time commitment.

So I ask you again, "How Do You Effectively and Efficient Book a Cruise By Yourself?"  You call (877) 2GO- LUXURY or email me at eric@goldringtravel.com.