One can book a cruise with Seabourn Cruise Line* basically three ways:
- Direct with Seabourn
- With a discount travel agency (online or not)
- With a full service travel agency
What’s Best for You?
I trust this blog post will help you to decide which is best for you to do. I firmly believe that choice is what it’s all about, and depending on what your goals are, you should book accordingly.
As a note on my background, I am now a full service travel agent specializing in ultra-luxury cruises (such as Seabourn, Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea) and customized luxury vacations. In the 90s I ran Seabourn’s air/hotel department in San Francisco.
Direct with Seabourn
If you’re the type of person who know pretty much what you’d like, and prefers working direct with suppliers in general, then this is the way to go. It’s easy, too. And you know that the cruise line will be financially stable.
But you likely won’t get any assistance in looking at smart (i.e. better value) alternatives to airfare, hotels and insurance. You won’t get shipboard credits or other Voyager Club type promotions, and you won’t get unbiased advice on the plusses and minuses of different cruise lines. And if something goes wrong, you won’t have an advocate working on your behalf.
With a Discount Travel Agency | Online or Not
If price is what it’s about, and you’d like the absolute cheapest cabin, then book with a discounter. These agencies typically offer a rebate of up to about 10% off the price of the trip (via shipboard credit), and make their margin on the extra commission they are paid by the cruise line. However, with their reduced profit, don’t expect much in terms of service as the sales motto is “next please!”
So if you know exactly what cabin or category you want, don’t need a price analysis of airfares, pre-post cruise hotels, touring pre/post, insurance. And you’re not too concerned with the overall level of service after the agency has collected your money, this might be the way to go.
And I’ll repeat the paragraph from the booking direct section above: ” …you likely won’t get any assistance in looking at smart (i.e. better value) alternatives to airfare, hotels and insurance. You won’t get shipboard credits or other Voyager Club type promotions, and you won’t get unbiased advice on the pluses and minuses of different cruise lines. And if something goes wrong, you won’t have an advocate working on your behalf.”
With a Full Service Travel Agency
The easy way to describe the benefits of a full service travel agent is to look at both descriptions above and then consider the following as part of the mix.
Full a full service agency, you can expect:
- On many sailings a complimentary membership in a cruise club (i.e. our Voyager Club), an onboard credit and/or a complimentary shore excursion, a welcome cocktail reception, a host to welcome you aboard and arrange social gatherings for the duration of your cruise
- Consultation and unbiased advice on the best ship for your particular needs, either in general or for a specific vacation
- Recommendations for the best hotels, upgrades, free breakfasts, hotel credits and introductions to our contacts there to make sure your stay is going to be great
- Help in arranging private shore excursions with the best guides in the business, and tailored to your specific interests.
- Assistance with customizing a full itinerary before and after your cruise
- Analysis of the cruise line’s insurance, air and hotel programs, and better value options.
- An advocate on your behalf should something on your vacation go wrong or need follow-up.
- An ongoing relationship with your cruise consultant. He or she will likely bend over backwards to help you before, during and after your cruise with anything and everything. I know that I do.
- A bon voyage phone call, email or text to make sure you don’t have any last minute questions and to just wish you well
Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Voyager Club.
josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco’s financial district
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with casto, a virtuoso member agency
Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys. Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler. His personal relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies often allows for exclusive amenities and VIP status.
If you’d like to learn more about luxury travel and our services, please contact Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco’s Financial District via phone at 415.987.0372 or email: josh [at] joshfriedmantravel [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, too.
associated with casto, a virtuoso member and four seasons preferred partner, 500 sansome st., san francisco, ca 94111 cst#1008439-10
* this tenant basically applies to all cruise lines