Very First Cruise

My husband and I just booked our very first cruise! Really super far away, but we figured we could book wwwaaaayyy in advance to try to get the best deal. The one thing that I'm kind of afraid of, is we didn't use a travel agent. I've seen a lot of tips saying that a travel agent is recommended.

Being it 18 months or so before the cruise I figured that I would have PLENTY of time to really research and plan. Did I make a mistake here, booking and planning it on our own for our very first cruise?

31 Answers

I don't think so but it will depend on you. The first two cruise we booked were through a travel agent and we saw nothing different than booking ourselves directly with the cruise lines. Since you have time you can research and see what you want and with groups like this there is always lots of advise available (sometimes not always good advice I will admit) but you get a good variety of opinions and input. The key with booking early is your choice of cabins and one thing you might want to ensure is the location of your cabin to make sure it is what you want. Consider things like what is above and below you and location to activities and elevators.

Cheers and welcome aboard to the cruising addiction. You will love it.

I’ve done eleven cruises and have two booked. Only used a travel agency for three of those cruises and that’s only because I was able to get a deep discount through them.

I’d rather do my own booking since I have more control over everything.

I’m a control freak.

Thanks for your reply's so far! It's really made me less nervous for sure.

We are really excited about it, we are kind of bad about taking vacations. We always talk about taking vacations every year, but then we just kind of forget. So, I put a good sized deposit down and said "That's it...we have to go now." Maybe we will be able to go every year at least once, I have a feeling it's going to be a lot of fun.

Ok, We have used both. I prefer using the family's Travel Agent, although we have used the cruise lines travel consultant once. If you really enjoy your first cruise, go speak to an agent and start a relationship with them. They often have information that is not available to the public. Now, since you booked with the line, get the name of someone who will work with you at the cruise line. Speak to the agent often even if it's just to touch base. We did that with NCL, The agent and I are now friends and talk often, not always about cruises.

Have fun and watch out---cruising is addictive.

Welcome to Cruiseline and to your new addiction! I prefer to book on my own. I have used TAs (one terrible experience and three great experiences), a Carnival PVP once (OK, but nothing I can't do for myself), and all the rest I have booked on my own. I like having control of my booking, and typically research for weeks then book when I see a great deal. I will say that I prefer to use a TA for RCI. Their website seems to me to be very glitchy, and I have heard stories about folks trying to cancel an excursion and ending up with their cruise cancelled. Then it's a major deal to get it re-booked at the original price. I'll let someone else fight that battle for me :)

Welcome to the forum.

We have booked using a TA specializing in cruises and it was a horrible experience, a Carnival PVP and now book on our own because the websites are pretty straight forward . If I have questions, a Cruiseline rep is just a phone call away.

Now you are booked, the fun really begins with checking out excursions, looking at reviews, online photos of the ship, ports etc. Enjoy!

I usually use a personal vacation planner (PVP) with Carnival & Princess, but I already have all the specifics of the cruise at hand. The PVP may be able to see cabins that are available that you cannot or have a special you might have missed. Also, when we have a large group the PVP is a good touchstone for everyone so we can link all the booking numbers in order to be at the same table for dinner (if that is what we have chosen to do). You should be fine because there are so many ways to learn about your cruise and cruising in general available. Most of us are happy to share and pass along any knowledge we have acquired.

Welcome to the forum!

Hello there, welcome to the cruise family! My family always book way ahead . We have found out that we can take longer cruises or get a nicer stateroom and have longer to pay for it. And we have only called the cruise line twice to book. Otherwise we book it online. Just relax, and have a great vacation!

Welcome aboard to the addiction and you'll have plenty of support for it. Come on here for all your support needs and chat with fellow addicts where many of us has a diverse range of cruising addictions.

I usually book 10 to ??? months early giving me plenty of time to get everything including rentals, hotels, airfare paid for and don't forget onboard gratuities.

I do have some advice before you take your first voyage, go with an open mind, ask questions and research everything.

Welcome to our forum. Lot of congenial folks share experiences here, it is also the best one to post pictures on. As far a planning for a cruise, I consider that to be a lot fun, checking out the ship data, ports, excursions, etc. My wife makes the first move by looking at brochures. I then recon the ones she likes on the lines website. If we both like it, I book online. But follow up by calling the cruise line agents to fine tune it and make sure I didn't miss out on something. I have no doubt that TAs are helpful for quite a few travelers, but not for us. Years ago, all the cruise lines and for that matter the coach tour outfits like COSMOS, all required their guests to use a TA. I used to be in the air travel game for years and had close affiliations with agencies. I never had a problem with them then and enjoyed working with that element of the industry.

However, after we began world travel, we had a number of real stressful problems, not only on cruises but coach tours as well which were a direct result of errors and omissions on the part of an agent. There is nothing worse than to be in a travel predicament on the other side of the globe, in an opposite time zone and have to try and get in touch with your agent, who happens to be out for the week and is responsible for the mess you happen to currently be in. When the day finally came where all lines set up their current systems where one can deal directly with the cruise line it was like a breath of fresh air. Since then, no more grief or unexpected booking disasters. Maybe an agent could get us a better deal now and then but I doubt it and even so, elimination of the "middle man" is worth paying a little more as far as I'm concerned.


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