There is nothing I like more than escaping away for the weekend by taking a 3-day cruise. We have done enough of them that we know the cruise routine in and out and enjoy the relaxed non-scheduled weekend. We left this past Thursday evening for another 3-day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas out of Miami and this was a no email, no phone, no watch weekend. We were not going to get off the ship in CocoCay, the cruise line’s private island or in Nassau because we wanted the ship to ourselves or at least agreed to share it with the dozen or so other people who chose not to get off the ship.
I decided to go for a pedicure in the ship’s spa and I met a young woman in the waiting room who asked me if it was my first cruise. I smiled and told her no it wasn’t and asked her if it was her first cruise and she said, “Yes.” When I asked her if she liked it, she hesitated for a second, looked away and then tried to articulate her thoughts. In the end she said that she liked the ship, the pools, the food, etc., but found that she was bored at night with nothing to do and that there seemed to be a lot of couples and families on board the ship and that there wasn’t a lot for singles to do on board.
Choosing a cruise is like buying a home even if you think they are nothing alike. Anyone who has been through it themselves or who is familiar with the process, as detailed in an article from Bobby Bohlen, should understand the point I’m trying to make with this analogy. Before we moved to our current home, I went out with my real estate agent and looked at over 20 homes in ONE DAY! I could never have done that on my own and I relied on her real estate knowledge and expertise of the area to guide me through the process. We communicated extensively before I even started looking at houses and she learned about my family and our likes and dislikes as much as I learned about her.
When considering a cruise it’s not as simple as what is the cheapest option. Some cruises, ships, and cruise lines might be geared more to families than others while some might just be Singles Cruises and price alone will not give you that information. A knowledgeable travel agent who understands cruising and has cruised and received cruise line training will be able to match you to the cruise that most suits your lifestyle and understands cruising. For example, a travel agent probably would never book a honeymoon couple for a romantic cruise during Spring Break nor would they book a girlfriend’s getaway cruise for young 20-somethings on a New England/Canada cruise — unless they insisted on it! You as the client get the final say, but a travel agent’s expertise and knowledge is priceless.
Your relationship with your travel agent is important as well. Travel agents are individuals who love to travel and want to make your vacation experience a memorable one. It’s not simply a matter of hitting a few buttons and printing out tickets, but fully understanding the vacation experience and making a match for each client. In some ways, it is much like matchmaking! I have had travel agents who never asked questions and never contacted me about anything unless it was time to make a payment. Is it possible to have a more customized experience with a travel agent? Absolutely and the customer should never settle for less.
Lastly, a 3-day cruise or any cruise for that matter can be mellow or a party cruise, but it depends entirely on the passengers on board the ship. You get to make your own fun regardless of the other people on board. Explore the ship, talk to the crew and other passengers, and get out there! Enjoy your cruise vacation and find the fun because the fun won’t find you!