So youâ€™ve decided to do something different this year, and you have your mind made up â€“ you want to book a cruise vacation. But where do you begin with your search for the perfect (and least expensive) cruise tickets? There are many different avenues to take in order to obtain cruise tickets. You can contact your local cruise travel agency and talk to a specialist, you can contact your favorite cruise line directly, you can book through an online cruise travel agency or you even can crack open that drawer full of cruise travel brochures and start dialing. Whichever way you choose to go, you will have your cruise tickets in hand shortly after your final payment is made.
One of the best ways to get the best deals on cruise tickets is to contact a cruise travel agent (local or online). Not only does this option offer the most in the way of convenience, but you will also find that youâ€™ll get the most in the way of offerings for cheap cruise tickets. While an online cruise travel agent isnâ€™t a specific person or agent, it is a system that allows you to shop and compare the prices of different cruise lines, search activities and destinations, take virtual tours, browse recommendations and reviews, checkout â€œTop Tenâ€? lists, in some cases chat online with an â€œagentâ€? and much, much more.
Once you have completed the exciting process of selecting your perfect cruise, the system allows the user to book online. The only time youâ€™ll speak with an actual agent is when a travel agent calls to confirm the details of your trip. 99% of the browsing and booking process typically takes place online and through email correspondence and itâ€™s fast and easy. Once the process is complete, and you have made your final payment, you can expect to have your cruise tickets in hand within a few weeks â€“ assuming you are booking in advance (highly recommended).
This same system applies to contacting a cruise travel agent in person to purchase cruise tickets. The only major difference, of course, is that you are dealing with a â€œliveâ€? person. The cruise travel agent will have access to thousands of cruises and they can help you shop and compare, and book the best deals on cruise tickets everywhere from Alaska to Zimbabwe.
If you want to purchase cruise tickets directly through the cruise line, you will do most of the searching and planning on your own. You can, however, chat with an online agent of the cruise company if you run into any problems or have any questions. Most cruise websites should have an online chat option, otherwise you will correspond via email. You can still contact a (Carnival, Disney, Royal Caribbean, etc.) cruise agent by phone if you wish.
Other options to purchase cruise tickets is through online booking search engine such as orbitz.com, expedia.com, travelocity.com, or hotwire.com. Cheaptickets.com is another good option. With these types of search engines, you are completely on your own, but it is pretty much guaranteed that you will find the hottest deals.
Cruise Ticket Tips
In most cases, remember, your cruise tickets will be mailed to you shortly after your final payment has been made, and at least two weeks before your departure date. If for some reason you havenâ€™t received your cruise tickets within two weeks of your departure date contact the cruise line or cruise travel agency immediately. When you receive your cruise tickets, please make sure that the names on the tickets are correct. If they are not correct, contact us the cruise line or cruise travel agency immediately.
In general, you should receive a booklet identifying the Shore Excursions that are available on your cruise, along with your cruise tickets, luggage tags, and a form to be filled out and taken with you to board the ship. Itâ€™s best to put your required Travel Documents together with your tickets (once you have your tickets in hand) so that everything you will need for your trip will be in one place. Please note that Travel Documents are extremely important as you will not be allowed to board the ship without the proper travel documents! Before you leave for your cruise, be sure to fill out your luggage tags, and place them on your luggage. And finally, don’t forget to take your cruise tickets along with your travel documents.
Below is a list of some of the top online cruise travel agents available today:
Cruisedirectonline.com: Cruise Direct Online has been recommended by Frommerâ€™s, Budget MSNBC, CNBC, MSN Money and Travel Magazine.
Cruisespecialists.com: Specializing in luxury travel
Cruisecompete.com: Find the best deals and sites for cruise travel
Cruisequick.com: 100% Internet based, quick quotes
Cruise411.com: Great at sniffing out special rates, last minute cruises, best sales
Cruisebrothers.com: Since 1972, MSNBC ranks cruisebrothers.com in the top 15
Moments-notice.com: Offers best buys, deals of the week and killer Internet specials
Cruisesonly.com: Last minute cruises, reviews, the skinny on blowout sales
Cruisebrokers.com: Covers all cruise lines and destinations, luxury cruise line specialists, recommended in AOL Cruise Critic