Today’s #CruiseChat is great topic – but 140 characters doesn’t do it justice.
While I make myself available online to help as many people as possible with their cruise questions and planning …. Offering insights on pricing trends and when to book specific cruises to get the best deals for free… I am a huge proponent of working with a trusted veteran cruise agent (5+ years) to help you filter through all the information that you may find online. I’m passionate about Twitter and Social Media because of the direct access to experts in all industries… but the reality is that for those who do not know how to navigate the Twitterverse, running into someone who just started selling cruises last month as part of Multi-Level Marketing company is a possibility.
There is no doubt that the internet makes researching easy. But with that easy access, there are few filters on the data and opinions found online. We would suggest that cruisers have a greater risk of poor information when they are relying on unfiltered sources.
I think doing your initial research online is fun and educational. Start by taking advantage of the videos, pictures, itinerary and ship descriptions found online. Checkout a couple of the online agencies like CruiseDeals.com [mass-market & premium] & CruiseSpecialists.com [Luxury & World Cruises] to get an idea of pricing. Then you can ask Cruise Industry bloggers with high-quality informative posts questions on their blogs. If you receive poor advice from a cruise blogger who has been online for years, you know where to find them later.
Forums are trickier, because responses can come from self-proclaimed experts or anonymous users, who may be pushing an agenda or just plain incorrect. If you get bad advice on a forum good like finding the person who gave you the incorrect information. Thousands cruise on each ship each week, each person is going to have a different experience, and a few will have a negative experience. And some of those will end up online…
Twitter is a great place to get several opinions at once and excellent if asking for referrals to trusted cruise agents. But remember it only takes seconds to set up a Twitter account, so you want checkout their bio, click over to their website, and the users Twitter stream before relying on their information.
In the end, finding and speaking to an expert agent, from a veteran online or brick and mortar cruise retailer is the key to distilling the endless array of options. Plus, they’ll pose questions back at you that you might not have even thought to ask.
Full disclosure – I am Social Media Manager for Travel Leaders Leisure Group and CruiseDeals.com & CruiseSpecialists.com are two of our brands. There are other online agencies who also do an excellent job –