by choosing a
an Internet website,
an extra value added
package as a bonus:
with a real person,
with your agents'
or their initial
to the alarm
bells that are
there are many
specialists in the
to make the most
of your cruise,
you need to
select an agent who
you play fair,
with a sense of value -
who you question
and who you make
your reservation with
the same person
of personal information
and allows your
access to information
that will allow them
to foresee pitfalls,
and to provide you
with the best
selecting a cruise ship
as similar to
land based hotel.
who your neighbors
will be at sea,
what will your surroundings
are children onboard,
and what activities
will the ship offer
for taking a cruise,
and the itinerary
is reduced more frequently
than the cost of outside
staterooms. The location
onboard ship with the
least motion is mid-ship.
This point is half way
front (bow) and rear (aft),
midway between the
left side (port) and the right
and midway between
the top deck and
bottom deck of the ship
and holiday cruise
are most expensive
and their cost
Voyages that are sailed
throughout the season
are least expensive
at the beginning
and the end
of the season
and their cost
is more likely
OF A SUCCESSFUL
secrets for having a successful and accessible cruise experience
depend a lot more on making the right decisions, early on in your
cruise planning, than it does choosing a new ship with big doorways
and wheelchair accessible staterooms.
From the moment you decide to go on a cruise, your cruise experience
begins. From that point on, "your earliest decisions are
the ones that count the most." Making good decisions early
in your planning will decide the difference between the experience
of a lifetime and a bad experience that lasts a lifetime.
first step you need to take is to ask a cruise professional for
assistance. The Internet might ake a tempting invition to just
point, click and pay, but succumbing to this temptation will fail
to give you the detailed information you need about accessibility
onboard the ship, and on land when the ship stops at the various
are you'd also like someone to know more about your personal needs
and about your abilities. Not because telling someone about yourself
makes you feel better - because you're looking for genuine feedback
from someone who will reassure you that the decisions you're making
are correct. Beyond that, the prices you find on the websites
of the major Internet resellers differ little, or are exactly
the same as the price you can obtain from a cruise professional.
The Secret here: by choosing a cruise professional, rather than
an Internet website, you're receiving a extra value added package
as a bonus: personal contact with a real person, personal service,
genuine feedback, and product knowledge. Often times, the person
who's helping you has already sailed on the ship and the itinerary
that interests you - and firsthand experience counts for a lot.
that you've decided to work with a live person instead of the
Internet, the next important choices are to decide; where you
look for advice, who you ask for assistance, and where you make
it's comes time to get detailed information about destinations,
particular ships, and prices, it's time to locate a cruise professional.
In your local area, sellers of travel are most likely travel agencies.
Here travel agents work as "generalists" selling all
kinds of travel including airline tickets, rail tickets, vacation
packages, car rentals and cruises. There are also agencies designated
"cruise only" agencies. Like their title suggests, these
agencies only sell cruises. The Secret: while there are many knowledgeable
cruise specialists in the travel industry, to make the most of
your cruise, you need to select an agent who specializes in accessible
cruises. Hopefully, after reading this article, and reviewing
our website, you realize that Accessible Journeys is such an expert
and you bring your business to us. But if you want to look further,
it's best to ask to probing questions that will help your determine
how much a prospective agent knows about helping a person with
- How long have they been selling cruises?
- How long have they been working at their current agency?
- How long has the agency they're working for been selling
- How many times have they (your prospective agent) cruised?
- What ships have they sailed on?
- How many days were their individual cruises?
- Have they inspected ships specifically for accessibility,
and how many?
- How long have they been selling accessible cruises ?
- How many wheelchair travelers have they sent sailing?
The answers to these questions should give you a good sense of
an agents background and abilty to help a person with special
needs. They should also tell you if you proceed further. The secret
is: if you're not comfortable with your agents' answers, their
knowledge of accessibility, or their initial conversation, pay
attention to the alarm bells that are sounding between your ears.
Their telling you: "STOP - DO NOT PROCEED" and "DANGER
- GO NO FURTHER." Take heed. If
this is the case, listen to the internal warming; be respectful
to yourself and the prospective agent and continue with your search
to find someone you're comfortable with who's knowledgeable about
you find an agent, make a commitment to do business with them,
engage their services, and ask them to collect prices for you
and mail you a cruise brochure. Until then, don't be guilty of
squandering an agent's time and resources by asking them to collect
prices for you or to mail you a brochure if you're not committed
to doing business with them.
In the course of attempting to locate a suitable agent, it's possible
that you could find two likable agents, with differing talents,
from different agencies, and you're faced with the dilemma of
deciding which one you should work with. If you get to that point,
you need to ask yourself: "am I looking for the best price,
or am I looking for someone with the most knowledgeable service?"
As a consumer, you have a right to compare prices. At the same
time, if you require someone to expend time and resources on your
behalf, you have the responsibility to be honest and to avoid
any deceptions. If you need to use two agents for a price comparison
- then confine your inquiries to price comparisons! It's not appropriate
to be prying information from either agent about accessible resources
and accessibility if price is your primary concern. In fact in
this instant, just use the internet.
the other hand, if you' re greatest requirement is to have access
to resources and knowledgeable about accessibility - then it's
not appropriate to be using two agents! What you're looking for
is knowledge and service - and the agency offering you the service
your require should be the only agency you support with your time,
inquiries, and patronage. The Secret: it's important that you
play fair, with a sense of value - who you question about accessibility,
and who you make your reservation with should be the same person.
you are using two cruise professionals for a price comparison
then tell each one what you are doing. By making your disclosure
to each agent you're allowing each agent the opportunity to make
an informed choice. Some agents enjoy the challenge and will work
harder and more creatively to obtain your business. Others might
find this situation is too risky and too costly (in the form of
man hours and telephone time) and will decline to continue. Whatever
the outcome, in all instances, be up front, tell the truth and
you find a cruise professional that you are committed to working
with, the need to establish good communication is critical. Take
the time to tell your agent about yourself and your needs. Don't
fear rejection and hold back information. Nothing hampers a professional
agent more than a client who keeps secrets. While you may feel
hesitant to discuss intimate and personal details with someone
other than your family, or your physician, it is important that
you discuss the full range of your needs with the person planning
your cruise. This includes your requirements for bathroom equipment,
your ADL's (tasks of Adult Daily Living), dietary intolerance
and your transfer preferences.
Secret: the mutual exchange of personal information builds trust
and allows your cruise professional access to information that
will allow them to foresee pitfalls, anticipate obstacles, and
to provide you with the best overall cruise experience possible.
that that's out of the way, it's time to get down to the details
of what you imagined this article was all about - choosing the ship
you'll take. The choice of your cruise ship should perfectly fit
your needs, abilities, your lifestyle and budget. With so many ships
available their differences are more than decor. Some cruise lines
look for the "young, sun and fun crowd" while others covet mature
travelers preferring dinner theaters and Broadway performances.
The Secret: to think of the process of selecting a cruise ship as
similar to selecting a land based hotel. Ask yourself, who your
neighbors will be at sea, what will your surroundings look like,
are children onboard, and what activities will the ship offer?
this point in the process it's critical that you uncover, discuss,
and clarify what your expectations are for taking a cruise. Do you
want to visit foreign lands? Do you want a quiet, romantic time
spent with a significant other? Are you looking for a family vacation
with your children? Or, do you simply want to relax with no responsibilities
and no cell phone interruptions for seven days? Knowing your expectation
allows your cruise professional to offer tailored suggestions, and
to critique the realistic outcome of your choices. You may have
looked through dozens of cruise brochures and found the cruise that
looks perfect for you - but if your main goal is to relax, is it
realistic to expect that you'll be able to relax on a ship catering
to the young, sun and fun crowd over college break? Or, would you
enjoy yourself on a week long flotilla featuring formal evening
dining and big-band concerts when nothing suits you better than
sipping a pina colotta and listening to Jimmy buffet? Don't under
estimate the influence of the crowd you'll be sailing with. "Birds
of a feather flock together" is sound advice when it comes
to choosing a ship.
obvious considerations for ship selection are the cruise itinerary
and the price. In the simplest terms, cruise itineraries cater
to the two types of passengers: destination passengers and resort
passengers. A destination passenger needs to get off the ship.
How often and where they get off is very important. In the other
camp is the resort passenger. The resort passenger likes nothing
more then being onboard the ship and "living the life."
This passenger takes a cruise because they enjoy the atmosphere
of being on the ship, they love that someone feeds them and pampers
them constantly. This makes the need to get off the ship one of
the lowest priorities. The Secret: discover and understand your
expectations for taking a cruise, then select the ship and the
it comes to the price of a cruise, there are a few elementary
guidelines. The age of the ship influences the price. Newer and
brand new ships are more expensive than older ones. Shorter duration
cruises are more expensive (the cost per day/per person) than
longer voyages. Holiday cruises are specially priced, as are one
of a kind sailing's and limited seasonal itineraries (offering
only 1 or 2 departures).
Onboard ship, different categories of staterooms also command
different rates. On a simple scale, inside staterooms are the
least expensive. Topping these are outside staterooms (they have
a window with a view), following these are staterooms that have
a private balcony. The categories that are more expensive than
the outside rooms with a balcony are the mini-suites and suites.
And, at the top of the wrung, not necessarily at the top of the
ship, are "the big name suits" such as the "Owners
Suite," the "Presidential Suite," and the like.
Other influences on price are the location of the stateroom onboard
ship, the sailing itinerary, the popularity of the itinerary,
and the duration of the voyage. The Secret: the cost of inside
staterooms is reduced more frequently than the cost of outside
staterooms. The location onboard ship with the least motion is
mid-ship. This point is half way between the front (bow) and rear
(aft), midway between the left side (port) and the right side
(starboard), and midway between the top deck and bottom deck of
the time of year has the most influence on your plans, there are
certain times of the year when cruises are more popular in some
locations than in others. During winter in North America cruises
focuse on sailing in warm weather climates like the Caribbean,
Mexico, Hawaii, South America, and the South Pacific. In the summer
cruises in Alaska, The Mediterranean, Europe and the Baltic's
are popular, while exotic passages to Asia and Canada/New England
tend to occur in the Spring and Fall between these two seasons.
The Secret: specialty cruises, limited departures, and holiday
cruises are most expensive and their cost seldom reduces. Voyages
that are sailed throughout the season are least expensive at the
beginning and the end of the season and their cost is more likely
to reduce based on popularity.
no wonder that more travelers in wheelchairs are discovering the
pleasures of an unpack-once cruise vacation. Where else can you
find exciting destinations, luxurious surroundings, continuous activities,
and sumptuous meals in one all-inclusive vacation ? This year call
a cruise planner at Accessible Journeys and choose to cruise.
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