Free isn’t always free–another reason you need a travel agent

Angry young male in blue t-shirt shouting, crabbed with shock content, holding eyeglasses with one hand
A cruise should NOT have surprises!

Maybe instead of writing about reasons you should use a travel agent when you book your travel, I will just keep writing about what happens in the agency day in and day out. Today is another great example. Here’s the story of why free isn’t always free.

I have a client who came in last week after working out at the gym next door to the agency. She has never cruised before but thought it would be a great idea to take her family (her, husband and two boys) to Alaska on a cruise ship this summer. I got her some pricing and literature and we discussed different options. She had tons of questions. We finally settled on two possible cruise lines that sail out of Seattle that would work for her and her family. Let’s call them Cruise Line A and Cruise Line B. She took the literature home with her and promised to come back this week, which she did this morning.

And when she came in she had a lot of great questions. Her biggest was about the “free” internet package on Cruise Line A. She (unlike many people) had actually read the fine print on the brochures and it indicated that even though they were offering “free” internet, what that meant was 250 minutes on a seven night cruise and can only be used on one device at a time. That meant that her husband, who works for a software company and needs to stay in touch while on vacation, would only have 250 minutes of internet time out of the 10,080 minutes they would be on board on their seven day cruise to Alaska. And it meant that if either of her boys were logged in, dad would not be able to log in. Neither would Mom or the other son. This was a deal breaker for her family. They are connected at home and they want and need to be connected on vacation.

So I went out and did some research and found exactly what the cost is for full time internet connectivity for her party of four and I found out that buying complete internet coverage on Cruise Line B would cost less than adding on to the “free” internet offered by Cruise Line A.

Another example of a good travel agent (I said modestly 😜) knowing what to look for. If this client had taken her family onboard expecting “free” internet access they would have been in for a very rude surprise in either additional internet charges or sad Dad and teenagers. Either way, it would have really put a damper on their well-earned vacation.

Most things in life come as a surprise.—Lykke Li

7 thoughts on “Free isn’t always free–another reason you need a travel agent

  1. The other tip you should tell your travers is turn off cellular when out of the country (or on the ship) if they do not have an international plan. Also, know your international plan. As you told me T-Mobile is the same as at home. Verizon is NOT. You pay extra per day and the data is extremely limited. I would switch to T-Mobile, but the reception is poor at our home, and I use my cell phone as a work phone, from home.

  2. Bob

    I actually think the hardest thing about cruising is reading and understanding the fine print. Those of us that are unable to budget an all inclusive ship most of which are too small for family entertainment (me for sure) need a Good TA to make sure I get what I think I’m getting.

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