How to find your best Disney Cruise Line travel agent

Best Disney Cruise Travel Agent

Planning to sail on Disney Cruise Line is planning for the ultimate magical vacation, but let’s be honest – it can be a bit overwhelming.  There are so many things to consider for a regular family vacation, but when you add the complexities of a cruise it’s important you get it right!

Whether it’s your first time cruising or you’ve done it before, the best vacation is born from research and clear expectations.  That’s where a good travel agent can step in to make the magic happen seamlessly.

DCL pick up MCO

Finding the right cruise travel agent is a bit like finding the perfect hairdresser, accountant or therapist.  While you start as strangers, you begin building that relationship over time and with every trip.  They understand your needs and preferences and will be there as your family and travel preferences evolve over the years.  The best Disney travel agents are invested in YOU and and are there with you every step of the way.  They set your expectations and make sure that your Disney trip is everything you had hoped for.

So the question is – who is the best Disney Cruise agent? There isn’t one. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ model, but there is someone that is the best for YOU.  Not all travel agents are created equal and of course there are more experienced, professional agents than others, but this can be said about every industry.  The important thing is to find the one that works best for YOU and your family.

Castaway Cay Characters

In full disclosure, if you didn’t know – I am co-owner of Playcation Travel agency.  What I’m writing in this article is based on my 15+ years of experience in the industry.  I have had many conversations with clients over the years who shared what they loved about their agents and what they were disappointed in.  I have outlined some questions below that you can ask a potential agent to get an idea if they are the right fit for you.  This applies to ANY agency – not just mine.

Please ask the questions, but don’t have a bunch of different agents giving you a ‘free quote’.  Travel advisors generally do not get paid for any of the work until the client actually travels on the trip.  Everyone gets the same pricing from Disney and if you’re getting different prices, they likely didn’t include the same things.  Please be respectful of the advisors time and the hard work they put in to creating the quotes for you.

7 Questions to Ask a potential Disney Cruise Travel Agent

Pirate Mickey and Minnie

1.  What is your experience with booking Disney cruises?

It’s important to ask about their experience helping other guests plan their cruises.  It means that they understand the process, they have insight in to how things work on the ship and can guide you through it all.  A good agent asks their clients for feedback when they return so that they can build their practical knowledge around all different kinds of travel parties.  Those who cruised with multi generations may have a different perspective from those that are 2 adults with no kids.  When you pair that up with personal experience – it’s a match that can’t be beat.

2.  Are you a Disney focused travel agent?

Disney has specific training programs for travel agents (the College of Disney Knowledge) and completing those is just the first step.

An agent who specializes in Disney destinations will obviously have a little more insight in to the cruise line vs an agent who focuses on other brands.  Keep in mind this is really only applicable if you’ve decided you for sure want to cruise with Disney.  If you want to compare other lines – then this may not be a deal breaker for you.

Disney Fantasy DCL

Those that also say they are a Disney specialist should quantify for you if that includes cruises or just the Disney parks.  There are so many Disney destinations that they may not focus on all.

It is also a false sense of security when asking for a “Disney-certified” travel agent or an ‘authorized Disney vacation planner’.  The Earmarked designation that they are referring to applies to the agency and not the agent.  It has NO bearing on their capabilities as an agent.  (Just an FYI – most advisors at ‘Disney focused’ agencies are independent contractors and not employees).

Disney Dream Donal Duck

3.  How do you handle changes or cancellations?

Life happens when you’re busy making plans.  Find out how they work with changes and cancellations and if they have any additional fees associated.  It’s important to understand not only the suppliers terms and conditions but also what your agent will do if you need to make changes.  With Disney Cruise Line there isn’t generally a ‘new deal’ that comes out that is better than the original pricing requiring changes.  Keep in mind that with cruising the prices generally go UP over time as staterooms sell out, usually the best deals are only found when the itinerary is released.

4.  What is your availability and how can I contact you?

If I had a dollar for every post I saw with someone saying “my agent isn’t responsive” and it was because they didn’t discuss how they would work together.  Your agent might (and should) have office hours and boundaries for when they work.  You can’t expect replies to emails within minutes when you send it at 11pm at night.

A good travel advisor is handling multiple clients at a time and will also prioritize messages from clients who are IN the destination and need immeditate assistance.  Have them explain to you how they prioritize their time and responses.

DCL Towel Animal

A travel professional may also work through one mode of communication only, this allows them to keep things organized and set boundaries.  If they work through email only, sending text messages and notes via Instagram won’t work.  Find out how they work and then see if that works for YOU.

5.  Can you help with additional arrangements, like flights or pre-cruise hotels?

This is so important especially with cruising!  I would never tell anyone to fly in for a cruise the morning it departs – too many things can go wrong and if you miss the ship, it can absolutely ruin your vacation.  Does this agent book flights for you or just research them?  Not all agents will book flights and you should understand their reasoning if they do or don’t before you decide to move ahead with them.

Do you need reservations at a Walt Disney World resort before your cruise or after?  Do they help with an itinerary for the theme parks?  Are you sailing out of a different port and need a good hotel for the night?  Having someone who knows the ports and can recommend where to stay and how to get to the port easily is a huge help!

DCL Pool Deck

6.  How do you personalize the planning process for us?

Your vacations should be as unique as your family.  Do they do phone consultations?  Video chat?  Are they willing to get on a call and speak about your individual needs?  Not everyone needs this level of support – but it’s important to know it’s available to you if you do.  Understand the entire process of how your vacation will come together and what the agent typically does as part of the planning with their clients.

7.  What kind of support do you provide during and AFTER my vacation?

It’s good to know if they’ll be available to help if you encounter any issues while on vacation.  This is always a hot topic on social media with guests not knowing where a travel advisor can and can’t help.  Generally once you have “checked in” for your vacation (the resort or cruise) the agent no longer has any control of your reservations.  That being said, an agent can offer advice and guidance to get the best results should any real issues arise.  The challenges with your family members though – you’re on your own!

Minnie Mouse Formal DCL

After your vacation is also the beginning of your relationship with this advisor.  If you are happy with their customer service and had a great time, you’ll probably want to use them again.  Make sure you ask if their agency books other destinations and cruise lines.  Yes it’s great if they’re a Disney expert, but find out how they could help you for the next trip!

After asking these questions, you should have a good sense of whether the travel agent is a good match for you.  Trust your instincts and choose someone who listens, understands your needs, and is as excited about your Disney cruise as you are.  Remember, this relationship is for the long haul.  So, take your time, ask the questions, and find your travel planning partner in crime.

Happy cruising!

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If you need assistance planning your vacation contact my team at Playcation Travel

 

How to find your best Disney Cruise Line travel agent
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