Location: call centres
Wanted: A couple want to go on a cruise to South America next March or April for up to two weeks. They want to visit Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil and trek Machu Picchu.
Budget: £5,500

The web page was easy to navigate and my call was answered in four seconds. The agent provided contact details and took mine and sent the holiday details in an email. The agent was friendly and offered detailed explanations of the cruise lines and the destinations. I was given two Holland America Line cruises; 13 nights on Maasdam flying on March 11 costing £3,398 and the second on Zaandam flying on March 17 for £4,598. The third suggestion was 13 nights on Celebrity Infinity on March 18 costing £6,998, which was over budget. An airline and airport were not specified for any quote, but he met my requirements and offered a Machu Picchu trek too. The agent was very informative, but I felt some details were missing.

The website was easy to use but the call was not answered for more than three minutes. I exchanged contact details and the agent was enthusiastic and friendly. I was offered a 17-night cruise on Holland America Line’s Zaandam, flying with KLM from Aberdeen to Buenos Aires on March 2 for £6,390. The price also a pre-cruise stay, and a post-cruise stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Cuzco ahead of the Machu Picchu trek on March 19. This was the most detailed quote I received, but it was almost £900 over budget.

The deals on the homepage were eyecatching and my call was answered quickly. I exchanged contact details with the agent who was patient and asked questions but showed little enthusiasm about my booking. I was offered a 16-night cruise on Celebrity Infinity flying from Aberdeen to Buenos Aires on March 3 for £7,138. The itinerary met my requirements but it was well over budget and it also did not include the Machu Picchu excursion. I felt the agent could have given more cruise options and details.

Winning agent

Albert Garcia, cruise consultant

“A lot of the time in cruise, customers know what they want. But it’s our job to know the product inside out so we can add value.”


All the agents this week left out holiday details that Mystery Shopper required, but the winner provided the widest amount of options.

Elite resorts caribbean

Top-scoring agent each month will win use of a car for 10 days.

The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Winners under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent. The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return the car from Essex or a central location