Online cruise specialists
Wanted: A couple who have cruised in Europe are seeking a 10-night itinerary on the Mekong next April. They want to take some excursions and are seeking three-star-plus accommodation.
The website looked good and my call was answered quickly. The agent was patient and helpful, and not too pushy. I was offered two options. One was with APT, flying premium economy with Singapore Airlines from Heathrow, for £4,015 per person including door-to-door transfers and two nights at each end of the cruise. The second was for £4,090 per person with Scenic, including economy flights, balcony cabin and a night at each end of the cruise. The Scenic option included a tuk-tuk tour, but there was no mention of excursions with APT. I received some interesting material, which made me want to genuinely book a cruise. All the details were emailed later that day.
The agent was helpful and easy-going. I was offered AmaWaterways’ Vietnam, Cambodia and the Riches of the Mekong itinerary – a seven-night sailing with eight nights’ pre and post-cruise land stays in Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City. I was quoted £3,713 per person for this 15-day itinerary, and flights from Gatwick were suggested. The agent did much to pin down my needs but could have done more to close the sale.
The Cruise Village
The website looked good but the information wasn’t that useful. The agent was helpful and enthusiastic but did not have a lot of information readily available. I was recommended a cruise on AmaWaterways’ AmaDara, flying with Malaysia Airlines, for £4,011 per person including transfers, port taxes and meals. I mentioned stays at either end but they were not included in the quote. The agent made no attempt to close the sale.
Robert Cornish, senior sales consultant
“I like to ask a few questions to make sure the cruise is right for the customer. I don’t think I did anything out of the ordinary so it’s nice to know I’m doing the job well.”
Offering a couple of options helped Planet Cruise come out on top this week. The agent made Mystery Shopper feel excited about the trip without resorting to the hard sell.
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
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