Location: Ely, Cambridgeshire
Wanted: A couple have two weeks and are looking for a cruise-and-stay combo in Europe. They’re open on destination for both but are thinking the Mediterranean.
Budget: £4,000

Tui
23 High Street
84%
This store looked new and fresh with clear window displays. It didn’t take long to be acknowledged by an agent who seemed well-versed in the products. Using Tui Cruise & Stay, I was offered an 11-night trip, with seven nights on Marella Dream’s Treasures of the Mediterranean sailing out of Palma and then a four-night stay half-board at Hotel Son Baulo in Majorca. It came to £3,751 including Norwegian flights from Gatwick on September 10. The agent was very interested in the enquiry and thorough in her research – talking me through deposit options, insurance and other extras. It was a pleasant experience, and the best deal offered. But I would have liked a second quote to compare it to.

Thomas Cook
11 Market Street
83%
This shop had the best window display. I was seen straight away by an agent who knew their stuff. They suggested seven nights on Marella Dream’s Treasures of the Mediterranean then seven nights at Protur Safari Park Aparthotel or the Hotel Delfin Azul, both in Majorca. With flights from Gatwick and transfers, it was £4,830 and £4,484 respectively. The agent was enthusiastic and the consultation was informative and relaxing.

Premier Travel
2 Forehill
74%

This shop was clean, but the window display was less professional than the others. The agent had some knowledge but research was hampered by computer problems. They recommended seven nights on Marella Dream’s Treasures of the Mediterranean, and seven nights at Hotel Son Baulo, Majorca, with Tui Airlines flights from Gatwick for £4,243. A second option, on Marella Discovery, was £4,513. Quotes were emailed later.


Winning agent

Molly Harnwell, travel consultant

“Most people ask for a cruise on its own, but cruise and stay is easy to do on our systems. It’s great to win as it’s my first job since leaving college and I’ve only been here about a year.”


Verdict

Thomas Cook gave more choice, but both quotes were over budget – although they were longer trips. Tui only offered one option, within budget, which made it a close contest. Premier Travel’s agent was let down by technical issues.


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