Mystery shopper: First time cruise in the Med

Mystery shopper: First time cruise in the Med

Cruise Website

Wanted: A couple are planning to go on their first cruise, in the Mediterranean, next summer. They want to travel for up to two weeks and would like a balcony cabin.

Budget: £4,000


The site didn’t look overly appealing but the information was good. I found the agency’s number easily and my call was answered quickly.

The agent who assisted me was enthusiastic and asked lots of questions, including about my budget, whether I wanted to sail from the UK and if I wanted a formal or more relaxed experience.

The agent said she had only been in the job for a few weeks, but had previously worked as a musician on board a cruise ship. I was impressed by her knowledge and we built up a good rapport.

I was given only one quote: £3,450 for 12 nights on Holland America Line’s Oosterdam in a balcony cabin. I wasn’t offered a follow-up call but I would have ben happy to bookas the service was very good.

Imagine Cruising

This website was the best-looking of the three. On calling the agent, I was a little surprised by her tone as she seemed unimpressed that I had called without knowing exactly what I wanted to book.

The agent warmed up during the call and asked lots of questions. I was sent an email with a quote for £3,998 for 14 nights on P&O Cruises’ Oceana in a balcony cabin.

I felt the agent could have done more research on my behalf, plus there was no attempt to close the deal.

This site was extremely busy, with lots of information. The phone number was clearly displayed at the top of the homepage, however I had trouble getting through to an agent.

I called the number six times over the course of two days, leaving two messages. An agent eventually called and left a message on my answerphone; when I called back there was no answer again.

Had I been a real customer, I probably would have given up after a couple of attempts.

Winning Agent

Lauren Wood, cruise concierge
I’ve only been with the company for just over a month. For five months before, I worked as a musician on a P&O Australia ship. I’ve always been in travel.

I get real satisfaction from finding a holiday which is perfect for the customer and I particularly like finding the right trip for solo travellers to give them the confidence and comfort of knowing they’ll be looked after.


The winning agent was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and helpful. She showed real excitement about the enquiry.


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