Keeping your cruise trip shipshape

 
LA Times | Travel
 

Keeping your trip shipshape If you're booking a cruise, here are some things to watch out for: * Check for accreditations, memberships or certifications, such as a California Seller of Travel number and membership in the Cruise Lines International Assn., an industry group of the largest li...

By Vani Rangachar // 01.21.09
 

Keeping your trip shipshape

If you're booking a cruise, here are some things to watch out for:

* Check for accreditations, memberships or certifications, such as a California Seller of Travel number and membership in the Cruise Lines International Assn., an industry group of the largest lines.

* Use a cruise specialist, an agency or website with "cruise" or "ahoy" in the name, says budget travel guru Pauline Frommer, author of Pauline Frommer's Travel Guides. Such sites usually have the know-how, plus "they get perks, like free upgrades, that they can pass on to their clients," she says.

* When researching online, "try to be aware of where the information is coming from," says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief of CruiseCritic.

* Look for a phone number you can call in case of problems.

* Make sure you get the whole price, including tips, port fees and fuel surcharges. When budgeting, don't forget to estimate airfares, shore excursions, bar bills and spa services.

* Use a credit card when you buy, Spencer Brown says. If something goes wrong, you can dispute the charges.