Part 2:  Why?

In one word, for the client.

Ship inspections are performed for two very important reasons.  First, and most important, as mentioned in yesterdays blog; it allows a travel agent to gain first hand knowledge of the design and decor of a particular ships staterooms and public areas.  Second, it is a requirement in some of the professional training and certification programs for travel agents.

Particpating in ship inspections benefits my clients whom may be considering a specific ship or cruise line.  By inspecting and sailing on several of a specific cruise lines ships, knowledge is gained that I share with my clients and is essential in helping choose the right cruise line and ship that fits their lifestyle and budget.  My clients receive personal, reliable information and insights that you can’t receive from brochures and websites.  There is no substitute for the knowledge gained from walking all the decks of the ship and sharing the photos I take during the inspection.

By inspecting a specific ship I certainly learn all about that ship, but I also gain insight into that cruise lines fleet as many of their other ships incorporate similar features.  I would ofcourse like to inspect every ship possible, actually I would really prefer to sail on those ships but neither scenario is probable. 

Although the various ships of a given cruise line are different sizes, there usually remains similiarities between the ships.  I sailed on Norwegian Cruise Lines newest and biggest ship, the ‘Norwegian Epic’, last December.  Just a few weeks ago I was able to perform a ship inspection on the previous class of NCL’s ships, the ‘Norwegian Pearl’ while she was in San Francisco.  It was immediately obvious that the ‘Epic’s’ design incorporated a lot of similar traits found on the ‘Pearl’, especially in  many of the specialty restaurants and public areas.  Likewise, the ‘Pearl’ also had a few features common to the ‘Norwegian Star’, a much older ship I sailed on in October of 2008.

The second reason for performing inspections is that if an agent is enrolled in the CLIA certification programs it is one of the many requirements in achieving that certification.  Each level of certification has requirements to do a set number of inspections on different ships.

CLIA is Cruise Lines Internationl Association, the leading organization and voice of the cruise industry.  CLIA represents approximately 25 cruise lines world wide in PR work and legislative and regulatory matters.  They have diverse training and certification programs for about 15,000 professional travel agents. 

There are four levels and one specialty certification an angent can achieve.  A little over a year ago I earned my ACC, Accredited Cruise Counselor certification.  I have now completed all the requirements for the second level of certification, MCC, Master Cruise Counselor, which I will be receiving in November.

I have always believed in continuing education and ship inspections are definitely one of the more fun was to do so.

Until next time,
Bon Voyage

For more information, tips and ideas talk with me,
Ole Nordhavn, Cruise Holidays, “your personal cruise expert.”
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