Who is Nadia Jastrjembskaia?
According to Charlie De-Silva, vice president of Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) Nadia Jastrjembskaia one of the most respected cruise professionals among cruise line leaders.
Vicki Freed, vice-president of Royal Caribbean International calls her the ‘suite lady’.
- Nadia holds the rank of ‘Elite Cruise Counsellor’ from CLIA.
- She has 119 cruises and ship inspections since 1997.
- Nadia Jastrjembskaia is the founder of Aurora Cruises and Travel (2008.)
- She is an author of a few books about cruising.
- She was a USA delegate on the First European Travel Agents Forum in Poznan, Poland, 2019.
My company Aurora Cruises and Travel is a valuable travel partner with Royal Caribbean International since 2009.
Since that time, we developed strong relationships and trust.
I have a lot of stories when my clients received support and care in unforeseen situations. That is why in one of my interviews I told that I have a team behind me: “With those types of relationships, I am compelled to speak of the brand [Royal Caribbean International] to anyone asking for a cruise, because I know should any questions arise, I have a team standing behind me.”
Nadia Jastrjembskaia, Elite Cruise Counsellor
Ok, this means that Nadia Jastrjembskaia is a cruise travel agent.
But cruise travel agents still exist?
And doing very well! Nadia Jastrjembskaia is an example of a successful career in cruising industry.
Why do travel agents still exist?
Travel agents still exist for the following reasons:
- People overwhelmed with travel information available on the Internet and need help to plan their vacation.
- People slowly lose trust to online travel agencies (OATAs) due to their manipulative and scare tactics.
- People have high expectations for service of personal travel agent instead of rep from call center with 10 minute per person.
- People don’t like anymore ‘cookie cutter’ approach to their vacation.
- People don’t like anymore ‘one size fits all’ philosophy.
- They want to receive unique experience offered by resourceful human.
- Travel expectations became more complex with a lot of requirements.
- People like to travel with extended family and friends but don’t like to take responsibility for their satisfaction.
What do travel agents do for you?
- Cruise travel agents known as cruise advisors sell cruises, lodging for -pre- and post- cruise, flights and admission to entertainment activities onboard and off-shore.
- They offer advice on destinations, cruise lines, ships, plan complex trip itineraries, and make travel arrangements for clients.
So, Nadia Jastrjembskaia as a cruise travel agent can do all arrangements for you. She does this as for individuals as well as for groups.
What are relationships between Nadia Jastrjembskaia and Royal Caribbean International?
Nadia Jastrjembskaia and her team at Aurora Cruises and Travel are valuable partners of Royal Caribbean International.
Does Royal Caribbean have travel agents?
Royal Caribbean International sell their products mostly through travel agents – more than 80%.
This is because they developed trust through travel agents’ community as a responsible partner.
Many cruisers are unaware that the services provided by travel agents - partners of Royal Caribbean International are free of charge. They receive commissions from Royal Caribbean. That is why there is no extra cost to you for cruise travel agents services.
Can I transfer my reservation to Nadia Jastrjembskaia and her team if I purchased my cruise directly from Royal Caribbean?
Yes! Bookings made directly with Royal Caribbean International may be transferred to Aurora Cruises and Travel, Nadia’s travel agency.
Also, you may transfer your booking made with online cruise agency (OTA) or another travel agent that you are not happy with. Please call at 772 335-7017 and Nadia will discuss your situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are misconceptions about using a travel agent?
They cost a lot of money. Travel agents have higher cruise fares compare to online agencies. - Surprise! Online aggregators are agencies also!
- Cruise travel agents are all about upselling and you pay more compare to online agencies
- Book cruise and all details by yourself. – You will save a lot of money
You don’t need anybody – the Internet makes in easy to do by yourself
- You don’t need any assistance during your cruise tour – You can handle your problem by yourself
- Cruise travel agents are in business only to receive their personal perks.
How much travel agent cost?
You will be surprised to learn that you pay for the service you receive or not when you book your cruise vacation.
This is your decision to use this service or not. But you pay for it.
Royal Caribbean International will not give you discount because you book direct.
Cruise travel agent commission is built into price. You use it or not, this is up to you.
Here, at Aurora Cruises and Travel, we don’t charge extra to book Royal Caribbean cruise.
How does travel agent work?
Nadia Jastrjembskaia as a cruise travel agent is a partner with Royal Caribbean International to sell their cruises and provide services to her clients.
Additionally, Nadia can sell you other products: pre-and post- lodging, transfers, air tickets, activities offshore, and travel insurance.
Selling is not the main focus for Nadia and her team from Aurora Cruises and Travel.
The most important part of Nadia’s business is matching you as a client with a cruise line, ship and stateroom.
There are so many options that travelling public is not aware of! That is why consulting is so important at Aurora Cruises and Travel.
How does travel agent get paid?
Cruise travel agents are paid by cruise line for the cruise portion of your cruise in form of commission.
That is why the is no booking fee for booking a cruise with Aurora Cruises and Travel.
Other suppliers may pay commission or not pay commission. It depends by the product.
If Nadia and her team do your cruise tour with a lot of small details, she may wave booking fees for some components.
This means that Nadia doesn’t receive any compensation for booking this, but she doesn’t charge you extra for that.
In most cases, airlines don’t pay commission to sell air tickets and Nadia’s associates don’t have a choice to charge you a booking fee for air tickets. – The most online air consolidators do the same.
Which travel agent is the cheapest?
If you book Royal Caribbean cruise, all travel agents will cost you $0.
What are travel agent fees?
Travel agent fees depends on two factors:
If suppliers pay commission or not.
If commission is enough to cover compensation for working hours.
If you plan a cruise tour with plenty of components with no or little compensation, expect to pay for labor cost.
At Aurora Cruises and Travel, Nadia Jastrjembskaia made a rule: if compensation for a cruise is high enough, she doesn’t charge for extras.
Can travel agent get cheaper flights?
Yes, sometimes it works for transatlantic and transpacific flights for your cruise.
This is because travel agents can sell you tickets on so called ‘bulk price.’
Those fares are available through air consolidators that keep seats in airplane. Air consolidators work mostly with businesses and those fares are not available to traveling public.
All domestic air tickets are sold on prevailing rate and consolidators’ fares are not available.
Can travel agent get better deals on Royal Caribbean cruises?
Please be advised that there are two types of deals:
- Today’s deals
- End of the cruise deals
Today’s deals mean the difference between travel agent’s non-published fare and prevailing fare.
Here, in Aurora Cruises and Travel, we have six thousand plus non-published block spaces on Royal Caribbean ships per year.
Nadia Jastrjembskaia takes those spaces far in advance just after deployment is open.
After this, price goes up and down. In many cases, price is up, but Aurora Cruises and Travel holds those spaces on old price.
This helps you to save a lot. Additionally, block spaces are based on refundable deposit that help you to save money in case of cancellation.
End of the cruise deals mean how much you save at the end of your cruise. Royal Caribbean International allows re-price cruise up to the final payment.
If Nadia does it for you on the regular basis a few times prior the final payment, this translates into hundreds and sometimes thousand of dollars in savings.
Can a travel agent save me money on cruise?
Yes, Nadia Jastrjembskaia can save you money on Royal Caribbean cruise in two ways:
- By offering you non-published block cruise fare;
- By offering you re-pricing service for free of charge.
Are travel agents worth it?
Yes! Cruise travel agents add value to your cruise vacation:
- By saving time for planning cruise vacation. – In average, cruise vacation requires 23 hours of planning;
- Adding knowledge about cruise product and first-hand experience;
- By offering consultation and matching service – you and cruise line, you and ship, you and stateroom;
- By offering non-published block fares on Royal Caribbean International;
- By offering re-pricing service for cruise;
- By offering onboard and offshore activities;
- By offering help with budgeting and booking all details of cruise vacation;
- By offering to solve problems before, during and after cruise vacation.
What is travel agent responsibilities?
Cruise travel agent will ask you a lot of questions and will learn about your preferences and previous travel experiences.
- Travel agent will offer cruise product that meet your expectations.
- She will create a booking and collect your financial info.
- Travel agent will apply your payment to the Royal Caribbean’s system.
- She will make dining reservations and schedule shows and activities onboard for Oasis class ships on Royal Caribbean.
- Travel agent will re-price cruise reservation when price drops.
- She will make recommendations for activities and entertainment offshore and book it.
- Travel agent will make recommendations and book lodging, air and transfers.
- She will help you to do check-in online.
- Travel agent will help you to make the informed decision about purchases in Cruise Planner.
- Cruise travel agent will offer cruise and travel protection that meet your needs.
- She will help you to make a claim for compensation in case of unforeseen circumstances.
- Cruise travel agent will communicate directly with Royal Caribbean and other supplies on your behave.
- She will communicate with you during your cruise vacation and helps to make arrangements if you need to return back earlier than expected.
When to use travel agent?
Use cruise travel agent when you feel you need assistance. – Don’t forget that there is no fee to book a cruise on Royal Caribbean International.
Nadia Jastrjembskaia recommends using cruise travel agents for the following projects:
- Complex cruise vacation with a lot of details;
- Family vacation with kids;
- Cruise vacation in expensive suites;
- Weddings and celebrations at seas;
- Travelling with people with disabilities;
- Family and friends reunions;
- Church and other group cruises
- Meetings at sea;
- Incentive cruises for business.
When to pay travel agent?
Cruise travels are compensated by Royal Caribbean International.
In case of complex itineraries travel agent may ask you to commit in form of deposit before she starts her research and planning.
What travel agent should I use?
Here a few recommendations:
- Use cruise travel agent that specializes in cruises.
- Who holds the highest rank in the industry – Elite Cruise Counsellor.
- Who is certified by Royal Caribbean.
Who has extensive history of cruising and ship inspections.
- Who has been in destination and knows logistics very well.
- Who has first-hand experience of ship she sells.
- Who is a full-time travel agent.
Who has accreditation from Cruise Line International Association (CLIA).
- Who has an established business for 10+ years.
- Who has her own IATA number that she books through.
- Who is a member of America Society of Travel agents.
What are disadvantages of using a cruise travel agent?
There too many newbies in the travel industry that are very ill prepared.
There is no point to use a travel agent if she:
- Have never been in the destination she sells.
- Doesn’t know logistics in the destination from the first-hand.
- Doesn’t have relationships with suppliers in the destinations.
- Doesn’t know cruise industry – no certifications from Cruise Line International Association (CLIA).
- No certification from cruise line she sells.
For luxury cruising – no CLIA certification as a Luxury Cruise Specialist.
- Very limited (up to 10) experience on cruises.
- Doesn’t sail on the cruise line she sells.
- Part-time travel agent. – More likely she will be not available when you need her help.
How much does it cost to hire a travel agent?
It depends on the following:
- If you book a cruise as a part of your travel package.
- Travel agent may be compensated well by cruise line and provide other reservations with booking fee waiver.
- If you plan complex trip itinerary with no or minimal commission, expect to pay between $100 to $500 total for research and booking.
- If you book domestic air there will be a booking fee from $30 up to $70 per ticket.
- If you book an international air with little to no commission, expect to pay booing dee also.
- If you book a cruise, there is no booking fee in most cases.
Which cruise travel agent is the best?
Please use the following recommendations to qualify cruise travel agent as the best:
- Use cruise travel agent that specializes in cruises.
- Who holds the highest rank in the industry – Elite Cruise Counsellor from Cruise Line International Association (CLIA).
- Has more than 50 cruises and ship inspections.
- Full time cruise travel agent.
Member of American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
- Owns her business for more than 10 years.
- Her business has IATA accreditation.
- Sails personally on cruise line she sells.
- Sails personally on ship she sells.
- Has specialization in particular cruise line.
- Knows the destination very well.
Why use a travel agent instead of booking online?
Here a few reasons why you have to consider booking through cruise travel agent instead of online:
- You are not a booking number – You are a valuable customer.
- Your cruise travel agent will help you to establish expectations.
- You will receive personal attention to details.
- You will work with the same person for the rest of your cruise vacation.
- Your personal cruise travel agent will know your preferences and will recommend you all extras based on your likes and dislikes.
- She will recommend you cruise line, ship and stateroom based on your preferences.
- You can contact your cruise travel agent regarding all questions about your trip: about recommendations for dining, entertainment on board and offshore, lodgings before and after cruise, flights, transfers, trip protection, packing for the trip, etc.
- Your cruise travel agent is your personal concierge.
- She will contact all suppliers, including cruise line, and spend time on hold for you to solve your problem before, during, and after cruise vacation.
- Your cruise travel agent may have an unpublished block space with more affordable prices.
- She will re-price your cruise as many times before the final payment for free of charge.
- She will lose her commission due to that, but she will be happy to save you money.
- Your travel agent will use only suppliers that she knows personally in the destination.
Where to find travel agent?
Google. Check websites. Look for a person you can click with.
Visit websites for the following organization:
- American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA)
- Cruise Line International Association (CLIA)
Give a chance to Nadia Jastrjembskaia, well-known cruise travel agent in the rank of Elite Cruise Counsellor from Cruise Line International Association (CLIA.)
Keep in mind that your cruise travel agent can work from any state in USA.
What scare tactics are used by online travel agencies (OTAs)?
Nowadays, traveling public learn more and more about manipulative technics are used by online travel agencies (OTAs):
- Pressure selling messages: only 3 staterooms are left on this price. Results? You afraid to miss it! Ask Nadia Jastrjembskaia – she comes into cruise line’s system and let you know exactly how many staterooms are left on this price.
- Discount claims: staterooms that look like discounts that aren’t actually discounts. They cross numbers and show you price that you believe is the best with all amenities offered. Nope! This is the lowest price on particular stateroom with non-refundable deposit and no amenities are included.
- Skewed search rankings: you believe that you receive the best offer. Common! “Top picks” are based on commission fees that cruise lines pay OTA.
- Tricky cancellation policies: their policies are buried in the fine print and you don’t see it until you’re in the process of checking out. OTAs are well-known for having rigid cancellation policies and charging fees for modifying or canceling cruise reservations additionally to cruise line’s penalties. This is most confusing part: cancellation penalties from cruise line and cancellation policy by OTA. Don’t worry! You will pay for both. Most cruise travel agents stick with cruise line’s cancellation and modification policies.
- Misleading exclusivity: OTAs claim that cruise lines give them exclusive rights to sell to some cruisers: seniors and residents of particular states. The worth manipulation is for seniors: they press to believe that senior discounts are available only on their websites. Really?
What things online cruise agencies (OATAs) can’t do for you?
- They don’t set up expectations for your cruise vacation. – You trust perfect images made by Photoshop and expect everting is written on suite.
- Give you personal attention. Even you call to OTAs call center, rep has around 10 minutes for you from first word up to giving your credit card number. In OTAs call centers are big monitors with information in real time how many minutes each rep spent on incoming call and how many sells are closed.
- Personal concierge service with arrangements for dining and activities on board and offshore.
Why to use online cruise travel agency?
Use the following recommendations when you are about to make a decision about booking online:
- You have extremely tight budget and you can accept risk to receive bad experience with online cruise agency with exchange for the lowest rate and add-ons.
- You have very low expectations about your cruise vacation. – The most important is to visit places you have never been in.
- You travel with your family and not responsible for any problems may arise by friends and families that travel with you.
- You have a short getaway with a little planning.
Is it better to book a cruise through a travel agent or directly with the cruise line?
If you find knowledgeable and well-trained cruise travel agent, it is better to book through her.
When you book through the cruise line’s call center expect the following:
- Be prepared to wait for longer than 10 minutes.
- Be prepared to explain you problem a few people before you reach somebody who can solve your problem.
- Rep can’t help you to make an informed decision and compare the different cruise lines.
- Rep can’t help you to pick up the right ship by comparing ships that belong to the different cruise lines.
- Rep can’t compare itineraries from the different cruise lines.
- Rep can’t compare staterooms on the different cruise lines.
- Rep can’t compare offers for the different cruise lines.
- Rep can’t compare amenities from the different cruise lines.
- Rep has limited time for each call.
- Rep has daily goals she has to meet in sale and can’t afford to waste time on you if you are not ready to commit.
Second, for cruise line you are a booking number. It is OK make one booking number unhappy.
It is not OK to make unhappy or lose account which is a travel agency.
That is why cruise lines treat accounts and numbers differently.
Third, every time you call to cruise line you will talk to the different person.
Cruise lines employ hundreds, sometimes thousands of people.
The major problem is turn over and plenty of new hires with little training.
As rep acquire necessary experience and knowledge, she leaves call center and starts her own travel agency.
Forth, call centers are very busy nowadays and waiting time on hold may exceed one hour. Nadia’s personal record is 1 hour and 57 minutes with MSC cruise line.
Fifth, the most important. You can’t receive discount from cruise line because you book direct.
Agent’s commission is built into price. So, you pay for service you didn’t receive.
Travel agents are alive and doing well.
Nadia Jastrjembskaia, the well-known cruise advisor in the rank of Elite Cruise Counsellor from Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), and her team help you to create memorable experience on your cruise vacation.