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IAN RIGGALL: Five reasons to book a cruise vacation now

Cruises may not be sailing right now as a result of COVID-19, but with a vaccine for the general public gradually being distributed and clear guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what actions the cruise lines need to take to resume cruising, cruise ships will be sailing with passengers soon. 

“I really miss cruising and know that it will be safer than ever when it returns,” said Mary Anne Riggall, franchise owner and vacation specialist of Utopia World Travels — Dream Vacations in Bakersfield. “There is a ton of pent-up demand among avid cruisers and those who missed out on their vacations in 2020, so I encourage anybody who is interested in cruising during the holidays this year or in 2022 to book now.”

Five reasons to book a cruise vacation now include: 

Limited availability: When cruises begin sailing, they will have less itinerary options available and fewer passengers cruising. In addition, many people are either already booked on these ships or they may have rescheduled a previously cancelled vacation. That means there are limited options available to select a preferred cabin.

Better prices: It is a myth that cruising will have rock-bottom prices when it returns. Due to increased demand and limited supply, pricing will only go up. Instead of dropping prices, many cruise lines are adding extra perks to the price of the cruise – such as prepaid gratuities, onboard spending and more. And if pricing drops before final payment, Dream Vacations will make an adjustment.

Something to look forward to: 2020 was the year of canceled vacations and missed milestones. After being housebound for a year, the time is ripe to plan a cruise vacation for later this year so one has something to look forward to.

Flexible cancellation policies: For a limited time, cruise lines have relaxed their cancellation policies, so it is possible to cancel penalty-free, anywhere from 48 hours to 60 days prior to sailing, depending on the cruise line.

Support small business: Travel agents only get paid when their clients travel. By booking a cruise with a local travel agent, one not only gets personalized service and a travel advocate who has their back, but they are also supporting their local economy.

Now more than ever it is important to book a cruise with a travel agent. Utopia World Travels — Dream Vacations walks clients step by step through the entire re-booking and planning process, from selecting destinations and excursions based on clients’ interests to providing enhanced packing lists and guidance on what to expect when traveling or cruising post-pandemic.

For more information about booking a cruise vacation or redeeming a Future Cruise Credit from a previously canceled sailing, please visit UtopiaWorldTravels.com or call 348-4204 to book with Utopia World Travels — Dream Vacations.

Ian Riggall runs Utopia World Travels — Dream Vacations in Bakersfield with wife Mary Anne. The home-based travel agency franchise Dream Vacations is part of World Travel Holdings and has received partner of the year, a top-ranking status, by all the major cruise lines as well as national recognition for its support of military veterans.