Mystery shopper: Falkirk, a summer cruise in the Caribbean

Mystery shopper: Falkirk, a summer cruise in the Caribbean

Location: Falkirk, Stirlingshire
Wanted: Two couples are looking for a summer cruise in the Caribbean but aren’t sure which line suits them best and whether to go all-inclusive.
Budget: Up to £1,800 per person, depending on inclusions

Barrhead Travel
68-70 High street
98%
The shop was clean and tidy, with information in the windows that caught my eye. As soon as I walked in, two smart members of staff made eye contact and one offered me a seat. The enthusiastic agent was helpful, asking questions to establish my needs and budget. She had good cruise knowledge and made excellent recommendations. I was offered a seven-night Cuba and Caribbean cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines’ ship, Norwegian Sun, with three nights at the Marriott Biscayne Bay in Miami, our departure port, flying from Edinburgh, via London, on September 6. The cost was £1,750 per person on a Premium All-Inclusive basis, with an option to upgrade to balcony cabins for £1,975.

Thomas Cook
101-103 High Street
81%
The agent asked lots of questions and I was given two quotes, both flying from Glasgow. The first was a 12-night trip flying BA/AA on September 7 and one night in Biscayne with Princess Cruises from £1,382pp for an interior room, or £1,642pp for a balcony. I was also offered 10 nights with Celebrity Cruises on September 13 for £1,315 for an inside cabin with no drinks or £1,761 for a balcony room with a drinks package.

Tui
Unit 35, Howgate Centre
69%
The shop was clean but had no brochures on display. The agent was enthusiastic but asked if they could get back to me via email. I was sent two quotes: seven nights with Royal Caribbean flying from Edinburgh via JFK on July 14 with two nights in Miami for £1,304pp with no drinks, and Premium All-Inclusive with NCL for seven nights, flying July 13 including three nights in Miami for £1,306pp for an inside cabin or £1,356pp for an ocean view cabin.


Winning agent

Joanne Davidson, senior sales consultant

“We tend to package up cruises and I’ve been on NCL’s ship Jade before so I know the product well. I was so sure they were going to book, and I’ve got someone else looking at that package now.”


Verdict

Barrhead offered expert knowledge and customer service. Thomas Cook did well but could have narrowed the search, while Tui lost out by insisting on emailing the quote.


Elite resorts caribbean

Top-scoring agent each month will win use of a car for 10 days.

The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Winners under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent. The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return the car from Essex or a central location

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