Judy Bruce of Cruise Planners Discusses Creatively Approaching Travel Planning in the time of COVID
Early in June Sherry met with Judy Bruce of Cruise Planners to discuss how COVID-19 has affected the travel industry, and how she's creatively accommodating clients. Check out the video series throughout this post to get the latest info from Judy about special travel incentives, traveling during COVID-19, and why you need a travel agent to navigate your plans through these challenging times.
To help encourage traveling, Bruce explains that agencies are offering packages and incentives that are not ordinarily available. Amenities are often included to entice travelers back. Contacting a travel agent is the best way to know about what's available and how to plan and budget accordingly.
Dealing with COVID
As COVID-19 numbers swell, the travel industry is bracing for what may be a new normal. Being proactive to ease the concerns of passengers has been a primary concern for hotels, airlines, and cruises. Limiting capacities and some past conveniences, like all you can eat buffets, has affected some of the most desired parts of traveling. However all areas of the industry are stepping up in service and offering to make travel both enjoyable AND safe. Right now limited cruises are to set sail end of September for some Caribbean itineraries, Europe as a whole is shut down to US citizens until further notice, some parts of Bahamas, Mexico and Jamaica are anticipated opening mid to late July for air and land however strict health policies are in place including obtaining clear Covid tests 72 hours prior to flying and mandated masks.
Why You Need a Travel Agent
There are many online booking agencies that offer competitive pricing for travel and accommodations. But there are some key factors that online travel cannot account for, and as Bruce cautions, "When you arrive at the dock and there's no ship, who are you going to call."
A travel agent's job is to stay on the phone and know, not just the best deals, but the best arrangements, to make the entire trip a pleasurable and memorable experience. When the COVID-19 epidemic became a pandemic,Bruce was able to use her contacts - gained over her years in the business - to get stranded travelers abroad safely home. This priceless service is something an online travel service will not do.
Don't Forget to Pack Your Patience
The "new travel norm" brings creative opportunities for connecting with folks wanting to travel. Bruce arranges virtual tours, and can plan itineraries based on a person's interests, hobbies and other travel-related factors. While her office is open by appointment, she welcomes the opportunity to bring anything from state parks to exotic countries to shores on the other side of the world into the comforts of your living room via zoom or other hosting platforms.
For ones who are already underway in a trip, or having to make changes "on the fly" the "new travel norm" also requires patience on both sides of the "virtual" counter. Changing itineraries result in remapping payments, refunds, renegotiating terms and a host of procedures that often involve many parties, and are handled manually with limited staff.
Either way, Judy Bruce is committed to making sure you have the most enjoyable experience whether in our home state, the United States, or abroad.
Judy Bruce of Cruise Planners