The Best Travel Agents for Booking a Cruise
The A-List is Travel + Leisure‘s annual selection of the world’s best travel agents and destination specialists, as chosen by the editors. Rely on these industry experts to plan the perfect cruise. For more about our methodology and how to apply, read How We Choose the Travel Agents for T+L’s A-List.
In the business for more than 15 years, Curry specializes in distinctive small-ship excursions (all of which she personally vets) to adventure-focused destinations like Antarctica, the Arctic, the Galápagos Islands, and Hawaii.
Best for: families, couples/honeymooners
Extras: Curry’s role at Adventure Life includes negotiating contracts with cruise companies, so you can count on her to secure the best-possible prices.
Other expertise: South America
Large and Small-Ship Ocean Cruises
Travelers who have attempted to make sense of a cruise trip’s fine print—from which restaurants you can access at an all-inclusive rate and how much Wi-Fi costs to what’s considered a premium drink—will understand the value of an advisor like Kertes. Not only has he sailed on nearly every cruise line but he’s intimately familiar with all of those pesky details.
Best for: culture buffs, nature lovers
Extras: Traveling with a company or large group? Kertes is an expert at building theme cruises. He’s also worked with dozens of philanthropic organizations to create fund-raising cruise programs.
Other expertise: Group cruising
Mary Ann Ramsey
As president and owner of Betty Maclean Travel, Ramsey thinks of herself as a lifelong partner with her clients. She addresses their long-term travel goals and keeps files on what’s happening in their bucket-list destinations. Since luxury cruising is popular among her clientele, she spends a lot of time on boats, keeping up on the best staterooms and onboard experiences.
Best for: multigenerational families, luxury seekers
Extras: For each port of call, Ramsey creates a personalized itinerary—complete with driver and guide—that might include a cooking class in a traditional Venetian household, say, or a private tour of the monastery in Petra, Jordan.
Turpin has a knack for pairing clients with the right cruise, a skill she has honed since founding her agency more than 35 years (and some 160 boat trips) ago. She’s especially well versed in Mediterranean cruising options.
Best for: luxury seekers, couples/honeymooners, solo travelers
Extras: Thanks to her partnerships with so many cruise directors, Turpin is able to arrange special, hard-to-secure onboard surprises, such as decorating staterooms for a honeymoon, private dinners with customized wine pairings, and a butler-delivered birthday cake and balloons.
Other expertise: River cruising