You missed a very important word in my message. I said find a GOOD cruise oriented agent. Cruising may be hot. In fact, river cruising is growing even faster than ocean cruising. But unless it's one of the all-inclusive luxury lines, travel agents aren't making big money off the mainstream cruise lines. They can make more money on all inclusive land vacations and escorted tours.
I reiterate, you should find a GOOD cruise oriented travel agent. Once you find one, stick with them. Don't shop for a $5 savings. Your agent will get to know your likes and dislikes. It will save you a lot of time and frustration. It will benefit you in the long run. By the way, I am not a novice either.