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twangster

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  1. Haha
    twangster got a reaction from Boston Babe in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    My evil plan is working!
  2. Haha
    twangster got a reaction from JLMoran in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    My evil plan is working!
  3. Sad
    twangster reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    My husband will leave me LOL!
    Then there really will be no more cruising!  And I'm trying to upgrade Symphony to a GS.
  4. Love
    twangster reacted to michelle in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    One other thing for me is my relationship with people that entrust me with their trips

     - we take our clients and our friendships/bookings with them very serious - Certainly MEI Travel
    supports this blog and we are thrilled to be doing that. And WE CAN"T TELL YOU THANK YOU
    enough for entrusting us to handle your cruises - thank you - thank you - but its the relationship
    with Matt and the Blog that is also of great value as well to me.

    AND - I have many clients that after 10-12 years of booking with me are friends too
    They don't just book cruises- they book all trips with me - and now I'm moving down to their
    Kids Trips as well - its awesome!    And once I learn your likes/ etc.  I don't have to come ask
    you "what type of cabin?  what dining"  I try hard to get to know your likes/dislikes so we work
    as a Team - and other MEI Agents do this as well.

    TO me - besides all things listed here in the post about perks and supports -its about
    that relationship too!
  5. Like
    twangster reacted to ellcee in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    lol. I just booked Anthem for October from MEI. That's 3 booked from this little thread.
  6. Haha
    twangster got a reaction from Boston Babe in Did something happen to Barbados?   
    Young grasshopper, a wise man on this site once said "YOLO!,  book it!"
    Discussion with girls - "We can find you a sitter for while we are gone, or you can cruise in an OV cabin.  What would you prefer?".
  7. Haha
    twangster got a reaction from Lovetocruise2002 in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    All this talk about booking cruises has caused me to book two more!

    Who started this thread anyways?  It's his fault!
    RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com Group Cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas   - Here I come! 
    My 2019 cruise ship dance card is starting to fill in nicely.
    Both booked through MEI Travel in appreciation of their support towards this site.
    Somebody stop me.  Seriously, somebody needs to stop me. 
  8. Thanks
    twangster reacted to michelle in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    Twangster - great points - and Lights On !
     
  9. Thanks
    twangster got a reaction from accio7 in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    Anything is possible on a cruise by cruise basis.  I should have prefaced, "From what I am seeing..."
    I would advise caution though as what used to be presented as a light blue box (non-refundable) and a dark blue box (refundable),  now is presented (in my experience) as "We pick the room" (light blue) and "You pick the room" (dark blue). YMMV.
    My TA - I have bookings with three at the moment.  MEI Travel is one of those and I greatly respect and encourage their contributions to this site.  If it were not for them, this site would not be what it is.  For that reason and out of tremendous appreciation I recommend you contact them first.
  10. Haha
    twangster got a reaction from coneyraven in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    All this talk about booking cruises has caused me to book two more!

    Who started this thread anyways?  It's his fault!
    RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com Group Cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas   - Here I come! 
    My 2019 cruise ship dance card is starting to fill in nicely.
    Both booked through MEI Travel in appreciation of their support towards this site.
    Somebody stop me.  Seriously, somebody needs to stop me. 
  11. Haha
    twangster got a reaction from JLMoran in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    All this talk about booking cruises has caused me to book two more!

    Who started this thread anyways?  It's his fault!
    RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com Group Cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas   - Here I come! 
    My 2019 cruise ship dance card is starting to fill in nicely.
    Both booked through MEI Travel in appreciation of their support towards this site.
    Somebody stop me.  Seriously, somebody needs to stop me. 
  12. Haha
    twangster got a reaction from ellcee in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    All this talk about booking cruises has caused me to book two more!

    Who started this thread anyways?  It's his fault!
    RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com Group Cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas   - Here I come! 
    My 2019 cruise ship dance card is starting to fill in nicely.
    Both booked through MEI Travel in appreciation of their support towards this site.
    Somebody stop me.  Seriously, somebody needs to stop me. 
  13. Haha
    twangster got a reaction from Matt in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    All this talk about booking cruises has caused me to book two more!

    Who started this thread anyways?  It's his fault!
    RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com Group Cruise aboard Freedom of the Seas   - Here I come! 
    My 2019 cruise ship dance card is starting to fill in nicely.
    Both booked through MEI Travel in appreciation of their support towards this site.
    Somebody stop me.  Seriously, somebody needs to stop me. 
  14. Haha
    twangster got a reaction from Lovetocruise2002 in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    No comment.  I'm not touching that list! 
  15. Haha
    twangster reacted to Floski in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    Make it a red velvet cupcake just for Sweety!
     
     
  16. Love
    twangster reacted to Matt in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    You nailed it.  At a certain point, my hope is you like this site enough to want to support it.  There are two easy ways to do so that have the greatest impact: become a Royal Caribbean Blog Insider and support our sponsor.  It not only pays for the many costs that keep this site running (and in many cases ad-free), but also enables me to conduct more research and create new content that would otherwise be financially impossible.
    I also try to point out that I've been using MEI Travel well before they ever became a sponsor of this site.  I think it's important to stand behind and be a consumer of the sponsors, as it does my no good to promote a product or service that I don't personally care for.  
  17. Like
    twangster got a reaction from uradoll786 in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    Direct bookings can be switched to a TA but there are rules that have to be followed.  These are there to safeguard and respect each agency as well as the guest.  You wouldn't want an illicit travel agency slamming your booking over to them when you have never heard of said travel agency.  It generally has to be switched before final payment due date.  There are likely other rules that I don't know.  There is an exception process that I've had to use after final payment due date to effect a switch. 
    Do perks change with volume?  Sure.  Like most companies, repeat customers tend to be rewarded.  As far as MEI - they sponsor this site.  There are costs to running this site, posting cruise compasses, storing photos that some people like myself post a lot of, etc.  It is not insignificant to operate this site.  MEI through their sponsorship helps towards that.   While one TA might give you OBC or a dinner or a bottle of wine in your cabin, MEI helps to keep the lights on at RoyalCaribbeanblog.com. 
    All things be equal, since there are no downsides to using a TA that I've found, if nothing else using MEI allows this wonderful site to exist.  Eventually once you build a relationship with them as a repeat customer,  what ever you work out is between you and them. 
  18. Thanks
    twangster got a reaction from accio7 in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    Interesting experience tonight booking Radiance. (YOLO moment).
    It's a 2019 cruise and I wanted something refundable so I emailed my usual TA.  I received a bounce saying she is out of the office and I was interested in a specific cabin so I called Royal direct, given that the website doesn't offer refundable anymore.  I booked direct it, refundable and paid the $450 deposit.
    Had I fully read the bounce email from my usual TA I would have seen she was actually working tonight which I learned when she called me.
    For the same refundable cabin, she was $200 cheaper, I get $50 in OBC, a spa treatment, one specialty dinner, plus 15,000 miles on my favorite airline.  Oh, and no deposit. 
    I cancelled my direct booking and booked it through my normal TA.  Same cabin.  I added the prepaid gratuities and I'm still less than RCI direct without prepaid gratuity.  
    Other observation - I first called the RCI 866 number and listened to MOH (Music on Hold) for about 10 minutes.  I hung up and called the C&A number who answered immediately.  I booked it through the C&A team, then an hour later cancelled it through the C&A team.  No issues cancelling the refundable booking but it will likely take a few days for $450 deposit to appear as a credit.
    Radiance here I come!
    EDIT - To be fair,  I don't get spa treatments and specialty dining on every cruise booked.  They are occasional perks typically on longer cruises but with double digits of cruises booked, I've yet to find a downside of using a travel agent.
    The airline miles are nothing to sneeze at.  I'm flying on points to 3 cruises this year (so far) including Barcelona in the comfort plus cabin for Symphony and will likely get a 1 or 2 more cruise flights for free before 2018 is done. 
  19. Like
    twangster got a reaction from JLMoran in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    Direct bookings can be switched to a TA but there are rules that have to be followed.  These are there to safeguard and respect each agency as well as the guest.  You wouldn't want an illicit travel agency slamming your booking over to them when you have never heard of said travel agency.  It generally has to be switched before final payment due date.  There are likely other rules that I don't know.  There is an exception process that I've had to use after final payment due date to effect a switch. 
    Do perks change with volume?  Sure.  Like most companies, repeat customers tend to be rewarded.  As far as MEI - they sponsor this site.  There are costs to running this site, posting cruise compasses, storing photos that some people like myself post a lot of, etc.  It is not insignificant to operate this site.  MEI through their sponsorship helps towards that.   While one TA might give you OBC or a dinner or a bottle of wine in your cabin, MEI helps to keep the lights on at RoyalCaribbeanblog.com. 
    All things be equal, since there are no downsides to using a TA that I've found, if nothing else using MEI allows this wonderful site to exist.  Eventually once you build a relationship with them as a repeat customer,  what ever you work out is between you and them. 
  20. Love
    twangster got a reaction from Matt in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    Direct bookings can be switched to a TA but there are rules that have to be followed.  These are there to safeguard and respect each agency as well as the guest.  You wouldn't want an illicit travel agency slamming your booking over to them when you have never heard of said travel agency.  It generally has to be switched before final payment due date.  There are likely other rules that I don't know.  There is an exception process that I've had to use after final payment due date to effect a switch. 
    Do perks change with volume?  Sure.  Like most companies, repeat customers tend to be rewarded.  As far as MEI - they sponsor this site.  There are costs to running this site, posting cruise compasses, storing photos that some people like myself post a lot of, etc.  It is not insignificant to operate this site.  MEI through their sponsorship helps towards that.   While one TA might give you OBC or a dinner or a bottle of wine in your cabin, MEI helps to keep the lights on at RoyalCaribbeanblog.com. 
    All things be equal, since there are no downsides to using a TA that I've found, if nothing else using MEI allows this wonderful site to exist.  Eventually once you build a relationship with them as a repeat customer,  what ever you work out is between you and them. 
  21. Thanks
    twangster got a reaction from accio7 in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    MEI has been a wonderful agency to work with, proactively letting me know if my fare is still the best, sale after sale. 
    Long before I joined this site, over years of travel I built a relationship with others and I maintain that relationship. 
    Once booked, you are free to continue to use the cruise planner to make My Time reservation, entertain reservations, Voom purchases and so on.
    The only thing I've noted using a TA if if you want to change cabins.  If you booked cabin 1234 and suddenly cabin 4567 becomes available, instead of calling Royal you have to call your TA. That has yet to stop me with 34 Royal cruises booked or completed.
    In the end, all of those 34 will have involved a TA (plus many others on other cruise lines before I came over into the light).  I've yet to find a reason why not to, even when applying C&A balcony discounts.
  22. Thanks
    twangster reacted to Skid in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    @twangster

  23. Like
    twangster got a reaction from PrincipalTinker in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    Interesting experience tonight booking Radiance. (YOLO moment).
    It's a 2019 cruise and I wanted something refundable so I emailed my usual TA.  I received a bounce saying she is out of the office and I was interested in a specific cabin so I called Royal direct, given that the website doesn't offer refundable anymore.  I booked direct it, refundable and paid the $450 deposit.
    Had I fully read the bounce email from my usual TA I would have seen she was actually working tonight which I learned when she called me.
    For the same refundable cabin, she was $200 cheaper, I get $50 in OBC, a spa treatment, one specialty dinner, plus 15,000 miles on my favorite airline.  Oh, and no deposit. 
    I cancelled my direct booking and booked it through my normal TA.  Same cabin.  I added the prepaid gratuities and I'm still less than RCI direct without prepaid gratuity.  
    Other observation - I first called the RCI 866 number and listened to MOH (Music on Hold) for about 10 minutes.  I hung up and called the C&A number who answered immediately.  I booked it through the C&A team, then an hour later cancelled it through the C&A team.  No issues cancelling the refundable booking but it will likely take a few days for $450 deposit to appear as a credit.
    Radiance here I come!
    EDIT - To be fair,  I don't get spa treatments and specialty dining on every cruise booked.  They are occasional perks typically on longer cruises but with double digits of cruises booked, I've yet to find a downside of using a travel agent.
    The airline miles are nothing to sneeze at.  I'm flying on points to 3 cruises this year (so far) including Barcelona in the comfort plus cabin for Symphony and will likely get a 1 or 2 more cruise flights for free before 2018 is done. 
  24. Like
    twangster reacted to Todd W in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    great point,  hadn't even considered that as a "hidden" benefit to using MEI.    I'm a stubborn Scorpio so sometimes it takes me multiple perspectives before i see the obvious  lol   thanks!
  25. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Skid in Why I use a Travel Agent   
    Direct bookings can be switched to a TA but there are rules that have to be followed.  These are there to safeguard and respect each agency as well as the guest.  You wouldn't want an illicit travel agency slamming your booking over to them when you have never heard of said travel agency.  It generally has to be switched before final payment due date.  There are likely other rules that I don't know.  There is an exception process that I've had to use after final payment due date to effect a switch. 
    Do perks change with volume?  Sure.  Like most companies, repeat customers tend to be rewarded.  As far as MEI - they sponsor this site.  There are costs to running this site, posting cruise compasses, storing photos that some people like myself post a lot of, etc.  It is not insignificant to operate this site.  MEI through their sponsorship helps towards that.   While one TA might give you OBC or a dinner or a bottle of wine in your cabin, MEI helps to keep the lights on at RoyalCaribbeanblog.com. 
    All things be equal, since there are no downsides to using a TA that I've found, if nothing else using MEI allows this wonderful site to exist.  Eventually once you build a relationship with them as a repeat customer,  what ever you work out is between you and them. 
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