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  1. One of the mantras that Matt and others chant is "Use a good travel agent" I would like to explore this. Please post below answering these questions. Don't just name a travel agent, list the traits about that agent that you appreciate. What traits make up a good travel agent? Why did you choose the agent you chose? What are some warning signs to look for that indicate a "not good" travel agent? Other questions to ask?
  2. After making a few posts regarding using a travel agent and the fact that some of the benefits are not easily quantifiable, I thought I'd mention a few of the unusual things that my TAs over the years have helped me with that go beyond finding the best deal or some added agency incentive like a specialty dinner or some onboard credit, not that those aren't enjoyed, too! When I ended up in the hospital less than 24 hours before leaving on my cruise with appendicitis, my TA handle all of the arrangements of getting the trip rearranged so that we could still make our cruise. This was largely taking care of precruise stuff like hotel and DisneyWorld stuff, but it was still nice to have someone else do it. When my father-in-law wanted to snorkel in Alaska (don't ask me why), the TA worked with the cruise line to get a waiver that would allow him to participate. The excursion required guests to be younger than 70, but she was able to work with the cruise line to get this limitation waived. When I booked to sail on the new MSC Seaside, my travel agent advised me of MSC's Loyalty Match Program. As a result of my status with Royal, I will receive all of the top loyalty perks that I wouldn't otherwise be able to enjoy including welcome back cocktails, onboard discounts, fruit basket in the room, complimentary thermal suite access, complimentary gift, complimentary photo, complimentary specialty dinner, complimentary champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries upon arrival, priority embarkation/disembarkation, complimentary dance class, Welcome Back Party, late stateroom checkout, etc. These have a definite value to me and my TA was also able to get an additional discount because of my wife's occupation. When I booked a Celebrity cruise, my TA was able to use my loyalty status to obtain a free upgrade that I didn't know I was available. I've received onboard credits because of sales that were available but not advertised by the cruise line as well as lower deposits. While there are many other reasons to use a travel agent, many of which have been posted previously, I thought I'd try to mention some of the more extraordinary things that my TAs have been able to do over the years. Please share some of your experiences.
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