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For those who have ever vacillated over whether or not using a travel agent was in your best interest or not, let me assure you that a GOOD travel agent is priceless. I have proven that to myself this week with the disaster that Royal Caribbean created with its cancellation of the Empress sailings in March and April. As everyone now knows, Royal Caribbean cancelled 6 sailings on the Empress of the Seas, due to sail beginning in late March through mid-April. Dan and I were booked on the April 11, right, smack dab in the middle of that cancellation cluster. It was a psychological blow to us as well as a potential logistics nightmare. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS I had Michelle Cunningham with MEI as my advocate. I can say, without any doubt, I would have killed myself, Dan or someone on the other end of the phone line before I managed to get it all straightened out if I had had to do this by myself. Imagine. 1800 passengers times 6 sailings. Over 10,000 people are trying to either rebook or cancel their cruises. No thanks. Not only did Michelle manage to salvage our cruise but she saved our $1,000 OBC that Dan had earned on our Allure sailing (from Club Royale), which was in real danger of going bye-bye. Our out-of-pocket costs, as a result of this monumental BLUNDER - that was 100% Royal Caribbean's doing - is only going to be ~$200...which will be some airline change fees that RCI is too damn cheap to reimburse us. Thanks to Michelle's diligence and persistence, we were able to get $200 of the $400 reimbursed. She got us rebooked on the sailing of our choice in the same room that we original had (Owner's Suite 8506) for the same price. Actually, we got a $28.68 refund so she actually got us money BACK on the resked. ...and let me assure you, she did not do this without considerable interference from me ! We changed our minds, and changed them back again at least twice, not to mention the numerous emails that I sent, inquiring as to her progress over a 48 hour period. She never complained (at least, not directly to me although she would have had every right to do so !) and came through like a trooper. EVERYTHING has been rescheduled...the cruise, the hotel, the excursions, the airfare. Everything. We couldn't be happier, considering. This is all the result of excellent service from Michelle and no thanks WHATEVER, to Royal Caribbean. So Michelle....thank you for everything you had done for us over the past 72 hours. You are a gem, a great friend, a consummate professional and a credit to your Agency.
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