Jump to content

Finding Competent Agents?


Recommended Posts

I'm sure most everyone here has had some phone agent issues  , at least for those who use them.  Back in November we had a positive test for COVID and had to cancel a cruise on Symphony. They knew the situation and it was to be a refund.  A couple days later I received a notification that they were issuing FCCs instead. That wouldn't work because our two teens would not be joining us on any near future cruises. So it began. Mind you it was supposed to be a refund not a  FCC. We went at it for nearly 10 hours between holds and supervisors and this and that! I thought we had it straightened out.  The next day I saw the FCC's still in place. Back to the frint lines. They offered up transferring the FCC's to my name and frustrated I said ok. That set off another 6 hour marathon that involved calling my Fiance' at work and the kids in school to get permissions!!!!!!!  We did a couple sailings since  and just booked Oasis in the fall for just us adults.  Went to use  the FCC's. Mine fine... Fiance's fine... Kids that were supposedly transferred? Nope!!!   Three hours on phone a few nights ago. Them wanting to call the fiancee and kids again???? My language deteriorated quickly and they assured me it would be fixed before I woke. Didn't happen. I tossed a note on social media message form but no reply. Back on phone. 2 hrs getting nowhere. Cut off while transferring to supervisor. No call back despite them having my call back number. Second time cut off but did get a call back assuring me  it was fixed. I checked.... nope.  I planned to call today, but at 4 AM eastern daylight time here came an answer to the message I left on social media page. By 5 AM it seemed we were all set. Not quote but with another call of an hour we are $36 dollars from being right.  Close enough.

Sorry the description is so long but it pales in comparison to the 23 hours I personally invested in getting this right.  I'm no stranger to running into incompetence (poor training) with some reps but usually I find a sharp one in short order. I lost track of how many people I worked with on this mess in that time but I can say I never found a songle knowledgable  sharp crayon in that whole box. The closest I found was the social media rep who though very slow eventually got most of this fixed...  In the past it seemed if I cycled through 4 or 5 reps I'd hit on one that was really good. This involved something like 10-15 with none being particularly well versed. I try to be polite and get to know the reps. In the past most were working remote  but at least in the states. More and more I'm running into them being based much farther away. I'm not casting asperions at their education or those countries but that geographic divide and them having to be put on hold for hours is really making things harder than they need be.  I mentioned that it used to be if I talked to 4-5 reps one was usually very well versed and could get stuff done. I don't see that or at least this time I didn't. Does anyone have tricks as to how to connect with the better trained reps in the current climate? If you find one is there some way to be able to get back to that one in the future? 

Am I missing the boat not using a travel agent? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, Matt said:

Yup

I have no issues with using a TA as I've used MEI on several cruises; however, the reason that is given by this Blog is basically that Royal is so screwed up that it takes too much time for a "amateur" to endure the pain of dealing with the corporation. Is that by design? I wonder some times.

As the OP said, he took lots of time with all kinds of personal pain to work through something that should be pretty straight forward that the best answer is to get a TA so they can take over the pain of dealing with the cruise lines. That's messed up for an industry that is supposed to run on customer satisfaction,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, VACruiser said:

I have no issues with using a TA as I've used MEI on several cruises; however, the reason that is given by this Blog is basically that Royal is so screwed up that it takes too much time for a "amateur" to endure the pain of dealing with the corporation. Is that by design? I wonder some times.

As the OP said, he took lots of time with all kinds of personal pain to work through something that should be pretty straight forward that the best answer is to get a TA so they can take over the pain of dealing with the cruise lines. That's messed up for an industry that is supposed to run on customer satisfaction,

Somewhat the sad truth...

My poor MEI agent has dealing with so much fun with my last few bookings.

She offered some OBC on a B2B sailing. Some how only a $2 OBC showed up for the first sailing, nothing the second. Tried all week long the first sailing to get the correct OBC to register. All hope was lost the second week. Hopefully, third time will be the charm and everything will be applied to my upcoming sailing...

About that upcoming sailing, somehow in the land of Royal math $580 + $580 = $1060 when it comes to the Cruise Planner FCC. Bonus points a refund after final payment was made for some unknown reason. Extra bonus points, it was discovered a balance was due in the amount of the refund.

I just hate to know how much time she'll spend trying to get all this corrected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, VACruiser said:

I have no issues with using a TA as I've used MEI on several cruises; however, the reason that is given by this Blog is basically that Royal is so screwed up that it takes too much time for a "amateur" to endure the pain of dealing with the corporation. Is that by design? I wonder some times.

As the OP said, he took lots of time with all kinds of personal pain to work through something that should be pretty straight forward that the best answer is to get a TA so they can take over the pain of dealing with the cruise lines. That's messed up for an industry that is supposed to run on customer satisfaction,

While true, I'd say every company is like this when it comes to phone-based customer service. I wish I could get someone to make all my customer service calls for me. I was on the phone for 30 minutes the other day just to cancel my internet. 30 minutes! And most of that was sitting on hold after asking them to cancel it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, I'm jumping on this bandwagon.  I've never used a travel agent because I always assumed there was a cost involved with it, and because I'm a control freak.  Is it worth it?  Do most of you use MEI?  If I've already have a booked cruise for May and it's paid in full, can I still sign up with MEI?  Please and thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The finding 1 in 4-5 was the norm so long... I could deal with it... Zero for about 15 is tough.  This really has become a headache since sailing resumed.... I used to run all inclusive big game fishing charters to the Bahamas from Florida. I handled air, lodging, food, beverage, fishing, processing catch and shipping back stateside.  It became easy, like being on auto pilot.  I didn't mind. I actually preferred doing it my self. This used to be that way. Yes there were way confusing things that I had to learn like their math and how they juggle charges. Sometimes I came here for help other times I just slowly learned to avoid trying to use logic in dealing with them.  This last episode I knew the fixes as I have done it before . Sadly , most didn't. If not for that social media rep figuring it out (she didn't know the fix at first) I'd still be on hold and going grayer than I already am. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My MEI agent is always able to make things work painlessly.  The one time I called Royal, to look into a cruise in Norway, the rep decided best use of time was to scold me for calling it a "Norwegian cruise" since that is the name of another cruise line.  The concept of the word as a place descriptor was lost on her.  Needless to say, I did not book that trip.  Nor have I bothered trying to deal directly with Royal since.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, RDU said:

Ok, I'm jumping on this bandwagon.  I've never used a travel agent because I always assumed there was a cost involved with it, and because I'm a control freak.  Is it worth it?  Do most of you use MEI?  If I've already have a booked cruise for May and it's paid in full, can I still sign up with MEI?  Please and thank you!

A lot of us do use MEI.  You can transfer a booking to a TA within 30 days of your initial booking, so if it's past that you will have to keep it.

I find it worth it.  Mine only deals with the reservation itself, and I do the fun stuff (cruise planner purchases, booking excursions, etc).   If there's an issue, she'll deal directly with Royal instead of me having to sit on hold with them and try to figure things out.  She also checks for fare reductions and has repriced my cruises (and just gives me the good news and lower invoice after!)  Plus I know that the commission on the sailing is going to a small business person.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, SpeedNoodles said:

A lot of us do use MEI.  You can transfer a booking to a TA within 30 days of your initial booking, so if it's past that you will have to keep it.

I find it worth it.  Mine only deals with the reservation itself, and I do the fun stuff (cruise planner purchases, booking excursions, etc).   If there's an issue, she'll deal directly with Royal instead of me having to sit on hold with them and try to figure things out.  She also checks for fare reductions and has repriced my cruises (and just gives me the good news and lower invoice after!)  Plus I know that the commission on the sailing is going to a small business person.

Perfect, thank you!  We're definitely past the initial booking on this one but I think next time we'll use them.  With that being said, if we book another cruise while on our cruise in May, we could than switch it over to MEI as long as it's 30 days after the initial booking?  Am I understanding that correctly?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, RDU said:

Perfect, thank you!  We're definitely past the initial booking on this one but I think next time we'll use them.  With that being said, if we book another cruise while on our cruise in May, we could than switch it over to MEI as long as it's 30 days after the initial booking?  Am I understanding that correctly?

Yes, absolutely!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, RDU said:

Perfect, thank you!  We're definitely past the initial booking on this one but I think next time we'll use them.  With that being said, if we book another cruise while on our cruise in May, we could than switch it over to MEI as long as it's 30 days after the initial booking?  Am I understanding that correctly?

You can also have them assign your new cruise to a new agent when you book on board.  Get your new agent’s information and the next cruise agent will help you do it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, VACruiser said:

I have no issues with using a TA as I've used MEI on several cruises; however, the reason that is given by this Blog is basically that Royal is so screwed up that it takes too much time for a "amateur" to endure the pain of dealing with the corporation. Is that by design? I wonder some times

I don't believe it is by design because when a booking is made by an individual online the cruise company actually makes more money off the booking.

2 hours ago, RDU said:

I've never used a travel agent because I always assumed there was a cost involved with it

The cost is of a travel agent is borne by the cruise line. This means that if you book online by yourself and you pay $2000 for your cruise the cruise company makes $2000. If a travel agent books the cruise for you the cruise line makes $2000 minus the comissions paid to the agent. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, RDU said:

Ok, I'm jumping on this bandwagon.  I've never used a travel agent because I always assumed there was a cost involved with it, and because I'm a control freak.  Is it worth it?  Do most of you use MEI?  If I've already have a booked cruise for May and it's paid in full, can I still sign up with MEI?  Please and thank you!

You can still be a control freak! Most of the time I have my itinerary and room picked already and know Royal's price, and just send Brock (my MEI agent) the details. I do have him check refundable rates for me, and sometimes he has come back with lower prices than what Royal shows. Hopefully I'm one of his easiest customers, but I like knowing he and MEI have my back if things go sideways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As much as I have loved sitting ine the background laying in wait for the stars to line up I'm likely gonna give the TA way a try. As I near pseudo retirement my cruose frequency and number of advance bookings will go way up... As it is even with a few its  abear keeping up with them or monitoring refunds etc. I'm not sure why they do it the way they do. "Here's $15, $23, $7, $31, $10 and $14" to get to $100. No xplanations what each number is supposed to represent.... Why not "here's your $100".  Then we get to their invoce math. $750+ $750+ $500 should equal $2000 but almost always they have a different number that needs to get fixed... 

Very recently I made a booking with a $500 deposit. The invoice showed  only $450 deposit but $50 OBC????????

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've found that the reps on facebook messenger are usually pretty competent. As you said, they are slow. I'll often send a message and they'll get back to me hours later, but they've been able to fix a lot of the issues I tried to get my old terrible TA to fix for months. My old TA would always say they were working on it and they were behind, but once I fired her and actually got a response on facebook, they would fix it within a few hours and email me new confirmations right away. They were able to find my missing FCCs and apply them for me. Plus I like having the written records of all my communications with them. I feel like things get miscommunicated on phone sometimes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I/we us brand X travel agency, I won't state their name but apparently, they Only do Cruises.  I don't use them for the competency or even the personality of my go to agent, which I could us any one of their, apparently, hundreds of agents all over the country.  I use them for their Onboard Credits they offer.  On my next cruise, we get well over $1,500.00 in Onboard Credit and other things from the agency AND Royal's $300.00 OBC, that's a total of OVER $1,800.00.  As we are cruising Star Class, it's going to be tough using all that OBC but we'll find a way, I'm sure.  I shutter what I'd do if I had the same problem as the OP had/has and my travel agent had to handle it.  I'm not convinced that my/the agency I use is overtly proficient in dealing with issues with cruising, and that's unbelievable to me.  I've asked far too many questions that could not be answered without a call back as they have to call Royal or another agent within their company.  In most cases when I ask a question, I can only hope that the agency is talking to someone that is competent and passing on correct info to me.  BTW, I've been give erroneous info from Royal's agents as well.  

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, need2cruz said:

I just used an MEI agent for the first time.  She was able to get me rooms that I didn’t have access to when I was trying to book it myself.  She was also able to get the cruise for $1000 less.  I’m sold on using an agent from now on.

Totally agree, used [email protected] after a break from using a cruise / travel agent. So far she has been awesome. Handled most of it over email but I wanted to quickly talk to her in person as we were starting a professional relationship and she quickly responded with that request. Looking forward to many years of working with her... and many cruises!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, jay1021 said:

  BTW, I've been give erroneous info from Royal's agents as well.  

 

Thats a big part of the issue... Even at the supervisor level many conflicting answers on what should be a simple subject... 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

46 minutes ago, deep1 said:

Thats a big part of the issue... Even at the supervisor level many conflicting answers on what should be a simple subject... 

The technical aspects of customer service combined with a multitude of laws and regulations, policies from the company, ports, cities, countries, agencies, and the ship's and crew's capabilities make it almost impossible for any one person/agent to be completely knowledgeable of it all.  And that was even pre-COCID, imagine it now!  And Royal's agents only deal with Royal cruises.  

Can you imagine how much Travel Agents that deal with virtually all Cruise Companies, Airlines, Hotels brands, TSA, Department of State, OSHA, well, everything that deals with travel and the workplace, how much they have to know/deal with.  

 

Happy sailing to you

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Update: Add 3 more hours to my nightmare...Residual FCC re issued to daughter who was never supposed to get an fcc in the first place! This was the original problem. They issued FCC that can't be used  by her mother or or her. She doesn't want to cruise ny more. Rather ski and school which is fine. She three times has been called at school to get permission to transfer it...  Back to square one but at least we have 24+ hours of notes to streamline a real fix...  Closing in but not quite... 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...