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How do you pick a travel agent?


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10 minutes ago, Eyeonhevn said:

When looking for a travel agent, what do you look for? Close proximity to your location? 
 

what about AAA? Are they considered adequate/good travel agents?

How did you find a wonderful travel agent? 

I like many others here have great success with MEI. They are a sponsor of this blog. That's why I started to use them, but that's not why I continue to use them. They have great service and have saved me quite a bit of money over the years. Everything is done online with us, so it doesn't matter that I'm in Illinois and our TA is in Washington state.

 

Happy Cruising!

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16 minutes ago, Eyeonhevn said:

When looking for a travel agent, what do you look for? Close proximity to your location? 
 

what about AAA? Are they considered adequate/good travel agents?

How did you find a wonderful travel agent? 

I think you find an agent through trial and error.  We have AAA and use them.  We preferred sitting down with our own TA and talking through all of the options/requirements.  Covid changed that, and we aren't happy with current "email tag".  That said, using the AAA travel center and a personal agent have both been good experiences.  We have done some complicated trips involving cruise plus land plus airfare overseas.  Agent went to bat for us on lost luggage, Royal cancellations, FCC, etc.  Your service will depend on the agent, and AAA charges for airline reservations (it's wrapped into the price they quote us).  So per Matt, unless you are getting a pre-post cruise package through Royal, you likely want to control the ancillary services and use the agent for just the cruise.  You can shop around for travel insurance or have the agent arrange that for you.  I will say that if our agent quits, we will try MEI.

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Our TA was recommended to us by my best friend.  Our TA is really a CA (Cruise Agent) as she only books cruises.  She has booked our last 60 cruises and we have been very happy with her.  Her office is within 15 miles to where we live but in all that time we've only met her twice for lunch.   If our TA retires we will probably go with MEI at least for a trial basis.

Bill 

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I've been a AAA member since I started driving way before the turn of the century. Considering that I'm paying for it, I use their travel agents. I had some billing issues for my last cruise and they were able to go to bat for me and get it straightened out before I set sail. Their office is located nearby so it's rather easy for me to just make an appointment to go down and take care of whatever needs to be done concerning travel. If it's just a price change, I could take care of that with an email and / or call to them.

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I recommend using the cruise compete website. From there you will get several pricing options from various travel companies. We ended up using one of those travel agencies and got a huge group discount on our upcoming cruise as well as OBC for 2 rooms. 

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Trust me: don't chase whichever agent can get you the most credit.

You want a really good agent who knows cruising. 

MEI Travel has such a good reputation here and it's for good reason: they know how to take care of their clients, especially when times are tough. I can't tell you how much time my MEI agent saved me!

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Everyone has an opinion.  What you need is way different that what others need.   I do all my own research and booking and I just need a travel agent to give me extra money on my cruise.  You might need someone to find what you want and explain everything to you.  What your question should have been is how do I find a travel agent that can help me ?????

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10 hours ago, mac66 said:

We primarily use Cru Con.  good agents and added perks. They'll assign an agent to you. We lost our long time one during covid but got another who is really good.

Cru con is the previous company that I had used. I would never use them again. Terrible service, actually no response or it would take a month plus just to get a reply and then wouldn't even answer the original issue that we were trying to get addressed. Buyer beware!

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23 hours ago, JayBird said:

Trust me: don't chase whichever agent can get you the most credit.

You want a really good agent who knows cruising. 

MEI Travel has such a good reputation here and it's for good reason: they know how to take care of their clients, especially when times are tough. I can't tell you how much time my MEI agent saved me!

Who said anything about chasing credit lol? What I am chasing, though, is a great deal/price on a cruise for 4 that I'm solely paying for (2 balcony cabins).

And I got that with a $1400 discount off of Royals price just by doing some research and pricing out with various agencies. And the OBC is just a bonus...! But everyone's needs are different of course so YMMV. 

 

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My 1st travel agent was my mom. I learned alot from her, about what to expect service wise from other agents. My next TA (who I still use sometimes) I met via a group cruise and became friends with him. Service is great and no complaints. I also use Jennifer from MEI for many of the same reasons everyone above has listed, i.e., price drops, level of service and of course Matt's group cruises. 

While getting OBC would be nice, I value service over everything. I value a KNOWLEDGABLE and RESPONSIVE agent over perks. Both my Travel Advisors are online and do not work/live anywhere near me and I have had zero problems.

What works for you, will differ from what works for others - do research, experiment with different agents until you have found what you're looking for. 

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  • 1 month later...

How long does it take for MEI to contact people after they fill out the form? I think my prior cruise agent from a different place is no longer active (emails are bouncing) so I'm in the market for a new agent. I filled out the form yesterday and haven't heard anything back yet. Should I just call them instead?

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42 minutes ago, jbrinkm said:

How long does it take for MEI to contact people after they fill out the form? I think my prior cruise agent from a different place is no longer active (emails are bouncing) so I'm in the market for a new agent. I filled out the form yesterday and haven't heard anything back yet. Should I just call them instead?

They have a phone number on their "contact us" page, you could try calling them.  Tell them you are rich and want to book Grand Suites on several Back to Backs, I am sure they will get back to you quickly.

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2 hours ago, jbrinkm said:

How long does it take for MEI to contact people after they fill out the form? I think my prior cruise agent from a different place is no longer active (emails are bouncing) so I'm in the market for a new agent. I filled out the form yesterday and haven't heard anything back yet. Should I just call them instead?

@Beci can look into it if you don't hear something soon.

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I went ahead to their website directly and redid the contact for there and they got back to me almost immediately. Thanks for the feedback!

Although, I will say that I'm trying to book connecting rooms or rooms next to each other and my prior agent was able to put the kids in their own room. MEI is telling me no to that. I know it's not a huge deal because we can get extra keys, etc. but it is honestly easier to just have the correct names associated with the room where we'll sleep...

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29 minutes ago, jbrinkm said:

I went ahead to their website directly and redid the contact for there and they got back to me almost immediately. Thanks for the feedback!

Although, I will say that I'm trying to book connecting rooms or rooms next to each other and my prior agent was able to put the kids in their own room. MEI is telling me no to that. I know it's not a huge deal because we can get extra keys, etc. but it is honestly easier to just have the correct names associated with the room where we'll sleep...

You can put them in a room directly across the hall or right next door (minors under 21). 

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3 hours ago, jbrinkm said:

I went ahead to their website directly and redid the contact for there and they got back to me almost immediately. Thanks for the feedback!

Although, I will say that I'm trying to book connecting rooms or rooms next to each other and my prior agent was able to put the kids in their own room. MEI is telling me no to that. I know it's not a huge deal because we can get extra keys, etc. but it is honestly easier to just have the correct names associated with the room where we'll sleep...

Hi!  My apologies for the delay on the first request. Sometimes technology doesn't cooperate even with the best of intentions.  

As other have noted, you can certainly have two kids in the rooms next door or across the hall. If you are being told differently,  please DM me. 

Happy to help any way we can! 

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On 9/20/2022 at 8:09 AM, Eyeonhevn said:

When looking for a travel agent, what do you look for? Close proximity to your location? 
 

what about AAA? Are they considered adequate/good travel agents?

How did you find a wonderful travel agent? 

I had  a great TA when I lived in Seattle.   When I moved to Montana  I kept using her.  No problem using an agent that is not in your town.  In fact several of my friends here in Montana use my Seattle TA now.

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Many many moons ago, I started with AAA.  I loved my TA and I was able to just drop in to discuss changes. Fast forward thru the years with kids.  Our only travel was to family members.  Now I am an empty nester.  For my cruises, I have been using my aunt, who only does cruises even though her company handles everything. I don't know what I will do once my aunt retires (she is in semi-retire state right now).  Maybe go back to AAA or try out MEI.  But I KNOW that I WON'T cruise without a TA!

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39 minutes ago, Ptrg said:

Have anyone booking online with TA like Cruise line , Cheap cruise... Ect? Are they really give you more (some bonus credit to use on cruise ..) then booking direct to RC? Thanks

A few years ago, I followed one of their sales (can't remember which site exactly but similar to those you mentioned) and was pretty excited about it, but when I went to the next step, the sale was not as good as it seemed it would be. What was advertised was only if you purchased a really expensive room, and the savings/perks lowered as you went down in reservation price to where it looked like it would be more expensive than booking direct. I bailed on that process and went with a Royal travel agent instead, who got me a great deal with a few small perks. That was really all I wanted, plus the advocacy that comes with having a TA instead of doing it on your own. 

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1 hour ago, Ptrg said:

Have anyone booking online with TA like Cruise line , Cheap cruise... Ect? Are they really give you more (some bonus credit to use on cruise ..) then booking direct to RC? Thanks

I have not, but I've heard of many issues with these sort of agents that don't give you a dedicated agent.

Very generally speaking, you're trading personalized service for a few extra dollars.

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We are going to Alaska in July 2024.  We are doing a self guided land-based tour + the cruise from Seward.  We selected a travel agent who could do both.  I was very impressed with her background and understanding as I have never planned such a huge vacation.  We also have adult children with disabilities.  She was cool with meeting our needs.

So the cruises to Alaska were getting released last week.  Where was she.  Ireland on a long delayed vacation.  

Kathy Geiger from MEI Travel made sure our needs were met while she was out of the country.  HUGE shout out to Kathy.  I am even more confident that when we need her while in Alaska, she will be there for us.  Thank you.  

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On 11/11/2022 at 3:10 PM, jbrinkm said:

I went ahead to their website directly and redid the contact for there and they got back to me almost immediately. Thanks for the feedback!

Although, I will say that I'm trying to book connecting rooms or rooms next to each other and my prior agent was able to put the kids in their own room. MEI is telling me no to that. I know it's not a huge deal because we can get extra keys, etc. but it is honestly easier to just have the correct names associated with the room where we'll sleep...

Happy to report that I booked with MEI and I'm thrilled with the package and the service! I was first assigned to a new agent who was still learning the ropes, but ended up with someone more experienced who has done a fabulous job. Great price, responsive, easy to book, teens in adjoining room - everything I could hope for from a TA!

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