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Why I use a Travel Agent


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Just now, Traveler said:

Thanks again for all the recommendations.

After the suggestion here and some brainstorms we decided to book the Greek cruise from Venice. Just completed to book the cruise and the airline tickets, I guess its time for us to check the Vision class ships ? 

Can't wait for the live blog.

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I'll add my two cents, although I think everything's been said about the value add of TAs.  I can't say enough good about Michelle Cunningham.  I switched my upcoming cruise on Oasis (3 weeks from today!!) to her immediately after booking (at WaaayTooo and other's recommendations).  Michelle has been excellent, even saving me a significant amount from my initial cost on my already too expensive suite.

I'm probably the worst customer for a TA because I do all the research myself (I can't tell if my family likes that I spend hours doing this or not...) and usually know exactly what I want.  So I take away that fun for the TA ?.  I will add, though, that whether you are a detail person like me or you just want someone else to handle the details, I think the TA makes a lot of sense.  If for no other reason then they build the rapport with the right people to make good things happen.  You *might* get lucky on your own and talk to just the right person, who's having just the right day and get a special something on your own, but the TA gets that treatment all the time. And they do it on your behalf.

Oh and I agree with the earlier post, too, about setting up a separate travel savings account and having money automatically moved into it each pay period.  It accumulates fast, especially if you "forget" about it until you need it.  I just checked mine and, yup, I've got casino money for this cruise!  Yay!!

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Booked 3 more!

Or should I say Jacki at MEI Travel will convert three holds into bookings whenever the RCI system is back up from its overnight maintenance.

With these three new bookings I've sailed or am scheduled to sail (with a booking) on every ship in the current fleet. 

I'll deal with Spectrum once her schedule becomes available.  Might have to save up for a suite on that ship to experience the rumored suite only areas.

All of my bookings involve a travel agent.

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2 hours ago, twangster said:

Booked 3 more!

Or should I say Jacki at MEI Travel will convert three holds into bookings whenever the RCI system is back up from its overnight maintenance.

With these three new bookings I've sailed or am scheduled to sail (with a booking) on every ship in the current fleet. 

I'll deal with Spectrum once her schedule becomes available.  Might have to save up for a suite on that ship to experience the rumored suite only areas.

All of my bookings involve a travel agent.

Can't keep up the pace huh? ?

That is so exciting though...every ship in the fleet!  So happy for you!

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On ‎6‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 9:23 AM, Matt said:

Thanks for the kind words about MEI Travel, our site sponsor. Means a lot.

I'll also echo the benefits of using a travel agent in general.  You only stand to benefit by using one, especially when it comes to them saving you time and money.

And happy birthday @twangster!

hi Matt I have just contacted MEI and spoke with Michelle as I am totally ignorant on how a TA works I have asked her to baby me along which she so kindly said she would so here I go starting a new chapter in my travel book thoroughly excited about the future and thank you for steering me towards this new to me service 

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7 hours ago, twangster said:

on every ship in the current fleet.

That is awesome!!  What a great way to really experience YOLO!  I personally can't wait to see every picture and blog from your experience. As always, it's like we are somewhat there with you from your awesome photos! You Rock @twangster even though you're a BOT.?  

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15 hours ago, henrysea13 said:

hi Matt I have just contacted MEI and spoke with Michelle as I am totally ignorant on how a TA works I have asked her to baby me along which she so kindly said she would so here I go starting a new chapter in my travel book thoroughly excited about the future and thank you for steering me towards this new to me service 

This is exactly how it was for my wife and I ....... we had a bad experience with a local travel agent so we were a bit skeptical when it comes to TA's in general .... Michelle called us on a Sunday and was able to "talk us away from the cliff".  She was so patient with all of our questions that by the end of the conversation, we turned two cruises over to her, not because we wanted to give a TA another try, but because we like Michelle.  She sold us on HER, as a person, that we felt would "have our back"..... which she has ....... @michelle, Thank You .......you keep doing what you're doing.

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15 hours ago, henrysea13 said:

hi Matt I have just contacted MEI and spoke with Michelle as I am totally ignorant on how a TA works I have asked her to baby me along which she so kindly said she would so here I go starting a new chapter in my travel book thoroughly excited about the future and thank you for steering me towards this new to me service 

That is terrific, thank you for your support! Really great to hear about the excellent service!

9 minutes ago, coneyraven said:

This is exactly how it was for my wife and I ....... we had a bad experience with a local travel agent so we were a bit skeptical when it comes to TA's in general .... Michelle called us on a Sunday and was able to "talk us away from the cliff".  She was so patient with all of our questions that by then end of the conversation, we turned two cruises over to her, not because we wanted to give a TA another try, but because we like Michelle.  She sold us on HER, as a person, that we felt would "have our back"..... which she has ....... @michelle, Thank You .......you keep doing what you're doing.

I love the "talks us away from the cliff" idea ?

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Pop quiz...  who thinks Royal's website is totally awesome? 

For those who doubt why a travel agent can be a great resource, how did you answer the pop quiz?  What makes you think the best price is always displayed on the totally awesome Royal website that you think is so great?

Here is an example of one of the three cruises I just booked with MEI travel.

Using my D+ C&A balcony discount for a 6D balcony the Royal website the total is $2,122.85.  That doesn't include gratuity and no OBC is offered.

488168453_VYaftbalcony.jpeg.34be855c85eaa661fd00f56e91bb75a8.jpeg

I though this was going to be the price of this cruise. 

Jacki York with MEI responded to my request for a quote for the same cruise, same 6D aft balcony.  I asked her to include gratuity.

1772891148_MEIVYinvoiceOb.jpg.83bd5ba9a57ad62e9be77214a5ea510f.jpg

The total is $1,471.35.

That's $651 cheaper and it includes prepaid gratuity plus $50 OBC.  YOLO!  Book it!

Seriously if you have ever had issue with or grumbled at the Royal website, why would you trust it so much booking your own cruise?

If I had booked this on my own using the Royal website, I would be paying $2,122.85.

What did it cost me to save $773?  Zero.  MEI doesn't charge fees for their services.

This doesn't happen on every cruise I book, but since I book a lot of cruises I've seen enough examples to know the value of a free quote from MEI Travel.

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7 hours ago, twangster said:

Pop quiz...  who thinks Royal's website is totally awesome? 

For those who doubt why a travel agent can be a great resource, how did you answer the pop quiz?  What makes you think the best price is always displayed on the totally awesome Royal website that you think is so great?

Here is an example of one of the three cruises I just booked with MEI travel.

Using my D+ C&A balcony discount for a 6D balcony the Royal website the total is $2,122.85.  That doesn't include gratuity and no OBC is offered.

488168453_VYaftbalcony.jpeg.34be855c85eaa661fd00f56e91bb75a8.jpeg

I though this was going to be the price of this cruise. 

Jacki York with MEI responded to my request for a quote for the same cruise, same 6D aft balcony.  I asked her to include gratuity.

1772891148_MEIVYinvoiceOb.jpg.83bd5ba9a57ad62e9be77214a5ea510f.jpg

The total is $1,471.35.

That's $651 cheaper and it includes prepaid gratuity plus $50 OBC.  YOLO!  Book it!

Seriously if you have ever had issue with or grumbled at the Royal website, why would you trust it so much booking your own cruise?

If I had booked this on my own using the Royal website, I would be paying $2,122.85.

What did it cost me to save $773?  Zero.  MEI doesn't charge fees for their services.

This doesn't happen on every cruise I book, but since I book a lot of cruises I've seen enough examples to know the value of a free quote from MEI Travel.

is this a non-refundable or refundable price?

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Just now, princevaliantus said:

May I ask why you only received a S50 OBC as Balconies receive  $100 OBC for NRDB?

Not on this cruise, it's only 5 nights. 

 RC direct only suites get any OBC.

1586999764_vysing.jpeg.68e97f5dfb09a98fee34d5e91740c2a2.jpeg

It's well into 2019 so I'm hopeful pricing will improve over the next 400 days.

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11 hours ago, twangster said:

What did it cost me to save $773?  Zero.  MEI doesn't charge fees for their services.

That's a great point! No travel agent/agency/website should ever charge you for changes or really anything related to servicing your reservation.

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16 minutes ago, Matt said:

That's a great point! No travel agent/agency/website should ever charge you for changes or really anything related to servicing your reservation.

While I agree, this isn't the standard for those who use club stores that have travel agencies. 

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1 hour ago, DocLC said:

While I agree, this isn't the standard for those who use club stores that have travel agencies. 

Correct and frankly I think it's a mistake.  They front-load the savings, but the real value of a good travel agent is the service they provide.  Having those fees really hurts at it.  

I'll let @KristenM regain you all with stories of using a club store TA.

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6 hours ago, Matt said:

Correct and frankly I think it's a mistake.  They front-load the savings, but the real value of a good travel agent is the service they provide.  Having those fees really hurts at it.  

I'll let @KristenM regain you all with stories of using a club store TA.

I completely agree, which is why I have never booked a cruise vacation through them. Any change results in a $75 charge each time (or as the last time I inquired). Hence why I use Michelle at MEI Travel (sponsor alert).

As an added benefit of a TA, we took a cruise on a competing cruise line that offers 12 beverage vouchers per North American cruiser. We received ours, but our friends who boarded two days later at another port did not receive theirs. Guest Services said North American Customer Service needed to handle it and contact the ship, while Customer Service said that Guest Services aboard the ship needed to handle it. As a result, I emailed my TA and she was able to get it sorted out even though it was NOT her fault. 

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3 hours ago, Bob_KY said:

@DocLC, @tiny260, @Matt @twangster @WAAAYTOOO

I am now a member of the Michelle MEI family.   Thanks to all.

Congratulations. Michelle has me set up on a Norwegian cruise out of Amsterdam next month, a New Zealand cruise out of Sydney next December, a Barcelona to Venice cruise in July 2019, and a couple of group cruises to boot!

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I'm sorry if this question has already been asked - I tried to check before asking...

I live in the UK; am I able to use a company such as MEI to book my cruises with?

Travel agents are different here.  I've used one to book all my cruises (apart from the one next week) but not paid any different price to that advertised on the Royal website and I've not received any other perks from them either.

Next week's cruise was booked directly with Royal and after getting cut off 3 times on the phone, them not applying my C&A details, and problems paying the final balance I'm reluctant to use them again.

Thanks for any assistance

Sarah

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19 minutes ago, Sarah said:

I'm sorry if this question has already been asked - I tried to check before asking...

I live in the UK; am I able to use a company such as MEI to book my cruises with?

Travel agents are different here.  I've used one to book all my cruises (apart from the one next week) but not paid any different price to that advertised on the Royal website and I've not received any other perks from them either.

Next week's cruise was booked directly with Royal and after getting cut off 3 times on the phone, them not applying my C&A details, and problems paying the final balance I'm reluctant to use them again.

Thanks for any assistance

Sarah

I'm curious as this this as well. Great question!! ?

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27 minutes ago, Sarah said:

I'm sorry if this question has already been asked - I tried to check before asking...

I live in the UK; am I able to use a company such as MEI to book my cruises with?

Travel agents are different here.  I've used one to book all my cruises (apart from the one next week) but not paid any different price to that advertised on the Royal website and I've not received any other perks from them either.

Next week's cruise was booked directly with Royal and after getting cut off 3 times on the phone, them not applying my C&A details, and problems paying the final balance I'm reluctant to use them again.

Thanks for any assistance

Sarah

@Sarah  It is my understanding that you can, however when you do book with a TA it's under US regulations and not UK regulations.  So with that said, be cautious of the rules/protection plans are different.

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34 minutes ago, Sarah said:

I'm sorry if this question has already been asked - I tried to check before asking...

I live in the UK; am I able to use a company such as MEI to book my cruises with?

Travel agents are different here.  I've used one to book all my cruises (apart from the one next week) but not paid any different price to that advertised on the Royal website and I've not received any other perks from them either.

Next week's cruise was booked directly with Royal and after getting cut off 3 times on the phone, them not applying my C&A details, and problems paying the final balance I'm reluctant to use them again.

Thanks for any assistance

Sarah

Are you looking to book cruises originating in the US or cruises originating from a UK, European or Asian port? 

I know that MEI has been granted special waivers to allow international guests to book RoyalCaribbeanblog.com US group cruises.  Those so far have been US originating cruises.

Consumer protection laws, taxes and other items like gratuity billing are very different around the world.  Certain restrictions and limitations are in place to ensure they are in compliance. 

A phone call or email to MEI with the specifics of what you are trying to book may be the best way to answer your question.

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1 hour ago, Sarah said:

I'm sorry if this question has already been asked - I tried to check before asking...

I live in the UK; am I able to use a company such as MEI to book my cruises with?

Travel agents are different here.  I've used one to book all my cruises (apart from the one next week) but not paid any different price to that advertised on the Royal website and I've not received any other perks from them either.

Next week's cruise was booked directly with Royal and after getting cut off 3 times on the phone, them not applying my C&A details, and problems paying the final balance I'm reluctant to use them again.

Thanks for any assistance

Sarah

Sarah, I don't know about MEI specifically but I live in Canada and I have booked cruises with a US based travel agent. Payament is in US dollars. Now, all those cruises are Caribbean cruises leaving from US ports so I don't know if that makes a difference? I have not attempted to book Europe cruises with them. 

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On ‎6‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 12:54 PM, Sarah said:

I'm sorry if this question has already been asked - I tried to check before asking...

I live in the UK; am I able to use a company such as MEI to book my cruises with?

Travel agents are different here.  I've used one to book all my cruises (apart from the one next week) but not paid any different price to that advertised on the Royal website and I've not received any other perks from them either.

Next week's cruise was booked directly with Royal and after getting cut off 3 times on the phone, them not applying my C&A details, and problems paying the final balance I'm reluctant to use them again.

Thanks for any assistance

Sarah

Hi Sarah,

If you want a more personal experience from a UK based travel agent, you could try contacting the one that I use (details below). You won't get the same deals that are available in the US, and the rules in the UK for repricing are restrictive, but you may get some additional inducement from my TA. This may take the form of a gift provided in your cabin when you board, or a discount. It won't be much but it will be better than nothing. Even the personal service by itself is a definite advantage.

Please contact your Travel Counsellor if you
have any queries
JANE COWLEY
T 01932 808590
E [email protected]
W www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/jane.cowley

Alternatively, for less of a personal service but sometimes better inducements you could try vivavoyage.co.uk (tel. 0800 862 0137) or ROL rolcruise.co.uk  (tel. 0808 102 3838). I haven't used either of these, as personal service is more important to me, but they do seem to be able to offer something extra to simply booking with Royal direct.

I hope that is of some help.

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Thank you for taking the trouble to reply to me and provide really helpful info.

So far I've cruised from Southampton 6 times and twice from elsewhere in Europe.

I do have my sights set on a Caribbean cruise.

@JohnUK - I've made a note of your agent - thank you.  Previously I've used Planet Cruise (connected to Iglu) and it's not been without problems so looking for a change!

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  • 2 months later...
4 hours ago, Martin-Lynda said:

booking through the casino? I am just curious here the casino onboard the ship? I feel so newbie but I am lolll

As mentioned in the other thread about travel agents, there is a second loyalty program with Royal, called Casino Royale. This is the program specifically for people who gamble regularly in the casino. They recently overhauled the program to the point that you basically get into it just for walking into the casino and putting a few dollars into the slot machines; but for people who are "high rollers" and bet a fairly high amount there each time they sail, they can get some fairly decent discounts by booking through the casino service number instead of the regular booking number.

A travel agent can also book a cruise for you in this way, as long as you tell him or her up front that you're a member of Casino Royale. One or two of the agents at MEI have built up a bit of a legend here for scoring really good deals for some of the more serious gamblers here on the boards, which make the regular promotions look like pocket change and are even better than the people were quoted when they called directly.

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