Jump to content

Benefits of using MEI Travel


Recommended Posts

Exhibit A:

I won't say that you will not find this level of service with AAA if you run into the same kind of problem as @alamode123 got slammed with. But at least you now know you will have it with MEI, even if you don't get a lot of extra perks up front. It may not spare you a lot of stress while waiting for the outcome, but it certainly takes a load off knowing you have that person undeniably in your corner and working to at least try and make things right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, alamode123 said:

Pricing isn't decided by a travel agent, it's by RCCL. It will be the same regardless.

It is and it isn't. Travel agencies receive a commission based on their volume of business. When I worked for a successful cruise agency (many years ago), we received 16% commission. I have no idea what the rate of commission is now. Often the owner would rebate some of that to the passengers as a discount and also "throw in" perks such as a bottle of wine in the cabin etc. So, although the base rate is the same as quoted by RCCL, the discounts and perks might make a difference.

I have always booked my own cruises since 1997 but I recently transferred 3 cruises to MEI, just from the recommendations I read on this blog. I am hoping to relieve some of the stress of keeping up with cancellation dates, air schedule changes, and cabin price changes, etc. , especially since there are so many glitches in the new website. I probably should have done this earlier but I haven't had a TA that I trust  since I left my job and then my agency owner retired a few years ago. I don't know if there will be any particular benefit but if I get in trouble and need help especially on our Mediterranean in October, I will call them first and I will let you know.


 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

59 minutes ago, Mljstr said:

It is and it isn't. Travel agencies receive a commission based on their volume of business. When I worked for a successful cruise agency (many years ago), we received 16% commission. I have no idea what the rate of commission is now. Often the owner would rebate some of that to the passengers as a discount and also "throw in" perks such as a bottle of wine in the cabin etc. So, although the base rate is the same as quoted by RCCL, the discounts and perks might make a difference.

I have always booked my own cruises since 1997 but I recently transferred 3 cruises to MEI, just from the recommendations I read on this blog. I am hoping to relieve some of the stress of keeping up with cancellation dates, air schedule changes, and cabin price changes, etc. , especially since there are so many glitches in the new website. I probably should have done this earlier but I haven't had a TA that I trust  since I left my job and then my agency owner retired a few years ago. I don't know if there will be any particular benefit but if I get in trouble and need help especially on our Mediterranean in October, I will call them first and I will let you know.


 

I concur and reiterate. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am going to jump in here. I contacted MEI for a couple of reasons, mainly because I knew absolutely nothing about cruising, and they support this site. I booked about 14 months before my cruise. I received about 6 emails before my trip: I found you a better price. Those price drops ranged from $30 with onboard credit, to over $300. 

I did not book with MEI because I expected anything extra. I actually booked a second cruise before the first, and I am waiting for the next large release to book another. 

Although I did not ask or expect anything, my agent sent me lanyards, a portable phone charger, pens, and  a $50 onboard credit. I just post that to say, if that is important to you ask. It is not to me. It came as a complete surprise. The level of service I received was amazing, and I think I should be sending her gifts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@fonemanbob I joined this blog a short time ago and it has been a happy and informative experience. We have always booked directly with cruise lines since our first in 1994, but after reading the positive comments about MEI, it was a no-brainer to move our current reservation to them.  And that was before they worked a miracle for @alamode123 . Michelle C has been extremely accommodating and was even able to move our "way past the 60-day mark" reservation to MEI. We anticipate a great relationship going forward.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm on board with the rest of the posters here ...... All of my cruises in recent years have gone out of Baltimore to Bermuda (I live in Maryland) ----

Easy Peasy ---- I can handle it myself.  On top of that, had a less than positive experience with a local travel agency here, so I stuck with doing things on my own.

But now, with 2019 approaching, and especially 2020, we'll be on different ships out of different ports going to different destinations...... way out of my comfort zone.

(Especially with the 2020 ---- Freedom out of SJ to the Eastern Caribbean) ---- the whole experience will be new to us....

So, I contacted Michelle with MEI (after hearing so many positive things from here)--- for us, she's semi-local (northern Virginia), but what really sold my wife and I was Michelle, the person.  She answered every question (no matter how mundane) with knowledge and enthusiasm -- she also understood that we were also skeptical when it came to TA's after the negative experience we'd had.  She's incredibly patient with us.

Even though our relationship with Michelle is in its infancy, and we are in no way a huge book of business for her, you'd never know it by the way she treats us like gold.

So, to wrap this post around --- this site is what brought us to Michelle, but it's Michelle that will keep us with MEI ---

Mark

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After years of going it on my own and booking direct I started using MEI.  They haven’t made any New reservations for me  but I have transferred at least three cruises over to that were recently booked. 

I guess it’s luck of the draw you get, but I’m having issues with the person I am dealing with. I don’t know if my expectations are out of whack but the responsiveness that I was hoping for is just not there. 

Not sure how I will handle future bookings.

 

- Update:  On further reflection it’s more a problem with ME letting go than it is a problem with the TA.

Edited by Larry Muster
Reflection
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, princevaliantus said:

I thought you weren't affiliated with MEI Travel??

They are a sponsor.  I don't work for them, but I recognize blog readers outside US/Canada are interested in supporting the site by using our sponsors.  Apologies if I made it seem like I worked for them or something to that effect.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, princevaliantus said:

For me, there were no benefit of changing to MEI as the didn't even come close to the pricing nor the perks I receive. But, in your case, it might be different. Check them out.

I can say that all pricing comes from RCCL - there are times that companies have other offers such as we are offer prepaid gratuities right now and other companies are not.  Also if there is a group for an agency on a date that will play with numbers and OBC offers as well.  Sorry that our pricing did not work out on the offers you were getting with other places, but the next time you come and ask we could have the better offer based on your travel dates.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, Larry Muster said:

After years of going it on my own and booking direct I started using MEI.  They haven’t made any New reservations for me  but I have transferred at least three cruises over to that were recently booked. 

I guess it’s luck of the draw you get, but I’m having issues with the person I am dealing with. I don’t know if my expectations are out of whack but the responsiveness that I was hoping for is just not there. 

Not sure how I will handle future bookings.

I would love the opportunity to speak with you on the challenges you are facing.  I can be reached at [email protected]  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...
On ‎7‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 6:49 PM, PrincipalTinker said:

I am going to jump in here. I contacted MEI for a couple of reasons, mainly because I knew absolutely nothing about cruising, and they support this site. I booked about 14 months before my cruise. I received about 6 emails before my trip: I found you a better price. Those price drops ranged from $30 with onboard credit, to over $300. 

I did not book with MEI because I expected anything extra. I actually booked a second cruise before the first, and I am waiting for the next large release to book another. 

Although I did not ask or expect anything, my agent sent me lanyards, a portable phone charger, pens, and  a $50 onboard credit. I just post that to say, if that is important to you ask. It is not to me. It came as a complete surprise. The level of service I received was amazing, and I think I should be sending her gifts.

Who do you use?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/31/2018 at 7:05 AM, June May said:

I'd happily use MEI, but because I live outside US/Canada, I can't. 

For now, I book direct with RCCL. I do have a local travel agent I will use for a much larger trip I have planned. 

That's strange I live in Belgium and they were happy to quote me a couple of months ago for the group cruise next year. 

Also I know plenty of people on another board that use US TA all the time.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I emailed Michelle at MEI to transfer a booking. After that was complete, she told me that I qualified for their promotion of free gratuities and coordinated to get my pre-paid gratuities credited back to me saving me $145. She then got me a killer deal on another cruise with the Kids Sail Free and all 4 of my kids are sailing for port taxes and gratuities in a cabin that sleeps all 6 of us. She also just texted me this morning asking if she missed a call from me and reminding me that my final payment was due. #benefits

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Momof4crazytocruise said:

I emailed Michelle at MEI to transfer a booking. After that was complete, she told me that I qualified for their promotion of free gratuities and coordinated to get my pre-paid gratuities credited back to me saving me $145. She then got me a killer deal on another cruise with the Kids Sail Free and all 4 of my kids are sailing for port taxes and gratuities in a cabin that sleeps all 6 of us. She also just texted me this morning asking if she missed a call from me and reminding me that my final payment was due. #benefits

 

@michelle rocks, Great job Michelle.

I'm a little upset though, how come you never do anything like this for me? lol. Just because I don't have kids at home anymore doesn't mean you can't try, lol.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, tiny260 said:

 

@michelle rocks, Great job Michelle.

I'm a little upset though, how come you never do anything like this for me? lol. Just because I don't have kids at home anymore doesn't mean you can't try, lol.

Too funny! It was on y'all's recommendation that I bit the bullet and contacted her. I'm our family's usual 'travel agent'. She now loves me-  LOL - I brought her like 8 more bookings for that same cruise. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Momof4crazytocruise said:

Too funny! It was on y'all's recommendation that I bit the bullet and contacted her. I'm our family's usual 'travel agent'. She now loves me-  LOL - I brought her like 8 more bookings for that same cruise. 

She is the best, I just like giving her a hard time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll echo something several have shared already, speaking as someone who has been booking with MEI for a decade.

To me, it's not about saving money (though when it happens, that is of course awesome).  It's not even about how easy it is to book on any given line's site (more on that in a sec).  It's about the service.  There are agencies out there that rebate commission, and to those who use them - I genuinely hope you have awesome experiences.  I don't use agencies that do that for the simple reason that I've worked in that world, I've been around the industry - those agents are stacking as many deals as possible and just don't have the time to get to know their clients, triple check their work, provide guidance as needed, check for price drops, etc

I love that my agent (and others) at MEI have got to know my preferences (and they've got all my info stored, too).  I don't like to speak for @Matt, but I think it's safe to say we're both quite capable of booking trips ourselves.  Despite this, we've used MEI agents for a long time.  What's awesome is that I often book trips with a call or email of just a sentence or two.  My agent knows my tolerances, so if I ask for an OV, but they've got a group rate or other incentive that makes a verandah $250 more for a seven night, they know I'll probably want that - and I'll end up with a hold until I confirm that difference.  There are times too that I am not sure what I'm looking for, and I'll just throw out some basic criteria (x type of line, y date range, z part of the world), and that's another time when it's helpful for an agent to really know what you like.  

When something has come up, either because I've needed to make a change, or the cruise line wants to bump me, etc - I have a liaison.  Someone who will fight for me.  I'll never have to wait on hold for Royal or any other line (that's never fun), nor will I have to plead my case.  It's pretty great.

In short, booking is a bit easier, but that's not the reason I use an MEI agent.  Sometimes there are some additional perks (OBC, category upgrades, etc), but that's not the reason I use an MEI agent.  I use them because whether things go perfectly, or the trip encounters some unexpected turbulence, they're in my corner - and those are the times you'll REALLY wish you were working with a great travel agent - whoever that may be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, monorailmedic said:

trip encounters some unexpected turbulence, they're in my corner - and those are the times you'll REALLY wish you were working with a great travel agent - whoever that may be

This. Sooner or later, it will happen to you and the difference between having a good travel agent and not having one is quite apparent.

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...