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Royal Caribbean’s top travel agents prove why you need one more than ever

05 Feb 2024

It's not too late to start booking your future cruises with a travel agent. 

Freedom of the Seas aerial drone

Royal Caribbean recently announced their top-performing travel agencies of the year. The list includes both newcomers and repeat winners from previous years who proved their dedication, passion, and ability to book Royal Caribbean vacations. 

  • Chairman's Award for Overall Achievement: Travel Leaders Network
  • President's Award for Overall Achievement: World Travel Holdings
  • National Account Partner of the Year: Travel Planners International
  • Southeast Partner of the Year: Travelmation
  • Northeast Partner of the Year: Cruise Brothers
  • Central Partner of the Year: Magical Vacation Planner
Sundeck on Wonder
  • West Partner of the Year: MEI-Travel
  • Canada Partner of the Year: The Travel Agent Next Door
  • Franchise Partner of the Year: Cruise Planners
  • Corporate Incentive Partner of the Year: 3D Cruise Partners
  • Charter Partner of the Year: Entertainment Cruise Productions
  • Caribbean Partner of the Year: Travel Planners / Expedia Cruceros
  • Automation Partner of the Year: Travel Planners International
Ship docked in St. Thomas

“These are extremely exciting times for the entire cruise industry – cruise lines and travel partners alike. The sky’s the limit at Royal Caribbean, and the strong performance we’ve seen is thanks in large part to our valued travel professionals and their incredible knowledge when it comes to matching their clients with the right vacation experience,” said Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support and Service for Royal Caribbean International.

“I’m very proud to honor these experts who consistently work with us and continue to see success with their businesses. As we dive into 2024 with the exciting launch of Icon of the Seas and then Utopia of the Seas in July 2024, as well as the next Icon Class ship, Star of the Seas, in 2025, we’re excited to reach new heights for the entire travel industry. Thanks for the support, and congratulations to the winners.”

If you don't utilize a travel agent, here are 6 reasons why you should consider making the switch when booking your next cruise vacation. 

Read more: 10 secrets Royal Caribbean travel agents wish you knew

Travel agents have a strong understanding of the cruise industry

top deck of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Travel agents will be able to help you understand all of the nuances of a cruise, as they're unlike traditional vacations. If you're debating between booking a suite or not, you might want expert advice on the benefits that you'd receive, especially if you're cruising on a ship with the Royal Suite Class, as some suites have perks that others do not. 

Perhaps you cannot decide between two itineraries and want a little insight into what the ports offer; a one-way cruise in Alaska, for instance, is different from a roundtrip one from Seattle. 

Travel agents can also advise you on cabin selections. If you aren't familiar with the ship, you could accidentally book a room in a location that you find undesirable, such as near the nightclub or with an obstructed view. 

Family surfside suite

In essence, an agent will help guide you through all of the decisions that you have to make. 

They will save you time


Planning a cruise can be time-consuming, so you should let a travel agent do the majority of the work! Rather than spending your own time pricing out different itineraries and cabins, you can request a quote for all the options you're considering. 

Once you're booked, they'll check to see if your rate has decreased before final payment, so you do not have to. If they notice that the price dropped, they'll contact the cruise line to get them to honor the lower rate. 

Additionally, if you don't know how you want to spend your day ashore, a good agent will give you some ideas based on your personal preferences. If there are multiple highlights that you don't want to miss, they can help arrange a private tour for you and your travel party, as cruise line shore excursions can be pretty limiting. 

Travel agents have access to better rates

Australian banknotes

The first time I booked a cruise with a travel agent, I was genuinely surprised by how much money I saved. When I booked a cruise onboard Freedom of the Seas, my agent had access to group rates, meaning that I was able to secure a balcony cabin for the same price as an interior! 

Additionally, when I was considering a cruise on the brand-new Celebrity Ascent for July 2024, Celebrity's website was advertising a Prime Edge Infinite Veranda cabin with drinks and Wi-Fi for $6,490.18. My travel agent booked the same stateroom category and perks for $5,440.32. 

While they may not always be able to offer jaw-dropping savings, they'll usually give you some onboard credit as an incentive to book with them. 

They'll provide peace of mind during emergencies 


While not super common, cruise lines will sometimes make changes to your sailing. Dry dock maintenance, for example, might require Royal Caribbean to change your ship. Once onboard the ship, the Captain might deem it unsafe to dock at a certain port of call due to weather. 

While unfortunate, a travel agent is advantageous in these instances, as they'll act as your advocate and liaison, meaning that you won't have to worry about communicating with the cruise line. Before any changes are made, they will ask how you'd like to proceed and then work with the cruise line to honor your specified wishes. 

If you book your flights when an agent, they'll also be able to assist in rebooking them in the event that your original flight was delayed or cancelled. 

Read more: The costly cruising mistake newbies make planning their first cruise

Travel agents can help you book unique staterooms or get onboard special sailings 

When Icon of the Seas' bookings opened, the inaugural cruise sold out within 24 hours. Those who worked with travel agents didn't have to worry about logging on and securing a reservation themselves, as the agent was on the ball the second itineraries were released. 

Additionally, if you're hoping to book during a sale, cruise lines will often notify travel partners in advance, so your agent can alert you of when the best time to book is. 

Read more: Start here to plan your Royal Caribbean cruise

They'll work with you to create a payment plan

One of the best aspects of a cruise is that, unless you're booking a last-minute cruise, you have time to pay off the vacation; the full amount isn't due upfront. 

After placing your deposit, you'll have until a specified date to pay the remainder off. While it's unlikely that you'll forget the date, if you book with a travel agent, they will help you create a plan and make payments on your behalf. 

They will give you other friendly reminders, too, such as helping you remember when your check-in opens. If you want an earlier arrival time, it is imperative that you make your selection as soon as possible. 

Read more: Final payment change for long cruises

I’m a travel agent. Here are the 6 most popular Royal Caribbean ships my clients are booking for 2024

04 Oct 2023

Which cruise ships are people booking the most right now?

Wonder of the Seas departing Fort Lauderdale

Among Royal Caribbean's fleet of ships, there's quite a few choices to consider, and plenty of attention given to Royal Caribbean's newest ships.

With 2024 on the horizon, I was curious which ships people are gravitating towards and booking the most.  So I reached out to Jenn Greene, who is a Travel Planner affiliated with MEI Travel.

I've known Jenn for years, and wanted to get a sense of among her clients, which Royal Caribbean cruise ships are the most popular in terms of bookings for the coming year.


Here are which Royal Caribbean cruise ships her clients are going to sail on in 2024.

Big demand

It’s no secret that cruising has made a huge comeback. Gone are the days of last-minute bookings, and rock bottom pricing. Cruisers are planning their vacations up to a year or more in advance. By doing so this secures the best rates and stateroom locations for them. 

As a travel agent with MEI Travel, 80% of my business is with Royal Caribbean. I have been booking into 2024, and noticed that cruisers are gravitating toward the same ships and sometimes booking them multiples times.

I have also noticed that the top five ships are geared towards family fun and adventure, as opposed to the smaller ships that offer a more laid-back cruise. Which makes total sense as Royal Caribbean markets itself as a family brand.

Read more12 differences between the big and small Royal Caribbean cruise ships
Here are the top six Royal Caribbean ships being booked for 2024 travel by my clients.

Wonder of the Seas

Wonder of the Seas aerial aft

It comes as no surprise that the newest ship in the Oasis Class is number one.

Wonder of the Seas has all the bells and whistles that cruisers love along with some favorites specific to this ship. The Mason Jar is a popular onboard restaurant, while not included in your cruise fare, I think it is worth the extra cost to dine here. 

Read more: What a room on Wonder of the Seas looks like

Icon of the Seas

Icon of the Seas rendering at CocoCay

Coming in early 2024, Icon of the Seas will take cruising to a brand-new level.

Touted as the ship that will bring the World’s Best Family Vacation, Icon will be taking cruisers on 7 night Eastern and Western itineraries, with each including a stop at Perfect Day at CoCoCay.

Read moreIcon of the Seas sneak peek: Inside Royal Caribbean's next new ship

The demand for this ship from it’s initial launch has not slowed down. 

Harmony of the Seas

While not the newest ship in the fleet, Harmony of the Seas is a favorite among families and couples.

Many cruisers say “Harmony feels like home”, yet they can’t explain why. From ziplining across the Boardwalk, to catching Grease in the main theater, Harmony continues to be a fleetwide favorite. 

Read moreTrying out the free activities on Harmony of the Seas

Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas docked

Allure of the Seas will be cruising 3- and 4-night Bahamas itineraries from Port Canaveral. This will be the first time an Oasis class ship will be visiting Perfect Day at CoCoCay on short cruises, which has driven the demand for it even higher.

The fact that this ship has yet to be amplified also keeps pricing a little lower than other in it’s class. 

Freedom of the Seas

Freedom of the Seas aerial drone

Next on the list is Freedom of the Seas. This amplified Freedom class ship continues to be in high demand sailing 3- and 4- night itineraries from Miami. Waterslides, mini golf, a Flowrider and ice shows make this ship perfect for a weekend family getaway. 

Read moreGuide to weekend cruises

Ovation of the Seas

For the bucket list Alaska cruise, Ovation of the Seas is the ship of choice for cruisers. This ship offers the Northstar, which gives epic views of glaciers and beyond during your cruise. On sea days you can enjoy iFly skydiving, or enjoy bumper cars in the Sea Plex. 

Read more50 First Time Alaska cruise tips

No matter what ship you sail on, Royal Caribbean has something for everyone. From the more laid back Radiance Class ships that can sail to smaller and more unique ports of call, to the mega Oasis and Quantum class ships offering non stop thrills and fun you are sure to have an epic family vacation. 

Planning a cruise? Start here:

Top 5 things to look for in a good travel agent for your cruise vacation

07 Aug 2020

One of my top pieces of advice for any cruiser is to use a good travel agent, and the key word there is "good".

A reader recently asked me how do you find a good travel agent, so here are the top five things to look for in a good travel agent.

Ultimately, you are looking for someone that works well with you.  There are a lot of travel agents out there, and the key is to find one that not only takes payments and other requests, but works in a manner that you are expecting.

No fees

The one deal-breaker for me with any travel agent is no service fees for their services.

Travel agencies are paid by Royal Caribbean (and all cruise lines) a commission, and that is baked into the cruise fare. There is no additional cost to you for using a travel agent.

Some agencies will charge change fees or service fees when you make changes to the reservation, and frankly, I do not believe that is warranted.

Be sure to ask any travel agent if they charge any fees for their services before working with them.

How responsive are they?

As I said, a good travel agent is one that jives with your expectations, and the key is knowing what to expect in their turnaround time.

No travel agent is available 24 hours a day to handle requests, but it is fair to ask an agent on average what kind of processing time is realistic to expect.

It is important to get a sense of on average of how quickly they will make changes after requesting. Whether that's 24 hours, 48 hours or a week, make sure you are on the same page with the agent in timing to avoid frustrations later.

Dedicated agent or round-robin?

A good question to ask is if you will be assigned a specific agent, or will be taken care of by the next available agent.

Each agency works differently and there are benefits to both approaches.

A dedicated agent allows for a more personal relationship where they can get to know your preferences and needs and that has the potential to make the booking process easier and simpler since they really know you.

A round-robin agency means you have the advantage of getting serviced without relying on just one person's schedule.

Experience working with Royal Caribbean

A good question to ask a travel agent before working with them is their background working with Royal Caribbean.

No travel agent can have expert-level experience with every cruise line or destination, but it is nice to hear how well they know "the system."

Royal Caribbean has many nuances, and the more experience an agent has, the more confidence you can have that they will take good care of you.

In addition to the agent side of things, it is also nice to hear if they like to cruise with Royal Caribbean on their own.  A good working knowledge of the guest and service side of the cruise line is a great asset with any agent.

These days with cruise cancellations, future cruise credit changes and a slew of other new policies, rules and changes, having a good agent that knows the ins and outs of Royal Caribbean is a tremendous asset.

Price changes

Perhaps one of the most useful and commonly used services provided by a travel agent is pricing and re-pricing cruise fares.

You should ask what to expect in terms of the repricing process when there is a price change.

Does the agent proactively check for price drops? Is it all up to you to find lower prices? If you do find a lower price, what is the best way to request a change?

There are no right or wrong answers to this, just a question of what works for you.

Top things you didn't know travel agents can do for your cruise vacation

15 Jun 2020

For anyone new to a cruise vacation, there are plenty of options to consider, and not all of them are super obvious.  When it comes to travel agents, a lot of readers are surprised to hear that how important they can be for just about anyone.

The travel agent industry has changed a lot over the years, and while other sectors of travel have seen a fundamental shift in booking things on your own, the cruise industry leans heavily on travel agents because cruise vacations are not "a dime a dozen".

A good travel agent provides so much value and service, and they are an invaluable component to many seasoned cruisers.

You might be surprised to learn a few very important things about using a travel agent, and how they can greatly benefit your vacation.

They cost you nothing extra

Before I talk about any other benefit a travel agent provides, you should know any good travel agent charges you absolutely nothing extra for their services.

Travel agents are paid a commission by the cruise line, which comes out of the cruise line's bottom line, and not charged to you.

When you book a cruise, make changes, re-price and cancel a cruise, these are all activities that the agency provides for no charge.

If you run across an agency that does change fees, I would recommend challenging them on it or simply taking your business elsewhere.

Travel agents can get access to lower cruise prices

In addition to the prices of a cruise you see online, travel agents have access to a variety of other ways to save their clients money.

Many people mistakenly believe travel agents are just middle men and women, who take your information and book the same cruise for the same price you can see online.

It is not unusual for travel agents to discover special group rates that have lower pricing, lower pricing based on residency or occupation, or even special rates offered to a consortia of travel agencies .

Individual agencies may have groups set up for specific sailings, and there is no reason they cannot add you to that group and take advantage of lower prices.

In short, there are a lot of ways a travel agent can get you a lower price than you can find online.  While they cannot always get you a lower price, they have access to far more opportunities to save you money than booking on your own.

Travel agents can reprice when there is a price drop

One of my favorite things a good travel agent can do is take advantage of a price drop and save you money.

For residents of certain countries (United States, Canada, select Caribbean countries, et al), if you are before final payment date, you can re-price your cruise if the price goes down. This entails contacting Royal Caribbean to re-price the booking, and a travel agent can do it all for you.

Not only can they save you time by doing this, some agents will periodically check on their client's bookings if there is a new sale and see if they can get their clients a better rate.

Travel agents can book casino rates

If you gamble enough in Royal Caribbean's Casino Royale, you can might be eligible for significant cruise fare discounts through the Casino Royale program.  Travel agents can book most of these rates for you.

By booking with a travel agent, you can take advantage of the great service they provide, as well as the lower rates.  It is win-win.

Create a group for your friends and family

If a cruise vacation for your family, friends, high school reunion or any other group sounds like a great idea, your first step should be to work with a travel agent.

A travel agent can set up a group with Royal Caribbean that can possibly save money, or get you special perks back.  Moreover, the travel agent can handle the logistical issues of payments, price adjustments and answering common questions.

You love your family, and enjoy spending time with your friends, but reminding Aunt Kathy to make final payment or figuring out if your bestie's 7 year old son needs a passport is not something you need or should be worried about.  A travel agent can handle all of that for you, for no extra cost.

Provide help when there are issues

If I did not think it would be extremely gaudy, I would highlight and add red siren gifs to this point, because I think it is the most important thing a travel agent does that many cruisers are completely unaware of when deciding on using an agent or not.

In these days of policy changes, future cruise credits, and fear of what may come tomorrow, a travel agent is invaluable because they are the ones that will spend hours and hours with the cruise line to sort out these issues.

Even if there is not a global health crisis, things happen on a cruise. Errors in a reservation, mechanical issues in a stateroom, hurricanes and a great deal of other unforeseen situations can occur.  If they do, having a travel agent means you have someone in your corner fighting for you, and taking care of the details.

They are the person that goes back and forth with Royal Caribbean on your behalf, offers options to you, and more.

With the global cruise suspensions, travel agents can help make sense of the refunds you get back, make requests for refunds or future cruise credits, and more. It is not uncommon for the hold times with the cruise line to take a very long time, but a travel agent can be the one dealing with that.

During hurricane season, a travel agent can assist if you vacation is impacted by changing flight plans or excursions.

Set up payment plans

One of the most requested options from anyone booking a cruise is a way to pay off the cruise over time, and travel agents can take payments along the way leading up to your final payment date.

Not only does this save you from not having to call in to make a payment, but they can do it automatically for you.

Royal Caribbean offering travel agent community new support program to assist with COVID-19 impact

31 Mar 2020

Royal Caribbean announced today it is creating RCL Cares to show support of the travel agent community that aims to assist thousands of travel professionals in the U.S., Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories dealing with the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis.  

RCL Cares will roll out in a few days, and offer variety of services to help educate travel partners as they navigate the myriad of government benefits, including those in the newly signed U.S. economic relief measure—the CARES Act.

These services will include one-on-one assistance and access to key resources and the latest information pertaining to recovery benefits available under the act.

Travel partners can find educational material about the new law beginning today, and they will soon have the opportunity to receive more assistance through a resource desk the company is setting up. The program will not provide legal advice.

The sales teams from Azamara, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Silversea will guide travel advisors through the information about the CARES Act as they consider their options for economic relief. 

Travel professionals can get started with RCL Cares at, where they can access highlights of the CARES Act, FAQs, Small Business Association resources and tips. The support program will introduce new services and tools in the near future to continue helping travel partners during this difficult time.

Royal Caribbean promises to protect travel agent commissions on deferred cruises from coronavirus concerns

10 Mar 2020

Royal Caribbean has told its travel agents any cruises that are canceled and converted to a future cruise credit will have their commission protected on both the canceled booking and the future reservation where the FCC is redeemed.

Royal Caribbean made headlines when it announced a "Cruise with Confidence" policy to ensure passengers worried about the Coronavirus outbreak will have far more flexibility in being able to cancel up to 48 hours before the cruise. However, this policy created a cash flow issue for travel agents, whom would have their commissions deferred until the passenger actually went on a sailing.

Traditionally, when someone books a Royal Caribbean (and most cruise lines) cruise with a travel agent, the agent receives the commission once the passenger actually goes on the cruise.  If the passengers would cancel and take a future cruise credit, the agent would not be paid by the cruise line until the subsequent cruise was taken.

After doing some rethinking, Royal Caribbean changed their policy so that guests who take advantage of the Cruise with Confidence program and are opting for a Future Cruise Credit in the full amount paid, will have earned commission to the travel agent protected on both the canceled booking and the future reservation where the FCC is redeemed. 

Royal Caribbean announces its 2018 travel partners of the year

23 Jan 2019

Royal Caribbean announced today its 17 top-performing travel advisors for the 2018 Travel Partners of the Year Awards of North America and Puerto Rico. 

The winners for the coveted awards include 2017’s Chairman’s Award recipient, Cruise Planners – an American Express Travel Representative, securing the coveted spot once again; Expedia Group, chosen for the President’s Award, and first-time honorees throughout North America: Cruises & Tours Unlimited (Southeast Partner of the Year), Magical Vacation Planner (Central Partner of the Year), MEI Travel (West Partner of the Year) and The Travel Agent Next Door (Canada Partner of the Year).

“Each year it is an honor to recognize our partners who have consistently shined with their skills, tremendous knowledge and passion for Royal Caribbean,” said Vicki Freed, senior vice president, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Royal Caribbean International. “As we gear up for another memorable year with the May 2019 opening of our new Perfect Day at CocoCay private island in The Bahamas, it is exciting to see a mix of new and familiar faces in our lineup of winners. This not only shows the strength among our longtime advisors but also the great growth we continue to see in the industry overall. We thank the travel advisor community for their support, and many congratulations to our 2018 winners.”

The 2018 Royal Caribbean Travel Partners of the Year: (*First-time winner)

Chairman's Award for Overall Achievement: Cruise Planners – an American Express Travel Representative

President's Award for Overall Achievement: Expedia Group

New to Cruise Partner of the Year: World Travel Holdings

Southeast Partner of the Year: Cruises & Tours Unlimited*

Northeast Partner of the Year: Crown Cruise Vacations

Central Partner of the Year: Magical Vacation Planner*

West Partner of the Year: MEI Travel*

Canada Partner of the Year: The Travel Agent Next Door*

Home-Based Partner of the Year: CruiseOne/Dream Vacations and Cruises Inc.

Online Partner of the Year: WMPH

Consortia Partner of the Year: Ensemble Travel Group

Corporate Incentive Partner of the Year: Buy the Sea

Host Agency Partner of the Year: Nexion Travel Group

Marketing Partner of the Year: ICE Enterprise

Top Overall Producer – Puerto Rico: A & A Tours Network

Top Independent Producer – Puerto Rico: Travel Planners Inc/Expedia CentrodeCruceros

Automation Partner of the Year: Vacations To Go

Royal Caribbean announces policy to protect full value of Future Cruise Certificates for travel professionals

13 Mar 2018

Royal Caribbean announced it has reevaluated its commissions structure for Future Cruise Certificates.

SVP Sales and Trade Support & Service Royal Caribbean International Vicki Freed announced to its travel partners that the cruise line is implementing a permanent policy to ensure travel professionals will receive the full value of the booking's commission when clients redeem their Future Cruise Certificates. 

Effective April 1st, 2018 and beyond, travel professionals that have a client redeem a Future Cruise Certificate will receive the full value of that booking’s commission.

According to Freed, the change came about as a result of last year's hurricanes that impacted so many reservations.  Because of this, Royal Caribbean protected the full value of commissions on bookings which included the redemption of a hurricane related Future Cruise Certificate.

Royal Caribbean honors travel partners of the year for 2017

23 Jan 2018

Royal Caribbean celebrated its valued travel agent community with its annual Travel Partners of the Year Awards for North America.

The awards recognize travel agencies that do show a commitment to selling Royal Caribbean cruises, and this year's accolades recognized more than 10 top performers.

“These are extremely exciting times for the cruise industry – cruise lines and travel partners alike. The sky’s the limit at Royal Caribbean, and the strong performance we’ve seen is thanks in large part to our valued travel professionals and their incredible knowledge when it comes to planning inspiring vacations on our ships,” said Vicki Freed, senior vice president, Sales, Trade Support and Service, Royal Caribbean International. “I’m very proud to honor these experts who consistently work with us and continue to see success with their businesses. Congratulations to the returning and first-time Travel Partners of the Year award recipients.”

Royal Caribbean’s 2017 Travel Partners of the Year winners are as follows:

Chairman's Award for Overall Achievement     
Cruise Planners – an American Express Travel Representative

President's Award for Overall Achievement     
Expedia CruiseShipCenters

National Account Partner of the Year               
World Travel Holdings

Host Agency Partner of the Year                       
Travel Planners International

New-to-Cruise Partner of the Year                    
International Cruise & Excursions, Inc. (ICE) *First-time winner

Home-Based Partner of the Year                       
CruiseOne, Dream Vacations & Cruises Inc. *First-time winner

Online Partner of the Year                         

Rising Star Partner of the Year                          
Cruises-N-More *First-time winner

Consortia Partner of the Year                            

Corporate Incentive Partner of the Year          
Buy the Sea

Marketing Partner of the Year                           
Travel Leaders Network

Southeast Partner of the Year                           
Tourico Holidays *First-time winner

Northeast Partner of the Year                            
Autism on the Seas

Central Partner of the Year                                
KHM Travel Group

West Partner of the Year                                    
Morris Murdock

Canada Partner of the Year                                
Maritime Travel – LeGrow’s Travel *First-time winner

10 Secrets Royal Caribbean travel agents wish you knew

23 Jan 2018

While the word, "secret" usually refers to a bit of information that is supposed to be kept under wraps, when it comes to Royal Caribbean cruises, a secret is really just a lesser-known tidbit or trick that many others may not be aware of yet.  These "secrets" are really about improving and enhancing your cruise experience, and we love to share tips on this blog.

There are many wonderful travel agents that specialize in Royal Caribbean.  If you have read other posts on the blog, you might be aware that I use MEI-Travel for booking all of my Royal Caribbean cruises, and I can personally attest that they are fantastic!

If there is one suggestion I give to first time cruisers above all else, it is to use a travel agent to plan their Royal Caribbean cruise.  Many cruisers are unaware that the services provided by many good travel agents are 100% free of charge.  They are paid a commission from Royal Caribbean, and there is no extra cost to you for their services.

Since many first time cruisers are often surprised to hear that a travel agent is free to use, it got me thinking what other helpful bits of information might Royal Caribbean travel agents wish you knew about? My friends at MEI Travel helped come up with a list of suggestions.

1. Many travel agents are free to use  

Many travel agencies do not charge you a fee for their services, because Royal Caribbean pays them a commission. This means there are no cancellation or change fees charged by the travel agent. 

It should be noted that some travel agencies do charge fees to their clients, although it is not the norm.  Be sure to inquire about any fees for using a travel agency prior to working with them.

2. Travel agents specialize and focus on Royal Caribbean

Did you know a good travel agent that specializes in Royal Caribbean can work with you every step of the way, not just when you book the cruise?

Prices can change many times, but a good travel agent is willing to work with you to watch for discounts when you book, and keep track of small changes that can benefit you. Perhaps they can save you some money, or offer you a means of upgrading.  

3. Travel agents will sit on hold with Royal Caribbean so you can watch Alf

Everyone still watches Alf, right?

In all seriousness, one of the best reasons to use a travel agent is they will save you time.  They will be the ones to sit on hold with Royal Caribbean and work with the cruise line to sort out any issues, questions, or discrepancies.

This means you do not have to, and that results in more time for you to do something...anything else!

4. You get one person to work with instead of someone different every time you call

Don't you hate it when you have to explain the backstory of your current issue to someone each time you call?

When you use a travel agent, you get an agent who works with you from start to finish.  This means they are aware of your needs, remember the reasons why you chose what you booked, and are locked into assisting you with your cruise plans.

5. Travel agents can help pick out shore excursions

Often we associate travel agents with just being able to help plan our cruise and onboard experience, but travel agents are a great resource on shore excursions too. 

Just like you, travel agents take cruises and have visited many of the ports you may be cruising to.  Moreover, they are not just aware of what Royal Caribbean offers, but also third party options.  They can research the options in port and assist in picking out the perfect plans.

6. Gifts of appreciation

Do you remember the Stevie Wonder song, "I just called to say I love you"? Travel agents love to show their appreciation for your business, and that often comes in the form of small gifts.

It is great to walk into your stateroom and see a thank you note, a little extra onboard credit for spending onboard, or bottle of wine.  For travel agents, they want you not to just book one cruise with them, but many more.  So they work very hard to ensure you have a great cruise, and want you to know they appreciate your business.

7. They can help you arrange groups

If you are thinking of taking a Royal Caribbean cruise with friends, family, coworkers, high school classmates, random people from the internet, or anyone else and need to get a few cabins together for a group, then you really want to use a travel agent.

Organizing a group is no simple task.  Everyone has their own needs, and by working with a travel agent, the agent can assist everyone in the group take care of stateroom choices, prices, payments and answering the usual first time cruise questions.  This means you can focus on getting everyone excited for the cruise itself!

8. A travel agent is there to fight for you if something goes wrong

Of all the benefits a travel agent provides, this might be the least known, yet most important benefit of using a travel agency.  If you encounter a problem, either before or during your cruise, a good travel agent will be the one to contact Royal Caribbean and not only rectify the issue but make things right again.

Unfortunately mistakes can occur before or during a vacation.  It does not happen very often, but occasionally an error occurs that is not your fault.  If that occurs, a travel agent is the one to sort it all out and get you back on track.  Equally important, they are great advocates for you to be reimbursed for the inconvenience, especially when the fault is with the cruise line. 

9. Travel agents are trained and educated about Royal Caribbean (all the time)

A really common excuse for not using a travel agent is, "Can't I just do it myself?".  Of course you can, but travel agents spend a lot of time learning about all aspects of a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Beyond being knowledgeable about the basics of cruising, they take tours of the ships to learn what makes each ship unique.  In addition, they are educated in what other cruise lines offer, so they can better inform you as to how Royal Caribbean stacks up against its competitors. Essentially, they never stop learning about cruising, and that results in being able to provide you an informed and complete look at all of your options.

10. They learn what you like

A good Royal Caribbean travel agent works with you cruise after cruise, and they learn about what you prefer on a cruise.  They will know your likes, dislikes and what is important to you when it comes to making vacation plans.

The benefit to you in all of this is it means a faster and simpler booking process.  Unlike when you call into a call center and have to explain everything to them, your travel agent already knows you and remembers what kind of stateroom categories you tend to book, which dining rotation your family enjoys, etc. Like so many of the other reasons to book a travel agent listed earlier in this post, the result is time saved and value added for you!

Bonus secret: You can transfer your reservation to a travel agent within 60 days of booking

Did you read all of this and realize you now want to transfer the cruise reservation you made directly with Royal Caribbean to a travel agent?  Good news, there may be time for you to do so!

Anyone can transfer a Royal Caribbean cruise reservation to a travel agent as long as you are within 60 days of the initial booking. 

By transferring the reservation to a travel agent, you are entitled to all the same service outlined in this post, and the agent can work with you to double check the price of your cruise reservation and keep track of price changes.

Your thoughts

Have you used a travel agent before?  Are you thinking of using a travel agent, but still have questions? Share your experiences or concerns in the comments!

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