Recommend May 2011 - (Page 8)

agent speak consumer speaks for agents My husband, Anthony Epifanio, a Gold member [Royal Caribbean] and I, Roslyn Balan, a Crown & Anchor Society member, were on the Liberty of the Seas in December 2010. While on board we booked a cruise for an April 18, 2011 sailing date on the Majesty of the Seas. The reservationist who took the booking was either not paying attention or not trained properly—she herself stated she was in-training—because she booked it for the wrong date. My husband noticed the error and we went back to her to correct it. She was busy, but assured us she would take care of it and that we didn’t have to wait. While getting ready for the trip, we noticed the confirmation said Sept. 19 not April 18. For three days, we called RCCL to try to get on board the April 18 cruise, but to no avail. We were told there was no more room, however a room did finally appear. We were told it was an upgrade; almost double what we were paying. We offered $200 more and were told verbatim, “No way.” As a result of the error and lack of customer service, our holiday was ruined and we may have to rethink which cruise line we cruise with in the future. Incidentally, our group is composed of us plus 10 other persons, one of whom is a Diamond member and another a Diamond Plus member. We are offended by the $50 credit that RCCL offered us for our next cruise (Sept. 25) on the Allure of the Seas. Since we are booked on that cruise and have been since before we booked what we thought was an April 18 sailing, it is yet more proof that we would never have booked a cruise on the Majesty for one week prior. When the reservationist booked the Majesty cruise she took our travel agent’s contact information and assured us that the agent would be credited for the new booking. If our travel agent had booked the trip in the first place, this would have never happened. We are avid cruisers, and my daughter, Lorri Robbins, who happens to be the publisher of Recommend, has always told us to never book on board, because the cruise lines have a tendency to stiff agents. However, because of our loyalty to RCCL, I felt that loyalty would be reciprocated. (My daughter is always right.) Roslyn Balan Responses, opinions and comments are welcome at Recommend reserves the right to edit letters submitted to Agent Speak. 8 may 2011 I editor’s notes If you’re gearing up for your summer vacation bookings, we’ve got a world of opportunities for you in this month’s issue—from golf vacations in Latin and North America, Europe and the Caribbean, to information on new river cruise ships and vacation choices in this month’s issue. We mention these two niche features specifically because it occurred to us that both of these travel products offer such unique booking possibilities. Golf vacations, for example, have a spontaneity to them that other vacation applications simply don’t—particularly a domestic or even a Caribbean golf getaway with good pricing that will entice that golf enthusiast client who’s been dreaming all winter of getting out on a challenging course. And with the Europe golf packages, you’re looking at a vacation deal that lends itself perfectly to multiple bookings, whether it be a group of golfing buddies or a family trip when the wife, or in the case of a golf vacation—the husband—says, “You want a golf vacation, that’s fine, but you’re not going without the rest of us.” In the case of our two river cruise features—one dealing with our onboard review of the Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s S.S. Antoinette, and the other focusing on exotic river cruising in Asia highlighting Pandaw Cruises—we were struck by the way that product has grown in such a short period of time, primarily because of extensive marketing efforts on the part of the cruise companies. But more importantly, the cruise companies’ efforts to differentiate their products and broaden their appeal to the different market segments. Uniworld, in particular—part of the Travel Corporation, which also owns Insight Vacations, Trafalgar and Red Carnation Hotels—is putting its very specific signature on its ships, by incorporating Red Carnation’s elegant boutique style, even on its upcoming new ship on the Mekong in January 2012. That ship is being built for them by Pandaw Cruises and will offer the same colonial style look of the other Pandaw ships, including the one being leased by Viking River Cruises on the Mekong. Pandaw is also building a ship for Avalon Waterways that will debut in 2012, underscoring the popularity of Mekong river cruising. So popular, in fact, Viking sold out its initial sailings on the Mekong in just a few short weeks. That popularity has now expanded to Pandaw Cruises, whose exposure to U.S. and Canadian passengers thanks to the marketing efforts of U.S.-based river cruise companies, is giving them a stand-alone identity, and that product recognition has come on them quite quickly and will grow even more as Uniworld and Avalon Waterways kick off their Mekong promotions. Also, in this issue, we’re giving you a huge collection of up-to-the-minute Mexico destination wedding and honeymoon product with our Mexico Destination Weddings & Honeymoon Planner. You’ll find information on the perfect resort or venue for saying I do, as well as sightseeing options for your client and their guests. corrections In last month’s Hurtigruten’s Trollfjord onboard review, on page 14, we mistakenly wrote that it’s a 250-mile trip from Bergen to Kirkenes. It’s actually a 1,250-mile trip. Also in last month’s issue, in the Savoring Adventure on Small Ship Cruises feature, on page 18, we quoted the founder and president of Orion Expeditions and misspelled her name as Serena Bratton—it’s actually Sarina Bratton. next month It’s that time again—our June issue and we’re bringing you our top destination wedding resorts and top honeymoon resorts in North & Latin America and the Caribbean; and the top honeymoon resorts in Europe, Asia and the South Pacific, as well as Africa and the Middle East. We’re also going to throw in five top honeymoon resorts in Mexico, as well as the top five sexiest cruise shore excursions. And last, but never least, you’ll want to pull out and save our 2011 Brazil Travel Planner. In the meantime, have a great read—Rick Shively

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend May 2011

Editor's Notes/Agent Speak
Hotel Desk: Autograph Collection by Marriott
Tour Talk: Avanti Destinations
10 Amazing Golf Resorts
Dominican Republic Greens
Tee off, Barbados-Style
Teeing Up in Bermuda
Mexico Destination Weddings & Honeymoon Planner
A Quartet of Courses
Portugal & Spain Serve Up a Banquet of Great Golf
Touring the U.K. With Rail Europe
Uniworld's New "Super Ship" Antoinette
Savoring Exotic Asia
Coming Back to Egypt

Recommend May 2011