An argument for having a good, old fashioned travel agent’

26 Aug

Royal Caribbean Cruise Liner at night in port ...

An argument for having a good, old fashioned travel agent’

“Here’s an argument for having a good, old fashioned travel agent,” says Fox News.

Indeed, the sad tale of a 89-year old man who broke his hip on a cruise has become a great advertisement for the importance of using a travel agent.

Dodge Melkonian and his wife Jill sailed off on an Azamara cruise by Royal Caribbean cruise using credit from a former trip canceled by a fire. Since they did not pay for the cruise, they could not buy the extended medical insurance that might have helped them.

So when Melkonian broke his hip in the waters off Turkey, the cruise line dropped them at the nearest facility, a government hospital whose care the couple did not trust, and in which they allege no one spoke English.

Seven hours later, the couple, too frightened to have the surgery done where they were, still had gotten little help from Royal Caribbean, they say. But their travel agent, Tammy Lavente, was on the case.

Lavente called on a local tour guide to be her on-site hands-on representative.

He acted as translator; he arranged for an ambulance to transport the couple to a private hospital; he contacted the American Embassy. He even donated his own blood for a transfusion.

Lavente is now working on legislation to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Royal Caribbean Cruises said in a statement that it “has been working closely with Mr. & Mrs. Melkonian. We helped arrange transportation via ambulance to the closest area hospital. Once ashore, we worked closely with the travel insurance provider, as they have the expertise to deal with local authorities and medical facilities,” and “one of our Care Team Specialists is still in contacted with them today.”

In the end, a number of reports pointed out, there is nothing like having a good travel agent when things go wrong.

By Cheryl Rosen

Monday, August 26, 2013



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