As I warned you several months ago in my article Devaluing the Travel Agent, booking through your friends or family who recently signed up to be a travel agent without any training can be a huge mistake.
These companies are not traditional agencies built on years of experience of their agents. At our agency, we have several agents who have been in the business 15+ years. You will not find that in a Multi-Level Marketing Travel agency or in an host agency that just gives out business card to anyone who will sign up. They do not care about service or expertise and now proving that their business model is truly flawed.
The latest company with this type of business model to fail is Joystar. It appears that Carnival is no longer taking bookings from Joystar and Joystar appears to be in lawsuits with their agents for not paying them their commissions. When you are booking cruises do not book with a relative just because they recently signed up to be an agent (this is probably the same relative who was trying to sell you candles last month)…a lot of these non-trained “agents” call us for advice when they are trying to book their friends and family…it is not our job, they are supposed to be a travel agent, and a lot of their questions are very basic because they have never even been on a cruise themselves.
When you book a cruise, ask the agent how long they have been in business, who owns them, and how long has that agent been in the business. It is very easy to find awesome agents who have been in the travel business 3+ years. We have a whole staff of them.
Do not trust your family vacation and hard earned money to your brother just because he recently filled out a form and paid $50 to be a travel agent. Find a professional and you will be in much better hands!