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-   -   Carnival cruise and travel agents - FYI (https://www.fodors.com/community/cruises/carnival-cruise-and-travel-agents-fyi-942461/)

Dayenu Jul 11th, 2012 04:50 PM

Carnival cruise and travel agents - FYI
 
There is a lot of chatter on Cruise Critic about Carnival's new rules - they no longer allow travel agents to give passengers "perks" like on-board credits.

I don't know all details, sorry, just want to ask - can they do it? Can they control travel agencies so much as to check if they offer a bottle of wine in the cabin?

Also, will other cruise lines follow this rule? Princess is in the same corporation.

doug_stallings Jul 11th, 2012 07:13 PM

Typically, cruise lines are not allowing travel agents to refund part of their commissions to clients in the form of discounts. That is completely allowed. I'm not sure of the rest. I'd like to read more about it.

AAFrequentFlyer Jul 12th, 2012 05:53 AM

What if the TA offered a "rebate check" directly to their clients?

Same thing, only different.... :-D

doug_stallings Jul 12th, 2012 07:24 AM

Rebate checks are also prohibited by most cruise lines. But offering onboard credits is usually not. Often the cruise lines themselves offer these incentives to large-scale travel agencies that book a lot of business. What Carnival is trying to curb is discounting below the price offered by the cruise line itself, which is generally prohibited by most agency agreements. Lots of cruise lines have done this over the past few years. But as I said in my original post, I've never heard of a cruise line not allowing an agency to offer a bottle of wine or a free specialty-restaurant meal to a client.

Luv2travel15 Jul 12th, 2012 07:44 AM

Cruise Critic just did a post 3 days ago about the new policy. Here's the link: http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=4899

Here's a brief synopsis of the new policy: "non-cash equivalent items that have a value equal to or less than $25 per passenger.

Among the promotions travel agencies may no longer offer clients are: cash, gas cards, onboard credits, pre-paid gratuities, free or discounted shore excursions, free or discounted insurance protection, free or discounted hotel nights, reduced airfare or air miles, gift cards, third-party cash back offers or anything else that equates to a cost associated with a cruise."

So pretty much no incentives to book w/ travel agencies!

What is allowed are small gift items like tote bags, hats, beach towels, sunglasses, memory books or Carnival Bon Voyage gifts so long as they cost no more than $25 per passenger.

jacketwatch Jul 12th, 2012 08:28 AM

Wow. That seems extreme. Just how does the cruise line monitor this anyway? How can they trace cash, gas cards, gift cards, air miles, etc.

Also why is this being done. Why do they care what the TA's do with their profits? I wonder what will happen with cruise compete? This just nixed practically everything they offered.

AAFrequentFlyer Jul 12th, 2012 08:38 AM

<i> Rebate checks are also prohibited by most cruise lines. </i>

that wasn't my point.

My point is "what if a TA gives you a check/cash?" and you can use it anyway you want?

How will Carnival or any other cruise line find out?

Dayenu Jul 12th, 2012 10:16 AM

I would like to know too, how would the cruise lines know?

What if a TA reserves a cruise and gives a free hotel room instead of a cruise credit?

There must be a way around this with the cruise lines.

jacketwatch Jul 12th, 2012 11:36 AM

I read that article in which it was stated that this is why Carnival cruises are not sold by Costco who discounts them. However CCL owns Princess, HAL and Seabourne which Costco does sell so it seems its just for them and not the others.

Eschew Jul 13th, 2012 03:23 PM

This is old news resurfacing again. It was on the news more than a year ago. Anything worth than $25 would be scrtinized.

So, the discounters are getting smarter. They are packaging things so the "rebate" is hidden. $100 off the cheapest airfare you can book on-line really works out to $100 commission back on the curise for all intend and purpsoes as teh TA doesn't get those kind of discounts on airlines.

Throw in a bottle of wine, $25 on board creidt and it adds up. A set of luggage here and there ...

Anotehr creative one that I have seen is a complimentary shore excursion. They booka shore sxcursion outside the cruise line and everyone who booked through thenm receive the shore excursion as part of the package price.

There are ways to get around it, it is just a matter of how. As to the cruise lines, as long as the fare advertised is not cheaper than their's online, they are happy.

I remember I was booking a futire cruise while I am on board. They ask me if I wanted to notify my TA. I told them who my TA was and she told me that my TA's rate is betetr than what they can give me as promo on baord as my TA has a "group" rate. So she booked it under my TA and it was about $150 less per person than the promo rate that she gave me when we asked about the booking.

At the end of the day, we got $100 pp on board credit from the ship, another $50 pp credit from the TA, a bottle of wine plus the $150 pp lower fare. Not a bad deal.

I soon found out that certain TA's were given group rate to "promo" on a regional basis, and my TA just happened to have "group rate" on that sailing that we were looking for. Now, I always ask my TA which sailing they have group rate before I book. If I can adjust my schedule for a week or two and get much biogger discount, I'll do it.


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