Travel agents are “critically important” to the world’s biggest cruise company, says Carnival Corporation chief Arnold Donald, who intends to convey that message to Abta’s Travel Convention in October.

Donald, Carnival Corporation’s president and chief executive, said: “It’s critically important to get people on the right ship [because] if people get on the right ship, they can become cruisers for life.

“We’re a product experience. If you’ve never been on a cruise you have a lot of decisions to make – which ship, which tour, what excursions, what cabin, what dining times?

“It needs an expert who knows the options to know what best suits you.

“If you’ve never cruised and think you’ll have a romantic experience, relaxed and quiet with fine dining, and you end up on a contemporary brand with families and kids, the experience won’t be good for you and you’ll think it represents everything about cruising.

“Travel agents are critically important for us, across our brands, and for our industry.”

Donald explained: “[Some] people think a cruise is a cruise is a cruise, or they [just] look at a destination or they grab the best price. A really good agent understands the client. That is what we need. We don’t need more people on our ships. We need more people on the right ship.”

He insisted: “UK agents do a great job for us.”

But he added: “As strong as the UK market is, there are lots of people yet to cruise in the UK.”

Donald will address the Travel Convention, which takes place on October 9-11, in Ponta Delgada, the Azores, during a session on The Future for Cruise.


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