The move to 5% commission by leading cruise operator Carnival UK earlier this year is unlikely to set the standard for the sector as a whole, according to a leading rival.
Addressing delegates at the TTA Worldchoice conference at the weekend by video, Jo Rzymowska, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s UK general manager, vowed to work closely with partners on future terms.
But she added: “It’s very unlikely that the cruise industry will end up in a place of 5% commission across the board.
“There are still an awful lot of people to convert to cruising and the best, most effective channel is to work with our travel agent partners.”
The comment was the first indication that Royal Caribbean does not intend to follow Carnival UK, the parent of P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Cunard, to 5%.
Speaking last week at a Question Time event for Travel Weekly sister title Travolution, Mike Greenacre, managing director of The Co-operative Travel Group, said: “In overall terms the move has still got lots of positives.
“I think other cruise operators will follow suit. It revolves around the ability of the cruise lines to manage aggressive discounting. If they let that run free the consequence will be that people will stop selling cruise holidays.
“It’s early days. We need to revisit the model. We need to see the opportunities that have come out of it. We also need to see the threats and explore all the weaknesses of the first concept.”
Giles Hawke, Carnival UK sales director, said: “The intention wasn’t for agents to lose out.”