Agents have been praised for their quick response to the news that Carnival Cruise Line’s latest ship will sale in the Mediterranean.
The launch of Carnival Vista will mark Carnival’s return to Europe after the line pulled out last year.
Iain Baillie, managing director for UK sales, said agents were already promoting the ship and making bookings.
He said: “We have had an incredible response from the UK travel trade on our return back to Europe and already agents are promoting and making bookings for our brand new ship Carnival Vista.
“Agents have complimented the new innovation onboard such as SkyRide and the Imax theatre and love how the ship connects guests even closer to the ocean with the increased outdoor venues.
“Speaking to agents this week, they have advised that the European destinations we are visiting and choice of durations are been well received by their customers and that our value pricing is positioned extremely well.
“We are extremely impressed with the level of support we have received to date, and full credit goes to the travel agents for moving so quickly on promotion for Carnival Vista.”
Speaking after the launch event in London, Phil Evans, managing director at Cruise Nation, agreed that the opportunities provided through Vista sailing out of the UK were massive.
Evans said: “I think it is the great news that Carnival will be returning to Mediterranean waters in 2016.
“Cruise Nation grew its Carnival business by more than 500% in 2014 based mainly on Caribbean itineraries, so we have an established customer base that will appreciate the option to experience the fun of a Carnival cruise much closer to home on their latest and most innovative ship to date.”
The line also has applauded the efforts of agents who switch sold customers to Caribbean sailings when the line pulled out of Europe in 2014.
Adolfo Perez, vice president of new market and new product marketing, said the decision to return to Europe in 2016 with new ship Carnival Vista was a result of the line constantly re-evaluating competition, capacity and expected demand, adding that he believed there was a huge opportunity ahead for UK agents.
He said: “We have a ship being built in Europe and that makes our decision easier because it will already be there. The UK market has been doing very well for us and the work done there has been amazing, given our size and the fact we have no ships deployed there.
“Agents have really supported the Carnival brand. Not only did our team find new agent partners who sold more long-haul, but we also worked with existing partners to convert them to sell long-haul through us. I’m really confident in the UK trade and our UK team.”
While he wouldn’t commit to a long stint in Europe, Perez said he couldn’t see a reason why the line wouldn’t remain in the Med if Carnival Vista’s 2016 sailings sold well.
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