A leading cruise specialist is looking to fight Costa Cruises’ decision to become direct-sell only in the UK.

Phil Evans (pictured with staff), managing director of Cruise Nation, has been granted his request for a meeting with the senior management team at Costa Cruises following today’s announcement that the line will cut out the trade.

Cruise Nation is Costa Cruises’ biggest selling agent in the UK.

The line said it was now changing its strategy in response to “current and anticipated shifts in the UK consumer market”.

Evans said: “I can’t understand the decision and I have asked for this meeting because I need them to make me understand the rationale behind it.

“Price in the UK is stronger for Costa than some other markets so it can’t be down to price.

“I’ve told Costa I will fly anywhere for this meeting and they’ve agreed to meet. The trade wasn’t consulted on this so it came as a real surprise.

“It makes you realise that any company can go direct-sell at any time and that’s a scary prospect.”

In a statement Costa confirmed their decision to introduce “a different business model in the UK”.

The Carnival Corporation brand said: “Costa Cruises confirm that we are introducing a different business model in the UK that will see all passenger bookings made directly through our call centre and online sales platform.

“This transition is intended to reflect the evolving state of the UK market, centralising UK operations through a single, dedicated team based in Costa head office in Genoa.

“All 2016 bookings made by British travel agents will be unaffected and will be managed by those agencies with the full support of the Costa Cruises customer service team.”

As a result of the change, Shaun Lyons, the brand’s only rep in the UK, has been made redundant.