New Carnival Policy Takes Pricing Power from Agencies

by  Amber Nolan | Jul 27, 2010
Carnival Paradise
Carnival Paradise / Photo courtesy of the cruise line

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Finding an exclusive cruise deal will soon become even more of a challenge – if you’re booking a Carnival cruise. The industry giant revealed a new pricing policy that combats agency rebating by requiring that only Carnival-approved rates be used. For cruisers, this means that as of August 1 (when the policy goes into effect), shopping around for a lower rate will be pointless ? every agency’s pricing will be the same (but they will retain a small bargaining chip in the form of non-cash offers).

The current policy only requires approval for prices advertised in the mass media, as well as rates published by travel agencies. This leaves a loophole for special discounts to be granted in one-on-one conversations held in person, by e-mail, or over the phone. Carnival’s new regulations will put an end to this, but will continue to permit gifts, services, and amenities (non-cash offers) as part of a formal sale without approval, as long as the total value does not exceed $25. However, onboard credits and gift cards will require permission from Carnival before travel partners can offer these perks to consumers. In other words: the party's over for cruise agencies.

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