MIAMI -- Carnival
Cruise Lines is putting its foot down.
cruise giant is preventing travel agents and Web retailers from
promoting group rates to individuals.
In one recent case,
the line removed a listing from a Web site advertising space on a
sold-out sailing, a three-day cruise on the Fascination.
The site, CruiseCompete.com, offers space on sailings that are
otherwise sold out by advertising for agents who have available
group space on those dates.
Carnivals vice president of marketing planning, said ads promoting
group prices to individuals are disruptive to Carnivals
Carnival is running a
tighter ship when it comes to groups. Since last fall, the line has
been quietly cutting back on the amount of group space it doles out
to large retailers.
Group space is
typically allocated to agents for specific affinity groups or as
speculative space, which the retailer can fill with multiple
individual or small-group bookings.
As cabin prices
rise closer to the departure date, agents with group space have a
Carnivals senior vice president of sales and marketing, said the
line is trying to better manage its inventory and control the
number of people who take space simply for a pricing
emphasized that Carnival is still in the groups business and is
even expecting a slight increase in the overall group
Thornton noted that
in the downturn following 9/11, some of these policies loosened up
and spec group space was something all of us were
demand is rising and not as much new capacity is coming on line. In
that environment, Thornton said lots of companies will want to
maintain better control of their inventory.
I think youll see
this thing flow back with some tighter controls on spec group
space, he added.
Princess, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises, which allow agents to
advertise group prices, said their group policies havent
But with rising
rates and little new capacity, group space could become a hot
Sibille, owner of Crowns Adventures at Sea in New Orleans, said,
Right now, if you have inventory, youre sitting on a gold
reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].