Cruise Line Limits Pay to 10% on Air Fare Portions

NEW YORK -- Carnival Cruise Lines said it no longer will pay override commissions to travel agents on air fares sold in conjunction with cruises.

Instead, the line will pay a straight 10% on air.

Carnival president Bob Dickinson said, "Given the volatile air cost environment, this will enable us to put forth the best possible pricing in the marketplace."

At press time, the change tentatively was scheduled to become effective Jan. 8, a spokeswoman for the line said.

Commissions will be protected for bookings prior to the effective date, according to Carnival.

At the same time, Carnival also changed its new brochures, being sent to agents this month, to list cruise-only pricing.

Previously, the brochures listed prices with air included.

The substantially lower brochure pricing will prevent the "sticker shock" that can deter first-time cruisers from considering a cruise, especially when that price is compared with resort prices that do not include air fare, according to Dickinson.

The proliferation of discount air carriers and frequent flyer miles has reduced the number of air-sea packages agents are booking, Dickinson said.

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