ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- The world's largest agency consortium said it dropped the world's largest cruise line from its list of preferred suppliers because Carnival Cruise Lines just didn't want to get involved. president Dick Knodt said the decision was made during a "typical" review of supplier contracts at the end of the year.

Looking back on Carnival's presence at's annual conference and during its "Engagements" marketing campaign, Knodt said Carnival's participation was "underwhelming."

"We just really want people to participate in our programs," Knodt added. "And Carnival, as the biggest kid on the block, showed hesitancy to get involved."

Carnival executives could not be reached for comment, but an e-mail statement from president Bob Dickinson said the line "respects"'s decision.

"Perhaps one of the reasons we didn't find our relationship too effective is because they had a preferred-supplier relationship with all major cruise lines," Dickinson said, adding, "One wonders what the term 'preferred' meant."

Knodt said that as the largest agency consortium, with more than 9,000 locations, the group must cast its preferreds net pretty wide in order to appeal to its base.

"Being big has challenges. We have to give our members the products they want," Knodt said. "We have competition from other travel marketing organizations. ... Those companies have all of those cruise lines [as preferreds]."

Knodt said will continue to work with other cruise lines and with several within the Carnival Corp. family.

And Carnival will continue to work with top-producing agencies within the fold, he said.

The consortium, which will roll out a new list of suppliers and technology advancements this week, will not renew supplier contracts with a couple of other "small" companies, Knodt said.


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