road show recap

Thanks again for participating in our Road Show and Virtual Road Show Conversations and providing such valuable feedback! We look forward to continuing the process and to doing all we can to strengthen our relationship with you. We invite you to select the recap by clicking on each of the conversation buttons and learn about the items discussed, and where we are in terms of follow-up.

newyork roadshow
virtual road show 0616
virtual road show 0625
virtual road show 0625
virtual road show 0813
Port Canaveral Roadshow
Tampa Roadshow
Charleston Roadshow
September 5th Virtual Roadshow
Miami Roadshow
Long Beach Roadshow
Dallas Roadshow

new york conversation

you said...

We listened

Your fare codes are too confusing and make it difficult for us to sell Carnival.

Our revenue management team is currently working on restructuring our fare codes to make them more simplified. Their goal is to complete this project sometime in the fall. We will keep you posted as more details develop.

I haven't seen my BDM in a long time. Do I even have one?

Every travel agent has access to support from us – either in the form of a BDM or our Trade Engagement team. We actually do this so that we can better focus on building business for agents across the board. Here's how it works – BDM representation starts when your agency reaches production of 50 cabins or more. If you fall below that, our Trade Engagement team will be your contact. They're trained to work with agents on tactics to bump their business up to higher levels. And once you're at a 50+ level, our BDMs are trained to deep dive into more intense sales and marketing methods to keep you on pace and bring you up even higher. It's really a difference in needs – not in support.

I disagree with your notion that those new to the
business don't need a BDM. I think it would be helpful to have someone go through the steps for booking new business with you at least once to show us the ropes.

We agree and are taking steps to ensure that happens. In recent months, we know we've fallen short on our end of this. Moving forward, we're working on doing a better job of identifying new travel agents in our system and having a member of our team reach out to walk through these steps to get you going. Our dedicated Trade Engagement team will do this by reaching out to check in and ensure you are comfortable with the tools you're using from us to build your business.

If I want to put money on a group during weekend hours, I have to wait until Monday to do so. Why I can't I do this in GoCCL.com?

We're working to make GoCCL.com an even better tool so you can do this. In addition, we're opening up our group department on weekends throughout the month of August to test the volume of requests and determine a need to continue this moving forward.

We want more ships out of New York in the summer as well as more diverse itineraries.

The good news is that we recently introduced newer itineraries from New York – three different choices actually - so we definitely have our eye on this market. Now we just need your support to help us keep the momentum going!

Your value-add policy, which is supposed to help agents, is actually restricting me from purchasing a bottle of wine for my clients onboard your ships. The restricted amount for value-adds is $25 but the cost of a bottle of wine on your ships is $25.25.

We weren't aware of that and as promised, we took it back to our food and beverage department and had the cost of that price point of wine changed from $25.25 to $25.

Your new commission structure isn't incentivizing me to book with you. If you want our business, you need to give us more commission.

Changing our commission structure was not an easy decision for Carnival – we had not done it for 10 years, which is very unusual in the cruise industry. Most cruise lines change structures as they increase capacity. It wasn't an easy decision and going back, we wish we would have given agents more notice. We certainly want travel agents to earn with us and are coming up with various ways for you to have incremental earning opportunities such as
special bonus commissions.

Why doesn't your call to action on advertisements lead consumers to travel agents as well?

This is something we 100% agree with you on and we're working to change this with our new fall ad campaign. Stay tuned for more details!

Why isn't there more diversity in your ads?

We'll certainly take your comments to our marketing team – this is something that is important to us at Carnival, so if we're not reflecting enough diversity in our ads, we'll be sure to take a closer look.

Why don't you have any ships sailing from Philadelphia?

There are many factors that go into our itinerary choices and we're just not close enough to that process to be able tell you more today, but we'll certainly take your comments back to our itinerary planning group.

Carnival seems to be at fewer and fewer travel shows these days. Why is that?

We would love to be at as many as we could, but sometimes it comes down to BDM availability and budget control. In recent years, we've controlled our budget more than prior years. And as a result of these conversations, we're looking to re-engage in more of these opportunities.

I was trying to book a promo on GoCCL.com when my computer went down. I called Carnival and they said they couldn't see it.

Our contact center can't see the fare code that you can on GoCCL.com. We are looking into these types of issues so that they can better assist you when this does happen from both a technological standpoint and also an
escalation standpoint to ensure these issues are resolved faster. We think you'll notice changes in this area soon.

Do you think you will add more short cruises from NYC in the future?

We haven't heard of a demand for this before, but if you all think there is one, we'll certainly bring it back to headquarters as an idea!

On a recent holiday cruise I took on Carnival there wasn't any Christmas décor and there were not any turkey options for food. Why is that?

We are developing all new Holiday offerings for the 2014 season. However, currently we do have a Christmas show that plays each cruise for the month of December. We also have caroling in the atrium as snow falls. The kids program offers lots of activities for the holidays also. We do carry whole turkey, which is offered as an entrée one evening and also for carving at the lunch buffets. We can always serve turkey anytime upon request as well.

It's hard to get in and out of the port of New York with a bus. We need priority space to park.

We have taken this issue back to our head of travel logistics and we are working directly with the Yankee Trails team to work through these challenges. Thanks for bring them up.

Do you think you could offer more deals for single travelers or build smaller cabins for them?

In terms of deals, we may look at that promotionally but not broadly. And as for cabin configuration, we don't have any plans underway for this with ship refurbishments or on our newest ship under construction.

Why don't you offer gluten free options onboard?

We do offer gluten free options. If you have a request, please contact our guest services desk and they will be glad to assist you.

Will you loosen your paid search marketing policies in the future? Many of your competitors do.

We are definitely looking at what the competition is doing and experimenting but are comfortable with the policy as it is right now.

Have you considered cruises that visit American ports only?

Because of the Jones Act we're unable to do this type of cruise.

How do we compete with big players like Travelocity when they can offer special promotions?

We are experimenting with a few of the large accounts on some promotional offers on a very short-term basis. If you see anything other than this occurring, please let us know by emailing our ad compliance department at
ad_compliance@carnival.com.

Carnival is contacting my clients with promotional offers. Why are you doing this if you want to support travel agents?

We frequently email all of our past guests but are very specific that if the guest books through a travel agent, we need to have a travel agent "call to action" on the email. And if you want to be familiar with the promotions we're regularly putting out, they are always available on GoCCL.com. From there, you can use those as an opportunity to reach out to your clients.

In the past, I felt like we knew the Carnival executives on a more personal basis. Will we see some of that again? Also, are you considering bringing back a brochure?

We used to host executive weekends at our Miami headquarters but stopped doing so because of low travel agent interest. Today, we host travel agents for business building FAMs called "From Your Home to Ours" and part of that includes a visit from our sales executives.
Regarding the brochure, we're looking into what kind of brochure travel agents across the board would need. Much of the information expires quickly and we've heard different needs in a brochure from different agents. So, we're going to be tackling the possibility of this by finding out more information through detailed surveys with you.

Your "Future Vacation Certificate" program is only available to book onboard, meaning travel agents can't make a commission on the certificate. This used to not be the case.

We no longer offer the certificate program but do offer a Book Onboard program and any guest who is booked with a Travel Agent and decides to book their next cruise onboard will have that onboard booking credited to their Travel Agent enabling their agents to receive the
commission from that booking.

Carnival's call center agents are taking away business from travel agents by going after their clientele.

We have guiding principles for our PVP (Personal Vacation Planner) staff. When a guest calls us, it is part of our standard operating procedure to ask them if they've booked with a travel agent and to do a search to confirm this either way. If they have indeed spoken with one, they are required to tell the guest that we see they are holding a reservation with a travel agent. Sometimes the guest will say they were not aware. We always push it back to the travel agent and are very serious about doing so.

JULY 16 VIRTUAL ROAD SHOW

you said...

We listened

Why doesn't your call to action on advertisements lead consumers to travel agents as well?

This is something we 100% agree with you on and we're working to change this with our new fall ad campaign. We'll be making an announcement in the next two weeks with more details. Stay tuned!

Your competitors have many new ideas on their ships and my clients are responding well to this.

With cruising there is always something for everyone. We are very proud of all of the terrific enhancements that are part of Carnival's Fun Ship 2.0 initiative. We invite you to check GoCCL.com for the latest Ship Inspection schedule and to come onboard a Fun Ship 2.0 ship to check out some of the latest and greatest updates if you haven't seen them already. Keep in mind that Fun Ship 2.0 continues to expand and more features are being announced all the time, so stay tuned.

My clients advised me that Carnival's contact center helped them with a booking after calling Guest Solutions. Why didn't anyone call me?

Our sales contact center staff is trained to ask guests if they are booked with a travel agent and to do a search to confirm this either way. If the guest is holding a reservation in our system with a travel agent (AKA an option), they are required to tell the guest that we see they are holding this reservation with a travel agent and to encourage the guest to return to their travel agent to finalize the booking. These rules are strictly enforced and any Carnival agent will be terminated for not following them. We truly want to research any situations that you may think have not followed this outline, so if you have an example, please send us details at ConsumerSalesFeedback@carnival.com and we will be happy to research and get back to you.

Your pricing for triples, quads, and quints vary greatly within one booking – how do I explain the huge difference?

Rates for triples, quads, and quints vary by sailing and category, based on demand and availability. Our system selects the best price for each individual guest in a cabin to provide the lowest total cabin price based on your desired category and occupancy. This sometimes results in different prices for each guest. However, rest assured, your guests have been provided with the best possible price for their cabin. To simplify the quoting process, Carnival quotes rates as an average rate per person based on the occupancy selected. Average rate quoting saves time (because you only have to quote one per person rate to your clients) and highlights the value of cruising, particularly for families, as the average rate per person typically goes down for higher occupancies. Average rates are only used to simplify the quoting process. Guest confirmations only list the total cabin price you and your clients agreed to.

To assist you in servicing your clients in the event of a partial cancellation (e.g., one guest in a quad cabin is cancelling), Carnival provides the actual per person pricing for each guest in the cabin on all travel partner invoicing. This allows you to determine what amount is to be refunded.

I understand the concern about automation, but I've embraced it. It's much easier and quicker for business. Will there ever be any compensation for those of us that do book online?

This is a great idea and one we will take back. In the meantime, you can get rewarded for automation if you are a member of our Travel Agent Rewards Program. Visit GoCCL.com for more details.

Your onboard entertainment is a little outdated, any chance for a revamp?

Great news! We are currently working on that between our ship dry docks with our Fun Ship 2.0 initiative. Fun Ship 2.0 features different venues of entertainment and music, including DJ IRIE – the official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines, Playlist Productions – featuring full blown musical productions including Latin Nights, The Brits!, and Divas, and the Punchliner Comedy Club with comedians chosen by the curator of comedy, George Lopez.

My client booked onboard (Loyalty Program) and I did not get any credit. Not fair – I understand it is business – but, it's still not fair.

Our onboard booking team should advise each guest who books onboard that their booking will be set-up with the booking profile used for their current cruise. If they are a Travel Agent booked guest, you should get credit for the booking unless the guest chooses to make some type of change in their profile. We are able to transfer bookings to travel agents up to 90 days after a booking, so if you feel there was an issue, please call our contact center team and we'll be glad to help get that booking back to you.

I can never connect with Trade Engagement via
telephone, and when I do I'm not pleased with the customer service.

Our Trade Engagement team is dedicated to helping you build your Carnival business and we take customer service very seriously. We are currently working on our email and phone system so that our service levels do not have any of the glitches you mention. We truly want to continue to implement two-way engagement. We do hope that you will give us a try again.

Why are group fares higher than FIT? It's hard to explain or convince clients to book groups this way.

We've heard this a few times in recent weeks. We just launched a "group month" promotion starting August 1 that features special pricing for groups and this issue is something we are looking at as part of our pricing simplification project. For more details on the Groups Promotion offer visit GoCCL.com.

Will there ever be a time when guidelines between groups and FIT are streamlined? Specifically, booking actual cabins with the various rate codes and adding amenities.

We are working with our revenue management team on restructuring our fare codes to make them more simplified – both for FIT and groups. Their goal is to complete this project sometime in the fall. We will keep you posted as more details develop.

I had to change agencies and in doing so, my
commission level was lower and I lost my BDM even though I've been booking Carnival for years.

We understand how difficult this may be. Unfortunately it is hard for suppliers to keep track when travel agents change agencies. We'll take this one back as we plan for next year.

I noticed there was a special bonus commission offer available, but only for U.S. agents – why?

We have rich offers in Canada that surpass the $25.00 bonus commission offer. Check with your Carnival support team to learn more. We will take this feedback back for future planning though.

Will you bring back the partner booking link?

This link was disabled during our booking engine upgrade to a new system and we will not be adding it back to the site at this time.

JULY 25 VIRTUAL ROAD SHOW

you said...

We listened

When will we see simpler price codes?

Our revenue management team put out a press release last month talking about the work they are doing on all the fare structures overall. Since then, they have been gathering input through your feedback on the Carnival Conversations blog, attending Roadshows and joining many one-on-one account meetings as input into this process, so thank you for all that you have contributed and shared.  Our goal is to complete this project in the fall. We will keep you posted as more details develop.

Are you planning to bring back more comps on Groups?

We are happy to announce that August is Group Month! In addition to fantastic rates, you can earn one free cruise berth per every 10 full fare guests berthed (versus the current policy of one free cruise berth per every 15 full fare guests berthed). For more information visit GoCCL.com. We are also looking at the group structure as part of our pricing simplification project that will be announced this Fall.

Why do Carnival PVP's contact my clients directly and bypass me? I've seen this happen because I put my email and phone number in the reservation and get contacted.

We are excited to announce that we have enhanced our operating procedures for our PVP (Personal Vacation Planner) team since our Roadshow based on your feedback. We have added to our script "Are you currently working with a Travel Agent?" This step is in addition to our regular steps of reviewing the caller's e-mail and name for a current existing booking or a reservation option with a Travel Agent in our system. We believe that this will add an extra layer of data review and ensure that Travel Agent guests are excluded from PVP sales efforts to the best extent that we can. We take these policies very seriously and if you ever feel that there has been an inappropriate action, we encourage you to contact Dave Chang and his leadership team at ConsumerSalesFeedback@carnival.com with details on the situation and they will be glad to research and get back to you with more details.

Why do your marketing materials not refer customers to call their Travel Agents?

We 100% agree this should be happening. We are launching a press release later this week that shares the details of our plans to make some changes to our Call to Action strategy for marketing materials. We will post it on GoCCL.com as soon as it is final.

Do you think Carnival will ever print brochures? I have a brick & mortar and really need something to give my walk-in clients.

We're working on this for you. We are looking into what kind of brochure travel agents across the board would need. Much of the information expires quickly and we've heard different needs in a brochure from different agents. So, we're going to be sending out a survey in the next week asking what you really want, what you really use most. If you are registered to receive Onboard with Carnival, you will automatically receive the survey to participate. We will get your feedback and come back with a recommendation in early fall.

When you restructure your fares this fall, will you be eliminating the Early Saver which is very anti-Travel Agent?

We understand that with all of our fares there are good things and not-so-good things. We are looking at each fare and weighing pros and cons. If you have specific examples of the benefits and challenges of any fare, we definitely want to continue to hear those and ask that you please write to us through the Join the Conversation section in GoCCL.com - and then follow the blog over the coming days and weeks as we update you on this topic.

Any chance you will revisit the revised commission structure released late last year? I think it was way too drastic for most of the Travel Agent community.

Changing our commission structure was not an easy decision for Carnival – we had not done it for over 10 years, which is very unusual in the cruise industry. At this time we are not recalibrating where the commissions are, but going back, we wish we would have given agents more notice so that you could have prepared and moved up or maintained the tier that you were at. We certainly want travel agents to earn with us and are coming up with various ways for you to have incremental earning opportunities such as special bonus commissions.

I have clients that want to sail out of Southern California, but they're hesitant due to all the problems Carnival has experienced lately. What can I tell them?

We want all of our Travel Agents and guests to feel confident in choosing a vacation experience with Carnival. Safety is our number one priority. We recently announced a $300 million program to enhance operating reliability and guest comfort that you can share with your clients. You may also want to share a short video with our Chairman, Micky Arison and CEO, Gerry Cahill as they discuss this topic and read the recent press release – all available through Carnival Conversations in GoCCL.com.

Any chance we can get additional commission for bookings made 100% on GoCCL.com (both sales and service)? I appreciate the bonuses offered but I need to find a way to make more on all sales.

This is a great idea, and something we have heard through our other conversations. We're going to take this one into consideration. In the meantime, you can get rewarded for automation if you are a member of the Travel Agent Rewards Program. Visit GoCCL.com for more details.

Bring back the BDMs and it will increase sales.

We have a very passionate Sales Force that wants to work with you. Here's how it works – BDM representation starts when your agency reaches production of 50 cabins or more. If you fall below that, our Trade Engagement team will be your contact. They're trained to work with agents on tactics to bump their business up to higher levels. And once you're at a 50+ level, our BDMs are trained to deep dive into more intense sales and marketing methods to keep you on pace and bring you up even higher. You can reach our Trade Engagement team at CCLSales@Carnival.com or (800) 327-7276.

How can we market Carnival with no co-op dollars?

There are a lot of ways to market Carnival with no co-op. Our BDMs and Trade Engagement team would love to work with you on that. But note there are co-op funds out there so if you see an opportunity you would like us to consider, let us know so we will look at the marketing plan and talk through it to see if it's the right fit.

Why do we pay for amenities on a group reservation? Shouldn't it be a perk for having a group anyway?

If we offer group amenity points with a group rate you do not have to pay for those points. However if you book an FIT promotion and want to bring that booking into the group, in some cases those fares require you to "buy up" for them to be qualified for the same amenities as the rest of the group.

How do you police those that rebate? Why not cut their commissions?

We have a very strict anti-rebating policy, the strictest in the industry. If you see something you would like to report you can contact ad_compliance@carnival.com. We reach out to the partners and give them 48 hours notice to change their marketing message. If they do not comply, we change them to a "no book" status and do not take bookings from them until they correct the issue.

What happened to all the Travel Agent appreciation events Carnival used to put together to show us that you care?

We hear you loud and clear – you want more opportunities to touch, see and feel the product to help you sell. We are committed to bringing those opportunities to you. Visit GoCCL.com or sign up to Carnival Passport and you will see a robust list of upcoming ship inspections you can already register for. We are also reviewing more onboard opportunities similar to FAM weekends and should have more information soon. We continue to host ship inaugurals so if you have a specific interest, touch base with your Carnival BDM or our Trade Engagement team and they will let you know what it takes to get on the list. Finally, we encourage you to sign up for our Onboard with Carnival Newsletter to stay in-the-know of the latest Carnival events taking place near you. You'll find the email sign-up on the GoCCL homepage.

When I've called the contact center for assistance, I've had them try to train me on how to do things myself instead of helping me with my issue.

We apologize if we have not been responsive or helpful when you call, that is not our intention. We do encourage our partners to learn their way through GoCCL.com, but we do not want to give you the impression that we do not want to help you. Please do call us back if you need assistance – we are here for you.

What are non-commissionables, and why does Carnival double charge for single occupancy?

Non-commissionables are those things that are not commissionable which include services that are not associated with the actual guest experience on the cruise. As for single occupancy cabins, we are incredibly fortunate to sail full on all of our sailings, so as a business decision we've made the single space 200%.

Why did Carnival pull out of Europe and any chance of going back? Also are you going to Australia? I have clients interested in the product but have to send them elsewhere.

In terms of Europe, we believe we are returning to our roots by being the homeport brand rather than having a partial Europe season. We may go back sometime in 2015 or 2016 but that is still being reviewed. As for Australia, we have 1 ship there with another on the way. If you have guests who want to be immersed in the local market of the Aussie product, definitely buy Australia. But all in all, we can say we offer the best value in North America.

Why is there a large discrepancy between group rates and other rate codes? Our business is based solely on groups so we block space in advance, but end up having to release most of the group space because rates are so high.

As part of the simplified fare structure coming this fall, the revenue management team is taking a close look at group rates. Although we can't promise anything, we do recognize that groups are sitting a little higher in the fare structure and will take that into consideration.

What will the new Carnival ship have to offer that is different than the current ships?

Our marketing team is working hard on this and will let us know more details as we get closer to the launch. We'll keep you posted as we hear more, but we can assure you she will be an amazing ship!

Will Carnival replace the ships from Charleston and Jacksonville with different itineraries and newer ships any time soon?

Our deployment is constantly under evaluation. At this time, we don't have more information on changes to either port but we will take a look at it.

Do you have any plans to open more ports-of-call on the Mexican Riviera?

We agree that it would be very favorable to have more ports of call available on our Mexican Riviera cruises. Unfortunately, we do not have plans to return to Mazatlan at this time. We have also reviewed options to include calls in La Paz, Manzanillo and others, but prior visits to these ports have generated very low guest satisfaction.

Starting this fall on the Carnival Miracle, we will offer a new option with several 7 day cruises that offer Cabo San Lucas and two full days in Puerto Vallarta. Guest feedback has consistently requested additional time in Puerto Vallarta… one of the most popular resort areas in Mexico. We will offer more of these cruises in the future if they are successful.

Is Carnival working on more Southern Caribbean routes? My clients have gone to the competition to get the itineraries they want.

We do not have plans at this time to offer more Southern Caribbean itineraries on the Carnival Valor cruises from San Juan. There are now many options to visit the great Southern Caribbean ports of Aruba, Curacao and others on our unique 8 day cruises on the Carnival Breeze (Miami), Carnival Freedom (Fort Lauderdale) and Carnival Dream/Carnival Sunshine/Carnival Liberty (Port Canaveral). These exciting cruises offer the convenience and affordability of sailing roundtrip from a Florida homeport.

What happened to the Future Cruise Certification program, and will it be brought back?

Unfortunately the certificate program was discontinued in September of 2012. While we no longer offer the certificate, guests can still take advantage of the onboard credit promotion by securing a reservation onboard. Once the reservation is finalized, the booking is placed under the sailing profile, giving the agency on record full credit.

Why are the Future Cruise Certificates not being considered for a come-back?

The economics just didn't work, plain and simple. We just didn't have enough guests that were willing to purchase the certificates.

What are your requirements to qualify for interline rates for agents? Do we need to have an individual IATA or CLIA card, or can we use a company IATA card?

In order to qualify for interline rates you will need either an agent ID or a letter from the agency Owner/Manager on agency letterhead confirming employment.

Any chance of reversing the decision to move the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore?

Sorry, Not at this time. We have several great alternatives along the Eastern seaboard. We hope you will check out our other beautiful ships nearby.

If a client wants us to take over their booking can we do so any time prior to final payment?

You may take over the booking up to 90 days prior.

Group dining is a huge problem for clients that book into the group after dining is finalized. Why can't Carnival hold extra tables for agents estimating how many more people we may have?

After we moved onto the confirmed dining program, we decided to take the position that all guests who pay full deposit are guaranteed dining. We encourage you to move your clients to deposited status as early as possible and we will do our best to guarantee their dining.

I specialize in destination weddings but haven't worked with cruises. Do you offer wedding packages?

We have a team of wedding specialists that would be happy to service your call. Visit Carnival.com and take a look at the wedding section – we can put together a great wedding package for your clients.

Why don't the new VIFP rates appear unless you put the VIFP number first?

The system is programmed this way to ensure the individual is qualified for the rate before we display it. The good news is it's easy to find a guest's VIFP number right from the booking window. Once you locate it, add to the booking and the rates will appear.

Do you see cruise lines requiring passports for closed loop U.S. cruises to avoid issues for guests in foreign countries not being able to fly home?

We don't foresee any changes in the near future. Right now on a routine basis, if guests have to disembark the ships under unforeseen circumstances, we work with authorities and airlines and are able to return the guests to the U.S. That being said, we always encourage guests to bring their passport.

I would like Carnival to allow agents to use their reward points to purchase items for their clients from The Fun Shops. Is this possible?

This is a great idea and one we've taken back for our teams to discuss. We're still working on this one so check back soon on the Carnival Conversations page of GoCCL.com and we should have more information you.

Can Carnival streamline the Military rate program to keep copies of DD214 on file? That way my clients do not have to resubmit for each cruise.

We do keep copies on file. The only time we will request the documentation is if the client's status changes.

When will the road shows be offered in the Midwest?

Good news! We just opened a road show in Chicago on Friday, October 18th. Visit the Carnival Conversations page on GoCCL.com for more information.

NEW ORLEANS ROAD SHOW

you said...

We listened

I've tried calling Carnival on weekends to get assistance with my groups, but the contact center has expressed it's only servicing consumers on weekends.

Good news! To serve you better, we are expanding our group department hours of operation to include Saturday and Sunday from 10AM to 4PM EST.

I don't sell the Early Saver rate because my time is valuable. With Early Saver, clients continue to call their travel agents to keep checking the rate – only to have our commissions lowered every time the rate is lowered.

We understand that price protection requires additional work for all and with the recent price reductions that workload has been magnified. However we also think the fare has benefits when booking FIT guests. We announced in a press release a few weeks ago (available on GoCCL.com) that our fare structure is under evaluation and this includes a look at Early Saver and its features.

I have a family booked in May but the price has changed several times. If someone in the group finds a lower price, sometimes it does not include the amenity of the group. How should we address this with our clients? Also, is the call center trained to add the onboard credits to the bookings when we call it in?

Most rates offer the option to buy-up amenity points if this is important to the guest/group. We recognize that this can be a complex message and we are investigating if there are ways to simplify our process – this is all part of our fare code simplification project that is due out this fall. As for applying onboard credits as an amenity choice, sailing support will apply the onboard credit once you make this selection. You can contact the Group Sailing Support department at GroupSailingSupport@carnival.com.

The pricing structure continues to make our jobs harder. I do a lot of groups and every time Carnival has a promotion, my booked customers end up wanting the lower prices.

We hear you, and we want your group business. We also need to sail full, so we do offer promotional rates. To remain flexible, we have allowed those promotional rates to be booked into groups and we understand the challenges that this poses to our agents. We are considering all of this as we look at our Pricing Project that will simplify fare codes. We're working hard to find the right balance. We look forward to sharing the final results of that with you in the fall.

When my clients want information on a particular destination, I can't pick up a brochure to show them. Why can't we have a travel agent guide? I'm all about technology but the other day my internet went down and I had to shut down the office for the whole day. It would be good to have something on paper.

We are working hard on this one, especially as we try to understand what is really needed and what components are most important to you. Our Travel Agent survey went out the week of August 19th and asked for your input on many things, including brochures. We hope that you took the time to give us your feedback as this is so important. Once we review the results, we'll be back to you in September with a final recommendation on printed material.

When the rate drops after final payment of an Early Saver booking, guests receive an onboard credit in that amount. Can you do something similar for Travel Agent commissions after final payment with commission protection?

We are looking at the Early Saver program as part of our Pricing Project that we announced several weeks ago. We want to make all our fare programs are simple and compelling and valuable to guests and Travel Agents. We'll finalize our new fare code program in the fall so we can't say for sure quite yet where we'll end up, but thanks for this suggestion. We will keep it in mind as we work through our pricing project in the next few weeks.

It feels like Carnival does not want our group business. I do a lot of performance groups and we have to increase the rate by $50 right out the gate. Plus we have to continue to increase prices to cover cocktail parties and other amenities, or I cover that myself out-of-pocket. The points and amenities just don't add up for groups.

This is something we've heard through the conversations and something we're working on. Right now we need to take a closer look at the group pricing structure and amenities offered. This will be part of our fare code simplification project that we announce in the fall. We'll follow-up with you once we have more information.

Do you really want group business or just individual bookings? Most of what we encounter leads us to believe you'd rather not deal with groups.

We definitely want the group business. With great humility we can say we just haven't quite figured out how to bring in all the different fare codes, and with all the instability in pricing this year, we know it's been difficult on you. In addition, we launched our special group promotion this month, and we plan to continue that through September.

The group department needs help. We don't get the amenity points or free points for group bookings anymore. We have to offer clients group rates with Early Saver or without and explain what amenities are available or not available. Other lines include amenities for all groups no matter what fare code they use.

Group fares offer amenity points built-in and most other Carnival fare codes offer amenity points as an optional buy-up if that is important to your guest and their group. We understand that this can cause confusion with groups and can be inconvenient in managing the variety of fares for you. This is one of the things we are looking at as part of our pricing project that is underway.

I was fortunate to have relationships with and receive visits from my business development managers (BDMs) in the past. Now I have a new BDM but he is not local to my area. I live close to where there are two ships in homeport – shouldn't we have a local BDM here?

We know how important relationships are in building a business, which is why you should know your BDM is only a phone call or email away, and will most likely be in the area often. Our new New Orleans BDM, Scott Vecrumba, is an outstanding member of our group and he specifically asked to cover this amazing market. You'll be seeing him a lot. We know that you will love him. In addition, we have a team dedicated to community relations that will be in your area soon with ship visits, lunches and other events. Check out Carnival Passport to sign up for an event near you so you can meet that team, too!

Carnival has elected not to pay commission for shore excursions. That being said, our clients were told they were not allowed to book excursions by an outside vendor and can only book the shore excursions Carnival offered. The vendor also noted Carnival would put them on a stop sell if they sold direct. Please explain.

There are certain shore excursion providers that sell their full capacity to Carnival and other cruise suppliers which limit the ability for guests to purchase, if not purchasing through the cruise lines. Additionally, many shore excursion providers who work with the cruise lines typically only sell their product through the cruise lines.

In the past we would call Carnival and res agents would assist us with various transactions on the same call. Now when we call the hold times are terrible. What happened? We are not experiencing the same with other cruise lines.

We find that our reps are spending a bit longer on calls because travel agents are calling for more complex issues now that many of them rely on automation for the simpler processes. While we believe automation is the way of the future we also value our relationship with our travel partners. To that end, we recently added additional agents, coached them to better assist travel agents, and our hold times have improved. Please give us another chance so you can see for yourself, and please know we're always here to help you.

Can Travel Agent Early Saver bookings be processed the same way as direct guests Early Saver bookings when they find a rate reduction? Direct guests take care of their paperwork online, while we have to fill out and submit forms for each of the guests in our group when there's a rate reduction. If guests could fill out the forms online it would save us a lot of time.

We'll take this idea and feedback into consideration as part of our pricing project evaluation. We know that it is important to our agents to maintain the servicing relationship with their guests while at the same time streamlining the effort required.

Can we get more itinerary options out of New Orleans? We seem to only go to Cozumel for 4 to 7 day cruises. What about Jamaica or other Eastern Caribbean ports? We need more variety, if not our client's will go elsewhere.

For our 7 day cruises on Carnival Sunshine and Carnival Dream from New Orleans, we offer three different itinerary choices:

• Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel
• Mahogany Bay (Roatan), Belize and Cozumel
• Key West, Nassau and Freeport

For our 4 and 5 day cruises on Carnival Elation, there are limited destination options given the distance from New Orleans. We are working hard with our partners in Cozumel and Progreso to continue to offer exciting new shore excursion options. There are now many new ways to see and explore these two great destinations even if your clients have visited them previously.

It would be great if we had more branded videos to show during a cruise night, especially when we're trying to sell destinations like Alaska.

In addition to the "Cruise Party in a Box" tool you can use for cruise nights to demonstrate the "Fun Ship" product, we have a lot of videos dedicated to our destinations and onboard experiences right on our YouTube channel. It's filled with great content geared towards both Travel Agents and consumers. You can share this on your own Social Media or forward to customers.

Galveston is my closest homeport. It looks like you will be keeping Triumph out there, though many of my clients do not want to sail on that ship. Will you be adding more ship inspections on the Triumph so we can take our clients on a tour and show them what it has to offer?

We're very excited about the Carnival Triumph. She's back in Texas revamped and recharged with all the Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements. As for ship tours, visit Carnival Passport or GoCCL.com for upcoming inspections you can already sign up for.

The cruise documents used to be printed so beautifully, and now with the option of getting them printed or delivered electronically, the quality has gone down. I still get my documents printed for certain clients – anything we can do about the look?

We've shared your feedback with our Vice President of Guest Logistics.

August 13 Virtual Road Show

you said...

We listened

I heard Carnival is revamping its fare codes this fall, but is there a more specific timeline or update?

As part of the Travel Agent survey that deployed the week of August 19th, we asked you to share your feedback on the fare codes. Once we review the results, as well as take into account everything you've shared with us via Carnival Conversations, we should have more details to share. We are actively working on it and will definitely be done this fall. As soon as we have final details, we will share them with you.

Why won't you take our calls in the contact center, particularly when we need help with a group?

We just recently announced we will be extending the group hours through September on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00am to 4:00pm, all thanks to your valuable feedback. Give us another try by calling today, and we're sure you'll be pleased.

I have clients asking for brochures. Is Carnival ever going to print them again?

We are working hard on this one, especially as we try to understand what is really needed and what components are most important to you. Our Travel Agent survey went out the week of August 19th and asked for your input on many things, including brochures. We hope that you took the time to give us your feedback as this is so important. Once we review the results, we'll be back to you in September with a final recommendation on printed material. Stay tuned!

My clients are constantly being bombarded by specials. I thought you sent them to the Travel Agent of record? If not, how am I to keep my clients with Carnival sending all of those advertisements?

We do send a lot of emails to our past guests as a way to get our promotions out there and help us sell cruises. That being said, we are happy to announce that starting this September, all of our campaigns will have a "Contact a Travel Professional" call-to-action, including our emails. For a copy of our latest promotions available, we encourage you to visit the "Sales" section on GoCCL.com. Starting in few weeks, we will also be adding a section to GoCCL.com where we store copies of all e-mails and direct mails that have gone out from our Marketing team to consumers for your reference should a guest inquire about a specific piece they received.

I have been receiving conflicting information about the "group month" promotion. Do we need to book in August, or do deposits need to be made in August?

You can book your group reservation in the month of August. You do not have to berth your cabins at this time, as long as you make the reservation in the group department this month. We're also happy to announce we've extended this promotion through September – be sure to visit GoCCL.com for complete details.

Groups have become very difficult. Carnival used to be able to move FIT to groups but now with all of the fare codes it's almost impossible. Many times we are even told it is not supported. Are you looking to streamline the process?

We have been hearing a lot about Groups during the road shows. Right now we're taking a closer look at the group pricing structure and amenities offered. This will be part of our far code simplification project that we announce in the fall. We'll follow-up with you once we have more information.

You have demonstrated from your recent actions that you do not want to do business with us. Why should we believe this effort?

We hear you and value your feedback. We realize we have implemented a lot of change and are making certain corrections. We are committed to turning around our relationship with our travel partners and hope you will continue to work with us. Thank you for your understanding as we work to earn back your trust.

I believe Carnival should bring back BDMs. No matter how much you sell, we should all have a BDM to assist us.

The good news is we have you covered. Every travel agent has support from us – either in the form of a BDM or our Trade Engagement team. We actually do this so that we can better focus on building business for agents across the board. We have a very passionate Sales Force that wants to work with you, so please do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach our Trade Engagement team at CCLSales@carnival.com or (800) 327-7276 (option 5).

When customers call Carnival direct, Carnival is giving them pricing and amenities that we, as agents, cannot get. I had a client tell me that a Carnival agent said he had a goal to meet and he could get them an onboard credit.

Carnival agents cannot offer any additional amenities above and beyond what we offered to the general public. If you have any details about the booking or this specific scenario we would like to look into it. Please contact Dave Chang, our VP of Global Contact Center Sales, directly at DChang@carnival.com.

Why do you let your inside sales teams pitch to our customers?

We live in a world where the customer is always shopping. We have taken big steps recently in updating our sales script with the first question being, "Are you working with a Travel Agent?" in order to avoid pitching to guests that are working with travel partners. Prior to making any reservation, our teams are trained to do a guest search to see if the guest is holding any options. In addition, we have a strict Personal Vacation Planner policy regarding Travel Agent guests and have terminated employees for any violations of that policy. If you have specific examples you would like to discuss or report, we are more than happy to look into them. Please send us as many details as you can to consumersalesfeedback@carnival.com.

My client is asking that the future cruise certificate be booked after the cruise with a Travel Agent versus onboard during a cruise. Previously he was able to book with a Travel Agent.

We no longer have the future cruise certificate program, but we do allow guests to book on board. Our onboard agents are trained (and have recently received a refresher training based on feedback from Carnival Conversations) that guests who book onboard are to be advised that any bookings will be set up under their existing guest profile. If they are a travel-agent booked guest, credit for this booking will go back to the travel agent.

VacationstoGo keeps undercutting us and I have lost several clients due to this. They are able to offer onboard credits on every cruise line.

We have had a very robust policy limiting marketing value-adds since August 2010. This can be found in the Travel Agent Policy on GoCCL.com. You may report any irregular issues you have found in the market regarding value-adds to Ad_Compliance@carnival.com and we will be glad to investigate and follow-up.

I have seen a huge change with Carnival – all positive – and their support and value to their agents!

Thanks so much for your feedback and your support, it is really appreciated. We couldn't do it without you and all the input you have provided to us.

Is there an easy way to see connecting cabins for the correct number of guests on GoCCL.com?

Yes, you can use the filter on GoCCL.com for adjoining cabins. Select the ship, sail date and number of guests. Once you get in the state room search there will be a filter to show you which cabins you can connect too.

Is there any way to see all the unique sailings on GoCCL.com (e.g. Transatlantic or Hawaii) without knowing a date?

You can do a date range search on GoCCL.com and it will show all the sailings within that date range. You should have a few selections you can go through, but to your point, we might be able to put this in a format that you can find a bit more readily. Thanks for the suggestion – we'll take this one back to discuss.

Can Carnival give us the client's points to next status when we look up their VIFP club status on GoCCL.com? That way we can help encourage our clients on sailings to get them up to the next VIFP level.

We can give you that info when you call into the Contact Center. Give us a call and we'll look it up. We will also consider this as a future enhancement to our look-up tool so thanks for the suggestion.

I know we've discussed brochures, but are there any plans to have collateral displays, stand ups, posters, etc. to advertise Carnival? We have other lines advertising their companies but not CCL. We have actually matted and framed old personal photos to help us out here.

We tried stand ups a few years ago when we launched the Carnival Magic and got mixed reviews so we haven't tried this type of thing in a while. We're definitely open to considering a tool of this type. We'll put it on our list for consideration.

How can we market Carnival without co-op?

Our BDMs and Trade Engagement team would love to work with you on that. But note there are co-op funds out there so if you see an opportunity you would like us to consider, let us know so we will look at the marketing plan and talk through it to see if it's the right fit.

I noticed the Interline Rates do not show up as an option when booking into a group. Is the Interline Rate ongoing and if so, how can we book into it?

The rate should be displaying online, however, interline rates are applicable to FIT bookings only. If you are having trouble seeing it on a particular sail date it might not be offered on that departure. Just to be safe, send us the booking specifics and we'll be happy to review and get back to you about whether or not it is a booking or an availability issue. You can send us a note at esolutionssupport@carnival.com.

How can a home-based Travel Agent from a host agency participate in Interline Rates?

All Travel Agents are eligible to participate in our Interline rate program. It can be booked on GoCCL.com or your GDS and verification can be sent to Interline@carnival.com.

How does Carnival select new ports and are there any new ones in the pipeline?

There is a different process for selecting home port and ports of call. For home ports, we look for places that are located within a reasonable distance for large populations of potential Carnival cruisers to conveniently and affordably access our ships. Home ports also need the facilities and services to allow us to offer our guests a favorable embark/debark experience and handle all the operational logistics. We also favor home port cities that have strong local tourism appeal because this helps us in attracting guests to these destinations.

For ports of call on our itineraries, we first look at the overall appeal of the port (the "marquis" value). Ports that have developed their own strong brand are important in the selling process for our itineraries. We also closely monitor guest satisfaction for all the ports we visit and use this in our selection process for all of our itineraries. In addition, we carefully consider all the input we get from our travel agent partners and guests on new places they would like us to visit.

Currently, we are not considering any additional new home ports. We now operate from 12 year-round home ports located all around the East, Gulf and West Coasts of the U.S. In fact, 50% of the U.S. population now lives with a 5 hour driving range of our U.S home ports.

For ports of call, we operate cruises to all of the most exciting destinations in The Bahamas, Eastern/Western/Southern Caribbean and Mexican Riviera. We also offer seasonal cruises to Alaska, Hawaii and Canada/New England. Important ports for us include the destinations that we have developed including Puerta Maya (our facility in Cozumel), Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos), Half Moon Cay (Bahamas private island) and Mahogany Bay (Roatan).

Is Carnival's departure from Baltimore a definite? Is there any possibility that this won't happen?

Carnival's departure from Baltimore is planned for 2014; our current communicated plans are unlikely to change. However, we always continue to evaluate our homeports with each deployment season and we may be back in the future. We have a commitment to our close-to-home port cruising strategy and we will continue to look for ways to provide cruises that are close-to-home for our guests.

Any new itineraries coming for the West Coast? There are only so many times my clients can go to Mexico on short cruises.

We are constantly looking at our deployment options, and most recently we invested in the west coast by sending two of our ships (Imagination and Inspiration) for the shorter itineraries. In addition we have the Carnival Miracle sailing with a variety of options, anywhere from 4 to 15 days to Mexico and Hawaii. Right now there is no decision to bring another ship to the west coast, so in the meantime you may be able to get your clients to other nearby ports for a Caribbean option in Galveston, New Orleans and even some of the Florida ports.

What is Carnival's next ship? I sold 7 cabins on the Carnival Breeze – we sailed along and thought it was the best cruise.

We actually have a new ship coming in 2016 called the Carnival Vista.

I understand that under groups, booking amenities may be purchased at a cost of $7 for a $25 value. If this is in fact accurate, can we also purchase them for individual stateroom bookings?

That is correct - you can buy additional points on a group booking. The cost is $1 per point per day; so for example if you want to add one point to a group booking that is a 7 day cruise it would be an additional $7.00 on the cruise rate. You can buy up to a total of 12 points total on a booking (if the sailing is offering 6 then you can buy 6 additional). As long as the cabins are in the group and they support amenities then those cabins would include additional points. However, it is an all or none deal. You cannot purchase the point for selected staterooms. The additional point is added to the group as a whole.

Would you ever consider 50% off deposits for all past guests?

We've actually done a lot of testing this year offering reduced deposit promotions. We think they've been very successful and are something that guests enjoy, also making it easy for you to close business with us. We'll continue to experiment but no plans to do it on a regular basis at this time. Please note you can always find the latest promotions on the "Sales" section of GoCCL.com.

Other cruise lines document their ships' dry dock schedules, but it seems Carnival only goes to dry dock when there is a major issue. Do you have any future plans?

All of our dry dock schedules are planned way in advance. It is a rigid schedule and includes when ships need to be services or when product improvements like Fun Ship 2.0 are implemented. We'll get that added to GoCCL.com for your reference.

Will the Bachelor's of Fun, Masters of Memories and PhD of Awesome training be starting again on GoCCL? I heard it had been cancelled.

We discontinued CCLU back in December of last year and launched an even more robust program with Carnival Passport. When you participate in the different learning experiences offered by Carnival Passport, you'll earn credits that are applied towards one of six passport stamps. And just for enrolling, you'll earn 500 points in our Travel Agent Rewards Program! If you haven't registered for the new learning system, visit GoCCL.com today to register.

Where are the Seminars at Sea posted these days?

You can find all Seminars at Sea information in Carnival Passport. We have a tab called "Live Events" where you can find more details on all events including trade shows, Seminars and Sea, city tours and ship luncheons.

I have completed various modules in the Carnival Passport tool. When will additional courses be available?

We add two new courses each month that will help you move to the next level. We also offer lots of live events and those usually give you the most credits. So, sign up for a ship inspection or Seminar at Sea near you and that will help you move along to different levels.

Is Carnival considering a point system where passengers can use them to buy internet minutes and alcohol or other online items, rather than have strictly drink and internet packages?

Although there are no plans at this time, it is a good suggestion and we'll look into it.

I am a home-based agent with a host agency. Carnival cancelled a cruise I had bookings on but the letter was sent via email to the host agency. Shouldn't the Travel Agent on the record receive this instead?

You will have to confirm your setup with your host agency.

Port Canaveral Roadshow

you said...

We listened

When Carnival Conversations was first announced, I heard a radio commercial from Carnival for Florida Residents but there was no mention of a Travel Agent call-to-action whatsoever. I found this to be extremely disheartening.

We've heard this one many times through Carnival Conversations and are happy to report that thanks to your feedback, all marketing pieces will now have a "Contact a Travel Professional" call-to-action – including e-mail, direct mail, radio and our fall TV campaign.

I'm hesitant to book groups because of the rate code situation. I was however pleasantly surprised when looking through rates with a potential group this month and the group rate was the best. Thank you for the August Group Promotion, but what will happen at the end of August?

We have good news for you – the group promotion has been extended through the end of September, and we're also offering a longer window of sailing availability from which you may book. For complete details, visit GoCCL.com. As for beyond September, we are considering all of this as we look at our Pricing Project that will simplify fare codes this fall. We're working hard to find the right balance, and appreciate your patience.

Companies that provide brochures that show ships and cabins are really helpful, better than having to look online.

We are working hard on the topic of brochures. We sent a survey to all agents on our newsletter distribution list the week of August 19th to gather feedback on this topic among others. Once we review the results and figure out what's most important to you, we'll come back with a final recommendation on printed material.

Earlier this year we were completely shocked as our commission level dropped from 16% to 14% - we even had to close our store front and start working from home. We feel that we are being penalized for being small.

We hear you loud and clear, and we're really sorry to hear you had to close your store front. As we look back on the decision, we realize that the communication could have been better and we could have given more advanced notice to give agents time to prepare for the change. We had not changed our commission levels in 10 years and while it was a hard decision – and one we didn't take lightly – we felt it was time to update our policy. We think you'll find in the next few months we'll be finding other opportunities to make bonus commissions and help you get more money in your pockets. We will work with you and all of our agents to help you move up the levels.

Last time I called into Trade Engagement it took about 3 hours to get through to someone. When I called the contact center, it got through right away but of course, they couldn't help me. I appreciate the opportunity to be here – looking at you and talking to you directly.

We are sorry that you had a rocky experience with our hold times. The Trade Engagement team is here to support you and are truly the experts with things like training, collateral ordering, attending events, etc. I hope that you will give our team another chance. They can be reached at 800-327-7276 for help Monday through Friday, or you can email them at CCLSales@carnival.com.

We have a number of customers that are big casino players. They are getting casino benefits and cutting us out of it. What should we do?

With the new call-to-action strategy, all guests that have booked with a travel agent will be receiving marketing pieces with a "Contact a Travel Professional" call-to-action, including those for casino benefits. Hopefully, any challenges we've have in the past should be relieved starting in September.

I want to reiterate about the brochures, we need to have to them. Also, you still say to call Carnival direct to your customers. When will this change?

The new Travel Agent call-to-action was effective September 1. Please visit GoCCL.com for a copy of the press release with more details. As for the brochures, we'll have something for you soon. The results from our Travel Agent Survey in August are currently being reviewed and processed.

I can't seem to get any of the materials in Spanish and this is a major struggle in my primarily Spanish-speaking market. Also, I've lost group bookings due to no group support on the weekends.

We understand the need to adapt to changing markets. We have experimented in the past with producing materials in Spanish for the U.S. market, but there was not a lot of interest in those items at that time. We will continue to evaluate the need for materials localized into different languages. As for group support on weekends, we're happy to report we've extended weekend hours through the month of September.

This is the first time that I actually felt good about blocking group space – with the August group promotion. I have a lot of large groups for a home based agent. I hope that is part of the plan going forward, that there should be a benefit of a lower price for those considering group space.

We are glad the group promotion is working for you. The good news is we've extended it through September with a bigger window of availability. Check out GoCCL.com for more details.

Have you considered the trend and need for more home-based businesses? Making some financial sense for people to be home-based and how you operate and interact with home-based is very different. Is that part of your thought process?

We actually have one of the BDM's that handles all of our home-based agent sales, and works with organizations such as OSSN, NACTA and a variety of other hosts out there. We encourage you to think about joining as they are an excellent resource for networking and opportunities to get on our product so you can see the ship, sail the ship, and sell the ship. We applaud home-based agents and we know that you can get to places where we can't. We want to do all we can to work with you, so please reach out to our Trade Engagement team at 800-327-7276 or CCLSales@carnival.com to get started. Your success is our success.

My clients want to go on a cruise but I'm having difficulty booking them with Carnival. What can we do as Travel Agents to get them back? What are you doing to get them back?

We want all of our Travel Agents and our guests to feel confident in choosing a vacation experience with Carnival, after all, safety is our number one priority. We recently announced a $300 million program to enhance operating reliability and guest comfort that you can share with your clients. You may also view a short video with our Chairman, Micky Arison and CEO, Gerry Cahill as they discuss this topic and read the recent press release at http://carnival-news.com/2013/04/17/carnival-cruise-lines-announces-fleetwide-300-million-program-to-enhance-operating-reliability-and-guest-comfort/. We also encourage you to be on the look-out for our new fall marketing campaign – it's sure to win back past guests and even more clients for you.

I drove a long way to be here and all I've heard is "coming this fall" in regards to rate codes, groups and brochures. You have no answers for us?

We first had to open the doors for a two way dialogue, gather your feedback and then make firm decisions. We would rather not rush anything to avoid making mistakes – we want to do our homework first and really understand what it is the majority of you want and need. Please know we are committed to you and doing this right.

Our group business has been reduced this year due to the length of time we have to get it together. When we work with groups, we're working with many different types of people and it's hard to get everything together in 30 days.

We changed our group deposit window about 2 years ago from 30 days to 60 days, hoping this would help alleviate some of these issues. Additionally, we are currently revisiting our group policy and procedures in order to make adjustments so we can strike a better balance. In the mean time, please know group business is important to us and we thank you for your patience as we work to turn this around.

I book a lot of groups and always have an issue when selecting their dining times. My groups want to eat together but Carnival doesn't guarantee dining unless the deposit is received.

In order to be fair to all of guests, we cannot guarantee dining until the deposit has been received since dining assignments are done on a capacity controlled basis.

We just don't sell groups on Carnival anymore. Recently I had a group and all of a sudden you took my book space. I had to re-book the group for less money. That's no way to work with us in "helping us to grow our business." You used to be the easiest to work with in the industry but not anymore.

We're sorry your group space was pulled, this occurs only in rare cases. But know we are committed to being easy to do business with – you'll notice new attitudes on the phones and a more knowledgeable and friendly contact center. Please do not hold back, call us today and give us another chance.

What is the value in booking with a travel agent with easy access to the same rates online? Maybe you can help us by adding an onboard credit or bottle of wine to a Travel Agent booking.

While we definitely want to help our Travel Agents, we do not want to advantage or disadvantage the consumer by booking elsewhere. We are trying to provide a great product at a fair price across the board. For the most up-to-date offers you can share with your clients, visit GoCCL.com under the "Sales" tab.

Carnival is the only cruise line that does not allow me to use a value-add.

We are very proud of the robust policy limiting value adds currently in place. Should you wish to report any irregular issues you have found in the market regarding value-adds, we encourage you to report them at ad_compliance@carnival.com and we'll investigate.

Why isn't there a reduced TC amenity for group bookings?

We understand that other competitors offer this as an amenity, but when we reviewed ours, we went with those that were used most frequently.

Are you planning to offer coop for advertising?

There are still coop funds out there, so if you see an opportunity you would like us to consider, let us know and we will look at the marketing plan and talk through it to see if it's the right fit.

I can't imagine that my clients are sailing and not booking their future cruise onboard. How do I get credit for these bookings?

If a guest books a future cruise onboard, it will be credited to the Travel Agent on the file. If you find that you are not finding this to be the case, let us know and we'll get those back to you. There will be a report BDMs can share with you coming in a few months.

Will GoCCL.com ever show us our production numbers and groups?

This is a great suggestion, and as we continue evaluating the enhancements to GoCCL.com, we'll be sure to include.

I had a good year with Carnival this year. I have a group on the Breeze this November that booked with the Early Saver rates. Because the rates have changed so much, I've had to submit the form over six times and it's been a big challenge. Also because prices are so low, we can't buy gifts for our clients. Anything you can do for us?

We are working on the solution in terms of Early Saver with our fare simplification project this fall. Please know we had no idea there would be so much activity in terms of pricing this year. That being said, we're doing a lot to help drive pricing up with our new fall marketing campaign. Also in terms of gifts for your clients, we're working with the Fun Shops teams to get some items added for you. Stay tuned.

Clients have complained that on Royal Caribbean you reach a status and you get better things than with Carnival. It would be nice if you could reinstate that. Thank you for this opportunity to share, it's been great.

Carnival provides its loyal past guests with a number of on-board courtesies and privileges as part of its Very Important Fun Person (VIFP) Club recognition program. On-board courtesies and privileges vary according to membership tier/level – Blue, Red, Gold, Platinum and Diamond – and tier-specific gifts are changed/rotated on a regular basis. At Carnival, we try to keep the program fairly straightforward so that our guests understand the benefits they have earned and to ensure that our onboard staff consistently delivers the benefits as promised. For more information on the VIFP Club, please visit www.carnival.com/VIFP.

Travel Agents are not always aware of all the changes Carnival implements. We tell our clients one thing, and you change it. We need to be informed so we do not look like the bad guys.

We share important information in our monthly sales newsletter so be sure you're on the mailing list. Visit GoCCL.com's homepage and click on the "Join our Mailing List" link at the bottom of the page to sign up today.

Are you planning to bring back ships to Mobile, Alabama anytime soon?

We would love to go back to Mobile but our challenge has been sourcing guests that want to pay for the product. It's a great port and the customers were wonderful, so it's still on our radar, just not at this time.

I've noticed the staff does not stop children from getting into the adult pools.

Security tries to keep the children out of the pools, but we'll share your feedback with the hotel team.

My client with 80+ cruisers under his belt was sat in the back corner of the dining room. Why?

We assign guests based on the number of guests within the group and table sizes available at the time of assignment. Guest loyalty is not a factor when deciding the area of the dining room the guests will be assigned to. However, guests have a choice of requesting a preferred area by contacting Group Dining department up two weeks prior to sailing.

Tampa Roadshow

you said...

We listened

We need brochures! All other lines have them and I have to tell my clients, "I'm sorry, Carnival does not make brochures."

We are working hard on the topic of brochures as we know this is an important one. We sent a survey to all agents on our newsletter distribution list the week of August 19th to gather feedback on this topic among others. We are now reviewing the results to figure out what's most important to you in order to produce the absolute best brochure possible.

GoCCL.com should provide more information specifically when looking up fare codes. I've had to call your teams many times just to get some of the fare codes and it's a waste of both my time and yours.

Sorry we caused you some frustration. If you haven't seen the recent press release related to our GoCCL enhancements, we encourage you to check it out on the homepage under Latest News and Updates. Some of the enhancements include the fare selection process, making it less complicated and more streamlined, and hopefully making your job easier.

I probably lose 10% of my business to Carnival directly soliciting my clients. If I don't contact my clients with a price reduction, Carnival is already contacting them.

Consumers are always shopping and we too have that challenge. As far as solicitation, we can't stop the consumer from shopping, but we can do something to try and minimize this behavior as much as possible on our end. We implemented a new question in our script asking if the guest is currently working with a Travel Agent. After we take their information we run a search to double-check anyway and if the guest is currently holding an option, we direct them back to their Travel Agent. Although we do send marketing materials to all past guests (whether or not they booked direct or with a Travel Agent) – going forward, we are now including a "Contact a Travel Professional" call-to-action in all materials to hopefully drive more business your way.

I was a big supporter of Carnival especially when it came to groups, but with everything that has happened in the last few years, I've lost faith in the system. My agency was pleased with the new group promotion but unfortunately we haven't booked a single cabin because we're concerned the prices won't stick – it's a matter of trust now. I applaud Carnival for doing this, but it has to be more than conversations, you've got to take tangible actions to win us back. I'm looking forward to your announcement on fares this fall.

Sometimes the honesty stings a little, but we need to hear it. Our goal is to get the faith back. Although we are getting criticized for taking our time with the fares, we feel it is necessary in order to get it right. We appreciate your patience as we get through this and thank you for your comments.

Currently we do not have a BDM assigned to us. How does Carnival allocate BDMs? It appears to be different than with other cruise lines.

The good news is every travel agent has access to support from us either in the form of a BDM of our Trade Engagement team. Here's how it works – BDM representation starts when your agency reaches production of 50 cabins or more. If you fall below that, our Trade Engagement team will be your contact. They're trained to work with agents on tactics to bump their business up to higher levels. And once you're at 50+ level, our BDMs are trained to deep dive into more intense sales and marketing methods to keep you on pace and bring you up even higher. It's really a difference in needs not in support, and we do this so that we can better focus on building business for agents across the board.

Having trouble finding travel agent rates, and as a travel agent I want to be able to travel. Our clients sometimes get better pricing then what is offered to us and I don't think that is right.

We've recently added Interline Rates for Travel Agents on a variety of sailings – they are available on GoCCL.com and very attractive. They are also commissionable which is a win-win. Finally, we have last minute deals for Travel Agents to enjoy also available on GoCCL.com and updated on a bi-weekly basis. Check the rates and get onboard today!

When the new fares are announced will you discontinue non-refundable fares? If so, please consider the payment be used towards remaining family members on the current cruise versus a cruise credit for a future cruise.

We do that now – the credit always belongs to the person that paid for the cabin. Contact us today and we'll walk you through it.

I feel that I am being penalized for calling in to the group department. You are the only cruise line that will not take a call just to get questions answered.

We apologize if you haven't been able to get us on the phone. We've heard similar feedback through Carnival Conversations and have since implemented some changes to the contact center. We hope you'll give us another chance, we want to help you.

Since fall pricing is always lower, would you consider a minimum commission of let's say $25 per booking?

It's not on our list currently but we can certainly think about it so thanks for the suggestion. This has not been the best year in terms of pricing – we're not where we want to be, and we're not where you want us to be. However we're focused to getting our pricing back on track with our upcoming campaigns to stimulate consumers and get them to your doors and websites; that is our focus now.

Would you consider establishing a minimum co-op? The reply for the last 10 months is there's no co-op but we would really appreciate the help.

Although co-op has been limited this year, we do have co-op available. Our strategy shifted to focusing on traditional types of advertising and overall marketing of the product, but through the Conversations we've heard that maybe we've missed some opportunities. That being said, if you have a good plan and want to discuss it take it to your BDM. We're happy to evaluate the plan to see if it's a good fit.

Would like to see a system in place for the Early Saver rates. If the price drops, let us know so we can call our clients and show we are taking care of them. When it drops and they have to tell us, it makes us look like the bad guys.

With the pricing simplification project, we're taking a look at all of the fares and their processes, including Early Saver. We'll take this one back to the team.

I would like to start by commending you for coming out here and addressing the issues to hopefully smooth over what's been going on. Remember we are supposed to be working together as a team and unfortunately I don't hear or see the loyalty to the agents. Customer service is a big problem, not having marketing materials is a problem, and group rates are a problem. We are not working for you, but with you – understand the difference. Hope you can make the positive change before it's too late.

Thank you for your feedback and for taking time to be at the road show. Through these conversations is where we can hear from you and take it back to the main office, which is why we're investing a lot of money in these road shows. There is a commitment here and we thank you for your honesty, participation and most importantly, your support.

I'm very concerned about pricing and I don't understand the reasoning. Why are we looking at prices so low even for sailings not close in?

This has been a tough year for Carnival with the Carnival Triumph and consumer confidence taking a hit. Pricing is low because there is some hesitation with the brand. Our job is to do a better job of instilling confidence in the consumers and helping you all to instill confidence as well.

You say your yields are low because of the Carnival Triumph but that is not the case. They are low because you completely abandoned your marketing, pricing is an issue and you cut all commissions. Selling Carnival is just not profitable us so what would we sell it? You've got to go back to your CEO and get profitability have in our offices if you want this to turn around.

It's clear there is a general feeling that Carnival is not investing anymore and we don't care about Travel Agents, but you must know it was never our intention to turn our backs, though we take full responsibility for what we did. We made some hard calls last year – we hadn't changed our commission structure in 10 years. But we're here in the U.S. and we need you – our brand is the most recognized out there and we need you to help us continue that. We want to prove that our commitment is to our brand, our customers and to all of you.

I primarily deal with groups. When a price drops, it would be great to give us the opportunity to at least offer an upgrade for the same amount of money.

If you're talking about folks that did not book the Early Saver, you can ask for the rate proactively and we'll give it to you. Also, past guests do have an opportunity to get an upgrade.

I have to tell you the group department has been wonderful to work with lately, thank you very much. In terms of Early Saver, when we modify the rate, we receive an email a day later that the booking is going to cancel because it's not paid in full. I end up calling again because I'm afraid the reservation will cancel.

Before we send the letter that payments are due we look forward to see if there are any future commissions to pay. We draw a small balance from that money so the letter should actually not go out. Would you send us booking numbers so we can look into it in more detail?

I had a client cruise with Carnival this year with a disease – I included it in her information but no one addressed it for her while she was onboard. I sent several communications to Carnival to take care of it prior, but no one ever got back to me. My client was sick 15 out of the 18 days and will never sail Carnival again.

Our apologies if no one ever responded to you. Please send us the booking details and we'll be happy to look into it.

We receive tons of emails from Carnival – but the problem is unless it is a confirmation, everything comes in without an attention to the agent on record. We spend a lot of time on these ghost emails trying to find out who it belongs to. Can we do anything about this?

This is a great suggestion! Let us look into how to better present the subject line on letters and notices we send out.

Are you keeping the coupons you can buy onboard? People seem to like them.

While we certainly appreciate the continued interest in our certificate program, there is no plan to bring back the onboard certificate at this time. We know some other cruise lines have been very successful with the program but it just was not too successful for us, so we've decided to discontinue it for now.

I am a proven international speaker with the capacity to get over 200 cabins booked on one of your ships for something similar to a Seminar at Sea. I've reached out to many people at Carnival and always get the same story because I don't have the 50 cabins a year to fall under a BDM.

This is an example of where we might have fallen short – finding people like you. We have asked that the local BDM get in touch with you to discuss the opportunity, but should this happen in the future with any of our partners, please reach out to our Divisional Vice President of Sales, Kirk Neal at KNeal@carnival.com, and he'll be happy to vet through the opportunities with you.

When we get the reservation confirmation email, it uses the same subject line for both the guest confirmation and the Travel Agent confirmation. Can we change this so it's easier to know what to forward and what to open?

A quick way to determine the difference between the two confirmations is the agency version is sent with an attachment while the consumer version only contains the email with no attachment.

I have several different passwords for all programs within GoCCL.com. It makes it difficult to remember so is there any way you can change this?

We hear you, and we're working on a single sign-on solution with our technical gurus but it's not as easy as it may seem. We'll let you know.

My issue is with the dress code. Why even have a dress code when the main dining room doesn't enforce it? I find it to be disrespectful.

We've shared your feedback with our Hotel Operations team.

Charleston Roadshow

you said...

We listened

My biggest concern is the fact that there are too many rate codes. It takes a long time to show our clients all the different ways they can book the cruise and all the different terms with each rate. Also, FIT rates are so much better than the group rates so it's more difficult to book groups on your ships. My groups are going to the competitors these days.

On the topic of rate codes, we hear you. We are considering all of your feedback as we look at our Pricing Project that will simplify fare codes, and we look forward to sharing the final results with you later this fall. On the topic of group rates, we have good news. The pricing project includes group rates and group policies so in the meantime, we've extended the group promotion through the end of September, and we're also offering a longer window of sailing availability from which you may book. For complete details, visit the "Sales" tab on GoCCL.com.

I love GoCCL and I love doing this myself. One of the things I've noticed is when I book multiple cabins of different sizes, I have to go in and look at the triple, then go back in and find a double nearby – there's a lot of back and forth. Is there any way we can see all of the availability on that same deck no matter if the categories are the same? Other lines do this and it makes it easier.

We think you'll be happy with the enhancements we have in the works for GoCCL by the end of this year. One of these includes a more streamlined and convenient stateroom display and selection – offering you more choices in how you search accommodation categories to match your clients needs more easily and quickly. For complete details we encourage you to visit the Because We Chatted page and click on the GoCCL.com box.

If you value us with time, value us with money. Last year you changed the commission's mid-stream after we'd already accomplished our goals for the year and didn't know if we were being punished or rewarded. Our Carnival business is down 28% this year. I appreciate your apology but I don't believe it yet and I don't feel sorry for you. We want to see real action in order to build this partnership back up.

Sometimes it stings to hear these things but your points are absolutely right on. We lost your trust and its going to take a long way to get it back. We can't just come to a road show and tell you everything is going to be wonderful so we're taking our time with some of the bigger decisions like fare codes and the brochure. In terms of the commission change, we felt it was the right time to make the change – had been 10 years since we last updated the structure – however we could have done a better job of communicating it to you and your teams. We hear you on that front. We have made some progress in the last 8 weeks however, and we invite you to check it out on the "Because We Chatted" page in GoCCL.com.

Group agents are not very professional anymore – I sometimes even hear pots and pans in the background. I usually get put on hold at some point and just the other day I had a lot of back and forth with an agent and ended up speaking to a supervisor. It was a pretty time consuming process when in the end there just needs to be somebody that knows the answer.

We're sorry about your experience with the contact center. We do have 150 agents that handle our group department, including a new class that just finished their training last month and some that do work from home. It appears you may have reached one of our newer members so we apologize for the back and forth. As for the background noise, we closely monitor our work from home group for this very reason. If you hear anything you shouldn't be hearing (i.e. pots, pans, dogs), let us know so we can look into it. But please know we do value your time. We will continue to work hard to get all of our agents up to speed.

I received a call from Carnival with a 1-800 number and extension. So, you're basically going after my clients. Is that standard policy?

Absolutely not our standard policy. One thing we all know is consumers are shopping around a lot these days. They call you, they call us, they call our competitors – so when they shop us it does provide a lead for our Personal Vacation Planners. However, we did implement a new question in our script going forward asking if the guest is currently working with a Travel Agent. After we take their information we run a search to double-check if the guest is currently holding an option and if they are, we direct them back to their Travel Agent. Also, going forward we are now including a "Contact a Travel Professional" call-to-action in all materials (radio, TV, direct mail, etc.) to hopefully drive more business you way.

I've had to change rate codes up to 5 times on a booking this year and I'm only making $25 if I'm lucky. When you have a ship that isn't selling well, why don't you consider opening it to the Travel Agent community with a special bonus commission to give us extra money in our pockets?

Since the Carnival Triumph we've seen a lot of re-pricing and we know it is a lot of extra work for you. Our goal is to stabilize the pricing, bring it back up and help put more money in your pockets. Thanks for the suggestion!

One of the biggest complaints I hear from my fellow Travel Agents is discounting. We constantly see rates being offered that are lower than we see online and can offer our clients.

We are proud to say we have one of the strictest rebating policies in the industry. If you see something you would like to report you can contact ad_compliance@carnival.com. We reach out to partners and give them 48 hours notice to change their marketing message. If they do not comply, we change them to a "no book" status and do not take bookings from them until they correct the issue.

I'm new to selling Carnival and having trouble finding where to go to make sure I'm following the rules. Maybe you can put together training materials for new agents and your policies?

Our Travel Agent policy is located on our travel agent portal GoCCL.com. If you do not currently have a login, visit the site and be sure to sign up for one. Once logged into the site, you can visit our Forms and Policies page and locate the Travel Agent Policy from the list or right from the footer of the site. The policy is a large document full of very useful information on selling Carnival. Good idea about the webinar on Carnival's policy – we'll take this one back to the Training team.

I generally manage the military base in South Carolina. I love your products, your ships and my BDM. I had a Military client cancel due to orders and you were wonderful in giving him a credit to use within 2 years. When I rebooked however, I noticed I didn't get any commission.

If military personnel cancel or reschedule due to orders, we are always happy to accommodate. Please send us a note to look into your situation as you should have received commission on the rebooking. You can reach us at guestsolutionssupport@carnival.com.

When my clients book on board with other cruise lines I get a nice commission check back. Can Carnival do something like that?

We do have a program like this onboard and you do get credit for the booking as long as the guest has you as the agency on file.

Is Carnival doing anything to promote good relations with people who live in the area closest to the port? I've had clients complain that TSA agents have treated them rudely and unfortunately it reflects on Carnival.

We're surprised to hear this as Charleston is rated the best port by guests. The good news something like this can be easily fixed due to our relationships in Charleston – the port, police, customs and embarkation staff are all very supportive of each other. Go ahead and send Business Development Director Joanie Field a note at JField@carnival.com with more details and she will take it to the VP of Port Operations directly.

I work with a lot of groups and my experience with the event planners has not been a pleasant one. It's very painful and time consuming. We aren't able to plan things far enough in advance as with other lines. Also, do you think we'll be able to coordinate onboard space sooner than after final payment?

For the last couple of years it's been difficult. We've had a lot of pressure from the ships to not use so many of the lounges due to the many complaints from guests. We received guidance from our ship ops team to scale back the availability of the lounges but we see that has caused you a lot of problems. We went back to the teams and the good news is we implemented new software where now we all share the same grid. It's a real success and now we can respond much quicker with real time availability. As for planning, we start working with your group space allocations once we receive the full deposit.

I give my clients an earlier cancellation date so I won't have to push yours at 60 days out. If you look at your final payment date, it's also the same as the penalty date which to me is confusing. Would you consider making the penalty and final payment due date different?

We'll take this one back to our friends in revenue management. They handle the final payment deadlines.

I am a home-based agent and would love to work with a BDM like Joanie Field. Is there a way to reach out to more home based agents, maybe have workshops where you invite individual consultants to meet with us? Would help me feel supported and help build a relationship with Carnival.

We truly love home based agents and appreciate all you do. We actually have a BDM whose sole responsibility is home based agents. Our next plan is to work with the larger hosts to create a secondary phone field, which will allow you to work with Joanie directly. You will have that representation at a local basis. Our biggest challenge has been technology, but we plan to start later this year and we know you'll enjoy that.

I'm concerned with the law suits taking place with Charleston. Will we be affected by the suits, and more specifically, are we going to see a raise in prices or different fees added on?

The lawsuit is moving along – the port of Charleston and Carnival are working together to resolve it. The cost shouldn't affect anything we do so don't worry.

I'm concerned we need a new itinerary – all we do is The Bahamas and our clients don't want to get off the ship anymore. That being said, I love the Carnival Fantasy but any chance we get another ship?

We'll take your suggestions back to our itinerary planning team. In the meantime, the best way to get another ship is to sell, sell, sell!

I applaud your group dining – I get to know your clients on a first name basis and I appreciate that. The team works well with us and makes us look good to our clients. I did notice that on some of your ships that 3rd passenger rates can be less than 4th passenger rates at times. Why does this happen?

The reason 3rd and 4th passenger rates are lower at times is because of our average pricing per cabin. The program was set so you can easily quote the average price per person per cabin. However we've realized the pricing doesn't work when you divide a group for example, on a girl's getaway. We've taken this back to our revenue management group and they are working on a better solution.

I'd like to see more rates or discounts for our law enforcement officers and even nurses. Competitors do and it would be nice if Carnival did too.

Good suggestion, we'll take it back to our friends in revenue management.

The main thing I always hear from my clients is the quality of food is declining in the dining room. I myself have experienced this while cruising.

We are sorry to hear you and your clients have had a bad experience onboard with our dining options. We take great pride in our guests dining satisfaction and have addressed your feedback with our onboard Food & Beverage team.

I use my Facebook page as a marketing tool and it would be great if the flyers you provide on GoCCL.com are compatible with the channel. I've shared videos directly from You Tube and clients really love it.

Good news! We've added the Carnival You Tube channel to our GoCCL homepage and email campaigns so you can have direct access to a FUN-tastic library of Carnival branded videos at all times. As for the flyers on GoCCL, we're looking into a more prominent share tool – but in the meantime, copy and paste the URL's from the flyers into your status updates and the social media channel should populate the link for you to share with your followers.

It would be great if we have access to videos played on your YouTube channel so we can share the experience with our clients without sending them to another site.

Good news! We have a ton of great video footage on the Carnival You Tube channel, now linked from GoCCL's homepage or click here. You can hit the "Share" or "Embed" button from any video and grab the URL or the code and place on your social media channels or directly on your website. That way your clients always stay on your web site while watching the Carnival branded videos. Check it out today!

Can we change the hold music?

We hadn't heard this request before but we'll certainly take this one back.

Two things – I would like to see a program offered for students to travel and gain exposure, I would love to promote something like this. Also, I have a few government contracts that want to bring conferences on board. Do you handle these types of groups?

We do work with student travel organizations that have handled the accommodations for over 25 years. As for corporate incentives for your government contracts, we have a full department that can work with you on that. Give us a call at 1-877-278-0388 and we'll be happy to assist.

Sept 5 Virtual Roadshow

you said...

We listened

When will brochures be available for travel agents?

Good news! We will be producing a brochure again and hope to have it ready by WAVE season. What we are doing now is we are assessing the results from our survey that many of you took last month to come up with the final details for the content of the brochures. Thanks so much for all of your feedback on the topic, we're working hard on this one because we know it's important.

When our customers call Carnival, why do you make changes to their booking without notifying us?

Great question and we're happy to say that thanks to your feedback through Carnival Conversations we've changed this policy. Going forward, when guests call us directly we will answer a simple inquiries on a general information topics, but will refer them to their Travel Agent if they need to conduct some type of transaction on their booking.

Why isn't the contact center open on the weekends to assist with my group reservation?

We're happy to say that for the remainder of the month of September, we've extended our group hours to include Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm EST. We're currently reviewing what's needed for demand and staffing moving forward but be sure to take advantage for the remainder of the month.

The pricing structure continues to make our jobs harder. I do a lot of groups and every time you have a promotion, my booked customers demand the lower rates. What should I do?

We've been working hard thinking through our price changes, and collecting a lot of feedback from all of you. We're taking our time because we want to make sure we get it right. We're hoping in a month or so to have more information, but I can assure you it's at the very top of our list.

Carnival res agents used to assist us with various transactions on the same call. Now the hold times are horrible. What happened? We don't experience this with other cruise lines.

We're happy to report that although our hold times were long in the past, they are now almost non-existent. We have more agents, more training and have become more efficient, all thanks to the feedback you've shared with us via Carnival Conversations. Give us a try today – please call so we can help you.

How can we market Carnival with no co-op dollars?

We want to support you in your efforts to market Carnival. The best way to approach this is to let us know and we will look at your marketing plan and talk through it to see if it's the right fit. Please note our BDMs and Trade Engagement teams would love to work with you on your marketing plans.

Why do Carnival PVPs contact my clients directly and bypass me? I put my contact information on their profiles and the PVPs still manage to contact them directly.

In order to avoid pitching to guests that are working with travel agents, we have taken big steps recently in updating our sales script with the first question being, "Are you working with a Travel Agent?" Prior to making any reservation, our teams are trained to do a guest search to see if the guest is holding any options. In addition, we have a strict Personal Vacation Planner policy regarding Travel Agent guests and have terminated employees for any violations of that policy. We live in a world where the customer is always shopping and though we can't avoid that, we can try and do what we can on our side to eliminate potentially selling to your clients. If you have specific examples you would like to discuss or report, we are more than happy to look into them. Please send us as many details as you can to consumersalesfeedback@carnival.com.

Can you price protect the commission on Early Saver rates? It sure would make it more pleasant to book them.

We've heard this at a number of events, but the trust is Early Saver is a great value. Recently with the abnormal price decline it hasn't been the better option, but once our pricing picks up again, you would be benefiting from the commission of Early Saver. Give it some time, and we're sure you'll see its true value.

GoCCL.com doesn't show all the cabins available through Carnival.com. Carnival.com will show a cabin for 3 even though there are only 2 guests traveling, while GoCCL.com does not.

Carnival.com uses different filters than GoCCL.com to get a cabin availability list, however the same inventory is available for both channels. In mid-October we'll launch a new format on how you narrow down cabin selection and we know you'll be satisfied. If you haven't seen the GoCCL enhancements press release, please click here.

When I book a group and give the per person rate, I can't see 3rd and 4th person rates. I always have to go back to the FIT to figure out what the 3rd/4th rate is. Can we do anything about this?

This is something we added to the wish list of enhancements. Once you book groups you only see double rates, so we're looking at different ways to view the 3rd and 4th guest rates.

When you put in a past passenger number, why does the title always default to "Mr." even for a woman?

We've heard this a few times through Carnival Conversations so our GoCCL.com team checked it out and it does default the gender to male when adding the past passenger number. We've opened a case for this to be resolved as soon as possible. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

When looking up a VIFP number on GoCCL, after entering name and DOB I hit "accept" and the VIFP number is inserted into the box. However for the past few weeks we have to remove the "#" symbol. What is going on?

We've tried testing this issue using different browsers but couldn't duplicate it. If this happens again, please send our Director of E-solutions Noel Hernandez a note at NHernandez2@carnival.com and attach a screenshot.

Carnival has taken away the home-based agent BDM in Fort Worth. Do you see one coming in the future?

There are a number of things we're doing for home based agents that we think you'll be thrilled about. If you belong to a host, we'll be utilizing the secondary phone field which will allow our Trade Engagement team to reach out to you or someone at the local level that can go out and see you. Stay tuned!

What documents do Travel Agents need to provide in order to use the Interline Rates?

In order to qualify for Interline rates you will either need an agent ID or a letter from the agency Owner/Manager on agency letterhead confirming employment.

When we book clients with the military discount and send in the DD214 documents, why is it not stored in the clients profile so we do not need to keep sending it in? Some of our clients become upset that they have to continuously re-submit so we've even begun storing a copy.

The reason we don't store these documents is because the status of an individual in the military can change from active to inactive so we do require that they submit them when making a booking under the military rates. Once the military personnel are retired, we do store the documents so you wouldn't need to submit it again.

I have a group booked with all my clients in the group already having paid their full deposits, but I still have 4 cabins on hold. If I can't fill those cabins, will I have to turn those over to individual cabins?

No, you do not have to convert any of those to FIT bookings. They will remain as part of the group booking.

If a guest cancels an Early Saver booking, can they apply the balance of their deposit to a family member?

Only if the family member is the person that paid for the booking, then the credit belongs to them. Generally the Early Saver is non-transferrable, but if the person that paid is sailing then we can transfer the credit to them.

Can a client use a Carnival Cruise Lines credit or gift certificate when booking with a Travel Agent? My clients are being told no, only when booking directly with Carnival. Is this true?

Guests can use a Carnival credit to book any cruise whether direct or with a Travel Agent. Send us a note at guestsolutionssupport@carnival.com with more information and we'll look into it for you.

How many cruises must a Travel Agent sell in order to get a discount?

As soon as you are qualified to be a registered Travel Agent with Carnival, you are qualified to receive agency rates that as available.

Can you advise where the agent rates and eligible cruises can be found?

All of our offers, including those specifically for Travel Agents, are available on GoCCL.com under the "Sales" tab.

Why is it so hard for Carnival to run ship tours? I'm always getting requests for first time cruisers to get on board but it's difficult.

We have a very robust ship tour program. If you go to GoCCL.com and take a look under our Carnival Conversations section, you can find one nearest you.

How can we compete and get the lowest price if guests say they found a cheaper rate elsewhere?

We're proud to say we have one of the strictest anti-rebating policies in the industry. We strongly believe in level pricing so if you run across someone that has been rebating or funding something special, please go ahead and send us a note at ad_compliance@carnival.com. We'll contact the agency and give them 24 hours notice to correct it. If they do not respond, we'll put the agency on a stop-sell until they do.

How can agents compete with Costco and Sam's Club? Their rates seem to be lower than your website.

Carnival parted ways with Costco a few years ago due to member benefits conflicting with our strict anti-rebating policy. You no longer have to worry about Carnival competing in that area.

I've tried to order collateral and my login doesn't work. What can I do to gain access to order collateral?

Our Trade Engagement team is here to help you with your order collateral needs. Please contact the team via email at CCLSales@carnival.com or by phone at 1-800-327-7276 (option 5).

Can a wheelchair be rented onboard on a daily basis instead of the duration of the cruise?

Wheelchairs are available onboard in the event that someone has an unexpected accident and needs a wheelchair. Guests that come onboard and know they'll need a wheelchair for a period of time are advised to make arrangements on their own prior to boarding the ship.

What is the best cabin for people that are prone to seasickness?

There's no one real answer for this one since every person responds differently. The good news is with today's technology our ships have stabilizers that minimize the instances that involve seasickness. The important things to ask your clients when booking their stateroom is if they want to be on a specific deck, near activities, and what type of room they want - inside, oceanview or balcony.

Which ships have a "no smoking" policy for inside and outside the ships?

Smoking is prohibited in all guest staterooms of all ships. Guests in balcony staterooms may smoke (including cigars) outside their balcony. Cigarette smoking in public venues will only be permitted in Carnival's dance clubs as well as in designated areas within the casino, casino bar, and exterior open deck areas. For more information about our smoking policy visit GoCCL.com.

Is there a way to pre-book drink packages during the online booking process?

Not at this time, but it is something on our wish list.

Is there any information you can provide as to how the different itineraries are selected or rejected when a ship is no longer sailing from the same port – specifically Baltimore, Bermuda, Delaware. What are the general guidelines?

When we plan we look at places our guests would like to go – popular ports and the ports we can get our ships into. In addition, we look at close-to-home ports for easy access to our ships for example Florida, Texas, Canada, New York and all along the eastern sea board. We also look at how much it'll cost and show much we can charge for those itineraries.

Do you have itineraries for Europe in 2014? I couldn't find any on GoCCL.com.

We do not have a deployment in Europe for 2014.

Is someone doesn't want a drink package, what other beverages are available onboard the ships at no cost?

We have a variety of different juices, iced tea, lemonade and chocolate milk available that are complimentary.

I have clients that love the Carnival Spirit and wanted to cruise on that ship, but it is not listed with the other ships online. What happened?

Carnival Spirit is reaching its 1 year mark sailing out of Sydney, Australia. To book these itineraries, visit http://www.carnival.com.au/ which is our Australia site.

When booking group space for affinity groups, can we block a small amount of ocean views within the group space on the Spirit classes?

There are certain classes of ships with limited inventory, so that's why we limit the number of space you can block for groups. Oceanviews especially on the Spirit class are very limited.

Is Carnival having any shows in the Pheonix, Arizona in the future?

All of our previous and upcoming events are posted on the Carnival Conversations page within GoCCL.com. Login today to see when, what and where the next events are.

Can Carnival print cruise docs like in the past? It looks so much better than when we print them ourselves.

We are not considering printing the cruise documents at this time. We made the decision many years ago and we think it's the best opportunity for you to communicate with your guests.

Miami Roadshow

you said...

We listened

I really miss your brochures. I know it's a cost-saving feature for Carnival not to print brochures, but I really wish you would bring these back – especially itinerary information and ship layouts.

We have GREAT news! We just announced that brochures will be printed again for the first time in five years and will be ready for order in preparation for Wave season. Thanks to all of your valuable feedback through Carnival Conversations we've heard loud and clear that these are essential to your business so we're making it happen. For more information, please click here.

The free cruise giveaway was a complete joke. I was trying to get in at 5 minutes to 12, only to find the site was "under construction" when I was finally able to login. All you did with this offer is aggravate the travel agents that were trying to sign up.

As part of the Travel Agent Complimentary Cruise Promotion, our Sales Department bought just over 1,000 cabins to give to travel agents. In less than one hour, these cabins were filled. After launching the promotion, we had more than 25,000 travel agent requests for cruises. Given the success of this promotion, we've launched a second opportunity for you to win a complimentary cruise experience from now through October 6th. Visit GoCCL's homepage for more information.

First of all, I want to thank Frank Robleto for all of his support through the years. I'm a former Carnival PVP and have to say one of the areas Carnival is lacking is groups. It's hard to make the reservations worth my time the current structure. The competition is allowing a lot of flexibility with groups making it easier to book with them than with you.

We announced over a month or so ago that we're looking at our overall pricing structure and "groups" is a big part of that analysis. We're working hard on that one and we know we owe you an answer. In the meantime, we launched a group promotion that has now been extended through October 31st so we encourage you to check it out and take advantage of the fantastic group offers currently available.

I have serious issues with your computer booking system GoCCL. I have agents that no longer book Carnival because it has taken up to 6 ½ days to make payments on a big group. Not to mention that when we call Carnival we are told to go online instead of getting the help we need. It's just not worth it.

We apologize for your frustration. We've heard many times through Carnival Conversations that GoCCL could be easier to work with so we've begun to implement some enhancements to the system making it more user-friendly in an effort to make your jobs easier. For a list of the enhancements and their timeline, click here . In regards to our call centers, we've reinforced the need to be helpful when you call so we encourage you to give us another try. We're here to help you.

What is Carnival doing to bring back the Carnival that was more Travel Agent friendly? What are you doing to resolve all the issues that everyone in this room has been experiencing?

We are committed to doing a better job at making your jobs easier. We admit we haven't been good at it over the last couple of years and it's hard to hear how difficult it is for you to sell our product, but we're trying to right those things. We have a great product so we want to go back to giving you the tools to sell and market the fun, great and memorable vacations we all know and love. Other things we've done include adding back a Travel Agent call-to-action in all marketing materials including our new fall consumer campaign, bringing back a printed brochure, and a simplified pricing structure that will be announced very soon. For more information on these and other accomplishments thanks to all of your feedback during Carnival Conversations, visit the "Because We Chatted" page on GoCCL.com.

I am a group specialist for my agency so I handle over 100+ cabins for different cruise lines at the same time. When I call the group department at Carnival, I'm still being told "sorry you have to go online." I don't have time for that - my clients want answers back within 20 minutes to an hour - so it's hard to give them that kind of customer service if I don't get the same when I call. Also, I think the agents should try to be friendlier, more positive and more customer service inclined in general.

We apologize for your experience with our group department. We have more agents, more training and have become more efficient, all thanks to the feedback you've shared with us via Carnival Conversations. Give us a try today - please call so we can help you.

Carnival's average price per person quoting feature is very confusing. My clients want to know exactly how much they are paying and how much the 3rd/4th are paying. The booking engine should give all this information on an individual basis so we can give it to our clients this way.

We understand that for certain groups travelling together in a cabin, the average pricing can be confusing. Our goal is to offer you the best price per guest in a cabin based on availability and to communicate that clearly. We will continue to evaluate how we can do this best. We have a great tutorial on GoCCL.com under Training on Carnival Passport - just search by Average Pricing.

How come you dropped commissions so suddenly?

We hadn't changed our commission structure in over 10 years. It was a hard decision and one we didn't take lightly, but we did feel it was the right time to do so. In hindsight, we know now we should have given you more notice and more time to get to the next level and push forward. We sincerely apologize for that.

Last time I called Carnival was to get a military rate and I was told to check GoCCL.com. They wouldn't even pull the rate for me and that's unacceptable.

Quite frankly, we're embarrassed to hear that. We've tried really hard to change our culture in the contact center to assist you when you need help. We're going to revisit what's happening because we obviously didn't get it right this time. But know we're here to help you, so hope you give us another shot.

A lot of Carnival cruisers are first time cruisers that require hand-holding when organizing their vacations. I put more time on the phone to sell a $199 cruise and I have no other way to incentivize the cruise since nothing is really commissionable. Do you ever see a time when our own innovations and tenacity could build ways to make more commissions?

At the root of the low commissions are low cruise rates due to the unusual year we've had. We're working hard to raise prices via aggressive marketing campaigns and product upgrades to get our guests excited about the brand again and in turn putting more money back in your pockets. We're also making changes to the group program that we know you'll find interesting and allow more ways to earn on the group side that we haven't had in a while. We're working on multiple fronts to drive business and demand across all fronts and into your agencies.

When comparing my commission check from a land-based tour equivalent to a Carnival cruise, the numbers just don't add up. The more time I spend, the less money I make so I think this needs to be addressed. Why should I push your product versus this other product?

The root of the problem goes back to overall pricing. If the price drops, it causes a big hit to the commission. Our collected challenge is to find ways to continue to improve our pricing and convince consumers that the Carnival product is worth a lot more than historically we've been offering. Part of this is our Fun Ship 2.0 initiative, heavily investing in our ships to keep up with industry trends and innovations. The good news is here in Miami this is major because you have so many of the Fun Ship 2.0 ships to offer your clients. Between Miami and Fort Lauderdale you can recommend Carnival Breeze, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Conquest.

I had a client that had an issue at the pier at was told that because she didn't book direct, they couldn't help her.

This should not have happened. We apologize. We have taken this issue back to our team to ensure that all of our team members have the right information to ensure that can support all our guests in the appropriate ways.

My clients are always shopping online, so when I quote them for a cruise they always think I'm giving them a higher price. We as travel agents compete directly with you because your websites always show a price without taxes and fees, and when we quote our clients we give them everything up front. Carnival can be an innovator with this – add the taxes to your cruise fares on the website and make it fair for all of us.

We have shared this suggestion with our online product merchandising team, and will continue to evaluate ways to be more transparent about the pricing approach.

I want to thank the Esolutions Group for always helping me when I need them – they are excellent. I work with the mac systems and when I call, they know that GoCCL isn't compatible with macs so they always help me out. They work marvelous with our teams.

That's music to our ears. Thanks for sharing!

I would like to see GoCCL.com, Carnival Passport and the Travel Agent Rewards Program websites with a single sign-on or all living within the same site.

We have the single sign-on on our 2014 wish list for enhancements. We definitely agree with you that having one profile to remember is way better than having three different user names and passwords. Stay tuned!

Long Beach Road Show

you said...

We listened

I want real brochures back – not a pocket-size flyer but a real book.

We are bringing back a fleet brochure for the first time in 5 years, all thanks to your valuable feedback through Carnival Conversations. We heard loud and clear that these are essential to your business so we're making it happen and just in time for WAVE season. For more information, please click here.

Why do you send my clients emails and direct marketing messages? It doesn't look good for Travel Agents when you send things I can't get for them myself.

All of our offers are available to all guests regardless of how they book. For the most up-to-date offers available for your clients, please check out the "Sales" section of GoCCL.com. As for the marketing messages, we now have a "Contact a Travel Professional" call-to-action included in all materials, thanks to your valuable feedback through Carnival Conversations, and in an effort to drive more business your way.

I am a big advocate of Carnival and book a lot of groups. However there are lots of issues with booking groups. For example, all of the inventory should be on GoCCL.com, versus me having to go back and forth between Carnival.com and GoCCL.com.

This is number #1 on our enhancement list for the site, in addition to the filters we're adding that should be ready in a few weeks. For complete details on GoCCL's upcoming enhancements please click here.

I love GoCCL despite the weaknesses some have described. I do so much through the automated environment, I wonder if there's any tie with automation goals to commission or rewarding us for it? Also, what is the development story for mobile devices? It is challenging out on the road to use and look up schedules.

Right now the focus is on the investments to improve the site for all users, so we are not focusing on mobile optimization at the moment. On the compensation for automation, we pushed hard on automation and efficiency so we have to see where that all sorts out. If you are a member of the Travel Agent Rewards Program however you can be rewarded for online bookings and other automated activities. Enroll now!

We used to sell a lot of Carnival but stopped for a couple of reasons. Why is the guest site so much better than the agent site? GoCCL is not user friendly – it's so much easier to look up pricing on Carnival.com. Also, we made it a point to sell Carnival last year but then found out that while we were supposed to be at top commission, our commission dropped. I didn't get a call from Carnival; it was not communicated properly. Why all of a sudden did you drop commissions with no personal communication?

We are in the process of implementing a few enhancements to our booking portal GoCCL.com click here for more information. In regards to changing commissions it was definitely a tough call but one we had to make. We hadn't changed our commission tiers in 10 years. However, we admit we could have communicated the changes better and have learned a valuable lesson because of it.

Last October we got the news about the commission change. What should we anticipate now? How should I plan my business?

No surprises this year on commissions. Right now we are actively working on the product enhancements that are coming soon, Fun Ship 2.0 and others so stay tuned.

It looks like a foreign language when you are applying for discounted cruises for travel agents. And, how do I get a free cruise?

We did have a second complimentary cruise program running last week, where you could sign up on a particular sailing you wanted and we then randomly selected agents for those sailings based on all those who had signed-up. At this time, we do not have a complimentary cruise promotion available, but we encourage you to continue checking GoCCL.com for other terrific promotions for you and your guests. We are working to add new opportunities all the time.

I do a lot of groups and like to book them in advance, but rates are dropping closer and closer to the sail date. It makes it more difficult for me to sell the cruises ahead of time because last time they booked the rate went down at the last minute. Further, it causes more work on the already booked guests because now I have to go into their booking and change their rate codes to give them the better price. It's more work and I get even less commission. When is Carnival going to stop dropping prices?

It is not our intention to lower the prices at the last minute; in fact we know that by doing so, we undid a lot of the good that we have made over the years of encouraging early bookings. There is no greater priority for us than to get the pricing back to where it needs to be. Our brand took a big hit this year and the media didn't help. We're working hard to raise pricing via aggressive marketing campaigns and product upgrades to get our guests excited about the brand again and in turn putting more money back in your pockets. We're working on multiple fronts to drive business and demand across all fronts and into your agencies. We know together we'll get it turned around.

I book groups with Carnival and always try to use GoCCL.com to do so, however I often run into issues either when putting money into the group level or berthing kids under age 2. Esolutions has been very helpful when I've called for assistance, but I can't say the same for the group department – they tend to send me to the website to do it myself.

We're doing a lot of work on GoCCL.com to enhance the group booking process and the enhancements should be rolled out by the end of this month or early November. As for the group department, we are in intense training with all of our agents on how to better help our clients - including YOU - so please know we are making every effort to improve on this and take it very seriously.

If I call Carnival, I tend to get different rates than I'm getting online. But when I call I'm being told to go to GoCCL.com. If the team is working in reservations, they should know what is available and should be able to help.

This issue goes back to more training in our contact centers. We're working hard with our teams to give them the tools they need to serve you better. Give us another chance.

The last 7 years Carnival has gone direct to clients. The last few months seem different. What is going to happen when business rights itself?

That is a good question. It was never our intention to go after your clients directly; we wanted to make all of our sales channels more efficient regardless of travel agents or direct. But the response didn't seem that way. We pushed too far and created this air of mistrust. We are committed to you– we own what we did and will continue to invest, share, drive consumers to you and deliver to our guests.

Thank you for having a live conversation in California. Because of Carnival Conversations I've had a major issue resolved and that was granting my 1,000 pending points on the Travel Agent Rewards Program for sailings. I appreciate the effort.

We're so happy to hear we were able to resolve that for you.

I'm an expert on GoCCL.com and have a good rapport with Carnival. Two things: 1) I would like if you did away with the additional supplement when groups reach 10 or more single cabins, 2) If there isn't enough money on the booking the credit card is charged back and the cabin is cancelled. Why?

Great point on the additional supplement, I don't think we've done away with that one so we've taken it back to the team. Regarding the cabin cancellations, the reason we do this is because we have a lot of speculative space being held on groups and the only way that we could resolve it was to stay true to the money deposited to the cabin. If the group is deposited at the group level and not allocated to the individual level please reach out to us and we will help you.

When I have groups on the waitlist, I usually call Carnival to check the availability for my clients. To my surprise, my clients called me and let me know they had booked their cruise. So when availability opens up, it doesn't go to the waitlist, it goes to whoever grabs it first. Why is that?

The waitlist program is in our reservation system. When the waitlist clears, it doesn't automate the booking process. We haven't heard of it happening often but since it's a manual process some do slip through the cracks. Sorry for the inconvenience and please call us if that happens to you.

I know there has been a lot of negativity but I want you to know I love Carnival. How about developing a co-branded site with Travel Agents to help drive business our way?

Thanks for your suggestion, and thanks for your loyalty to Carnival. We'll take this one back.

I have some real concerns with guests that are handicapped. There are no dedicated spots in the dining room for those that are handicapped and this is inconvenient to them, especially for those who use scooters to get around.

This is great feedback. We've shared it with our teams in Miami.

Is there any training done for employees on the ship that lets them know the value of Travel Agents? I had a client booked in a junior suite, and the client didn't like their location so they complained. The ship staff told my client to let her travel agent know they put you in a bad spot. Your personnel should appreciate us more and know we are all working together.

We're sorry to hear this happened. It shouldn't happen, as our number one goal is the best service to our guests regardless of how they book. We'll reinforce the message with our onboard staff.

I had a group I've worked with for many years. I moved this group to Carnival and then found out someone gave them the Friends and Family rate. I lost the business as a result. Is this something that an in-house agent can get for a group?

There is no benefit to a reservation agent to do this because they wouldn't get a commission for it. It could have been an employee but we don't know for sure.

When I am booking groups, I sometimes have people that add on later. When I go to assign them to dining with the rest of the group, the dining times are sold out. Is there anything you can do to keep groups dining together?

We have heard this before, that sometimes groups may not be seated together. We do have a team dedicated to getting your group on the same dining schedule so if this comes up again, please do reach out to our event planning department and they'll try to help you out.

Group dining is a real issue because you cannot block the space in the dining room unless the group is under full deposit.

We used to let the groups submit dining requests but we learned it would shut out FIT bookings. It didn't seem fair to all of our passengers so we changed our policy. If there is a group such as an affinity group that wants to dine together, we are trying to make it happen as an exception rather than the rule.

It's too confusing to know what your TC's are. How do you calculate for Tour Conductors? Most of the Carnival agents do not know how to calculate the formula to determine the credit.

The TC credit is based on the average cruise fare paid by all guests in the group instead of being equal to the cruise rate for the category within the group with most cabins. As before, the TC credit will remain net of commission and miscellaneous credits applied to the guest. Please note that the rule covering which guests count toward the TC hasn't changed. It continues to be only "full fare" guests, i.e., the first and second guests in the cabin. At Carnival, we're always looking for ways to help you increase your compensation. This is just another great reason to sell-up your clients into higher categories and increase your TC earnings! For your reference, the calculation for TC's is located in GoCCL.com under Forms and Policies.

I can't send a quote to a customer through GoCCL.com. It looks like a brochure on other cruise lines.

We like this idea too, and it's something that's on our wish list for next year.

I'm an avid Travel Agent Rewards Program user. I do a lot of group booking but they are only worth 150 points in the program so it's not really a reward for the agent. Also, can this be automatic into our accounts in the future?

With all of the different ways that we receive bookings it is difficult to fully automate the program. As for the awarding more points for groups is one that our team is working on. It's a tougher technology nut to solve, but it is on our wish list.

I'm a big supporter of the Travel Agent Rewards Program and I actually teach others on how to use the program. Is there any way that it can be simplified? And can we have the ability to sort?

The good news is we are working on it! Please stay tuned for our enhancements to be announced by the end of this year.

Can there be enhancements to the rewards in the Travel Agent Rewards Program? I really do not want another tote bag and I have an iPad. What about offering travel agents upgrades or something similar?

We've heard great feedback on how to improve the Travel Agent Rewards Program and we assure you we're listening. Stay tuned as we continue to evaluate the program.

My issue is with the training offered on GoCCL.com. It's one of the most confusing programs I've dealt with, specifically because it shows everything I've completed but doesn't tell me what level I'm at currently. Can you simplify?

From your description, it sounds like you are looking at My Learning History which is the 3rd item on the left-side menu bar within Carnival Passport. There you see everything that you have completed within Carnival Passport. To see how many credits you have earned and the level you have obtained, select the first item, My Learning Profile. Here you will find your personal profile information and your completion credits and levels. Scrolled to the bottom of Completion Credits and Levels to see the total number of credits you have earned. For further information on how to navigate throughout Carnival Passport, please view the tutorials and/or job aide found under User Support in the top menu bar.

I earned my PhD of Awesome and I'm not getting credit for it on the new program.

We did roll out a new program this year for Carnival Passport, but anyone that participated with CCLU should have been grandfathered in with the appropriate points for the levels you've completed. Please send us a note with your information at carnivalpassport@carnival.com and we'll look into your account for you.

We would like new itineraries on the West Coast.

We are offering a few different itinerary options from Long Beach. There will be more 15 day Hawaii cruises to choose from in 2014. We will also offer several 7 day cruises later this fall that call in Cabo San Lucas and two full days in Puerto Vallarta.

Unfortunately, there are limited port options heading south to Mexico. We are currently evaluating the development of a new port in the southern portion of Baja California. It would be a great new option, but will take us some time to complete our review. La Paz and other ports in the Sea of Cortez would be possible, but would require cruises of 10 days or longer to be viable.

We have reviewed options sailing to the North and calling on ports in California and Oregon. While these are attractive ports, many of our West Coast guests reside in these areas. The weather and sea conditions are also often challenging.

We agree that new itinerary options would be great for our West Coast cruises. We will continue to think creatively and work on this one. Have you thought about promoting our cruises from Galveston? It's a reasonable flight, we have great ships homeported there, and offer attractive Western Caribbean itineraries.

We specialize in the Hispanic market. We sell Carnival, but could you develop marketing materials in Spanish so we can develop our community?

That's a good point. Our marketing team in HQ is looking at these opportunities to see if it's something to invest it. We're still in the early investigative stages but it's on our radar.

How do we get veteran pricing?

Military rates are available year-round. We also dedicate two months out of the year to even better deals for our military personnel so be on the look-out in May and November. For the latest military offers, visit the "Sales" section of GoCCL.com.

Dallas Road Show

you said...

We listened

We're all very pleased about the new simplified fare structure coming soon. Now that you are here, can you outline what it's going to be like and give us a preview on how that will be structured?

Good news! On Monday, October 14th we announced our new simplified fare structure to take effect on all new bookings starting October 31st. We heard through Carnival Conversations and the travel agent survey that our fare structure was too complicated and made it too difficult to book with Carnival. So the new structure will have less core fares with only Fun Select, Early Saver and Super Saver available moving forward. To read the full press release, click here.

I know you are in the process of updating the GoCCL system, but one of the things I think would be most helpful is if we could see cabins, doubles and triples, at the same time. This would be especially helpful when we book families that have multiple cabins with multiple quantities. It would save so much time.

We hear you. That is the top issue on our list of enhancements for GoCCL.com. We're going to have new filtering systems where you can filter the cabins you need by cabins across from one another and connecting cabins. Additionally, we've heard the cabin selection that displays on GoCCL differs from the one you have on Carnival.com so we're making that uniformed. It's going to be the same cabin selection on both systems.

I love technology but sometimes you just need to talk to a person. With two and three hour wait times, it kills us.

Earlier this year we did have problems with the hold times, so we went out and hired about 200 new agents. We have 63 that are training now in addition to the staff we hired earlier this year. The hold times are being monitored daily, and with the exception of a pending storm where people tend to call more often, we've been doing pretty well with our service accountability. The hold times at their worse have been 10-12 minutes. Although that's still not where we want to be, we're happy to say we've been meeting and exceeding our service levels so you shouldn't have that issue moving forward.

Other suppliers typically help us regardless of how many cabins we have in the group. With Carnival, we need to have at least 50 cabins or the contact center tells us to go to GoCCL.com.

The good news is that is not our policy anymore. Thanks to all of your feedback through the Carnival Conversations blog and road show events, we heard loud and clear our teams weren't being helpful to you and that has since changed. Our teams are now trained to take your calls no matter what, and the even better news is, because we opened up the lines of communication, we've been able to resolve some of the pain points on GoCCL.com and other reasons you've had to call in. Give us another chance today; we're here to support you.

There used to be a time we had to sell so many cabins berthed to get our own BDM. Is that still the case or is that going to change?

We do have a minimum level of production in order to work with our BDMs but it's important for everyone to understand what that level is. When we break it down its sales of about 4 cabins a month, perhaps a couple good sized groups a year, and we think it is very obtainable. If you are less than that, our Trade Engagement team is your point of contact for any sales related items. Know that we also want our BDM team to engage with agencies that may be below the 50 mark but have the propensity and desire to produce 50 or more cabins annually. If you fall in that category, our Divisional Vice President of Sales, Kirk Neal, would love to hear from you. Here's his email address:KNeal@carnival.com.

Due to the negative press, I've been losing a lot of clients for Carnival. What can I do as an agent to get them back on your cruise ships?

The best way to sell Carnival is to focus on the fact that safety is our number one priority. Earlier this year, we announced a $300 million program to enhance operating reliability and guest comfort that you can share with your clients. You may view a short video with our Chairman, Micky Arison and CEO, Gerry Cahill as they discuss this topic and read the recent press release at http://carnival-news.com/2013/04/17/carnival-cruise-lines-announces-fleetwide-300-million-program-to-enhance-operating-reliability-and-guest-comfort/. Also, be sure to share Carnival's new Great Vacation Guarantee where if you're not happy with your cruise within 24 hours, let us know and we'll refund your money. For complete details, click here.

Our commissions are so low it makes it hard to want to book with your cruise line. We know guests are spending lots of money onboard at the casinos and bars, so why can't we raise the prices and increase our commissions?

Our collected challenge is to find ways to continue to improve our pricing and convince consumers that the Carnival product is worth a lot more than historically we've been offering. We're working on multiple fronts to drive business and demand across all fronts and into your agencies – this includes our aggressive marketing campaign this fall with a "contact your travel professional" call-to-action and the ongoing Fun Ship 2.0 initiative.

In previous years I have done a lot of groups for Carnival, mostly crafting or scrapbooking so we've needed a lot of meeting space. It's more and more difficult to book that meeting space this year with the new policy in place since February. That is the bulk of my business. What if anything are you doing to change that policy? How can I work with this policy?

This is a difficult one because with crafting groups specifically, they bring a lot of gear and it becomes a bit uncomfortable to haul everything from the meeting space and back to the room day after day. In the past we would give the key of the room to the group leader to have access 24/7, but as a result of some of the new restrictions and security issues in the industry regarding safety, some of these lounges are now used as a muster station or for emergency purposes. We can no longer have rooms that are inaccessible to the crew 24 hours a day. That being said, we've gone back to our operations group and expressed the importance and needs for these spaces. Our head of event planning has been working very closely with leaders on their specific needs. We encourage you to reach out to group event planning and we'll try to accommodate you as best as we can.

Carnival used to allow agents to put a group deposit to hold cabins for a certain time for a group. You could add people to this group without the $250 per person. Now you can't do that and it makes my life so difficult. My clients only want to pay $50-$100 a week, so it's more accounting on my end. Is there anything that can be done to go back to how it was before?

To be honest, we are not looking to change the current policy when booking group cabins. Historically we would have cabins berthed to save the space, and when we did the analysis, over 90% of those cabins were washing by the second deposit date. It became difficult for our teams to tell what had been sold, and difficult for the models we use to determine pricing.

I have a lot of group clients that don't give the deposit within the month we can hold the space. I don't want an extension on the berthing process, but at least the group space. Is that possible?

This is part of the revamping we are working on for the group program. We're looking at how we handle groups and how we work with groups. We're also empowering the front line agents to make ad-hoc decisions, providing qualifying questions so they can listen to you. We don't want to create more work for you when the deposit date comes and you have to cancel, so if you have a situation, please contact us.

We do a lot of groups, mostly church groups. A lot of our guests like to travel in singles. I've noticed you've been offering more single cabins on certain ships. Is this something you plan to move across all ships or just a test drive for now?

The single cabin offers are on a promotional trial run right now so we can't guarantee their longevity.

I wanted to share a story and express my gratitude to Carnival for helping me with one of my groups this year. I had a group booked for a wedding cruise that turned into a "non-wedding" cruise; the bride and groom decided three weeks prior to cancel the wedding portion of the vacation. Carnival was able to change the group name and the dining arrangements so the non-bride and her family could still go on the cruise separate from the non-groom's parents. All in all, Carnival was very understanding and accommodating of the situation and I'm grateful. I also wanted to commend you for all the work you did post Carnival Triumph. You did a fabulous job communicating with us everything that was going to happen with the Triumph, booking our clients future travel, and dealing with everything. I take no issue with Carnival over that incident. Finally, I want to say your Business Development Managers are top notch.

Thank you so much for your support of Carnival Cruise Lines. We're glad our group department was able to help you accommodate your wedding turned non-wedding group, and appreciate your thoughts on how we handled the Carnival Triumph. It's because of your support we are able to overcome.

I try and put together a lot of groups, usually small. My groups love the amenities when we put the wine in the rooms and all that fun stuff. However sometimes I start with 9 cabins and end up with 3 or 4 so they lose the amenities. I end up putting t-shirts together out of my own pocket since I told them they would get fun stuff in the stateroom. Anything we can do about keeping the amenities? Also, what about additional amenities? Some of my group members don't drink so I'm always looking for something else to offer them in the room besides wine.

In regards to saving the amenities for group cabins, our suggestion is to book your clients without the amenities and if you make it to the 5 cabins in a group, surprise them with a treat once they get to their staterooms. They would love you for it! If you use the amenities as a selling point, you'll want to be sure you can get the cabins booked so the offer sticks. As for the amenities offered, we're always looking for recommendations so if you have any, please do share them with us on the Carnival Conversations blog.

Can the loyalty programs be affiliated across the sister lines? That would be great if we could get credit across brands and be recognized on board the ships.

We hadn't heard this one before, but we're always looking for ways to cross promote with our sister brands. This is something we can definitely discuss with our teams.

I have potential clients that have been contacting me that want to travel but they are on dialysis. I've had to turn them away.

There's no need to turn them away. We have a wonderful team that oversees our guest access department. They are very well versed in patients that require dialysis, and we can even provide more information on the islands we visit with dialysis centers. Send us your contact information and we'll put you in touch with them so they can educate you and you can cater to those clients.

When you revamped your VIFP Program, everyone that had almost hit 10 cruises was grandfathered into the platinum level as long as they took the 10th cruise by the end of this year. I was told several times those close to their 25 cruises would also be grandfathered into the diamond level if they sailed on the 25th cruise by the end of this year as well. I was supposed to be one of those people, but when I went on the cruise, I was still at the previous level. When I called Carnival, I was told I was given the wrong information. What happened?

We believe our teams have already assisted with this matter. Thanks for your loyalty to Carnival and congratulations on your 25th cruise!

My agency primarily books through Sabre, not through GoCCL.com. Do my bookings still qualify for points on the Travel Agent Rewards Program? If so, are the points given automatically?

The answer is yes – any bookings made through an online mechanism (GoCCL or any GDS) will qualify you to receive reward points. However they are not automated across any of the Carnival channels. To get your points you will have to visit the Rewards Program web site and enter your booking numbers. We then validate the bookings on a monthly basis.

Are cruise rookies booked in a group still eligible for points in the Travel Agent Rewards Program?

Yes, they are eligible for points.

I am a member of the Travel Agent Rewards Program. I received points for completing the Bachelors of Fun when you still had CCLU, however when you recently changed to Carnival Passport, I went ahead and put in to get points for the Fun Seeker level, but my points are still pending. What do I need in order to complete the level and get the 2500 points?

When the program was changed from Carnival University to Carnival Passport, we made sure you were given credit for the work you had already completed. Because you had earned your Bachelors of Fun, you started Carnival Passport with credits towards the Fun Seeker level. In order to complete the level however, you will need to participate in some of the online activities offered. Once you complete the level and move on to the next, you're information will be transferred into the Rewards Program site and you will get your reward points. For more information on how many credits you need to move on to the next level, visit the Training Overview page on GoCCL.com.

Thank you so much for our interline rates and Travel Agent rates – they rock. I've been on 20+ Carnival cruises but I always have to book it through an agency instead of booking it myself. Is the point of it to have me on the ship to get the points?

Our teams at the help desk assisted with this individual case. Thanks for your question!

I work with a lot of older clients and they are always asking me for luggage tags. Is there anything Carnival can do to print these for our clients?

We'll take this back to our teams.

Chicago Road Show

you said...

We listened

I understand your policy of having to sell at least 50 cabins a year in order to have a sales rep; however, I think it's important you have someone you can call when you have any problems. It's unfortunate you can't pick up the phone and call your Carnival rep when you have an issue to talk you through it just because you sell 40 cabins instead. I went to another line's event and they actually highlighted the fact that Carnival doesn't care about the smaller agents, and that they had reps going out and talking to everyone. It's a big problem.

I think it's important we outline what the protocol is. For a personal BDM to call on you proactively we do have a 50 cabin minimum. Those that sell less have our Trade Engagement department in Miami. The difference isn't so much on how much you're selling but on your needs. If you are a Carnival expert and need help in building your business, our BDMs are the perfect resource for you. If you aren't as familiar with booking Carnival and need assistance with GoCCL and other tools, our Trade Engagement team is there to help you. If you find yourself at the point where Carnival is your main focus and you're ready to hit the mark, contact us so we ensure the right person is in place and you have the right support to get you there. Regardless of your size, we care about you. We're always here for you, so feel free to contact your BDM with any questions you may have or our Trade Engagement team via email CCLSales@carnival.com or by phone 1-800-327-7276.

I think you need to revamp the co-op money. When I called in, they wanted me to do a business plan. I didn't just start in the business; they should look back and see my production to approve me for the co-op.

The truth is, we're looking to make good investments – we want to find your intent and your goals. We don't need a full business plan on a special form or document, just give us the data and we'll look at it and make smart decisions together. We'll get with our Trade Engagement team to be sure we're all on the same page. Good feedback, thank you very much.

I only book Princess and Carnival, but now I'm faced with clients that don't want to sail Carnival and would rather do land vacations. What do I tell them to put them at ease, that when they board the ship they will not be stuck in the middle of the ocean?

Earlier this year we made some announcements on what we're doing to enhance reliability and promote safety on our ships. For more information on this please click here, and feel free to share this link and video with your clients. As for safety, everyone has standard safety procedures with drills on the ships, but you never really know when something happens how your team will perform. We do, and we're so proud of how the crew executed under pressure and brought everyone home safe and sound.

We've also announced a new vacation guarantee program to give you an extra tool as a selling point for your customers. For more information on the Great Vacation Guarantee program, please click here. Furthermore, all the new Moments That Matter marketing efforts also give you an edge to get your clients back on the ships, re-building the brand and getting consumers back to remembering Carnival for being fun, memorable and a great value. Together, we think we'll be able to get back. 

When I call your call centers, the first thing they tell me to do is go to GoCCL.com. I understand that is ideal, but if I go to GoCCL.com, aren't I cutting them out of a job?

That has changed just prior to us hitting the road for the Carnival Conversations travel agent outreach program. We met with our teams and really thought about what it is the agents want when they call in to our call centers. It's not that you don't want to embrace automation, when you call us you just need some help. So we some made decisions based on this and agreed we will no longer turn you away when you call us. GoCCL is a more convenient tool since we are not open long hours or on the weekends, but when we're open, we're certainly here to help you. To good news is that by opening the lines of communications, we were able to pin point some of the problem areas on GoCCL.com and fix them. For a list of recently deployed enhancements, please click here.

I gave up on the prompt system. Whenever I try to open it and reach the part where I give my reservation number, I try and pronounce it well and it doesn't understand me. It's just wasting my time.

We gave up too! As of Monday, November 4th, there is no longer a prompt where you enter your reservation number. One of the reasons it's taken us a couple of weeks to finalize, we also looked at the experience from soup to nuts. How much of this that's in there is really necessary, etc. That's why as of now you will have a better experience when calling Carnival.

One of my clients received her casino card in the mail and her cabin was upgraded with the casino code and taken out of my group. I ended up losing the cabin and the chance for a free cabin for my group.

When it comes to casino offers, it's a very unique and special promotion. We understand how and why these things happen, and the unfortunate part is you were close to a TC (tour conductor), otherwise you would be okay because you still get the commission on the booking. We'll take a closer look at these cases but in the meantime, we encourage you to check out the recently announced new group program here.

If you have a group reserved and a special promotion is launched like the casino offers, why can't we grant the guest the casino price but still leave them in the group? Give the additional discount to the person that has the promotion, but protect that person in her group.

That's one of the things we're looking at. We've gone back and forth, and this is one of the important points we're discussing.

I have a group that I'm working with for next July. You guys had a 50% reduced deposit sale, so I started berthing the cabins not realizing that they would take away all my other cabins from me. I put the amount of money needed to hold the 60 cabins but when I checked the next morning after berthing some at the reduced deposit, I lost all of the cabins I had money on. I thought they would take from my allotment, but instead they reduced my group to only those that I berthed.

We checked in with our teams and are happy we were able to resolve with you at the Help Desk.

I love Carnival and you really do a great job of promoting your cruises. What happens though when you promote to our clients and they book direct? Is there a way that you can see what guests have an agency on file and advise us so we can try and get that back? Also, with the party kits you can order online, can we get a quicker turnaround than 3 weeks? I'm still waiting for mine to arrive for an upcoming show.

We spend a lot of money on marketing, but we really can’t tell who the guests have worked with if they’re a first time cruiser. What you should be assured of, if you are working with a client and they booked with us directly, you have 90 days to contact us and we’ll turn over the booking to you with the client’s permission (this was recently extended from 30 days). Also to add, our Personal Vacation Planners script has changed to ask the folks that call in directly if they are currently working with a Travel Agent. In addition, when we have enough information on the caller we do a guest search to see if they are currently holding a reservation – all these things we do to make sure we identity the travel agent and transfer accordingly. Finally, all marketing materials are now featuring a “Call your Travel Professional” call-to-action so this should help bring more business to your doors. Regarding the Cruise Party in a Box you ordered, our teams advised us you’ve now received it – hope you have a successful event!

I had a group that sailed this year in August, and pricing went down substantially, so I re-priced them. I have another group booked next year, already had to rebook them at the lower rate (about $80 less than the original booking). What I'm trying to understand is 82% of my business is Carnival, but I'm spending 99% of my time with Carnival. I've got to get smarter in this business. I don't understand NCF's, but why can't you take the money out of there instead? I'm selling the same if not more cruises, yet my income keeps going down. It's really difficult to continue to make a living.

It's a great point and one that impacts everyone here. This has been an exceptional year for Carnival. There are times as an industry that are good and bad, but we've never seen anything of this magnitude with pricing changes as we have this year. We apologize for that because it's not something you've been doing wrong. We've tried launching different promotions like bonus commissions to say thank you for your patience and support through this time. The real key for Carnival and for our travel partners is to restore pricing. That's what we're working so hard to do – all of these initiatives restoring consumer confidence, new tools for you, a new marketing campaign to contact your travel agents – all are to get consumers back on track and stimulate demand and get pricing back to where it needs to be. This is our number 1 commitment to Carnival and to all of you.

On GoCCL.com when using Fun Ship Pay, is there a way to at least see the last four digits of the credit card? When you go into the history you see nothing but authorization codes. Doesn't make any sense – there are no names and no amount of credit payment visible to us at that level.

The payment history information is limited to payment type, amount, and date/time. We've added this to our list enhancements of review next year.

Can we have a little more flexibility in customizing the PDF flyers on GoCCL.com? They are so boring. You get this flyer with all the possible dates for this cruise and can't customize anything. And in the pricing section, I like to quote people with the full cruise rate including taxes and fees but the parameters placed on the document don't allow me to do that.

The good news is we just re-launched a whole bunch of new flyers on the Fun eCollateral Library both with all the new information for 2014 and 2015, and with more space to customize sections you wish to customize. We also have a group flyer option where you can customize the date of the itinerary you are promotion, so you can alleviate all the sailing dates you don't need or want to show. Check it out today!

I had a family that went on a cruise this summer all paid for by the grandparents, with two grandkids that had special needs, and Carnival was fantastic with them. They were able to board right away and not have to stand in line. Carnival also coordinated for them to get their meals right away.

Thank you for sharing, we're very proud of our teams.

I have a very loyal client that always books her air through Carnival, it's the only way she wants it. This year we had a problem with the ship coming into Fort Lauderdale but the flight was out of Miami leaving at 7:30pm. She could not do the Everglades excursion and she was unhappy since she had sailed 12 cruises with Carnival and this was the situation she was in. Is there a way we could work better with the Air/Sea department? Why would they fly them out so late and not take the shore excursion?

The best thing to do in this situation is to let us know about the circumstances when you first hear about it, and we'll escalate it to management. We cannot promise you anything, but we might be able to accommodate the flights, or at least allow them to book the shore excursion. We're trying to do a better job of training the front line agents to feel confident in escalating these types of situations. So if someone isn't helpful to you when you call in, we need to know that too.

We do a fair amount of group business and on several past group sailings, the people on the group signed up onboard the cruise for their next cruise. We were never protected, our agency was never identified. This happened on a competitor line but it raised a bigger question because we sell a lot of cruises across the range of different price points and I never gave it a thought that that would be a concern. What is your policy?

If a customer that is sailing books their next cruise while onboard (FIT or group) the travel agent on the current booking will get the credit.

When you book a person that doesn't live in the U.S. or that has no U.S. citizenship, some cruise lines say to book them but you do not get commission. With Carnival, are we protected with our commission if someone let's say for example from the Philippines wants to book into my group?

The answer is yes for now and the remainder of 2013, but we do evaluate this policy every year.

I have fun finding the hidden codes and all that stuff, but could it be easier to get to the Rewards Program and Carnival Passport?

You can bookmark the links in your internet browser and go there directly. That should be a helpful way to easily access all the different CCL sites. We're actually looking at ways to get a single sign-on for all of our systems to access the various programs using one username and password, but that's still in the exploratory phase so in the meantime, we hope this solution works.

When someone books the future cruise program they pay $100 towards their cruise, but only one person in the cabin gets the $100, the other will not unless she booked the reservation. Why isn't the promotion on a per person basis? Also, if the guests do not use their future cruise, other lines give them the credit back on their credit card, while Carnival does not.

We'll take this one back to our teams. Thanks for your feedback and the suggestion.

On a positive note, I just love the Travel Agent Rewards Program. I love getting my $50 gift cards to help my sales and I just think it's a great program.

We're so glad the program is working for you. Thanks for participating!

Galveston Road Show

you said...

We listened

I'd like to know about co-op opportunities in the future.

There are co-op funds out there so if you see an opportunity you would like us to consider, let us know so we will look at the marketing plan and talk through it to see if it's the right fit. Our BDMs and Trade Engagement team would love to work with you on that.

My host agency is Travel Planners International – they are based in Florida, I'm here in Houston – so I've been in conversations with the BDMs and other people about getting support in Houston. How is that being addressed?

The host model is very complicated but we love it. We have a difficult time wrapping our arms around how to support these groups and better serve them regardless of where you are located, but we are looking into it and talking to our teams to see how we can help each other out. Since you know your contact in Florida, in the meantime go ahead and reach out when you have any questions and he'll be happy to assist you.

I have a question regarding group bookings, particularly on tour conductors (TC). Usually a cabin is $500 per person, but group bookings are higher, let's say $525, $535. What is the point of booking groups and getting a TC when they are paying a higher price anyway?

That's a good point, and one we've heard many times through Carnival Conversations. We took another look at our program and thanks to all of your feedback we recently announced the new group program in effect as of October 31, with attractive new group rates and complimentary amenities for top selling individual fares booked into groups. This should make it easier for you to highlight the value of affinity groups to your clients. For more information, click here.

I have seen good changes, so thank you for finally listening to us. About groups, are you going to be doing anything about the GAP points?

We consider those FIT rates that you have to bring into the group. The good news we recently announced our enhanced Affinity Group Program and with the new changes, Fun Select, Early Saver and Past Guest fares may be added to groups with complimentary amenity points. For more information on the new group program, click here.

Will you work with agents as opposed to sending them to go online?

Yes, we realized quickly we needed to open the lines of communications and start helping you. We ran special promotions in August and September with extended group department hours including weekends and are happy so say we are now extending those indefinitely. We also have weekly round tables with our agents to enforce the message and to ensure you are getting the service and help you need. Call us today; we're here to help you.

When I call and have a group issue with an airline, I call their support number and they handle anything. When I call Carnival, I get “oh well we can handle this individual reservation, but this other one is a group so we’ll have to transfer you over here.” I feel like I’m being ping-ponged all over the place.

What we realized through your feedback is there are a few 1-800 numbers for Carnival that are being called and the prompts are all different. Our prompt (contact center) is equipped to handle FIT or group bookings. What we've done is gone through an exercise where we've taken a closer look at all the 1-800 numbers currently out there and their prompts, and evaluated the user experience. Since then, we've removed the section of IBR and other forced automation areas, and we are simplifying the number of options that you have. Give us a call today and check it out for yourself.

When will Carnival have particular group advocates that I can work with? When I call Carnival I get one of 200 people that don't know who I am. Plus, when I call, I'm on hold for 45 minutes.

Regarding hold times, we haven't had long hold times since March or April. There may be some confusion as to what 1-800 numbers you are calling. The group department is 1-800-327-5782 and if you are calling that number you should not be experiencing a 45 minute hold time, especially with the new prompt systems in place since November 4th. Regarding the group coordinator, when you book 250 cabins or more, you do get assigned a coordinator to work with your group. But we've realized there are smaller groups that need help with a coordinator, and larger groups that don't. What we're trying to do going forward, now that we're back in the group business, we need to sit down and discuss what our group program will look like and what the needs of the Travel Agent are to make them successful in selling groups.

What have you done to the Carnival Triumph to bring it back to service? What was cleaned, replaced so I can share it with my clients?

The Carnival Triumph underwent $115 million in repairs and upgrades, including significant enhancements to the ship's emergency power, operating redundancies and fire safety systems, as well as a number of new Fun Ship 2.0 dining and bar innovations. To watch an informative video about the refurbishment, click here. Feel free to post on your websites and share with your clients.

I had a fairly large group onboard the Triumph this summer, the ship is wonderful and Guy’s Burger was delicious. I got a phone call from a PVP when I returned. I told him I booked it through a Travel Agent and he told me “well you can do that, or you can book it with me.” I asked him, “why not my travel agent?” and he said, “well, not all travel agents know everything about Carnival.” That’s when I got upset. I know you guys have taken this and researched it a little bit, but I want to make sure that it doesn’t happen to my clients. I just want reassurance.

It’s certainly not the norm for this to happen, and we want to be sure that we resolve this. We have taken great steps to stop this from happening, it doesn’t make business sense and would ruin what we are working towards. I’d like to tell you a little bit about our process. From the PVP side, we have no way of knowing who is a past guest booked with a travel agent when we call.. So let us tell you what we have been doing to mitigate the risk of something like this occurring. We’ve enforced a question in the script that asks right up front “are you working with a Travel Agent?” The other step we’ve included is once we have the guest’s name and phone number, we run a search to see if they are holding other options. The challenge is sometimes they are holding multiple options with different agencies. We do not load “last booked TA” as a resource when we make calls. For your specific scenario, I want to take a look at it. Since we started Carnival conversations we’ve terminated agents for taking advantage of the system, and the vast majority of PVPs do the right thing. If you’d like to report any issues, please contact the VP of Contact Center Sales, Dave Chang directly at DChang@carnival.com.

Do PVP's get a commission on sales?

Yes, they do. They are internal sales people.

Last year I had a big group, but at dinner we found out we were all over the place. Split between dining rooms and times. When I spoke to the Maitre’d he helped me get some people together, but he also told me Carnival no longer supports the group as a whole to guarantee dining. But if they’re traveling as a group, they obviously want to dine as a group. Is there anything that can be done with group dining?

Prior to 3 to 4 years ago the system was very manual when guaranteeing group dining. The department that handled this lived in the group department so we took over. We received a lot of complaints from FIT booking that they could not get what they wanted because most of the space was already reserved by groups. So we implemented a new system that reserves dining on a first come, first serve basis which is now causing issues for groups. We only secure dining when cabins are berthed, so if you have a special case, we encourage you to call the group dining department and they’ll do everything possible to get them together. Keep in mind that all groups are not created equal. 90% of group space is a wash which is why we implemented the system we did. We will work with you whenever possible, but I cannot guarantee it’ll be successful in every single case. We also take into account the group’s history when looking into your case so keep that in mind.

At one point in time Carnival allowed us to put monies at the group level, as opposed to having to put a formal deposit on a cabin or a client in order to berth it. Any consideration going back to that?

 We still allow you to hold money at the group level – the only time you have to submit a deposit is when you want to assign a cabin number or assign names to the reservation. At this time, we will not be going back to berthing cabins with less than the full per person deposit.

I had a group that had left another travel agent, she had retired, and they came to me. Originally they were supposed to travel on the Triumph – the trip was cancelled – and they were told they’ve receive a 25% discount as long as they traveled within a year. I tried to get more information because this group wanted more information before they booked. After 6 weeks, I was still unable to get that information because I wasn’t the agency on the original booking. Finally, the six of them gave up and went on their own.

This is one of those situations we need to talk about off-line. If you run into a road block and are getting discouraged, that’s why we’re here today. If you want to send us an email, do it before you get to the point where you’re ready to call it quits – we’re here to help you.

I have a very successful history with Carnival because I love reunion groups. I’ve had family reunions, class reunions – you can call me the reunion queen. Why the success? Well, because I could have a flyer out to everyone in no time. Now with the new tool, I have 10 different dates per flyer so I’m back to having to cut and paste and make my own.

We heard you loud and clear through the Carnival Conversations blog and these events, so we have added a new group flyer section in the Fun eCollateral Library on GoCCL.com. The main difference of these flyers is the removal of all dates pertaining to the itinerary. Instead you can go in and add the date you wish to promote, plus a note to your group. You will still be able to add your logo and agency contact information as with the rest of the flyers. This went live last month but if you haven’t had a chance to see it just yet, here’s a sample of a group flyer for the Carnival Triumph 4 Day Western Caribbean cruise out of Galveston: click here

When a client books an Early Saver and they have to cancel for a covered reason, but they choose not to go and keep the future cruise credit. Is there any way they can forfeit? Because when you’re booking insurance through a third party they will not refund that part of the claim.  

We checked in with our teams and are happy to say this was resolved at the Help Desk.

I can purchase wine from the Fun Shops online, but I can’t purchase the wine packages online, I have to call those in. Is there a time when we will be able to purchase the packages online?

We would love to offer the wine packages online.  We are actively working on this enhancement and hope to be able to bring this to you in the coming months.  It seems like such a simple thing but has proven to be quite challenging both systematically and with regards to inventory management controls.  We will send all travel agents an announcement as soon as wine packages are available online. 

First of all, I’d like to give you positive feedback from folks we know that have participated in other conversations. They were impressed and said you were really listening so that’s good. Because of the competition, especially in the port of Houston, your 4 and 5 day cruises are so important. They end up introducing first-time cruisers most of the time, and event frequent cruisers enjoy them. So, I just wanted to encourage you to please focus on your shorter cruises, so we can keep you in front of the other competitors.

We’re certainly committed to the short market. We know how important that is especially for the first-timers and even those that just want a quick getaway.

Thank you for the free cruise promotion. I was one of the lucky winners, but wondering what was your criteria for selecting the winners? Also, if you do this again next year, will you be including Galveston in the selection?

We had two promotions this year. The first one was strictly on a first come, first serve basis and it was a failure. The second time we did on a lottery, more of a sweepstakes style where you had a whole week to sign up to win.

85% of my clients are return clients, and they spend every vacation out of Galveston going to Cozumel. I know it’s tough because of the distances, but is there anything else we can do out of Galveston?

We currently operate 3 different itineraries on our 7 day cruises from Galveston including the only cruise to visit the Eastern Caribbean ports of Key West, Freeport and Nassau.  In addition to Cozumel, the other 7 day cruises visit Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Belize and our beautiful port of Mahogany Bay in Roatan.  We know that many of your clients may have already visited Cozumel, but there are now many new excursion options to choose.  For our 5 day cruises, we visit Cozumel and Progreso.  Progreso, the gateway to Mexico’s State of Yucatan, offers a wide variety of exciting excursion opportunities including the beautiful colonial city of Merida and the awesome Mayan ruins in Chitzen Itza (one of the Seven Wonders of the World) to name just a few.  We are currently exploring options for 2015 to offer a limited number of longer cruises that could visit five or six new Caribbean destinations.

I need some talking points that get around the thing of Carnival being the cruise line of drunks. I have clients that don’t want to take their kids because they think it’s a party cruise.

It’s a fair point, and we’re still amazed that people think of us as a “booze cruise.” We can tell you we’re investing millions of dollars into our product. On GoCCL.com you can find a lot of information about Fun Ship 2.0. You can also take the footage from our YouTube channel which shows “the new Carnival” and multigenerational cruising and vacationing. Check it out here.

The ‘onboard credit’ cruise certificates we buy for our clients help us be competitive in the marketplace. But we’re having problems because our customers sometimes have trouble redeeming them onboard at the guest services desk – and then we don’t get refund.

Cruise Cash can only be applied up to 2 days prior to debarkation. It is non-refundable and non-transferrable so if it was not applied onboard it would not be refunded back. The only reason why it would not have been applied is that it was purchased during the cut-off period which should not happen. Send us your booking # and we’ll look into it for you.

There was a time when on our website you could book a Carnival cruise and an excursion, and receive a commission on it. Are there plans for that to come back? 

Once upon a time consumers could book on a white label site. The link was disabled when we came up with our new Carnival.com and Navigator system and I don’t think we’re going back to that. As for commissions, we’ve never paid commissions on shore excursions.

Some of your competitors have a no smoking policy on balconies. Would you consider the same?

We are taking a closer look at our smoking policy. However at this time we have a very strict non-smoking policy onboard our ships, with smoking only permitted in our dance clubs, designated areas within the casino and casino bar and designated exterior deck open areas. In regards to staterooms, smoking is prohibited, but guests can smoke on their private balconies.  

When I had a technical problem with GoCCL, I called Carnival and they told me it was because I was using FireFox instead of Internet Explorer. The next time I called they told me it was because I was using Internet Explorer. So, what browser is most compatible with the site so I don’t continue having this issues?

Thank you for your feedback.  When new enhancements are being developed we test our website on all major browsers (IE, FireFox, and Chrome).  The most common one we use is IE.  Please feel free to email Nhernandez2@carnival.com with any challenges so we can review.

I did the previous training with Travel Agent Academy, and there was a way to go in and mark off what you’ve completed from point 1 to point 2. Carnival Passport seems chaotic to me, and I’m also noticing some of the information is out of date. Also when I play the game, it freezes my whole computer, but I think that may be because my browser is out of date.

We received feedback that the best way to position adult learning is for it to be individually directed. CCLU was very structured, where you had to take certain courses to move forward whether or not they pertained to you. While with Carnival Passport, you can choose the courses that relate to you in order to get points to move on to the next level. You decide what training you need, and what will benefit you the most. The other great thing about Carnival Passport is we are constantly adding new tutorials and webinars with the latest and greatest information and policies. In fact, we have a great one available regarding the newest enhancements to GoCCL.com so we encourage you to check that out if you’re a GoCCL user. If you think there are topics missing, we’re always looking for new material so send us a note at the support desk and we’ll add it to our list.

Is there a cut-off time for us to go into a training? I’ve gone into the course about 3 times and I still can’t get it saved. The tool tells me “your progress failed to save again.” Can someone help me?

There is no time limit on tutorials. Please contact carnivalpassport@carnival.com so we can work with you in getting this issue resolved.