TORONTO — There’s a lot of untapped potential when it comes to Canadian cruise passengers but this market is still a healthy one for Carnival Cruise Lines, and trade bookings from Canada continue to be robust, says Justin French, managing director, Canada and international sales for Carnival Cruise Lines.
“We work with 3,500 agencies across the country,” said French at yesterday’s Carnival Conversations event, held in Markham and drawing a good crowd of agents from all over the GTA.
Yields are still “not where we’d like them to be,” said French, adding that there’s been marginal improvements. “To increase yields we need to increase demand. If more people cruise, the yields go up.”
Many agents had questions for the Carnival executives on hand at the event. Most noted the frustration of trying to close a sale with both air and cruise when the airfare costs more than the cruise. “Airfare is a challenge,” said French, adding that the Carnival team was meeting with local tour operators today and that lift would be on the agenda. “We need tour operators to help us put people on our ships, and the challenge for agents is not finding out about air until very close to departure. We know that without that airlift, the opportunities are limited.”
Carnival is focusing more on groups and also on helping agents make clients feel confident in their bookings with sales tools like the Vacation Guarantee and the Best Price Guarantee. Carnival’s agent portal goccl.com has also been enhanced based on agent feedback, with a simpler booking process (in U.S. or Canadian dollars).