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Deceit In A Phone Call From “My” Carnival Personal Vacation Planner

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It’s interesting that I would get a phone call from “my” Carnival PVP, when I have never booked a cruise directly through Carnival cruise line, nor have I ever called to even ask for a price quote on a Carnival cruise.
The caller introduced herself, and explained that she was “my” new Carnival PVP, as “my” previous Carnival PVP had moved on. And then she proceeded to ask me if she might be able to help me book a cruise.
From this initial conversation I have to conclude that every past passenger, or person who visits Carnival’s web site and logs in, must be assigned a PVP (Personal Vacation Planner), whether they request such a service or not.
The idea of this business practice left me a bit uneasy, but not near to what I’d be feeling as the conversation continued.
I went on to explain to “my PVP” that I had no need for her services as I prefer to use a Travel Agent. That’s when she proceeded to explain; “ I have deals on cruises that a Travel Agent does not have access to”.

This statement irritated me, because I know it is not true. In fact, I know many Travel Agents who will offer rates on Carnival cruises, which a Carnival PVP will not match. In fact, they can not match the prices if a Travel Agent chooses to discount the price. I also know that any Travel Agent can access all of the same prices, and discount codes (such as military rates, resident or senior’s specials) that are available to a Carnival PVP.

I was being lied to by an employee of Carnival Cruise Line, for the sole purpose of getting to me to book directly with the cruise line, bypassing using a Travel Agent.

The thought of this being Carnival’s normal business practice has got me a bit irate!

I’m an experienced cruiser, and as a writer who follows the cruise industry, I knew I was being lied to. But what about new or even experienced cruisers who don’t involve themselves with the business side of the industry. There are many people who don’t know, and don’t care to involve themselves in how the system works, and would take this Personal Vacation Planner at her word… and believe that she could offer prices on cruises that a Travel Agent would not be able to offer.

If I were a travel agent I would be up in arms that my “travel partner“, in this case Carnival Cruise Line, shows such disregard for that partnership by trying to attract my potential customers by attempting to entice customers with such blatant misinformation.

Being a Travel Agent is difficult business, even more so in these financially troubled times. Having “your partner” working against you with such questionable practices should be considered an embarrassment to your standards, and one the travel agent community should take action to put an end to.

And in my view the practice certainly is an embarrassment to Carnival.

The scheduled Part 2 of Things You Need To Pay Attention to When Cruise Planning, will appear next week.

– A View From the Kuki Side of Cruising –









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Comment from Dave Beers
Time June 9, 2010 at 7:27 am

I’ve never used a PVP either. When I want to book a cruise I contact my agent and she handles it. So like Kuki I was surprised about 18 months ago when I started getting daily phone calls from “my” PVP. I was not home when they called but everyday I’d have a voice mail waiting for me. I finally called back and said “go away”. Then I thought about what had caused these calls to suddenly occur. I surmised that it had to do with my ordering a brochure from Carnival a few days before the first call.

I complained about it to my agent and she took the matter up with her Carnival rep. I haven’t received any further calls, but to this day it still annoys me.

Comment from kuki
Time June 9, 2010 at 9:50 am

Received the post quoted below on our message boards in reference to the blog. I think it’s very pertinent to this discussion…
“Unfortunatly this is common business practice for the PVP’s. Anytime you look online, or call in they establish what they call a “lead”. That lead will be kept on file for them to send promos and have the PVPs able to call..send emails..write letters. That give them just a little over 32 million leads and counting.

Being a former employee at CCL, the PVPs cause more internal drama than they make business. Not all but most. So most do not care if you are booked with CCL direct or thru a TA, to them a name and number is another chance for a sale. Its a shame because there TA sales still beat out there PVPs.

To this day my fav was while im still working at CCL, I get a phone call the same as yours…”my name is so and so..and im your new PVP” I couldnt quit laughing when I told her she was calling me while I was in the CCL break room.

Thanks for letting me rant…felt good. ”

Comment from kuki
Time June 9, 2010 at 10:06 am

David… the non solicited phone calls are bad enough, but the outright LYING about be able to offer better deals than Travel Agents is downright scandelous IMHO

Comment from Paul Motter
Time June 9, 2010 at 2:59 pm

That is outrageous. At best I’dlike to think it was a rogue salesperson who would say anything to get your business.

I doubt if this person had any idea that they would deserve to be fired for saying such a thing – because if they valued their job they would not say it.

Sadly, my gut feeling is that this is already old news to Carnival and al the rest. They have probably been hearing agents “rant” about the practices of PVPs for years now. All they can say is “we’re sorry.”

There is a huge number of people who really just don’t know any better and would believe that person on the spot. I am sure he used that tactic a hundred times before he met you.

I hope you got his name and plan on reporting him.

Comment from Mike M
Time June 9, 2010 at 7:30 pm

I also believe this is a common practice. I see a number of posts on our message boards, and others, stating that their PVP can get them deals that a TA can’t get. We all know this is a load of “ship” or, in this case, “funship”.

I have never received one of these calls but ironically my wife has. She has sailed Carnival but had never done the booking. She just told them that her husband takes care of booking the cruises. No one ever called back.

Take care,

Comment from Lianne
Time June 10, 2010 at 10:52 am

I’m not too keen on the PVP either. I had “my” supposed PVP leaving me voicemails once every week for 2 months when the economy went bust. However the 1st time I ever booked a cruise (2 years ago) I had done some research on the website before contacting a TA and at some point I must have put a phone # in because a PVP called me. When I told her I was working with a TA she immediately backed off saying something about having a non-compete with TAs once a customer has an outside TA. So there may be a policy in place but some PVPs choose to ignore it.

Comment from Beenie Weenie
Time June 13, 2010 at 4:42 am

This practice has been going on for years. I am surprised to hear that this is the first time you’ve encountered such phone calls. I have reached the point that if I want to check a price on a Carnival cruise I will go to another website (not Carnival’s) to check the rates before booking with my Travel Agent, because I know the minute I go to Carnival’s website to check prices (if I forget to logout) I will get the annoying phone call from the PVP asking me if they can assist me with my next booking. I too have heard the PVP claim they have access to deals no one else can offer, which I am sure is untrue. Over the course of the past several years my TA has saved me thousands of dollars. Just this past week and a half I found a rate reduction which should have given me a $670 onboard credit through the Early Saver Price Protection Guarantee, Carnival denied the claim. But luckily, I booked through a TA and she persisted and eventually on day #4 of my 7 day Triumph Cruise my TA prevailed and was able to get the credit applied… I highly doubt if a direct representative of Carnival would have fought that hard for me against their employer… A good TA is an advocate for their client. I find it very difficult to want to do business with any company that would undercut their own agents with misleading and deceptive business practices. This has been going on a long time, and for Carnival to pretend it was a rogue agent or an isolated incident would be disingenuous at best.
It is getting increasingly difficult to do business with Carnival, and I am thinking about taking my cruising dollars elsewhere.

Comment from Cawal
Time June 28, 2010 at 12:59 pm

My PVP never returns calls. I booked with someone else. Carnival web site is not user friendly, chaotic and lacks continuity. They may restrict bookings by using the web only but I wont use them again if they refuse paper and first class mail as an option.

Comment from Ken
Time August 8, 2010 at 11:43 pm

You actually got a phone call? I can’t get a phone call even when I leave repeated messages.

I love Carnival and have learned to overlook this, but the “boiler room” tactics have me checking out other lines when I normally would be looking only at CCL.

Anyone awake in Miami?

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