A few points. First, just because a travel agency store front closes down, doesn't mean they have shut down. Because a vast majority of travel agent contacts are made by phone, email and internet, there is little need for a walk in store front agency anymore. Most of these closed store front agencies just became home based to lower the overhead. Second, not many travel agencies do cruises as their primary business. In my agency, cruises make up about 25% of our business. Third, most of our cruise clients are not price shoppers. I know a lot of the members of this board may be big price shoppers, but a vast majority of our clients are looking for full service cruise planning. Because of our location in the Chicago area, we need to provide air, cruise, pre and post cruise stays. We do not charge any fees except for air tickets.
Travel Agents are not going anywhere. RCI and NCL have had no rebating policy for years and we still sell plenty of RCI and NCL in addition to Carnival. If a no rebating of commissions meant travel agents wouldn't be able to sell cruises anymore, we would've stopped selling RCI and NCL years ago. Cruisers still will use TAs, we still provide a valuable service to our clients and we are always their advocates and problem fixers when things may go wrong.