The truth is Pete did us a big favor here by admitting what most agents will never say, that there are some who will try to steer a client towards what is most profitable for them.
In fact - this should be made known, so Pete you did well. Many travel agents are picky about hiding this fact, because it puts them in a bad light, but the best travel agents won't do it.
It is the ones who CARE about their clients who won't do it, and they build a business because their clients can see they care. If an agent sends a customer on any vacation they don't enjoy that client is not going back to that agent.
Carnival may be able to get by without travel agents, but it won't be easy. But agents can certainly get by without having to push Carnival.
Carnival is what it is - a mainstream cruise line that appeals to value-conscious buyers. If that is what a buyer wants then they often tend to believe they are getting the best deal by going direct to the source. No, the fallacy is that isn't true, you often get a better deal by going to an agent (or the same deal at least).
But Carnival is in a situation right now where every penny counts (they just had their worst quarter in decades) and so they are looking to cut costs. If that means cutting out or lowering agent commissions, it seems pretty logical that Carnival will be one of the first cruise lines to go that route.