This does not mean you will be paying full brochure price. The cruise lines give low rates to certain Travel Agencies based on sales performance. The rates are lower and they pay slightly higher commissions. This whole thing is really just about the cruise lines taking back control of prices. Perhaps all of you who are against this might like to sail on Southwest Cruise Lines? Thats right where things are headed if the current practices continue.
Will the rates charged by all TA's now be exactly the same, and will they be the same as published brochure rates? If so, perhaps the cruiselines are setting this new policy to eliminate travel agents and thereby save by not having to pay out commissions.
They are adopting this policy to save Travel Agents. They offer Travel Agenices incentives like higher commission and lower rates than brochure based on sales performances and devotion to selling their product. The current practices by "Cruise Factories" makes those incentives worthless. So even though Cruises.com, for example, sells mostly the NCL or Carnival, they can still offer a better deal on Celebrity than a travel agency who has Celebrity as a prefered vendor because they make up the difference on all the NCL or Carnival business. So what is happening is travel agencies are loosing their prefered rates because they arent able to meet the sales volume criteria required to maintain the prefered status by the cruise lines.
This is advertised discounts only. In other words they cannot put an ad in the paper with a price lower than Celebrity desires. They have a happy hour every Monday 3-6 P.M. est where they allow some TA's to sell off their excess inventory at lower prices. Watch for it. A TA can give you a lower price if he has group space, but can't list any discounts on what he sends Celebrity.