Amadeus in talks with Carnival over UK distribution

GDS Amadeus says it is committed to working with leading UK cruise lines P&O Cruises and Cunard to keep their fares available in the Amadeus Cruise travel agent booking platform.

Both Complete Cruise Solution, that represents the lines as well as princess Cruises, and Amadeus have refuted industry claims that the operator has already decided to withdraw from the system.

Robert Chamberlin, director, CCIF (Cruise-Cars-Insurance-Ferry),travel services business group, said: “As a long term strategic partner, Amadeus is in ongoing conversations with Complete Cruise Solution to ensure the continued distribution of Carnival UK inventory through the Amadeus system.

“As the first and only cruise booking solution developed and launched by a GDS in the UK, Amadeus has radically changed the cruise booking experience from time-consuming and costly call centre telephone sales to automated cruise selling that offers choice, convenience and value to travel agents, cruise lines and technology developers.

Both Complete Cruise Solution and Amadeus are jointly committed to continuing to provide the broadest and best range of cruise travel content, and corresponding booking solutions, to our mutual Travel Agent customers.

“Amadeus remains dedicated to providing a cruise distribution model that works for all stakeholders, providers and cruise bookers alike, and we continue discussions with CCS to find a solution that serves the interests of all parties.”

Earlier this week Giles Hawke, sales director of CCS parent Carnival UK, said: “Complete Cruise Solution has made no definitive decision to stop using Amadeus Cruise but is looking at ways to reduce the cost of agents booking cruise holidays. We will work with agents and Amadeus Cruise as our approach develops.”

The cost of distributing cruise has been a major issue in the sector already this year after CCS announced it was cutting agents’ commission to a base rate of 5% from between 10% and 15% from the launch of its 2012 programme that went on sale last week.

Although the operator has made no decision yet about Amadeus Cruise CWTdigital, whose Click2Cruise agent technology plugs into Amadeus, said it has started working on direct connectivity with the operator.

Most of the leading cruise lines are currently available through Amadeus Cruise including Royal Caribbean International, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruises Lines, Costa Cruises and MSC.

The product is available to agents as a standalone system for those who do not have Amadeus GDS or Amadeus Air connectivity.

Like with air fares Amadeus charges fees on a per transaction basis and Amadeus claims it is “the most cost-effective worldwide distribution channel and a faster and more efficient way to book cruises”.

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