Princess Cruises rules out return to distribution through Amadeus

Carnival UK brand Princess Cruises has said it will categorically not return to selling through a Global Distribution System.

The operator came off Amadeus Cruise in 2012, along with the two sister brands that sat under UK trade umbrella Complete Cruise Solution, P&O Cruises and Cunard.

CCS was keen to reduce the cost of distribution, and agents selling its brands are now incentivised to use its in-house booking system with an additional 1% commission payment.

Amadeus has recently developed Cruise Shop with partner developer CWTDigital, a new agent platform designed to make shopping and searching for cruise more simple and intuitive.

It is hoped the platform will help widen cruise retail distribution beyond specialist agents and help the sector establish its mainstream credentials.

However, answering questions in front of travel agents on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 at the weekend during Carnival UK’s annual agent awards, Princess ruled out a change of strategy.

UK director Paul Ludlow claimed it could better spend the money it would cost to go back on the GDS platform by supporting agents directly.

He said: “We will not be going back on any GDSs. If I start investing my money in GDS distribution, that means I have less money to spend supporting the trade [commission, joint marketing and promotions etc].”

However, Carnival UK sales director Chris Truscott, was less definitive when asked about the prospects of P&O Cruises and Cunard coming back on the platform.

“It’s not a question I have an answer for now, but I’m looking at what’s right for the future,” he said.

Amadeus’s Cruise Shop offers all Carnival UK’s main rivals and, following its launch in September, will continue to add more functionality in 2014.

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