Week in Review – June 14, 2013

bob dickinsonOur site was buzzing this week with talk of Ken Muskat’s plans for MSC Cruises. Agent feedback particularly focused on Muskat’s comments on making the MSC Divina “a little more appealing to the North American audience.”

“MSC must adjust to the American style of cruising,” said Michelle in the comments section. “MSC can not just keep saying that they give a ‘European experience or style’ when Royal Caribbean and the other cruise lines are catering to what the customer wants. Just read all the comments on the cruise blogs (like Cruise Critic) where all the Americans complain about MSC…you must adjust the service to what Americans want or the demand will be minimal.”

Another commenter, mapsmith, disagreed, saying, “Do not change the menu. If I want the American experience I can cruise Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, etc. MSC is unique in North America. We don’t need the same thing. We like MSC as an Italian flavored cruise line.”

Agents were also talking about another big move in the cruise industry – Bob Dickinson’s return to Carnival Corporation as a consultant. Agent feedback on our site was largely positive, although many commenters were critical of Carnival’s policies.

“I’ve always been a fan of the Dickinson ‘tough love’ for travel agents,” said Christy Jourdan in the comments section. “I first heard him speak at the inaugural of the Carnival Victory…He wasn’t afraid of shaming agents and agencies into taking control of their business and their profits, and I learned a lot from him.”

Other commenters were hopeful that this move could spark a shift in Carnival’s policies toward travel agents. “This is the best move Carnival has made in years,” said cuuise maven in the comments section. “As an agent I too have been bitten in the pocketbook by the Carnival Cruise Line disasters. The way the agent community has been treated by CCL is deplorable. They want all the business to go through their agents and to cut out having to pay commissions. Lowering rates to rock bottom has also hit our bottom line…You go, Bob Dickenson…fix the problems and business will increase.”

At this week’s christening ceremony for the Royal Princess, our cruise editor Susan Young caught up with Howard Frank, vice chairman and chief operating officer of Carnival Corporation, for more on how Dickinson would fit in at the company in his new role. Frank told us that Dickinson would offer advice and new perspectives to each of Carnival Corporation’s brands, but that specific implementation of policies would be up to the brands.

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for the latest travel industry news, trends and updates.


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