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Just before TravelAge West’s 2018 Western Agents Votes of Excellence (WAVE) Awards in Los Angeles, I had the chance to chat with Adolfo Perez, senior vice president of sales and trade marketing for Carnival Cruise Line, at the brand’s Agentpalooza event in Long Beach, Calif. With Carnival Imagination docked just a stone’s throw away, we discussed the upcoming launch of Vista-class Carnival Panorama from Long Beach in 2019, as well as the sales potential it holds for West Coast-based travel agents.
“First of all, the fact that we [currently] have three ships in California [Imagination, Carnival Splendor and Carnival Inspiration] shows our dedication to the California market,” Perez said, noting opportunities for three-, four-, seven- and even 14-day cruises.
“Panorama’s launch will be the first time a new ship is here in the 10 years since Splendor,” he added. “Not only does it increase capacity, but it also increases the opportunity to sell certain premium accommodations such as the spa cabins, the Havana Cabana cabins and the Family Harbor cabins.”
Perez also cited the chance for West Coast guests who have not yet flown east to sail onboard Carnival Vista or Carnival Horizon — Panorama’s sisterships — to experience new onboard dining venues. And, of course, he anticipates even greater offerings on Panorama, as the line always wants to make each new vessel better, he said.
To that end, although the IMAX Theatre from Vista and Horizon will not be carried over to Panorama, I personally predict that a screening area of some kind will still be featured in the space. It only makes sense for a ship departing so near to Hollywood, Calif. My two cents: It’s time for the arguably superior Dolby Cinema format to shine onboard.
The fact that we have three ships in California shows our dedication to the California market.
In either case, Carnival is not giving up on its older ships in California and beyond, even though Splendor is slated to dry dock in Singapore and head to Australia once Panorama arrives. Imagination and Inspiration are scheduled to remain sailing out of Long Beach, however. Additionally, the company just announced that Carnival Miracle will arrive in San Diego in late 2019.
Carnival is the only cruise line with a year-round presence in California, highlighting the market’s importance to the brand. Carnival is increasing its television advertising in the region accordingly.
Additionally, the company is committed to the success of its travel partners and continues to release tools and incentives to improve their sales. Perez also stressed how crucial agent education — including online training — is to the process of working with BDMs.
“We just put out a new travel agent portal last year, so GoCCL’s portal is completely redesigned with feedback from agents,” Perez said. “Right now, we’re working on the final touches of our booking engine, so we’re going to be able to improve that experience dramatically. We’re going to have new things to help agents sell better.”
In fact, Perez showed me a preview of a new travel agent reward program — “Loyalty Rocks!” — which has since launched. The “Loyalty Rocks! Booking Challenge” is on now through July 18. Each reservation that has earned reward points is entered into a daily drawing for 1,000 rewards points (a $50 value in gift cards). At the challenge’s conclusion, all reservations that have earned rewards points will qualify to win a grand prize of 20,000 rewards points (a $1,000 value in gift cards).
Plus, all cabins in a group qualify to receive points; more points are achieved for higher cabin categories and longer voyages; and bonus points are available for eligible reservations. Besides gift cards, points can be redeemed for jewelry, electronics, movies, gift baskets and more.
The DetailsCarnival Cruise Linewww.carnival.com