Carnival discusses Covid 19 crisis in travel advisor webinar

Carnival Cruise Line reaffirmed its commitment to travel
advisors during a webinar on Thursday that included a message from Carnival
Corp. chairman Micky Arison. 

More than 3,000 advisors signed up to view the webinar,
which was presented by Travel Weekly. 

Arison, whose father Ted Arison founded Carnival Cruise
Line, made an appearance during the webinar in a pre-recorded conversation
about travel advisors with Adolfo Perez, senior vice president of global sales
and trade marketing for Carnival Cruise Line. 

They briefly talked about the tough road to recovery from
Covid-19 coronavirus.

“We really have to be partners,” Arison said. “It’s a
difficult time for us. It’s a difficult time for them. Hopefully, we will all
get through it and at the other end, this too will pass and we can start to
rebuild the business the way it was before.

“It’s not going to be easy,” he continued. “It’s going to
take time. It’s going to take effort but working together, I’m very confident
that we’ll continue delivering great vacations to millions of people.”

Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy also
addressed advisors in a pre-recorded segment. 

“We will weather this storm together,” she said. “We are
working hard to take care of your clients that have been booked on impacted
sailings, to protect your commission and to provide attractive offerings on
future sailings.” 

Carnival Corp. has suspended cruising until April 10 because
of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic that currently has the entire industry at a
standstill. Travel advisors have been helping their clients get refunds or
rebook their cruises, overwhelming the company’s call centers.

Cruise lines have had to change their cancellation and
change fee policies a few times since the coronavirus crisis began. Perez
explained the latest policy. 

For all sailings of at least six days that were scheduled to
depart from March 14 to April 9, customers have two options. They can get a
100% future cruise credit plus a $600 onboard credit per stateroom. They have
to book by Dec. 31, 2020, for a sailing by Dec. 31, 2022. Or they can get a
100% refund if they choose not to sail. 

For sailings that were supposed to be five days or less,
they can get a 100% future cruise credit and a $300 onboard credit per
stateroom. The same dates apply. They are also eligible for a 100% refund. 

“I ask that our focus be in helping the client rebook their
cruises because in the end, that’s going to be a good thing for all of us,”
Perez said. 

He said advisors will not only receive their commission on
canceled booking through May, they will also receive commission for future
cruises. For bookings from June to September, they will receive a commission on
any canceled booking that was paid in full. 

Perez gave advice on how advisors should communicate with
their clients.

“How do you keep them interested in cruising and really
understand that cruising is a safe and healthy option?” he said. “I would say
the first thing you need to do is be empathetic. You have to listen to what
they’re saying and really understand what their concerns are.

“We cannot coerce people or lie to them,” he said. “You will
sound so insensitive and dismissive of their fears.”

The outreach to advisors came on the same day that Carnival
Corp. offered its ships for use as temporary hospitals for non-coronavirus
patients in areas most afflicted by the outbreak. The idea is to free up land-based
hospitals to treat patients with the virus. 

Earlier in the day, President Trump announced that Arison
had made the offer. Arison did not comment on during his webinar appearance.
But one travel advisor asked about it. 

“It’s a really great thing. It’s the right thing to do,”
Perez said. We want to help out however we can. Obviously, we’re going to need
help, too, so it’s a partnership between us and everybody else, government and
travel partners and suppliers and everything.” 

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