Cruise association Leading Cruise Agents of the UK (LCA) has said its members are now working on an unrealistic and unsustainable model to sell Complete Cruise Solutions’ (CCS) products since its commission cut and direct payment announcement last week. In a statement released today, Ian Hopley, co-chair of LCA said the cruise company’s latest move into direct contact with clients had caused travel agents to further suffer from Carnival’s previous strategy of discounting. “We would urge CCS to accept and acknowledge that we’re where we are today, not least because historically, their commercial decisions have acquiesced in, if not actively encouraged, heavy discounting,” explained Hopley. “In response, our members are now having to apply the financial scenario of a commission level below what we believe is a realistic and sustainable level. Furthermore, it now appears that, together with so much direct contact already existing between principal and our clients, we are to have another step in the agent-to-client relationship removed. The LCA called for CCS, which includes Carnival, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Cunard, to respect travel agents and acknowledge their popularity with consumers, particularly as they have been deemed ‘trusted partners’ to the company. “This is a precipitate move by CCS and although we have not yet seen the details, it seems one that penalises the many thoroughly professional cruise agents, for the shortcomings of the few who have conducted their businesses less than sensibly,” added Hopley. “The widest spread of trusted business partners for CCS will surely lessen their dependence on a small number of high-risk, volume-dependent agents and offer their natural customers the widest range of booking channels”.