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Carnival Partners with Site59

October 24, 2001
Carnival, flying in the face of cruise lines' traditional reluctance to dump unsold cabins -- really cheap -- at the last minute, has announced a trial partnership with Site59.com. The web site has carved out a niche for offering quality travel packages at great prices with a mere one-to-two weeks notice from dozens of major cities across the U.S. Previously, Site59 has focused, particularly, on hotel and airline trips and works with recognizable hotel and airline brands; among the latter are American, Delta, Continental, Northwest and Hawaiian Airlines.

Carnival's the site's first cruise line to come aboard and the offerings, which change every week, at this point focus on short cruises. Packages typically include airfare and a hotel stay. For instance, today Carnival is offering a three-day Bahamas cruise on Fascination (departing this Friday and next); with airfare and a Thursday night hotel stay at the Loews Miami Beach; the price ranges from $442 (from New York City) to $581 (from Phoenix) -- cost variable depends on airport. A four-day Baja Mexico cruise on Ecstasy, out of Los Angeles (ship departs Saturday, this weekend and next), with no air provided, is being offered at $473; this includes a two-night hotel stay at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.

Carnival's initially testing the program in 30 cities but expects to double that by late November. However, the cruise line, which is offering small commissions to travel agents who book customers on these last minute getaways is a tad sensitive about promoting their Site59 trial. Industry sources say the company doesn't want to alienate travel agents who would rather pick up the 20 percent commission Carnival's offering for cruise bookings through traditional channels.

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