September through November is the season when a number of retail agency groups hold annual general meetings or owner meetings. Last year, some of the members were almost panicky as the economy plunged and bookings followed suit. This year, the tone is generally better.
Even the settings of this year’s meetings are more upbeat than in 2008. Several groups will be holding their conferences in November, on or around Oasis of the Seas, a symbol of hope for beleaguered cruise sellers. Carnival Pride played host to this week’s CruiseOne/Cruises, Inc. conference.
The meetings come as agents report solid sales volume in September but remain concerned about the strength of recovery. "Finally, it seems like there’s light at the end of the tunnel," says one agent. "But I’m worried that a train is rushing in at the other side."
Others say the current booking climate is similar to the current stock market – you just don't know what each day will bring. "It’s been a roller coaster,'