Carnival Cruise Lines recently modified travel agent commissions mean lower commissions for comparable sales. For a seven-day cruise, the old (existing) commission structure pays 10 percent for one passenger, while the new structure (effective Jan. 1, 2013) pays 10 percent for one cabin (one, two or four passengers). From there on, there is a gap in Carnival’s favor that gets bigger as the bookings grow.

Booking 25 passengers under the old commission level, agents would earn 11 percent, but 10 percent under the new rules.

Booking 50 passengers paid 12 percent, but will pay 10 percent next year. Booking 100 passengers paid 13 percent and drops to 11 percent.

The more bookings, the bigger the difference between the old and the new structure. With 600 seven-day passenger bookings, a travel agent would have earned 16 percent, but that drops to 14 percent next year. In order to earn the highest level of 16 percent, starting next year, a travel agent must book 1,000 staterooms, and based on third and fourth passengers, that could be up to 3,000 to 4,000 passengers, compared to 600 before.

According to Carnival, the new tiers will be more in line with the marketplace. Commissions will continue to be based on volume rather than revenue and will be based on net cabin volume in 2013 rather than the current seven-day equivalent structure.