Royal Caribbean International insisted a consumer offer of free Wi-Fi was not a move to drive direct bookings but a trial that, in case it's successful, will be extended to agents in 2017.
The deal, launched on October 3, includes a free Wi-Fi package for one device on bookings until November 8 across eight ships. The offer is worth up to $175.
Agents have reacted angrily, claiming they cannot compete on a level playing field.
Avista Travel in Lancashire has removed all Royal Caribbean posters from store windows.
Denise Hodgson, partner at Travel the World 2 in Cheshire, said:
“This is a move in the wrong direction; they are alienating the retail agents.
“If [Royal] want agents’ support they can’t do things differently with agents than what they do with the public. The cost to buy Wi-Fi can be about $15 a day so how can we compete?”
The move had made no difference in booking volumes through the trade in the last seven days, compared with the same week last year.